The right applicant tracking system (ATS) could change your life. Well, your working life at the very least.

It sounds like a bold claim, but the tools and features a modern ATS can offer you are wide-ranging, extremely useful and can truly revolutionise your recruitment processes and beyond. But how do you choose the right ATS for you and your business?

We know it can be a daunting process, especially given there are so many options out there. To help you out, we’ve put together a short guide on the top 5 things you should consider when picking your ATS…


Aside from the basic features you’d naturally expect from an ATS (we’re talking workflow management, CV databases, screening, interview management, mobile accessibility, automated job posting… you know the drill!), many solutions now offer more advanced features. Find out what’s available to you beyond the standard and decide if it could be a useful extra for you. You might want to consider a system that offers an onboarding module, automated interview booking (dreamy, huh?) or in-depth, customised reporting – among other things! Contemplate the biggest recruitment challenges you face and assess which tools could make the greatest improvements to your processes – your supplier should be able to give you more insight into this.


Your ATS doesn’t have to work as a standalone product. In fact, it’s likely to be most useful to you if it doesn’t. Many of the best ATS systems out there now offer multiple options when it comes to integration with other systems and tools, and you’ll want to know what your provider can offer you. If you have existing HR systems you use, will your ATS be able to link up with those? How about sourcing tools that can help you engage with passive candidates? Can you post to social media platforms without leaving the system? What about integrated video interview software? What add-ons can be used to enhance your candidate journey? Make a list of the things you want and find out from the ATS provider what’s possible – the best ones will be able to adapt to your needs.

Employer branding

In a hugely competitive labour market, having a strong employer brand is more important than ever – it’s key to retaining staff and making the best hires. As the old saying goes, ‘first impressions count’, and your candidates will start to form opinions very early on in the application process. As such, you’ll want to know how your ATS can support and help build your employer brand. Ask about system branding options (good for new candidates and current colleagues alike), how the system will streamline your processes to give candidates the best user experience and what customisation options are available to you (e.g. communication templates). A dedicated careers site will also help to elevate your employer brand and can work in conjunction with your ATS; many suppliers are able to support you with this so it’s another option you should ask about.

Ease of use

You’ve picked your ATS. It’s got all the whizzbang features you’ve been looking for, it looks amazing from a design perspective and the supplier you’re working with seems great to boot. However, it’s not going to be any use to you at all if you or your team struggles to use it. You need an intuitive system that doesn’t cause more problems than it solves. You’re going to want to ensure you’re picking software that’s easily navigated, puts candidate information at your hiring managers’ fingertips and allows everyone to carry out common tasks without causing a headache. Similarly, your candidates should find it easy to use too. Make sure you have a chance to see how everything works before you sign on the dotted line – ask your supplier for an in-depth demo, and you could even ask to hear from the supplier’s other clients who use the system.

Ongoing support & development

When you invest in an ATS, you’re also investing in your relationship with your supplier. Finding out about the kind of support that’s available to you should be an important part of your initial discussions. Are training sessions on offer? Will customer support be available to you throughout the day? If so, during what hours? And, on top of that, what kind of ongoing product development does the supplier do? In a world that’s almost constantly changing, buying a static product isn’t going to work out for you – especially as the needs of your business will also change as time goes on! You therefore need to establish what options are available to you in terms of building out. Your ATS must be able to grow with you, capable of supporting your business now and into the future!

If you’d like to find out more about Octo – our robust and intuitive hiring hub – please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01943 461327 or email

Happy recruiting!

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