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7 Signs You Need a New Applicant Tracking System

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 7 Signs You Need a New Applicant Tracking System
David Banaghan
5 minute read
HR Technology & Analytics

A modern ATS can help companies keep track of and streamline their recruitment process.

Firstly, what is an applicant tracking system, or ATS? An ATS is a software system that allows you to engage and manage candidates, bringing them along the process more efficiently, saving you time and administration. There are various types of applicant tracking systems, they can be cloud-based and have different features depending on the type. They also vary in size and therefore suit all business type.

Companies that have not leveraged the features a good ATS has to offer are certain to miss out on quality candidates and overspend on recruitment. Below we've outlined some of the tell tale signs its time to update your ATS, before you get left behind by the competition.

signs you need a new ats

You rely on spreadsheets and your email inbox

Recruiting is tough. It's even tougher when you're managing all of the different processes through emails, excel spreadsheets and a mountain of folders.

Depending on how you source your candidates the average job opening can receive hundreds of applicants. That’s an incredible amount of data to manually manage and that isn’t even the final stage.

Once you've received these applications you must work collaboratively with your colleagues and make sure you're all on the same page when it comes to hiring the perfect candidate.  

That sounds like a lot of work and in the modern age of technology, it's unnecessary too. Even the most basic of ATS's will help you organise these applications in a centralised system.

You're wasting time on admin 

If you find yourself spending upwards of 10 hours per week on admin, stop. This is time that doesn't need to be wasted and can be put into another area of the business.

An ATS can automate most administrative tasks and save you hours each week. Tasks such as sending emails, pre-screening and scheduling interviews can be done at the touch of a button. Our ATS Occupop has seen a 60% decrease in time wasted on recruitment admin.


You're not receiving enough applications 

So you have your ATS and you're saving time and money on hiring. Your entire process is streamlined but you're not getting a large number of candidates into the pipeline. what could be the problem?

As great as your ATS may seem to you, it can sometimes not be a great experience for an applicant. Some ATS's require candidates to complete long application forms or create user accounts. This could be the reason you have a high drop off rate. 

Try applying to one of your own jobs and review the application process. If your applicant has to go through multiple pages to submit their application you can almost guarantee they'll close the tab. 

Indeed found that 42% people applying for jobs don't complete applications if they take too long. Once 15 minutes has elapsed candidate drop off will be high. 

Your reports are non-existent

One of the best features of a good ATS is the reporting feature. Knowing where your quality applicants are coming from is essential to delegating resources for future hires. Even though this is probably one of the most important features, many ATS's don't deliver. If you only have access to your candidate's demographics but not what recruiting channel they came from, it's time to upgrade your ATS. 

When finding a new ATS be sure to pick one where you can analyse whether your candidates came from social media, a free or paid job board or an agency etc. Once you know which channel provides you with the best candidate you can cut the channels that are burning money. 

Your time to hire is long 

As I'm sure you're aware by now, your ATS should assist you with automating admin tasks to increase ROI. If it's doing these tasks correctly you should have an efficient end-to-end hiring process. 

Not only should it help with automation but it should generate a large candidate pool from a variety of sources to push through a customisable workflow. Time to hire is an important metric to keep in mind when evaluating your ATS. 

Your hiring team is growing 

Great your team has expanded! Now it's time to see if your current tools are still working for you and your team. As a team your ATS should offer the ability to each create a user account and have access to: 

  • Screening candidates
  • Posting roles
  • Emailing candidates
  • Scheduling interviews

If your team has become quite large or you're continuously growing we'd recommend looking for an ATS that doesn't charge per user to keep costs down.

signs you need a new ats

You're hiring targets have changed

If you're a smaller company or don't hire very often you shouldn't have a problem finding an applicant tracking software (ATS) that will work for you and your targets. However, if you plan on increasing hiring targets in the future do look out for an ATS that has the features you'll need or gives you the opportunity to upgrade your plan. Most ATS's work on a SAAS model and if your hiring needs change you can change your plan to hit those new targets.

Some features that are absolutely necessary in an ATS are:

  • Job posting to multiple channels
  • Automated pre-screening
  • Automated emailing & scheduling
  • A strong careers page
  • Worthwhile reports
If you think you are one step closer to an investment in an ATS System, we have created a free plug and play, downloadable Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Business Case Template. This  editable template will help you in presenting a business case for an investment in an Applicant Tracking System / ATS system for your organisation. The goal is to enable you to clearly convey why you have a need for an ATS solution in language that will resonate with budget holders.


Considering a change or investment in an applicant tracking software? Occupop is a recruitment software company that wants to make your hiring process faster, easier and stress-free.

Our AI technology can greatly reduce your recruitment admin, time and costs by scoring and filtering your CVs, scheduling your interviews and sending your candidates automated email updates. We’ll also post your job descriptions across 20+ recruitment channels to ensure that you never miss the best candidates.

Summary Points

The signs you needs a new applicant tracking system:

  • You rely on spreadsheets and your email inbox
  • You're wasting time on admin
  • You're not receiving enough applications 
  • Your reports are non-existent
  • Your time to hire is long 
  • Your hiring team is growing
  • Your hiring targets have changed
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