ATS Integration: What Recruiting Leaders Need to Know about It

ATS Integration: What Recruiting Leaders Need to Know about It

Boris Kozak

applicant tracking system integration“Integration” is perhaps one of the most widely used buzzwords in the B2B software community. And it is often the topic of conversation when discussing enterprise solutions, such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

With ATS’ in particular, large recruiting organizations tend to have vast legacy deployments, in which they’re heavily invested. Though, the challenge many of today’s companies are facing with their ATS is the solutions aren’t keeping pace with dynamic user and job seeker demands—especially with technology users’ rapidly growing digital expectations.

While it doesn’t typically make sense to replace the ATS because of the depths of the investment, companies tend to leverage integration to pick up where the ATS falls short. What recruiting leaders need to know is that ATS integration can be difficult, but if it’s successful it can transform how talent acquisition professionals identify, attract, and engage candidates.

In this post, we’ll break down the ins and outs of the topic, so you can better understand how to take advantage of innovative solutions and break free from the limitations of your ATS.

What Does ATS Integration Mean, Anyway?

From a high-level point of view, integration means connecting disparate computing and software systems to operate in a coordinated manner, often to perform a function that is only possible via that co-dependent relationship. Since integration takes place on the back-end, the user experience—the user being a recruiter or job seeker in this case—should be seamless.

For instance, a recruiting organization may integrate its ATS with a third-party solutions provider, so talent acquisition professionals can use data analytics and business intelligence tools to visualize and optimize hiring funnel performance. In this case, the recruiter does not know (or care) that data is passing between the two systems.

Another example may be integrating the ATS with third-party recruiting software designed to deliver a better candidate experience—one that provides Google-like job search functionality. In this scenario, the job seeker is completely unaware that she’s interacting with multiple solutions on the back-end.

But achieving seamless integration is a much more complex process than simply writing a few lines of code—it requires expertise, access to APIs, relationships between solutions providers, and more. In fact, ATS integration is a process few third-party talent acquisition vendors have figured out—especially since cloud-computing introduces a whole new set of obstacles.

The Challenges With ATS Integration

To really understand ATS integration, recruiting leaders must understand the actual ATS integration points and APIs (Application Program Interfaces). To integrate with an ATS, ideally the solution providers will offer access to their API, which is a set of programming standards, protocols, tools, and so on for building software applications that interact with their data.

The challenge is that many ATS’ may not offer access to their APIs or the APIs might not even exist. And even when they do exist, the types of integrations that can be done with them tend to be very limited. This means it is difficult to get data in and out of the ATS. So, despite not offering functionalities recruiting organizations may want that third-parties can provide on top of the ATS, some ATS vendors block that from ever happening by limiting their APIs.

That said, it’s important to find a solutions provider experienced in overcoming the limitations of ATS APIs. Working with a company that has the know-how in this area can help to avoid a “rip-and-replace” scenario, as well as other additional costs and issues with legacy data.

Getting More Out of Your Applicant Tracking System

So, why are we talking about the challenges and benefits of ATS integration anyway? Because so many recruiters are displeased with the performance of their current ATS.

At nearly every large company, the ATS is the backbone of the recruiting organization. In the past the solution has been used primarily as a system of record. Though, more recently, out of necessity, recruiters have been utilizing it as a system of engagement. For many today, the ATS is the back-end of the careers site, and as you probably know, the user-friendliness and candidate experience provided by these sites leaves a lot to be desired.

In many cases, companies’ first instinct is to bring in a creative team to essentially cover up the outdated look and feel of the ATS. But that’s like putting the hardware and software of an old flip phone inside the shell of an iPhone. It might look nicer, but will still work poorly.

That said, it makes sense that in a recent study, 64% of recruiters expressed dissatisfaction with or wish to replace their existing ATS. Fortunately, with integration, the ATS doesn’t have to be replaced. Rather, it can be augmented to meet recruiter and job applicant expectations and requirements.

Just think, on top of your existing ATS, with the right integration you could provide capabilities and functionalities such as responsive web design, job notifications, advanced search, talent networks, and so much more. If you’re interested in learning how we do this at Jibe, please feel free to set up a quick demo with our team here.

Interested in learning more about what it takes to build a modern candidate experience? Check out our new “9-Point Checklist for Building a Next-Generation Candidate Experience.”

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