Short Guide to Buying an ATS in 2023

The ultimate guide to buying the best ATS online software for your staffing agency in 2023.

Introduction to ATS: Your Ticket to a Well-Organized Staffing Wonderland

Welcome to the world of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)! Think of an ATS as that super-organized friend who always has a spreadsheet for everything. Sure, you can scramble through a mountain of paperwork, but wouldn’t you rather have everything neatly filed and organized? Of course you would!

Now, in the bustling bazaar of staffing, we have two main attractions: Traditional ATS, the reliable old filing cabinet, and Talent Marketplace Software (TMS), the shiny new gadget that not only stores information, but does something with it.

When looking at these two categories of software, it’s important not to overlook the divide that exists between temporary staffing companies and permanent staffing or direct hire staffing companies. Different strokes for different folks, as they say! We're here to guide you through both paths, helping you choose the perfect system like picking the best donut at the bakery.

So grab your executive coffee mug; it's time to dive in!

Understanding Your Needs: What's Holding Your Growth Hostage?

Picture yourself as a business detective, searching for clues about what's keeping your company from that sweet, sweet exponential growth. Is it a lack of automation, or maybe an overwhelming sea of information? Time to dig in!

For the direct hire companies out there, it might be a battle with manual tasks that a computer could handle faster than you can say "spreadsheets galore." You know, those things that make you feel like you're stuck in the 1980s.

On the other hand, temporary staffing companies might be wrestling with systems that are just lounging around, storing information but having your recruiters do most of the manual coordination work.

The key is to figure out what your particular business needs to break free from status quo of current revenue run rate and into exponential growth and success. Do you need a basic information-organizing tool, or something with a bit more oomph that can turn data into action?

Grab a notepad (or hey, make a spreadsheet), jot down your needs, and join us on this journey to find the ATS that's the peanut butter to your company's jelly.

Traditional ATS vs Talent Marketplace Software: Cabinets vs Machines

Think of Traditional ATS as a trusty filing cabinet. It holds all your stuff, but you still have to manually find what you need. Good for organizing, not so great for doing anything else.

Talent Marketplace Software (TMS), on the other hand, is like a robot butler. Not only does it store your information, but it also makes your coffee, takes out the trash, and basically runs the show. It’s ideal for temporary staffing, which needs an all-in-one powerhouse.

ATS = Great for storing. TMS = Great for doing.

Simple, right?

Key Features: The Goodies You Didn't Know You Needed

Choosing an ATS or TMS is like piecing together the perfect wardrobe. You need the basics, the statement pieces, and a dash of flair. Here’s how to tailor the best ensemble for your staffing company:

Common Features: Your Stylish Basics

  • Scalability: It's like stretchy pants. Can the system grow with your business without bursting at the seams?
  • Security: Think of it as a lock on your jewelry box, keeping your precious data safe and sound.
  • Data Isolation and Security: Your secret compartments for sensitive information.
  • API and Custom Integrations: The snazzy buttons and zippers that connect various parts of your business outfit.
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement): Your guarantee that this suit will fit and perform as promised.
  • Multi-Language Support: ¿Hablas español? ATS & TMS does, and possibly several other languages too.
  • GDPR, CCPA Compliance: It's the law-abiding citizen of the TMS & ATS world, respecting privacy rights.

Features Specific to ATS: Your All-in-One Talent Toolbox

  • Organization: How neatly it files your jobs and applicants - like color-coding your sock drawer.
  • Ranking of Applicants: It's the talent-show judge, scoring candidates on their performance.
  • Job Ads Distribution Network: Posting your jobs on the right billboards, from Australia's sandy shores to the bustling streets of the U.S.
  • Integration with Back office and CRM Software: It's like a well-synced dance routine with all departments.
  • User-Friendly UI: So simple, your grandma could find her way around - no offense to tech-savvy grandmas!
  • Email and Text Message Notifications: Think of it as your friendly town crier, announcing news far and wide.
  • Career Page Customization: Tailor-make your online storefront to entice the right applicants.
  • Social Media Integration: ATS's way of partying with the cool kids on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  • Comprehensive Reporting and Analytics: Like having a personal business fortune teller to guide your decisions.
  • Resume Parsing: It reads resumes so you don't have to – like a book club for your recruitment team.
  • Collaborative Hiring Tools: Because teamwork makes the dream work, even in hiring!
  • Customizable Workflows: Create your hiring dance floor and let the candidates strut their stuff.

Features Specific to TMS: The Casual Chic of Temporary Staffing

  • AI, AI & AI: The high-tech fabric that makes your business wear move with you.
  • White Label: Your brand, your style, no unwanted logos or co-branding.
  • Native iOS/Android Apps Branded for Your Company: Your signature scent, unique to your firm.
  • Schedule and Conflict Management: The cufflinks that hold everything neatly together.
  • Self-Service Ability for Clients: Letting clients choose their own tie from your collection.
  • Product-Led Marketing: Special offerings like redeployment of candidates or referral programs.
  • Robust Notification Systems: Your outfit's bells and whistles to keep everyone informed.
  • Timesheet Management: Tracking your business's fashion show schedule.
  • Built-In Billing and Payroll: The inner pockets, handling money matters seamlessly.
  • Instant Pay: The quick change room to get your staff paid in a flash.
  • Private Talent Pool for Clients: An exclusive VIP dressing room for your clientele.


Whether you're crafting a power suit with ATS or aiming for casual chic with TMS, remember that the right features create the perfect look for your staffing company. Don't be afraid to mix and match, and always dress for the success you want to achieve!

Feel free to let me know if this wardrobe of features fits your style, or if you'd like any more adjustments and flair!

Evaluating Providers: Shopping for the Best Tool

Evaluating providers is like browsing through a hardware store. You need the right tool for the right job.

  • ATS Providers: Look for the sleek and sophisticated toolbox that organizes all your nuts and bolts (candidates, clients, jobs).
  • TMS Providers: Search for the flashy power tool that can build a whole house (or at least run your temporary staffing needs).

ATS for Direct Hire Companies:

Enterprise Companies:

  • Bullhorn: The Cadillac of ATS for big direct hire firms. Bullhorn is renowned for its robust functionality, including automation, integration, and performance analytics. If your business is the big dance floor, Bullhorn knows all the right moves.

Mid to Small Companies:

  • JobAdder: The nimble, agile partner for mid to small-sized direct hire companies. With a user-friendly interface and efficient support, JobAdder takes the complexity out of hiring. It's like having a dance instructor who teaches you to tango without stepping on your toes.

TMS for Temporary Staffing Companies:

Enterprise to Mid-Size Companies:

  • The alpha of TMS for the big and mid-sized temporary staffing packs. is designed to automate, organize, and empower your staffing strategies. Think of it as the leader of the pack, guiding you through the wild terrain of temporary staffing.

Small Companies:

  • GetSling: The David among the Goliaths, GetSling is tailored for small temporary staffing firms. Agile, affordable, and attentive, it's the slingshot that can take down the big challenges faced by small businesses. It's not about the size of the company; it's how you use your tools!

Remember, evaluating providers isn't just about looking at shiny features; it's about finding what fits YOUR company's rhythm and style. Whether you're doing a classic waltz with Bullhorn or grooving to the beat with GetSling, make sure you choose the one that dances to your tune.

Test, compare, and don't be afraid to ask the salesperson (or provider) tough questions. After all, you wouldn't buy a lawnmower to trim your beard, would you?

Compliance and Security: Playing by the Rules

Imagine compliance as a game of Monopoly. You have to play by the rules, or you'll end up in jail (figuratively, we hope). Security breaches, legal pitfalls, and unhappy clients are the "Go Directly to Jail" cards of the staffing world. Protect your data, follow the laws, and may your game be ever in your favor!

Measuring Success: Are We There Yet?

Measuring success with your ATS or TMS is like a road trip. Set the destination (goals), track your mileage (progress), and avoid detours (mistakes). Regularly check your map (analytics) to ensure you're on the right path, and don't forget to enjoy the scenery (celebrate successes)!

For Direct Hire:

  • Placements per Recruiter: Are your recruiters placing more singles than a hotshot DJ? Keep track!
  • Speed of Finding and Filling: Are you filling positions faster than a hungry diner at an all-you-can-eat buffet? Time matters!
  • Client Satisfaction: Is your staff getting standing ovations or rotten tomatoes from clients? Keep those reviews shiny!
  • Interview to Close Ratio: If interviews were first dates, how many are leading to the happily ever after?

For Temporary Staffing:

  • Order Fill Rate: How many orders are being filled? If it were a pie, are you getting the whole delicious thing or just a sliver?
  • Speed of Order Fulfillment: How fast can you fill those orders from the moment they arrive? Like a sprinter in the staffing Olympics!
  • Orders Filled per Recruiter at the Company Level: Want to see growth? Check how many positions one recruiter is handling. More positions, more power!
  • Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for Candidates and Clients: Are your candidates and clients singing your praises or sending you to the doghouse? Measure that love (or lack thereof)!

Measuring success isn't just about numbers; it's about insights. Like a wise old owl perched atop a tree, look at these metrics and see what they tell you about your journey. Adjust your wings, change directions if needed, and keep soaring toward success!

Pitfalls and Common Mistakes: The Banana Peels of the ATS World

Pitfalls and mistakes in choosing an ATS are like banana peels in cartoons - slip, crash, and facepalm. Watch out for:

  • Choosing style over substance.
  • Ignoring the unique needs of your staffing type.
  • Forgetting about integration and automation.

Learn from others' cartoonish falls and navigate your way to ATS success.

Conclusion and Action Plan: So, What Now?

Congratulations! You’ve navigated the maze of ATS options like a pro. To recap:

  • Know your needs.
  • Pick your features.
  • Choose the right provider.

Now, go forth and conquer the staffing world with your new ATS (or TMS) by your side. And remember, if all else fails, there's always duct tape!