After the ATS: 10 Recruiting Tools to Prioritize for Hiring Success

By: on March 21, 2018

According to a Gartner survey on Top Technology Trends1, the most significant challenge that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) say they’re facing in the next 1-2 years is hiring the right people.


It’s clear why: You have to find quality talent in a market that’s often lacking it, convince that quality talent to apply to your company instead of the competition and assess them properly as a candidate for a given role—all while dealing with limited time and hiring budgets.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is the cornerstone of the recruiting software stack, and the key to managing all of these aspects competently. You need one. But it’s not enough.

If SMBs want to thrive, they also have to integrate the right standalone recruiting tools with their ATS to optimize important interactions with candidates. Fail to do so, and your small business will not be able to significantly move the needle on improving hiring outcomes.

Below, we’ll dive into why an ATS may not be enough by itself based on a survey of more than 150 recruiters. Then we’ll look at 10 types of standalone tools for recruitment and selection you should integrate with your ATS based on your needs.

Introduction: Why An ATS May Not Be Enough

Today’s SMB recruiters have seen the writing on the wall: If you don’t have an ATS, you are already behind.

These are the foundational software systems that formalize hiring processes, centralize candidate information and standardize recruiting workflows—and almost all your competitors are using them:

Percentage of Recruiters Using Applicant Tracking Software

However, even though ATS products are continually advancing and becoming better at supporting recruiters in all facets, they still can’t do it all. While most recruiters say their ATS is at least somewhat effective in impacting these areas, this feeling is far from universal.

Effectiveness of Applicant Tracking Software at Addressing Key Areas of Recruiting

Effectiveness of Applicant Tracking Software at Addressing Key Areas of Recruiting

One in four recruiters say that their ATS is minimally or not at all effective when it comes to attracting and assessing talent and lowering cost and time per hire.

If your ATS is failing to impact these key areas, it could simply be the case that you need to upgrade your ATS.

But what if you already have a great ATS, and a robust one at that? Or what if you can’t afford a more comprehensive solution? More and more SMB recruiters will hit this wall, which means they’ve reached the limits of an ATS option altogether.

Luckily, an emerging market of standalone recruiting tools that can integrate with your ATS is here to help. In the next section, we’ll break down these different tools and suggest which ones to prioritize based on your needs.

10 Types of Tools for Recruitment and Selection to Integrate With Your ATS

When we asked recruiters which of the five key areas above they think needs the most help from new tools or software, there wasn’t one answer that dominated the rest.

Most Significant Recruiting Area of Need With New Software

Most Significant Recruiting Area of Need With New Software

With so many processes and touchpoints with candidates to consider, it can be daunting to decide where to focus.

To help, let’s look at 10 types of recruiting tools that can integrate with ATSs, broken up into four categories:

tools to find talent

1. Employee Referral Tools

Examples: Referagig, Zao

referral job posting in zao

Referral job posting in Zao

There’s a reason employee referrals continue to be the most sought after applicants: they tend to perform better, last longer and cost less to hire than standard candidates.

With labor markets remaining stagnant, employee referrals will only become more valuable, which is why you should consider purchasing an employee referral tool if you’re having trouble finding talent.

Using these tools, SMB recruiters can set and track rewards on different openings to encourage employee participation in referral programs. As workers share job listings on social media through the platform and referrals pour in, they’ll automatically be tagged in your ATS as priority applicants.

2. Sourcing Tools

Examples: Entelo, TalentBin

Candidate database in Entelo Search

According to LinkedIn, 70 percent of the global workforce is made up of passive candidates—those who are open to new possibilities but are not actively looking for a job. Finding quality talent that isn’t making themselves known can be difficult, but sourcing tools can help.

Sourcing tools work by crawling the web and aggregating important information about skills, job experience and more from a variety of sources. Candidate profiles are created using this information, which recruiters can search and filter through to find ideal passive targets.

tools to attract talent

3. Candidate Experience Tools

Examples: Jibe, Survale

Dashboard in Survale

Dashboard in Survale

Candidate experience can make or break your entire organization.

A positive one can encourage top talent to apply and even refer their friends, while a negative one can ensure you never see an applicant again. If your ATS alone is failing to provide an optimal candidate experience, you should look into a dedicated candidate experience tool.

These tools can perform a ton of functions, from dressing up your careers page to streamlining your mobile application process. But perhaps the best feature is the ability to create and send out surveys to find out where and why candidates are turning sour on your organization.

4. Job Listing Tools

Examples: Ongig, Textio

Job listing analysis in Textio

Job listing analysis in Textio

ATSs are great at storing job listings for reuse, but they were never designed to make them better. Job listing tools can fix this in a number of ways.

A tool like Textio can suggest better words and phrases to up the likelihood that all candidates apply, or even specific types of candidates (it can tell you if your language is more masculine or feminine, for example).

A tool like Ongig, on the other hand, makes it easy to add all-important images, videos, employee reviews and otherwise to job listings to turn them from walls of text to employer brand boosters.

5. Mobile Recruiting Tools

Examples: Motzie, TextRecruit

Candidate dashboard in TextRecruit

Candidate dashboard in TextRecruit

In 2016, mobile and tablet internet usage surpassed that on desktops for the first time ever. If your ATS fails to optimize candidate touchpoints on mobile devices, you’re alienating a growing audience, which is why you should consider mobile recruiting tools.

Besides optimizing your careers page for mobile and improving your mobile application process, mobile recruiting tools can also help your team keep track of important texting communications with candidates.

Tools to assess talent

6. Candidate Assessment Tools

Examples: TalentSorter, Weirdly

Assessment management in Weirdly

Assessment management in Weirdly

If you’re continually letting bad apples through the door, it’s a sign that your not assessing candidates properly before you hire them. If your ATS is lacking in the assessment department, a candidate assessment tool is vital.

The ways these tools assess candidates vary. Some allower users to send out pre-employment tests to grade applicants on a variety of criteria, including cultural fit. Others use machine learning and predictive analytics to grade incoming candidates against your current top performers.

7. Video Recruiting Tools

Examples: HireVue, Spark Hire

Video interview response in HireVue

If you’re part of the 61 percent that uses Skype for video interviews, it’s time for an upgrade. Video recruiting tools—in addition to facilitating face-to-face video interviews—offer more functionality, more flexibility and were designed with recruiters in mind.

These tools allow users to conduct asynchronous interviews where companies can send questions to candidates for them to record video responses at their leisure. Functionality for assessments and even the emergence of facial recognition AI to read subtle cues offer extra incentive to adopt these platforms.

tools for other needs

8. Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Examples: Sisense, Tableau

Recruiting data visualization in Tableau

To truly understand where your recruiting processes are falling short, you need to dig into the data. While most ATSs do offer in-system analytics, often times they can be frustrating to maneuver or simply not be advanced enough to deliver the insights you need.

Once relegated to the data scientists at large enterprises, BI tools are becoming more user-friendly and geared toward the SMB space. Using a tool like Sisense or Tableau, you can integrate your ATS data to customize important dashboards, visual key metrics and leverage big data recruiting.

BI tools can benefit your entire organization beyond recruiting. Learn more with our BI Tools Buyer’s Guide.

9. Recruiting Chatbots

Examples: Job Pal, Mya

Applicant interaction with Mya

Applicant interaction with Mya

If you’re a recruiter looking to save time and money (who isn’t?), AI-driven recruiting chatbots could be your savior.

Similar to chatbots that interact with customers, recruiting chatbots can leverage ATS data to assess candidates, schedule interviews and answer applicant questions about your hiring process—all without human intervention.

By 2020, Gartner predicts the average person will have more conversations with bots than their spouse. The age of the robot recruiter is here, and recruiting chatbots are leading the way towards lowering overhead costs and automating tedious workflows.

10. Social Recruiting Tools

Examples: Hootsuite, LinkedIn Talent Solutions

Keyword tracking in Hootsuite

According to a 2017 Jobvite survey, recruiters say social networks offer the highest quality of external hires. To succeed at hiring through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and otherwise, recruiters need to recognize that an ATS alone might not be enough to make the best use of this important source for talent.

If LinkedIn is vital to your recruiting efforts, adopting one of their Talent Solutions to distribute job advertisements farther and find appealing passive candidates is crucial.

Similarly, if you don’t already have a social media management tool with social listening functionality like Hootsuite to learn when job seekers are talking about your brand, get one immediately.

Need more social recruiting tool options? Download our eBook: 28 Software Tools to Conquer the Social Media Recruiting World.

Don’t Put the Tool Cart Before the Software Horse

Truth be told, we’ve barely scratched the surface. There are other categories of standalone recruiting tools, and tools that span across categories. As vendors discover technological areas where recruiters are struggling to optimize and gain insight, more categories will likely emerge.

But it all starts with the applicant tracking system. It’s the foundational technology that fuels these tools, so if you’re looking to upgrade your ATS, now is the time. Here are some next steps:

  • Fill out a short questionnaire about your ATS needs. Using this information, we’ll actually recommend five systems that we think best fit your preferences and budget. Best of all, we’ll do it completely free.

1Information on Gartner’s Top Technology Trends for SMBs Survey

Gartner conducted this survey in April and May 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers, or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.

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