As a HR and recruitment professional, your role is to attract, engage, manage and onboard the highest quality of talent. However, we all know the process is a lot more complex than that, including building a talent pool, managing candidate sifting, feedback and long-term employee retention. 

These are all things a robust and intuitive applicant tracking software can support you and the business achieving, and much more, but in order to implement this level of change you often need to build an ATS business case.

With the use of impressive statistics and case studies demonstrating the benefits of using an ATS, convincing your organisation to invest may seem like an easy task. However, if you work in a team that have always used traditional recruitment methods such as tracking candidates on a spreadsheet and receiving CVs through an email inbox, or you are working with tight budgets, your key stakeholders may need greater support to see the long-term value and benefits.

An ATS business case needs to cover the existing challenges and key benefits the software you are looking to onboard will provide, for all of your key stakeholders. It is important to highlight the return on investment that an ATS will bring to your organisation so an informed decision can be made. 

Stage 1: Preparation and planning

In order to build an ATS business case, preparation and planning is key. This will enable you to reflect on the business challenges you may face when presenting a new investment or change in process, and develop arguments and examples to portray your suggestions in the most competitive light.

There are a number of key points to consider…

Do you know the processes for bringing on a new tool within the organisation?

Understanding this process will help you eliminate any unexpected red tape further down the line and allow you to form a plan. Speak to the teams that usually bring in new software or technology for advice and find out if they have a format they can share. Review this alongside identifying your key stakeholders and what their preferences might be, such as quick facts and figures for finance or detailed demo information for HR and recruitment users.

What are your recruitment objectives?

What are the current recruitment pains of the organisation? High agency fees? Recruitment taking too long? Not attracting quality candidates for vacancies? 

Understanding your current pain points in the recruitment process is essential for planning to ensure you are able to demonstrate solutions. Your objectives should be shaped around the challenges you are facing, with the software offering a solution to some of these problems.

Is there a budget in place?

Finding out if there is a current budget from the start makes overcoming any budget issues easier. This will not only help in building your case, but enable you to select suppliers from the outset that are suitable for your organisation.

To provide an indication of the budget, you can review current spend. Calculating your current cost per hire will allow an easier comparison to the initial costs of using an ATS, showing the savings possible if the organisation were to implement. This could also include monetary spend on recruitment and time / labour costs. You may find that the hiring of a single role may cost the same (or more) than the annual cost of an ATS, but over the course of a year this transpires into great savings.

Stage 2: Building your case

To really demonstrate the value of bringing in a new ATS, you need to highlight the challenges and showcase the pain being caused by the current ineffective practices. People buy-in to stories and scenarios, so work through your daily / weekly workflow and highlight clear cases where you are obtaining poor quality candidates, a role has been live for too long or the agency expense has been crippling.

Some suggestions include…

How much budget are you currently spending on your recruitment?

You will already be spending some budget on the recruitment process within your organisation including job boards, external 3rd party recruiters/agencies and any other tools you may utilise to recruit. Understanding how much you are currently spending on your recruitment process will help also understand whether this is providing a return on your investment. Is your current recruitment delivering on your objectives? What are you getting for your investment? How might an ATS be better use of the organisation’s funds?

How much time are you spending on administrative tasks in your recruitment process?

Are you using your time to connect with candidates or is your time being wasted on administrative tasks? Without a strong ATS, the time spent on manual tasks like tracking candidate processes, soliciting feedback and scheduling interviews is time and money wasted. For example, someone with a £80,000 annual salary who completes 1 hour of admin tasks for recruitment everyday equals £10,000 per year wasted. The use of an ATS could accelerate the admin tasks in your organisation so they don’t take as long.

Demonstrate the cost savings of using an ATS

The initial costs can be a major barrier to implementing new or updated recruitment software when the benefits and cost/time savings are not fully informed of using an ATS. How often are you making bad hiring decisions? With the use of an ATS, a robust streamlined hiring process will be created enabling more time to screen and evaluate candidates, helping avoid the cost of a bad hire. You need to convey across as to how an investment in better recruitment software will lead to long-term cost savings for the business.

Stage 3: Research and evaluate

Now you have assessed your current recruitment process and found your pain points, you need to find a suitable solution. The best place to start researching possible solutions is online reviews through Google and other websites such as Capterra, Trustpilot and G2Crowds. Alongside online reviews, utilising connections you may know who use the system you are considering already. You are more likely to get a real honest opinion and gain an understanding of anything lacking in the system and from someone you know who is using the system compared to an online review. Combining both evaluations will be critical to choosing the correct solution for your recruitment needs, alongside any demonstrations of software.

In order to convince an ATS is worth the investment, your research and evaluation needs to be thorough, ensuring that you know how each system will benefit your organisation. Creating a document to compare the various recruitment systems will provide a clear picture of what is available and which is the most appropriate for your needs. The document should outline the following:

  • Name of the software evaluated
  • Features – How do they solve your recruitment pains? Highlight any you think would be useful
  • How long will implementation and training take? What is the process for switching to the new software/tool?
  • Price – Use the benefits in your business case to help reduce the blow of initial costs
  • Pros and cons – Be specific about why you think a tool would be a strong fit for your needs and include any red flags

Stage 4: Present your case

The final stage is presenting your business case which needs to be conducted in a way that suits your audience you are presenting to. Presenting can be done either in person, as a presentation or in a document starting by reminding your audience of the pain points in the current recruitment process. You can also include what you are losing in terms of money and time through slow processes and mundane administrative tasks. You need to outline how the features will solve the pain points and how it will save time and money. Finally, include any recommendations you’ve collected from your network as they will provide additional credibility in your ATS business case. 

Investing in an ATS can be transformative for your recruitment and wider business, but it is important to take the time to fully review the ROI and evaluate all the options available to make the best choice for you and your business.

If you are interested in discussing how we could support you with your recruitment and building an ATS business case, contact us today.

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