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How to Choose Talent Management Software for Small Business

by | Apr 22, 2020 | hiring process


There’s no doubt that small businesses have “taken it on the chin” during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has proven to have dire economic and financial consequences. As a result, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to make wise choices, especially in regards to the money they spend on investments such as talent management software.

While it’s true that some companies have chosen to pause their hiring efforts for the time being, that’s not the case for every employer. There are many that are still in the process of recruiting and hiring top talent for their organization. And even those that have decided to hit the “pause button” still need to manage the talent they already have—in other words, their current employees.

There are three distinct categories into which organizations fall when it comes to their applicant tracking system (ATS) or talent management software. Those three categories are as follows:

  • Small to mid-size business
  • Staffing agency
  • Enterprise

So . . . how do you choose talent management software for your small business? We’re so glad you asked that question!

How to choose talent management software

First, you have to determine into which of these categories your organization falls. (But since you’re reading a blog post about how to choose talent management software for small business, you’re probably a small to mid-size business.)

When determining which applicant tracking system is the right fit for your organization, there are several key factors you will want to consider. In fact, there are five of them, which are as follows:

#1—Ease of use

This is a top concern, and therefore should be a top priority (which is why we made it #1 on our list). Sure, bigger software packages might have more “bells and whistles,” but how many of them are you actually going to use? In addition, these types of packages can be cumbersome to navigate and also require considerably more setup time. This means more time that your staff would have to spend in training, which in turn means lost productivity.

On the other hand, there are applicant tracking systems that are more intuitive and which require less training. You also want one that is efficient, meaning that it is able to handle several tasks with as few clicks as possible. For example, many job seekers and potential candidates search for jobs on social media sites. Consequently, your talent management software should be able to post open positions on social media and the job boards at the same time that it posts those same jobs on your organization’s website.

#2—The quality of customer support

This one is nearly as important as ease of use, but it’s a close second. That’s because when you have questions, you want answers! (And you deserve answers, by the way.) And once again, just because an ATS is bigger does not necessarily mean that its level or quality of customer support is better. Actually, in many cases, exactly the opposite is the case.

That’s because when it comes to larger providers, it’s common for them to use the ticket system, which can result in delays and longer wait times. However, when it comes to smaller providers, you can typically get a quicker response, whether that’s over the phone or via email. Also, with larger providers, it may seem as though you never talk to the same person twice, which means the people who helped with implementation may be different than the ones who help with customer support.

And last, but certainly not least, identify where the support team is located. Is it outside of the country? Consider the process by which you will be obtaining assistance, should you need it. You want an ATS with a support team that is nimble, able to meet challenges, and able to solve problems quickly and on a consistent basis. (That’s not too much to ask for, right?)


You knew we were going to get to this one eventually, right? And you might not be surprised to learn that the bigger the ATS, the more expensive it usually is. That includes with regards to system setup, custom implementation, and the ongoing cost. For example, many times these systems are priced on headcount, which can translate into hefty fees for the end user.

That’s why research is so important before making a purchase. You need to strike the right balance of features and functionality vs. what you’re willing to spend for your talent management system. Above all else, you want to find the right fit for your organization.

#5—The quality of the candidate experience

As we’ve established before, the quality of the candidate experience during the hiring process is integral to building and creating a superior employer brand. Once again, this is where a smaller ATS can give you an edge over larger systems. To provide the best experience and to do so consistently, applicants must be able to interface with your organization quickly and easily. If not, then the experience will suffer (and so will your employer brand).

Bigger applicant tracking systems often require log-in access for job seekers and candidates. They also force them to “jump through hoops” during what candidates consider is a long, drawn-out process that is ultimately not worth their time. Your talent management software should provide an experience that matches the brand of your organization . . . and that experience and that brand should both be positive!

#6—Longevity of the vendor

There are a ton of ATS vendors in the market. However, not all of them have been around for an appreciable length of time. Some of them are “here today, gone tomorrow” operations, and the last thing you want to do is “hitch your wagon” to one of those packages. This is also an instance in which conducting due diligence is recommended. Start with asking the following questions:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • What experience do they have?
  • What type of clients do they already support?

But it doesn’t stop there. You should also conduct Internet research. Search for reviews of their product online. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from current clients and also don’t be afraid to ask about their plans for the future.

After all, if an ATS vendor doesn’t have a plan for its own future, then it doesn’t have a plan for your future.

Does all of this seem like a lot? Absolutely! However, you must consider it to be a worthwhile investment. And if you make the right investment, then you increase the chances that you will receive a huge return on that investment. So do your homework. Research the market, analyze your options, and chose the talent management system that meets the needs of your company in a complete fashion.

And while you’re in the process of doing that, also consider getting a free demo of The Applicant Manager (or TAM). By replacing manual spreadsheets, paper resumes, and inefficient technology, TAM can streamline your organization’s recruiting and hiring process!