The changing face of talent acquisition technology: What’s next for the ATS?

Posted by  Jeremy Ovenden - Hireserve (a Unit4 Partner)

Applicant Tracking Systems - what’s in a name?

The recruitment technology industry is continuously evolving, with new platforms, new integrations and new ‘next big things’ around each corner.

At the heart of this industry lies the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), first developed circa 20 years ago and now the backbone of many organisations’ hiring processes. Today, the term ‘ATS’ sounds passive and outdated. It harks back to an era when Applicant Tracking Systems were limited to just that - tracking candidates. Now, they can do so much more: providing in-house recruitment teams with tools to manage the attraction, engagement and subsequent hiring of talent.

Terminology needs to change to reflect these capabilities; we should start to refer to Applicant Tracking Systems as ‘talent acquisition platforms’ instead.

How will talent acquisition platforms adapt in the future?

It will be more important than ever for stand-alone talent acquisition platforms to integrate with complementary technologies, from video interview and CV parsing tools to HR systems.  In-house recruitment teams will need - and expect - their talent acquisition platforms to seamlessly connect with and store data from these additional services for a 360° recruiting and on-boarding strategy.

In terms of capability, the focus will continue to be on reporting, with a real emphasis on increasingly sophisticated and bespoke reporting tools, and presenting reports in accessible and visual ways. It’s likely we’ll also see a concerted effort from talent acquisition platforms to meet candidate expectations and provide an ever more seamless candidate experience, possibly through integrations with increasingly sophisticated social and candidate engagement technologies.

What’s next for usability and technology?

Platforms will become significantly more app-like. A hiring manager will be able to complete tasks like approving vacancies on their phone, simply and with no prior training.

This technology should become natural, like everything else on our phones. We know instinctively how to use our daily news and social apps; which buttons mean yes, which mean no, how to move across different screens. Talent acquisition platforms will need to be just as intuitive.

Despite this, the core applicant tracking technology will not be simplified or compromised. The powerful tools that internal recruiters use today will still be there but, like with all apps, the complexity will be disguised with an engaging and simple user interface.

The value of talent acquisition technology

Away from the technology, wouldn’t it be fantastic to see talent acquisition platforms positioned in a more strategic role within organisations? Powerful talent management technology will provide valuable reporting and success metrics, enable a centralised view of recruiting across a business, and will connect recruiters with hiring managers and senior leadership.

Yet currently these systems are seen often as a ‘bolt-on’ to a wider ERP package, or are left in the hands of HR to valiantly build a business case for change and budget. Hopefully the future will see a shift in attitude of the C-suite towards talent acquisition platforms as the valuable administrators and enablers that bring new talent into their organisations.

The in-house recruitment industry is one of flux and change

And the best talent acquisition platforms will be those which keep pace, put users and candidates first and form collaborative partnerships and integrations with complementary technologies and services.

Hireserve delivers Unit4 Recruitment, a powerful and flexible Applicant Tracking System (or should that be talent acquisition platform?). Discover more at


Jeremy Ovenden - Hireserve (a Unit4 Partner)

Jeremy Ovenden is the Founder and Managing Director of Hireserve, a recruitment software provider established in 1997. With over 20 years’ recruitment software experience, Jeremy is passionate about technology and interpreting clients’ requirements to build and deliver first-class e-recruitment solutions.

His team are technology and recruitment process specialists who work together to deliver their flexible, adaptable and innovative applicant tracking system, Hireserve ATS.

Jeremy has always believed in providing excellent customer care, collaboration and support, and this remains a top priority for Hireserve.