Applicant Tracking System RFP Template

Hiring Success Glossary

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What is a request for proposal (RFP)?

An RFP stands for request for proposal. An RFP is created by a company that is in search of a new software or service. It is a detailed outline of a company's requirements and inquiries. RFPs are often sent out to a handful of different companies to ensure a thorough selection process. Moreover, by opening up the RFP process to numerous potential providers, a company in need of a service or software cab compare different options in the marketplace and make an informed decision on what's the best software or service for its business growth opportunities.

How to write a RFP for an Applicant Tracking System

Know what you want and need: In order to accurately write an RFP you need to be clear in knowing what you want to get out of an applicant tracking system (ATS). For example, if your company has a problem with losing candidates because of a lack of communication throughout the hiring process, you would want an ATS with strong communication management abilities. But if your company has trouble sourcing quality candidates, you would want to focus on an ATS that has the ability to post jobs across various platforms. With your company's executives and hiring professionals, come up with a list of items you would like out of your ATS system. Then go through the list and prioritize what is essential, and what is more of a 'nice-to-have' than a necessity.

What ATS features do you require: Once your company has come up with a list of requirements and nice-to-haves, it's important to find out whether the potential ATS can fulfill those obligations. For example, some companies require an ISO certification, can the new ATS provider comply? Maybe your company is rapidly growing, can your potential ATS provider scale with your growth? Maybe your company requires all offers go through DocuSign, does your possible ATS provider offer your preferred 3rd party integrations? These are all important items to consider, and point to why it’s essential to know your business's needs, wants, and requirements before drafting an RFP.

ATS RFP Selection Process

After hosting internal discussions on why finding the best ATS is important, the RFP process will help you weigh your options. Building a business case for a new ATS can be a pivotal point when it comes to scaling your company. The right ATS will not only help you lower costs, but, by aiding you in making data driven decisions that count, it will help you attract and acquire top talent that will lead to a return on investment that outpaces the ATS' upfront cost. That being said, it should be noted that not all applicant tracking systems are created equal, and not all will suit your organization's needs. An RFP will help you and your organization collect vital information about the best ATS in the marketplace, and will help you determine what's right for your business needs.

Sample Guide to an ATS RFP for Talent Acquisition

Below is an abbreviated guide to each section of a request for proposal sample required by a talent acquisition team within a large enterprise. For a full sample, please download our ATS RFP Excel Template here.

Sourcing and CRM: Sourcing candidates is the first step in the recruitment and talent acquisition journey. Candidates can be broken down into two simple categories. Passive seekers and active seekers. This is where sourcing and a recruitment CRM come into play.

Active seekers: Some ATS vendors offer the ability to one click source candidates. This means that with a click of a button, you can post your job across various different job markets and job boards all while maintaining brand image. This allows you to same time, but more importantly all the data is tracked and aggregate, allowing you to see where your job ad spending is going and what job marketplace is giving you the highest ROI. Some ATS providers have companion mobile applications that allow companies to recruit on the go, such as accepting applications and resumes at college job fairs, or walk up recruiting events.

Passive seekers: This is where an ATS' CRM abilities become essential. Utilize the CRM capabilities in order to send targeted email campaigns to those candidates who are open to new opportunities, but not actively seeking them. A CRM will allow you to track this talent pool, and increase your conversions from passive candidates, to new hires.

Recruitment marketing and advertising: When recruiting and sourcing candidates, it's important to still keep brand values and image stable. Some ATS vendors will make this a breeze, offering easy to customize, SEO optimized, job templates. An ATS can also utilize your social media presence and brand authority in the marketplace, posting opportunities to countless social platforms seamlessly, with data to help you identify your best performing platforms.

Applicant tracking: Down to the heart of it all. A successful applicant tracking system will allow any company to reach new heights. It's important to make sure your ATS is a workhorse and not just one, somewhat neglected part of a massive suite. A great applicant tracking system should centralize communication so that you can avoid jumping back and forth, losing touch-points in the madness. It should include a wide variety of integrations, from assessments, to documents signing, to video interviews, even one click importing of LinkedIn profiles. Maybe most importantly, one should always remember when picking an ATS that hiring and recruiting is not a solo job. It involves hiring managers, executives, recruiters, and whole teams. The key is to find an ATS that allows all members of an organization to have a part in the process, including interviews, and candidate scoring. An ATS will often tout this as ‘collaborative hiring.’

Employee mobility: If you are doing recruiting right, it means you are hiring the best. Therefore it’s important to find an ATS that takes employee mobility into account. Some ATS systems allow for internal company postings, and offer one click apply processes. Internal employees can track jobs, and even set up alerts for new postings.

Interview management: Another key element of a successful ATS system is one that allows you to schedule a wide variety of interviews such as portfolio reviews, lunch interviews, and traditional interviews. A good system will allow you to send out seamless invitations and track responses. During the interviews, some ATS providers will allow you to use a scorecard that allows you to score candidates on customizable categories, and traits. This allows for easy decision making when a collaborator views how the interview went.

Offer and hire: Closing the deal is incredibly important. Lots of great talent is lost at this stage. Great ATS solutions allow you to make an offer, manage communication, and send out documents to be signed all from within the platform. This ensures that you know where a candidate is at every step within the process. Once the T’s have been crossed and I's dotted, you can initiate onboarding from within the ATS.

Referrals and management: As previously mentioned, you strive to hire the best, so an employee referral system is key to attracting and retaining top talent. Some ATS providers will allow employees to submit referrals and monitor the progress of the referral. Systems can even give employees credits and perks for submitting referrals. Worried about the complexity? Employees can share unique referrals links to social, and even through email campaigns.

Unique value proposition: Leave space for the vendor to be able to add a “unique value proposition.” This allows the vendor to write freely and express why their service is unique and the standout in the marketplace. This will let you see what a vendor values about their own product or service, and how they think it will help your business uniquely.

Decision Time! Weigh your options and make a decision about what Talent Acquisition Suite will power your company's hiring success and attendant business growth.

Free RFP Template

For a complete RFP Sample for an applicant tracking system, a talent acquisition suite, and the most common recruiting software options, please utilize SmartRecruiters' RFP Excel Template available for download here.
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