How We Chose Our Applicant Tracking System at BrightRoll

February 5, 2015 Steven Musche

This post was written by Erin Wilson, Talent Engineer at BrightRoll (Acquired by Yahoo).

At BrightRoll, we take a proactive, operationalized approach to talent acquisition. Our objective is to improve the ability to hire across our company and to maximize operational efficiencies. It’s Talent’s job to run the alignment exercise and to provide the resources and expertise that empower everyone at BrightRoll to recruit effectively.

When I joined BrightRoll in September 2012, we had a clear picture of what growth looked like for the organization. We were anticipating a high volume of interactions and interviews throughout the process, and, as a lean Talent operation, we needed technology that would support our objectives.

We began seeking a new Applicant Tracking System that would amplify our talent acquisition strategy, rather than to merely act as a database of resumes. It became immediately clear that there were two ATS camps: traditional and modern. Traditional systems focus on posting jobs, collecting resumes, and storing resume data in a centralized repository. Modern systems do much more by focusing on workflow, collaboration, analytics and social integration.

Traditional Applicant Tracking Systems: Pioneer, iCIMS, Job Science

Modern Applicant Tracking Systems: Lever, Greenhouse

We mapped out our requirements, which became the set of criteria we used during the software analysis phase.

To summarize: Knowing we had a large volume of candidate interactions ahead, the workflow was very important to us. And because BrightRoll makes a large investment in Talent (from a people, process, and time spent perspective), we wanted clean, accurate reporting with actionable insights. Most importantly, we are an agile practice, so it was important to us to have a tool that was customizable and could iterate as quickly as we could.

The Applicant Tracking System Evaluation Process

Based on initial research and product demonstrations, I was able to isolate Greenhouse and Lever. I then requested a second product simulation from each company, and invited twelve stakeholders from BrightRoll. These participants included people in recruitment, People Ops, interviewers, and hiring managers from a variety of departments including engineering and sales. It was important that everyone participated in this analysis because hiring great talent takes effort from the entire company not just HR.

This time, we created the demonstration. I outlined our own requirements, which were asked in the form of a user story. Presenters had to show us the dynamic version - the functionality from start to finish - pushing us through the workflow, rather than answering yes or no.

Each vendor’s reps walked us through:

  • Setup: Setting user permissions, bulk settings but granular fixtures, tagging.
  • Posting a job: Distribution, making them private/ public, utilizing social media, assessing responses
  • Customizable workflows: Creating a new interview process, changing scorecards, uploading resumes to a specific job, moving candidates from one position to another, rejecting candidates in bulk, creating a library of templates, mentioning colleagues in notes
  • Analytics: Throughput, pass/fail rates per stage, position, compare and contrasting candidates
  • Ad hoc questions: Google authorization, the long-term vision of the tool, integrations

At the end of the demonstration, I collected anonymous, individual votes from each participant. The vote was 12-0 for Greenhouse.

It was clear Greenhouse’s focus was on making the hiring process scalable and collaborative. Their product roadmap clearly indicated that the developers of this product understood the problem that it was meant to solve. 

Outcomes at BrightRoll

Using Greenhouse, we saw amplified results with the same number of resources and in a shorter amount of time. Specifically, we saw a 43% increase in hires per month following our Greenhouse roll out, and it took 29% less time to hire.

We successfully migrated from our previous ATS to Greenhouse and onboarded all employees in less than one quarter. All while hitting our hiring goals!  


January 2013 - February 2014: About 200 hires, roughly 14 hires per month  

March 2014 - December 2014: About 200 hires, roughly 20 hires per month

29% less time to hire same number of people
43% lift in hires per month following GH migration/global roll out*
Lift applied across 9 locations including US, Canada and UK  

Greenhouse is growing yet their commitment to us as a partner has never wavered. We’ve “tested” every customer support channel they offer, thoroughly, and they are always there with quick responses and comprehensive resolution. Unlike so many vendors, Greenhouse provides a transparent product roadmap. Their releases actually solve the problems that matter most coincidentally right on time. Considering how open they have been to feedback and partnering throughout the product lifecycle, it is clear they listen to their customers and take that into consideration when rapidly iterating on the only true recruitment optimization platform. 

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