Have applicant management / ATS programmed: Costs and process at a glance

by Meike Müller

Customized programming or standard ATS? Many companies ask themselves this question when looking for optimal applicant management solutions. This article offers clear arguments in favor of customization, outlines the development process and provides you with a realistic framework for the costs involved. This article will help you to define the necessary steps to optimize your HR processes through individual ATS programming.

The most important things at a glance

  • Programming your own ATS offers optimization of HR processes, time and cost savings and improvement of the employer image, while an inefficient system can lead to problems such as high dropout rates and increased workload.
  • Key selection criteria for a service provider are their experience and references, communication and cooperation skills as well as transparent and comprehensible pricing with a clear cost overview and service description.
  • The development of an applicant tracking system comprises the planning, realization, testing, implementation, maintenance and support phases, whereby the legal aspects and data protection play a central role.

Why have applicant management / ATS programmed?

Programming your own applicant management system / ATS can offer many advantages. By centrally storing and managing applicant data and job advertisements, you as a company can optimize your HR processes and save both time and money. The advantages of having your own ATS are

  • Central storage and management of applicant data and job advertisements
  • Optimization of HR processes
  • Time and cost savings
  • Automation of processes such as applicant communication, appointments and document management
  • Reduction of workload and increase in efficiency
  • Improving the employer image through an efficient and effective application process

An effective ATS system positions the company as an attractive employer for a dream job. But it's not just the benefits that are worth noting. Inefficient applicant management can lead to the following problems:

  • Complex and inefficient solutions that make it difficult to maintain an overview and impair applicant management
  • High drop-out rate in the application process
  • Confusion with incoming applications
  • Delays in HR processes
  • Increased workload for HR professionals

It is therefore essential to implement an efficient and customized applicant management system.

Choosing the right service provider

When selecting a service provider for programming an applicant tracking system, various factors should be considered. Experience and references, communication and cooperation as well as pricing play a decisive role.

Experience and references

The experience and references of a service provider are of great importance in assessing the quality and reliability of their work. An experienced service provider should support the recruitment process from job posting to selection and offer professional systems that support the HR department throughout the entire application process. The length of time an ATS service provider has been in business is not the only criterion. The experience of an ATS service provider depends on various factors, such as the number of clients, the number of projects implemented and industry experience.

In addition to experience, a service provider's references are also significant. They can show that the service provider has already worked successfully with other customers and helped to optimize the application process. It is therefore advisable to consider the reviews and experiences of other employers to make the choice of software easier.

Communication and collaboration

Good communication and collaboration between the company and the service provider are essential to the success of the project. When communicating and collaborating with a service provider, it is of great importance that all communication with applicants is centralized and organized. It is also crucial to maintain an overview of all ongoing processes and to coordinate communication efficiently. The use of automated communication through predefined messages can help to avoid forgetting to reply and keep applicants informed in a timely manner.

For successful collaboration, communication tools such as content review and proofing software, project management software and instant messaging tools are crucial as they enable accurate and transparent communication and provide virtual project environments for collaboration efficiency and productivity. Despite the best tools, communication problems can occur. These can be avoided through open communication and early detection and correction of communication errors.


Pricing for programming an applicant tracking system can vary depending on the service provider. Some offer their software for free, while others offer additional services such as recruiting support for a fee. It is therefore advisable to compare the prices and services of different providers in order to find a fair and reasonable offer that provides the desired performance in applicant management.

A cost proposal should include a detailed description of the features, a detailed breakdown of development, implementation and maintenance costs, a clear timeline for the course of the project and information on possible additional costs such as license fees or training. In this context, it is important to ask questions that assess the suitability of the service provider for programming an applicant tracking system, such as what features are included in the app or software, how support and maintenance are arranged and what the initial and ongoing costs are.

Project management and our software development process

Once the right service provider has been selected, software development begins. The process includes planning, realization, testing and implementation phases as well as maintenance and support.

Planning phase

In the planning phase of software development for an applicant management system, the requirements and objectives of the project are defined and a project plan is drawn up. Clearly defined requirements and detailed planning are crucial here. Recommended methods and practices in the planning phase include the use of a process model for project planning, the use of agile development methods and the modular structure of the software.

The duration of the planning phase for an applicant tracking system / ATS project can vary. It can take six months to evaluate and select a new ATS and 12 to 18 months to implement a new ATS.

Implementation phase

During the implementation phase of applicant tracking software development / ATS systems, it is important to consider the specific steps to effectively handle the entire recruitment process, including developing and customizing the software to meet the organization's unique career needs. Some of the technologies that are best suited for designing an effective applicant tracking system / ATS are HR software, CV databases, various digital / online technologies and apps, including web apps.

Although the implementation phase is exciting, it can also present some challenges. Communication issues, such as misunderstandings in the requirements definition, unclear information about project progress or lack of communication about changes, can occur. These can be avoided through open communication, early recognition and correction of communication errors.

Test and implementation phase

Once the software has been developed and adapted to the needs of the company, the test and implementation phase follows. In this phase, the system is thoroughly tested to ensure that it works properly and meets the requirements. When implementing the system, it is very important that the software is introduced to the employees and they are shown how to use it.

The testing and implementation phase of programming an ATS usually extends to the live phase under the supervision of the implementation team. It is therefore important to have a detailed implementation plan that includes all the necessary steps from system selection to employee training.

Maintenance and support

Once the applicant tracking system has been implemented, the work is not over. An important aspect that is often overlooked is the maintenance and support of the system. Regular updates and maintenance are essential to ensure the performance and security of the applicant tracking system.

The service provider should also offer support, including simplifying and streamlining the recruitment process, recruiting support and automated communication with applicants. In the event of technical problems or questions about using the system, sophisticated customer service should be available to help users and answer their questions.

Cost factors when programming an applicant tracking system / ATS

In addition to the functional aspects, the costs are of course also an important aspect when implementing an applicant tracking system. The cost of programming such a system depends on various factors, including the complexity, scope and duration of the project.

Complexity of the project

The complexity of a project can have an impact on the costs. As complexity increases, so does the resources and time required to successfully complete the project. The scope and complexity of specific systems vary depending on the company's requirements. Therefore, high complexity and a wide range of functions can lead to higher costs.

However, it is possible to reduce the complexity of an applicant management system in order to save costs. A tool that simplifies the recruitment process and checks applications on a single platform can help to reduce the complexity of an applicant management system.

Scope of the project

The scope of the project also plays an important role in determining costs. Changes to the scope of the project can have a significant impact on the cost of a project. The more extensive the project is, the longer it usually takes to implement, which can lead to higher costs.

However, it is important to manage the scope of the project effectively in order to control costs. This includes assessing the actual cost of the project and applying cost control techniques.

Duration of the project

The duration of the project also has a direct impact on costs. An extended project duration can lead to an increase in costs, especially if the work required to achieve the project objectives takes longer. The duration of an ATS programming project can be influenced by various factors, such as

  • the complexity of the project
  • the number of desired functions
  • the availability and experience of the developers
  • the efficiency of communication between the project participants
  • any technical challenges.

However, it is possible to shorten the duration of an applicant management programming project in order to save costs. Methods such as:

  • the use of agile development methods
  • segmenting the project into smaller, manageable tasks
  • the use of existing software solutions
  • cooperation with experienced developers
  • can help to shorten the duration of an applicant management programming project

Legal aspects and data protection for applicant management / ATS systems

The development of an applicant tracking system is not only a technical task, but also a legal challenge. Therefore, various legal aspects and data protection regulations must be taken into account when developing such a system.

In Germany, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) regulate data protection and thus the legal regulations for applicant management systems in various professions. The GDPR stipulates that applicant management systems must enable a well-structured application process and process personal data in accordance with data protection regulations. Violations of these provisions can result in heavy fines and, in serious cases, imprisonment.

Applicant management systems must therefore contribute to safeguarding applicants' data protection rights by obtaining applicants' consent to process their data, storing and transferring data securely and complying with retention periods.

Tips for successful collaboration

A successful collaboration between company and service provider requires clear communication, realistic expectations and good planning. It is important that both parties are on the same wavelength and develop a common understanding of goals and expectations. Regular meetings and clear communication channels are important to avoid misunderstandings and maintain the sense of collaboration.

Proper planning for successful collaboration between companies and service providers includes clear communication and the following steps:

  1. Project definition
  2. Requirements elicitation
  3. System design
  4. implementation
  5. Testing
  6. Commissioning and design integration

It is also important that both parties take into account the specific functions and tasks of the individual employees.


Programming an applicant tracking system / ATS is a complex task that has to take many factors into account. From selecting the right service provider to planning, implementation, maintenance and support, many steps are required to develop an efficient and effective system that optimizes the recruitment process, saves costs and time and improves the employer image.

But despite the challenges and costs, investing in a customized applicant management system is well worth it. With the right planning, an experienced service provider and clear communication, the project can be successfully implemented for the benefit of the company and its employees. Would you like to optimize your HR process with a tailor-made applicant management system / ATS? Then we would be happy to help you with the planning, development and implementation.


  • How expensive is a programmer?

    The cost of a programmer can vary depending on the type of project. You can find freelance programmers for as little as €40, while technology consulting companies charge between €60 and €150 per hour.

  • How much does it cost to have an app created?

    The cost of developing a web app is between €6,000 and €100,000. This type of app can be accessed via a web browser.

  • Where can I have an app developed?

    You should hire an app development company, agency or freelancer.

  • How many hours does it take to develop an app?

    The development of an app usually takes between 3 and 5 months, depending on its complexity and the desired functions. It could take shorter or longer depending on the requirements of the app.

What is your project? If you want to tell us about it, we'll call you back!

from 29.01.2024

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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