BrightMove’s Latest ATS Version Offers Lots for Little

Brightmove logoIn the world of recruiting technology, there’s not much difference in the core functions of one ATS from another. All of them need to receive, parse, store, track, and retrieve candidate information. If they can’t do that much, use Excel and a filing cabinet.

So where these systems differ is in how well, how fast they perform these functions and how easy they make it on recruiters and hiring managers to use them. Then come the features everyone uses like job req approvals, posting, redistribution, candidate ranking, EEO tracking, and the features some people use like calendaring and CRM for relationship building, talent pool creation, third-party vendor integration for background checking and assessments and so on.

In 2010, even the free ATS’s (think MrTed’s SmartRecruiters or Zoho Recruit) offer many or most of those features. So why would anyone pay for a recruiting management system?

I can think of a few. And so has BrightMove, which last month released the latest version of its ATS. The company doesn’t attract a whole lot of attention, probably because it’s been focused on staffing and on the smaller end of the corporate market.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking BrightMove isn’t right on top of things. The new release is heavy into social media, offers a comfortable level of work process customization, and emphasizes analytics to a degree that rivals that of enterprise systems. The other front-of-the-class features include a background prospecting tool for staffing and RPO firms that matches hot prospects to advertised jobs on corporate sites and on-click candidate research.

BrightMove screen shotI took an hour-long demo Friday with BrightMove founder and CEO Dave Webb, and COO Mike Brandt, who drove. There was plenty to like about the new version and plenty of reasons for even a small shop to come up with the modest monthly fee. (As with all SaaS HR technology, pricing is per user and varies. But figure on around $100 a month with discounts for volume and contracts.)

But what especially impressed me were the analytics. I can’t imagine any recruiting operation that wouldn’t benefit from knowing which source provided the most number of placed candidates. Then layer on the cost of acquiring those candidates and compare it to all the other sources.

Useful? I think so. Even more though would be to do that same analysis by candidate skills. In the first analysis, I would expect Monster and CareerBuilder to yield the greatest number of candidates and placements. That’s just a function of their reach. But let me narrow that down to specific skills and I might just find that referrals from other placed candidates is an even better bet.

“We really opened this up, ” Brandt said. Not every manager or agency owner is going to need or want to do the same kind of deep diving into the data that I might (I actually find it fun), but BrightMove makes it possible for them to do as much as they need. As Brandt said, analyzing the data in various ways makes it possible to “come up with a new way” of focusing the business.

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“This is where we really feel like, man … we can really help them make a difference in what they are doing,” Brandt added.

Were the analytics the only gee-whiz feature, BrightMove would certainly be worth trying out, especially since you can do that for free without giving up what you have now. However, the social media tools aren’t to be overlooked.

BrightMove has job posting and candidate research features specifically for social media. The company has correctly read the interest in reaching the denizens of those sites, even though there’s only faint evidence at this point to show social media recruiting is as effective as, say, posting to a job board. (Before you write those nasty comments, go read the Source of Hire study study just released by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler).

Nevertheless, the service is there and it can be used for reaching passive candidates and building profiles of candidates.

Being small, BrightMove clearly is trying harder. The company brought out a version of the ATS for RPOs which it brands BrightMove Quantify. That’s the one Brandt demoed. There are also flavors for staffing and corporate recruiters.

Because it’s small and getting notice can be a challenge, BrightMove announced a couple months ago that it would credit back 25 percent of the month’s fee to any customer unhappy with the support and service they get. BrightMove has also been forming partnerships, most recently integrating TalentHook’s spidering capabilities into the ATS.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


25 Comments on “BrightMove’s Latest ATS Version Offers Lots for Little

  1. It’s quite a misconception that Smart Recruiters or Zoho are free. In the former case you have to use pay to affiliated services to derive real value from the chain and in the latter, Zoho charges storage fees- both cases where vendors are using the applications themselves as loss-leaders.

    We all understand that movie theaters are actually in the popcorn business- but do you wanna pay movie popcorn prices down the line for essential services? Data Centers cost money. High availability, random access processing on very large databases costs more than trivial money. Switch costs for applications can be high because training and process reorganization costs more than trivial money.

    In fact, it’s a pretty big misconception that bits and bytes are the sole primary deliverable provided by ATS vendors. Recruitment can be a complex process, and there is often a great deal of consulting, training, iteration, integration, and technical support required to realize the full value of a significant it ATS investment.

    I remember when BrightMove first released, and I commented at the time that they seemed like they had their values in the right place and it would be interesting to see how they matured. I’m glad to see them finding some success- they have marketed themselves in a classy, honest way, which sad to say, is not necessarily the best way to “succeed” in our industry. More power to them.

  2. A humorous side note: I study ATS ( American Tribal Style ) dance and was not aware that anyone else was using the ATS TLA. I guess there is no copyright on TLA’s.

  3. I researched many of the different ATS over the past few years. Glad to see that BrightMove has made some updates because I didn’t think they had the goods in the past.

    The right ATS can make a big difference in productivity — but I think the big question is how are you going to use the features, how are you going to use the data?

    I find that a lot of hiring and recruiting managers are interested in data so they have something to grasp onto in what can be an uncertain process — especially if sourcing is a challenge. It can be beneficial to use certain metrics, but in my opinion, the more meaningful the metric, and the fewer there are, the better.

    I’m interested to see the practical usage of BrightMove’s latest version. Thanks for an interesting article.

  4. Martin, I did want to point out some of what we have structured into BrightMove’s business model around delivery of more complex engagements. When we restructured how we do business, we decided we wanted BrightMove to be a SaaS agile recruiting software focused company without any disctractions from delivery top products. Rather than creating an implementation team and having the pull resources from product design and growth for the wave of resource need that is typically caused with large projects. We partnered with our sister company Novus Origo ( They can provide a level of delivery and talent that a vendor like us cannot and can also offer a much stronger consultitive relationship because they in turn can focus on that business model.

    This allows our customers to experience the best product and delivery available.

  5. Forgive me for being a competitor and under-whelmed with this “article” which is nothing more than thinly veiled advertorial. Am I the only one questioning ERE’s mystifying editorial judgement? Ever since the TalentHook inquisition, I can’t help but wonder where content like this comes from?

    This “review” focuses on a relatively minor function, ie: “But what especially impressed me were the analytics. I can’t imagine any recruiting operation that wouldn’t benefit from knowing which source provided the most number of placed candidates.”

    Huh? Which ATS does not have comparable functionality? And all for only $100/mo/user – which is a competitive price but hardly a bargain when compared to any number of leading products.

    No disrespect to Brightmove, but this commercial message is a perfect example of what I call “flavor of the month” marketing. Where the vendor tries to shift the focus of their pitch to one or two functions and then make that seem like it’s the most important thing ever. Never mind the usability, scalability, speed, configuration, architecture, etc or anything that might actually be really important.

    Hey John, what other systems have you “reviewed” lately and can I be next or at least take a number? You’re welcome to demo SmartSearch anytime – I’m sure similar invitations are flooding in from a lot of the ATS vendors who unlike me the intrepid Marty Snyder may be too timid to protest in public. You & David may even want to consider publishing a research paper…

  6. Sylvia Dahlby (bless her heart) called me intrepid for calling out hijacked threads and obvious advetorials- after all, a beadle’s work is
    never done 😉

    Just today I was hammering a competitor for hijacking of thread on, but I was not being negative about today’s post on ERE from John Zappe. The BrightMove team seem like nice enough folks, and I did not sense this was some kind of subterranean pitch (Although I know they are a high level sponsor of the coming ERE Expo).

    I know that John is responsible for authoring many (all?) of the vendor profiles on ERE and I thought he did an outstanding job with those- the example for my firm was insightful and and scrupulously fair.

    I did not think today’s article was especially newsworthy, but it did give an opportunity to address that misconception about “free” ATS systems and the real value chain involved with a substantial ATS investment.

    You can’t hit a homer every at-bat, but normally mild-mannered Sylvia certainly DID take exception to the item- and maybe she is right…..

    John I suggest you take a look at SmartSearch and clear the air ASAP !

  7. First, I want to publicly apologize to Michael & the folks at BrightMove who may find my remarks offense and directed at them. Which they are NOT.

    However, I stand by my opinion this article is pure advertorial. The headline says it all (BrightMove’s Latest ATS Version Offers Lots for Little). If that’s not a sales pitch what is?

    Seems to me ERE used to be a lot more vendor neutral.

  8. I rarely, I mean rarely, comment on this board but I have to lean towards agreeing with Sylvia on this one. I have no horse in this race, nor care about anything more than not wasting my time on psuedo journalism.

    I have sat through my share of ATS presentations, most of which last about an hour or so. I’ve had to make decisions on three separate ATS products and have been the recruiting admin on two of them. I can honestly say that I learn very little from one hour presentations, especially when a sales person / executive from that company “drives.”

    What frustrates me moreso is that I’ve come to this site to actually attempt to do research on ATS products only to run into articles like this one.

    Not bad advertising for BrightMove, I’ll applaud them there.

  9. @Sylvia The word advertorial is a pretty loaded one, since it implies that ERE took money in return for a positive article about Brightmove.

    It’s a word that rubs me the wrong way because I take great pride in ERE’s role in the recruiting industry and our commitment to providing honest information.

    John’s mandate is to call things like he sees them. Sometimes he likes what he sees.

    You know my # — 212-671-1181. I am at x801, and Todd Raphael, our Editor-In-Chief, is at x806. We are happy to discuss this any time.

  10. As an HR consultant,I have followed ERE articles closely for over a few years now and have found them informative and insightful. That said, as I went through the article I noticed a few interesting things being mentioned like Social media integration and separate RPO platform in Brightmove and honestly I was hoping for a few more details in these areas. As far as Talent Acquisition Analytics go, I think source mix analysis and source cost per hire are pretty standard metrics and most of the TAS I have seen, have the capability. Again, a few details on the slice and dice capabilities of the analytics platform would have been a differentiating factor. All said, it was a good article and I was interested enough to go check out the website and was a little disappointed as there is no available information on the product or the offerings; almost every page was linked to a request for a Demo or information, which I think is always the next step in a relationship. I have noticed Brandt in the comment chain and hope he can have some static data up on the site.
    As an endnote, I think Talent Acquisition as a function has matured enough from the days of just tracking applicants and closing joining transactions. I think it is about time we started referring to the systems being used by us as Talent Acquisition Systems (TAS) instead of the traditional Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which were never meant to represent functionalities like passive talent pools, Social Media integration, Advanced analytics etc.

  11. @ D Manaster – “John’s mandate is to call things like he sees them. Sometimes he likes what he sees.”

    This is fine, as long as we don’t take these articles too seriously. I said upthread that I don’t have an opinion either way about the product but this article rubbed me the wrong way. I think it’s fair to note that the author has only reviewed one other ATS in the past six months – Zoho, a product that has a intro product free of charge. In addition, his bio on this site describes him as “never a recruiter…”

    If I were going to write an opinionated review of an ATS (something every recruiter – your target audience) uses on a daily basis, I would probably do more homework. I may also want a reference point as well – maybe have used other products as a comparison or at least have a history of reviewing similar products.

    No offense to BrightMove as I’m sure they have a wonderful product but I can see how an article like this could rub other ATS vendors the wrong way.

  12. @Russ, I couldn’t agree with you more. And as an ATS vendor yes, it does rub me the wrong way. An insightful software review after an hour-long demo? Are you kidding me?

    But sadly, I can’t really take offense at this article because it’s no different from almost all other software reviews. A vendor demo, or even playing around with a free trial, hardly qualifies somebody to review the effectiveness and usability of a product.

    On the surface many products look like they have the same functionality, but it’s the implementation and design of the system that determines if it will work for an organization or just gets in the way. And that’s something you just don’t get from a vendor demo.

    How about showcasing a customer review, case study or customer interview (as we do on our website)? At least in those cases you are hearing from people who have effectively implemented a system, and use it day in and day out.

  13. Thanks for the link Martin. Great article. It actually got me thinking about my own web demos. Perhaps I could just hand the “screen” over to the user and ask them to try out the software for themselves? I wonder how that would go over …

  14. We do our best to include some hands-on time in demos but we also really like to do pilot projects – we don’t mind skin in the game to get an account set up, configurations done, prelim training, etc. in the presale phase because if the deal closes, we are that much farther down the track, and the last thing we want is a customer who can’t get the best use of our solutions….

    I remember in the early days I would do demos from my sailboat without a computer in front of me- just from memory of where the buttons and links were…. or around the yard….my neighbors would ask what the heck I did for a living since they saw me pacing around in circles all afternoon tossing a tennis ball to my two weims…. I really miss those dogs….

  15. Guys, why wouldn’t you give them full access for a trial? The only way a user can truly go anywhere and do anything is a full trial?

    @Nathan Your point about an hour long demo. We give prospects full access and also don’t require contracts. We believe, the vendor should own the relationship by having all their skin in the game. We decided long ago the best way to stay on top of our game is to give our customers/partners an out any time. BrightMove customers can download there data and cancel at any time without penalty.

    Thanks for all the attention guys.

    Mike Brandt

  16. @Michael, ditto here. Free full-access trial, no setup fee, monthly subscription with no contract. We even do some customization with each trial user on our dime.

    But inevitably some people still ask for a demo. Just wondering if there’s a better way to do it.

  17. Demo’s should be about understanding the customer’s needs more clearly and diving into those needs. Pre-trial demos are key if not critical in starting trials in order to make the experience more about substance and not about learning where things are.

    Something else came up this week that really got under my skin. A customer was being persued by an unnamed vendor and they made it very clear to the vendor they had no interest in moving. After several attempts our customer made it “very” clear they were happy. Typical stuff, but what killed me was that the vendor got rude and abrupt rather than politely letting the opportunity go and maintaining a relationship.

    If I ever hear of one of our guys doing that, they’re out of here. This industry is about relationships and that is so damaging to the industry and your company.

    Mike Brandt

  18. Yikes! I had no idea that the window I opened onto BrightMove was actually the doorway into another world. But four days and 15 comments later, it sure seems that way. Hopefully, some explanation from me will help put matters into perspective.

    Let me start by agreeing with the observation that a one-hour demo is utterly insufficient to form the basis of review or buying decision. If I were a potential buyer my due diligence would extend to contact with other users and field testing the product myself. I’d want to know about the learning curve, training, customer support, as well as having an IT person to ask about uptimes, patches, fix frequency, customization, backup, etc. Of course, I’d start with an internal review of how I would be using a system so I would know what it must have to meet my business process.

    Since few of those details are in the story, it’s either an incompetent “review” or it is not a review at all. This much I can assure you: It was not intended as a review, but as a glimpse of a product from a company that is one of the smaller players in the space. I actually took pains (apparently I needed more pain) to avoid the kind of language one would expect in a qualitative analysis. For that, I recommend Gartner or Bersin or, for your consumer purchases, Consumer Report.

    That I liked the analytics, that it had some front-of-the-class features, that BrightMove incorporated social media integration into its new release are all part of what is only a snapshot of the product. It never crossed my mind that someone would decide to buy from BrightMove based on a 60 minute tour; only that the product was worth a look.

    About the suggestion that the article was a bought and paid for ad: It that were true, BrightMove would be asking for its money back, considering the resulting comments. Don’t make the mistake that simply because someone or something isn’t slammed, it must therefore have been paid for. Nor is the reverse true: That anything negative implies a competitor’s hand was involved.

  19. “Brightmove’s Latest ATS Version Offers Lots for Little” may sound like advertising but sometimes the simple truth isn’t too good to be true.

    I’m a majority stockholder and vice president of one of the fastest growing IT professional services and solutions company in the US and overseas.

    Two years in a bad relationship with Bond taught me a lot about what an ATS/CRM should and should not do. First and foremost the system should not be a documentation system; something to use after you fill a requirement. The system needs to be intuitive, fast and very user friendly if it’s going to make a recruiter’s job easier to put people to work.

    We reviewed 69 systems and sat through over 20 demos before deciding on Brightmove.

    Here’s what we like about Brightmove:

    1) Contact Security – Brightmove is the ONLY system that was designed from the ground up this way. It works flawlessly. This is important only if you don’t want a disgruntled employee from walking away with all your clients.

    2) Mobile App – All my contacts and reqs on my iPhone. YES.

    3) Lack of training. Yup, that’s a plus. It’s not like it’s not offered. We had the training in our corporate office before rolling it out to all our branches. It’s just not necessary. The system is just too easy to learn. There are 4 key components: Clients, Contacts, Requirements and Applicants. Import your applicants. Add a client, then a contact then a requirement. On the requirement click “search for candidates”. Any questions?

    4) AI Searches. Brightmove was built by a very intelligent recruiter who knows how to dig in and find the best candidate not just one with a few skills. Basically it takes a rookie recruiter and makes them look like a genius.

    5) Search Multiple Job Boards – Ever hear of TalentHook? It’s simply the best job board integration tool ever. Search 100 paid sites, merge them together and import only the ones you like with the click of a button.

    6) Customizable dashboard. Expiring contracts, open reqs, saved searches, client summary, calendar, you name it.

    7) Social Networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. I’m old school and I don’t even know how to Twit but it’s good to know that it’s an option.

    8) Import Data – Resumes, Outlook, Act Database, anything. It’s so easy a recruiter can do it. (Sorry Geico)

    9) Reports – What’s my recruiter’s submit to start ratio? Who’s getting the most referrals? What are my best resume sources? They’re all in there. (I hear they’re even coming out with an even better reporting system by the way.)

    10) Speed – Yup, it’s wicked fast. Nothing makes a recruiter hate an ATS when you have to wait for a screen to paint or a search to complete. No worries here.

    11) Folders and email templates – There are folders for everything. Clients, Applicants, contacts, you name it. Run a search, choose who you like and add to a folder. Then you’re ready to send out an email (one by one so it’s not spam). YES.

    12) Automatic Job postings, candidate exams, recruiter workgroups, client security settings, duplicate candidate searches, user defined fields, custom reports, customizable workflow, add on the fly features, document repositories, recruiter offices and managers, etc. – OK, OK. That’s TMI as my kids would text. Must be from kissing the Blarney Stone.

    Lets’ get one last thing straight. I pay Brightmove not the other way around. This is so not advertising. It’s just the simple truth.

  20. I am writing this as a customer of BrightMove. This will not be fancy, I am not getting paid to write this, but I do feel compelled to share my experience as a customer user of the BrightMove System since 2005 when I Co-Founded RecruitBUZZ.

    I will not mention names, but my Business Partner and I were two women with an idea in 2005 about starting an executive seach company. We were dismissed or treated rudely by some of the leading contact system software companies, some never called us back to even give us their 1 hour presentation!

    BrightMove was in their early days and they gave us the time, consideration and what we saw at the time as a great value proposition to starting our company. Scott Martin was and is still currently our Account Manager and we have stayed not only due to the great relationship we have with him (no, he does not even know I am writing this and he would never ask me to either!), but also the many upgrades they provide, sometimes up to 3 times or more per year, to their system!

    RecruitBUZZ grew quickly to a 1 Million dollar little business within a year with a 6 recruiter staff. All the big name contact companies that would not call us just 2 years before started to call us, NOW they had the time of day for us. One of the companies also was VERY rude when we said no thank you. We stay with the people that supported us in the early days; 2 women starting a business.

    Michael Brandt came on the scene last year and continued their great customer responsiveness, he sent out an e-mail to all their customers about the great new Social Network features being added at that time. I e-mailed a question…BOOM, within minutes he called me vs. my e-mail response expectations(I am sure we are one of their smaller customers)to get my feedback on their new value adds.

    How happy am I with their Contact System and Service?
    Happy enough that I am now in the early stages of forming my new company, Linda Hertz Group, and have not called one other provider…..I am sticking with personal service, great up to date integrated recruiting tools and a company with Integrity: BrightMove is for me.


    Linda Hertz

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