Okay, doctor. Let's do that. While the latest web-based applicant tracking software systems don't have any ray guns, they do have a lot of cool features that will be useful for staffing firms and recruiters.

Some of the most popular ATS providers - Resumator, Taleo, Firefish, Sendouts and Jobvite - offer some ingenious tools that cut down on time-intensive activities like sourcing, job posting, social media promotion, reviewing resumes and matching clients to prospects. All of them also promise better efficiency in hiring-related workflow. Which one stands out?

The main difference from The Resumator and its competitors is that it's meant to replace email as a means to recruit, store, manage and track job applicants.

Like your HR email inbox, this system centralizes your job postings in one place. Unlike email, it displays them on a web page that can be branded for your company. It also lets you easily post them to social media sites and to major aggregators, without searching, copying or pasting.

The fun really begins when the responses start coming in. Resumator pre-sorts resumes, makes them searchable by text, allows you to rank them and then provides for real-time internal sharing and discussions. All activity is fully tracked by applicant. Full dashboards and reporting capabilities allow for "big picture" views of the entire hiring process, although reporting here is not custom and is limited to about 30 report templates.

While it lacks some of the extra bells and whistles (and in some cases entire services), Resumator seems to have the simplest, most straightforward presentation, which I suspect has as much to do with product itself as it does the design of the company website.

A couple of these extras stand out in the ATS from Jobvite. A cool twist with Jobvite is its Facebook app, which essentially places your job board on any Facebook fan page, complete with functions for viewers to apply for and share jobs.

Another one involves classic branding, as in "Oh, nice, I got a Jobvite today." A passive prospect might receive a Jobvite on LinkedIn; the applicant can respond to or share the Jobvite with colleagues.

Unlike The Resumator, Jobvite allows for email marketing campaigns and integrates with your existing candidate database.

Ditto for Firefish Software, except the Firefish capabilities can be much more broad than applicant management and tracking; the ideal sale for Firefish would be to build you a custom recruitment website, complete with your own CMS and widgets including Latest News and Web Polls.

The Scotland-based company claims that this custom website will be SEO ready, but I find it curious that Firefish itself doesn't come up particularly well on SERPs unless you know to type in "Firefish Software."

Third-party recruiters are likely to be drawn to the offering from Sendouts, "developed by recruiters for recruiters." But instead of focusing specifically on development, Sendouts seems to have added a lot of value by partnering with a number of technologies.

For example, Sendouts works with your existing Outlook platform and is the only certified solution provider of the Microsoft Dynamics® GP Professional Advantage Module (PAM) for back-office solutions. For data warehousing, it uses Xiolink. Sendouts is also the only third-party ATS for recruiters that has a direct integration with the Dice.com job board and recruiting network.

Sourcing is big with the Sendouts system; there's an app for free sourcing through Yahoo! Hotjobs, Monster and CareerBuilder. Additional tools expand sourcing capabilities through as many as 11,000 job boards and social media sites.

Another key feature for Sendouts is its range of methods for client communication: it's got real power in its capabilities for texting, VOIP and mobile applications.

A trip into Taleo is a trip into MBA land, which means it's much tougher to spotlight the actual features and benefits of its products as they relate to recruiting and staffing. One reason is that the product line is huge, with separate Outlook- and Internet Explorer-based tools for each phase of the hiring process from recruiting to analytics.

The other reason is that much of the Taleo repertoire seems geared toward HR professionals whether SMB, Enterprise or Large Enterprise editions. In fact, Taleo partners with recruiting, assessment and HR service firms to provide added-value services.

Taleo's product offering includes smartphone recruiting tools, branded recruiting and employment sites and sourcing and matching tools designed around the Taleo Talent Exchange and its profile-based recruiting philosophy.

So which one stands out? To me, the clear winner is The Resumator.

I base this on how the product reflects the needs that it's trying to address - namely, that recruiters and staffing firm personnel are already busy. You likely don't have the luxury of researching and specifying software full-time.

The Resumator is a very solid core product for job publishing, job promotion, effective sourcing, internal collaboration and clear reporting.

It's straightforward, easy to use and doesn't require integration into your existing systems. You might not get a full website with CMS, a complete consulting firm or a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Terminator behind it. But from a value standpoint, it's still pretty far ahead.

Have you used any of these services? Which one do you prefer?

The Resumator Raises $700,000 For Social Recruiting Solution

Tags: Applicant Tracking Software, Applicant Tracking Systems, Taleo, Technology, Recruiting ATS, Staffing ATS, Recruiting technology, Firefish, Jobvite, Sendouts, Staffing ATS Vendors, The Resumator