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As your company decides to integrate ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software into your recruitment operations, there's a crucial task in migrating your existing data. Contrary to what many believe, this doesn't have to be a complex process.

To get started with a successful ATS data migration, follow the best practices below.

ATS Data Migration

ATS data migration is a one-time event where you move your existing recruiting information into a new system. With this feature, the ATS lets clients upload candidates' databases, and then the ATS takes care of extracting, mapping, and moving the data into its system.

What ATS Data Migration Brings To The Table?

The benefits of a well-executed migration far outweigh the challenges. It's not just about moving data from Point A to Point B; it's a bit like giving your hiring processes a turbo boost and a makeover. Here, we explore the compelling advantages of ATS data migration.


Think of a scalable ATS as a magic backpack that can hold everything from a single resume to a massive list of job applicants, all neatly organized and ready to go. It grows with your company, adapting to your needs. If you're still using clunky spreadsheets to manage candidate info, it's time for a change. A scalable ATS can handle more data and users without slowing down, keeping your hiring process smooth as your business expands.

Centralized data access

It's like upgrading from a paper diary to a highly organized vault. With all recruitment data stored in one centralized location, your team can access, update, and collaborate on candidate information more effectively. This centralized access enabled by the ATS migration excludes the possibility of data duplication and processing of the same candidate by several recruiters.

Compliance and security

Recruiters no longer keep information about candidates in private files. Thus, the management can be sure that all data is secure and compliant with location-specific data privacy regulations (f.e., GDPR compliance), making sure the company stays out of hot water.

How to make data migration seamless?

A successful data migration process is essential to ensure a smooth transition and maintain the integrity of your recruitment data. Follow these steps to make your data migration journey seamless:

Find an ATS that aligns with your business needs

Before initiating the migration process, carefully select an ATS that aligns with your business requirements. Consider scalability, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities to make the most of your new system.

To help you get started, here are some essential questions that apply in any situation:

  • Do you charge for data exports, and are there any extra fees?
  • How do I request a data export?
  • What data will I get in the export?
  • What format will the data be in?
  • How long will it take to receive the data?

If you're getting vague answers or your contact is avoiding these questions, it might indicate potential problems. Keep asking for more details to uncover any potential issues in the future.

Take into account all the required data

Identify all the data elements you need to migrate, including candidate information, jobs, and descriptions. Creating a comprehensive checklist ensures that no essential data is left behind.

  • Exporting candidate information
  • Exporting company job positions descriptions
  • Exporting communication history

In case your company is small, importing a candidate database is enough for a smooth transition. Once registered in a new ATS, you also will be able to add all the job listings existing in your company.

Involve your team

Involve your team members who will be working with the new ATS from the beginning. Their input and insights can help streamline the migration process and ensure it meets your organization's needs.

Recognize that different team members may have varying responsibilities within the ATS. Usually, the ATS has roles as a recruiter, recruitment lead (or relevant names, such as head of recruitment, head of HR, etc.), hiring manager, and company owner. Collect information on what each role wants to see in the new ATS.

Recruitment Lead or Head of Recruitment:

  • Align with recruitment strategy: Ensure ATS migration aligns with organizational recruitment goals.
  • Oversee migration process: Manage efficient execution, set priorities, and establish timelines.


  • Validate and clean candidate data: Ensure accuracy and completeness of candidate data before migration.
  • Assist in data transfer: Help transfer candidate information from existing sources to the new ATS.

After migration, tailor training sessions to all the team members involved, ensuring everyone receives the necessary information.

Clean up your data for a successful migration

When it's time to upgrade your ATS and move your recruitment processes, take the opportunity to review all your business operations. Look for any duplicates or inefficiencies before ATS migration and ask questions like:

What are we using our data for now?

For instance, do you use all candidates' information for vacancy processing? Identify any redundant or missing data in your current database.  

What could we do with it in the future?

For example, could you leverage your candidate database to develop a talent pool for future hiring needs or implement predictive analytics to forecast recruitment trends?

If you cannot answer these questions, some of your data fields are unused, or your database’s records no longer fit your needs. A new system is a chance to make things better. The more you can clean up and simplify your data, the easier the migration will be.

Remove duplicates or unnecessary fields, correct inaccuracies, and ensure your data is as clean as possible. This step lays the foundation for a trouble-free migration.

Make sure the data is in the correct format

Be prepared to adjust your data formats to match the specifications of your new ATS. For example, different ATS platforms may have varying data format requirements, such as csv., xlxs., etc.

Data mapping. Also, your data should be displayed in a proper way after migration. Typically, ATS prompts users to map data fields from their spreadsheets with corresponding fields in the new database.


The Cost of ATS Data Migrations

Applicant tracking system migrations are essential for modernizing your recruitment process, but they often come with a price tag. These costs can include software licensing fees, consulting services, and the invaluable time and effort invested by your team. However, in this context, there's a notable exception – Axterior ATS, which offers a unique proposition by providing contact database import for free.

Example: Database Migration in Axterior

The contact database import process within Axterior ensures ease of use and efficient management of your contact data.

Only the company owner has the authority to import a contact database within Axterior. To initiate this process, you’ll need to follow these steps:

Accessing the system

Navigate to the Import page on the general dashboard.

Uploading the file with data

Upon reaching the Import page, you'll encounter an option to upload a file containing your contacts. Axterior provides a handy template for greater convenience. Plus, you can add custom fields to the future database that will fit to your recruitment needs.  

In Axterior, the file format available for download is CSV (Comma-Separated Values).

Mapping data

After downloading the file, you'll need to map the fields from your Axterior system to the corresponding fields in your contact database table. This step ensures a seamless and accurate import.

Following field mapping, you'll have the opportunity to preview your contacts and fields within the Axterior interface. During the upload and mapping stage, you also have the option to add custom fields if your contact profile fields aren't currently supported in the Axterior system. Once everything is configured, initiate a swift file import process.

Importing file

Upon completion, you'll receive a concise report detailing the status of each contact in your uploaded file. This report will indicate whether each contact was successfully imported or encountered any validation errorsFinishing import

Finishing import

Axterior is flexible in reverting imported contacts immediately after the import or within a 48-hour window following the import operation. Additionally, Axterior provides an Import History feature, allowing you to access a record of all previous import sessions for your reference.

You can try using Axterior ATS free for 30 days to experience it firsthand.


Thus, applicant tracking system migration is not just a technical task; it's an opportunity to optimize your recruitment processes, improve data accuracy, and enhance your team's efficiency.

By following best practices, embracing flexibility, and considering the specific requirements of your ATS, you can ensure a seamless transition and finally optimize your hiring processes.

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