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    Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

    Icon representing HR using an applicant tracking system.
    Source: Eucalyp for

    An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application designed to automate and streamline the hiring process, collecting on one platform all the functions of finding qualified candidates, interviewing them, and completing the hiring process. The core functions of the ATS are similar to a customer relationship management platform—contact management, correspondence tracking, process automation—but with a focus on recruitment. The traditional recruitment systems that relied on spreadsheets and emails are too slow for the fast-paced job market of today.

    Who uses an applicant tracking system?

    ATS software is used by multiple stakeholders in the hiring process, including the applicant, recruiters, human resources staff, and hiring manager. Most modern ATS allows recruiters to sort through a database of applicants using different types of filters such as experience, education, certifications, and more. Recruiters can also save the applicant’s information in the database for future job vacancies.

    How does an applicant tracking system work?  

    The ATS is used for different phases or processes of the hiring process. Generally, the first step is to generate a job posting through the ATS. A standard language library is used to bring consistency to the wording and formatting of job postings.

    As prospects submit applications, the ATS notifies the recruiter when new applications are received.

    Notifications can be modified according to the preference of the recruiter, who can also set up certain questions to filter out unqualified applicants or to reject incomplete or incorrectly filled-out applications. The ATS can be used to view the details provided by the applicants such as their work history, education, and contact information. The resume database can also be searched using keywords. Once the candidates are shortlisted for the interview, the ATS can be used to send invites and track the progress of the candidates.

    What are the benefits of using an applicant tracking system?

    ATSs help speed up the process by automating several hiring processes including filtering out unqualified candidates. With a reduced workload, the HR team can focus on tasks that can’t be automated such as interviewing the candidates. The ATS can also help improve the quality of hires as it helps the recruiter to narrow down their search to specific requirements. The ATS is also beneficial for the candidate as it provides a more streamlined and professional experience for them.

    What are the disadvantages of an ATS?

    Because applicant tracking systems rely on rules to filter out unqualified candidates, care must be taken to prevent the rules from reviewing applications and rejecting an otherwise qualified candidate for some relatively minor inconsistency or failure to comply with application instructions.

    Top applicant tracking software

    You can choose from a variety of ATSs available based on your requirements. One of the key factors to consider when choosing an ATS is integration with email, data warehouse, and job boards. This will further streamline the hiring process for the recruiters. Some reputable software providers in this product category include Newton, Zoho Recruit, Workable, Bullhorn, and RecruiterBox.

    Read more on selecting the right ATS solution with TechnologyAdvice’s guide to application tracking software.