applicant tracking software

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system, also known as an ATS, is software that can help businesses with their hiring processes. An ATS can automatically track and process hundreds of applications in far less time than it would take a recruiter to so manually. ATS software even has algorithms that can search for applicants that would best fit your organization’s open positions.

By using technology, companies can reduce the workload for hiring managers and recruiters. They can also reduce errors, eliminate paper in the office, and keep all information regarding applicants and hiring in the same location for easy access.

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Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems

The hiring process can be long and costly. Companies need employees for their open positions, but they also want to ensure that they get the best possible people for the job. Fortunately, using an ATS can save businesses a lot of time and money by doing automatically what would previously have to be done by hand.

Faster Hiring Time

An ATS uses an algorithm to match applicants to jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers can choose relevant keywords in order to find applications that best match the criteria for the job opening. The ATS can then use these keywords as a filter to find the most qualified candidates.

This is especially helpful when your company receives hundreds of applications at a time. The algorithm can sort through these applications to find the most qualified candidates faster than any hiring manager could do manually. Finding the right candidate for a position faster also means that that position is filled more quickly, improving company productivity.

Good Applicant Experience

First impressions matter. Using an ATS can help your company make that first impression a good one by providing applicants with a good experience right from the start. Many applicant tracking systems have careers pages where applicants can apply, as well as find out more about the company. Making the application process smooth and easy for candidates can help your company attract the best ones.

Finding Top Candidates

Application tracking systems can use the keywords and filters hiring managers and recruiters choose to sort and rank applications. The ATS can rank applicants based on education and other qualifications so that you know you’re looking at the most qualified candidates for each job opening you have. This allows companies to save time by targeting the top candidates for each position.

HRIS Integration

Another benefit of using technology for your applicant tracking is that it’s much easier to integrate with your existing systems. If your company already uses an HRIS, the data from the ATS can integrate with your HRIS for a seamless transition from an applicant to an employee during the hiring process.

Coordinated Hiring Efforts

There can be a lot of different people involved in the hiring process. Department managers have specific needs that hiring managers need to be aware of as well as qualities that would benefit the company as a whole. An ATS can make the hiring process simpler because it can keep all of the hiring information in the same place. If the different people involved in the hiring process don’t have the same schedule, an ATS can help coordinate hiring efforts so everyone is on the same page.

Reaching More Candidates

You’re not limited to only candidates that apply directly to your company when you use an ATS. Applicant tracking systems often integrate with job boards and hiring websites so that you can reach a larger number of candidates at once. Using technology to search for candidates also means a wider pool of potential applicants. You’re not limited by location or whether a candidate is already familiar with your company.

Applicant Tracking Systems Features

Applicant tracking software may come with different features that are better suited to different industries. Therefore, it is important to ask the vendor questions to ensure all necessary features are included with the specific applicant tracking software that is being considered for purchase. The features reviewed below are considered standard with some packages, but may not be included with all packages.

Job Posting

The first step to hiring is informing prospective employees of an open position. It becomes much easier to get the word out when applicant tracking software is used. The process of posting new job openings can be as simple as clicking a button once the system is set up. System administrators can set up the posting process so that key hiring managers within the organization are able to easily post new job openings. Once a new job opening exists, these employees can post the opening to the ATS along with a description.

Application Filtering

Applicant tracking software can generally be set up to filter through applications by recognizing certain keywords, specified skills, years of experience, required degrees, or other constraints. Background checks may also be performed using some ATS. This can save companies many labor hours and also help to reduce human errors or biases. In addition, this information will be automatically stored along with all of the previously entered information for the employee candidate, thereby eliminating the opportunity for information to be lost or misplaced.

Third-Party Website Integration

There are a number of third-party websites frequently used by professionals seeking a position, such as and CareerBuilder. It makes sense for a company to post new job openings to these sites so they can reach a large pool of qualified candidates. Many types of ATS programs allow system administrators to set up the program in order for new positions to automatically post to specified websites. When a candidate wishes to view the position details and apply, the feature directs the individual back to the applicant tracking software so that information can be entered. Once this information has been entered, it is available and accessible to all approved members of the organization.

Safety Features

In addition to convenience, ATS may include features that can help to protect workplaces during the hiring process. Applicant tracking software constraints may have features in place to ensure EEOC and OFCCP compliance. ATS systems may include minimum qualification questions and reasons for non-selection to avoid accusations of unfair hiring practices.

Interview Scoring

An ATS doesn’t just help companies find applicants. It also helps guide them through every step of the hiring process. Interviewers can take advantage of video interviewing software as well as use the guidelines for interview questions. Some applicant tracking systems also provide scorecards for interviews, so hiring managers can compare interview results.

Employee Onboarding

Once an employee has been offered a job and has accepted the position, ATS software may continue to benefit the organization. If the proper features are available, it may be possible to convert the employee’s application, resume, background information, and any other provided information over to a new file with minimal hassle. Some systems may be set up to automatically streamline the orientation and training process for specified departments, such as human resources.

Authored by: Dave Rietsema