A company is as good as its employees. Finding talent is easy, but discovering the best and right talent can be a Herculean task. Hiring managers and recruiters will have to go through hundreds or even thousands of resumes to find that one appropriate candidate.
This process of analyzing large numbers of resumes, cover letters, and candidate information is a tedious and time-consuming task. This will be a burden to the HR department and delay the time it takes to onboard employees.
To tackle this problem, a recruitment software called the applicant tracking system (ATS) is used. Also known as a talent management system, an ATS helps hiring teams manage most processes involved in hiring and recruitment. In short, an applicant tracking system enables companies to quickly onboard the right employees and keep them for long.
An applicant tracking system, popularly known as an ATS, is a software application that helps organizations effectively organize candidates’ information for hiring and recruitment processes. An ATS allows companies to collect and organize information about prospective employees based on parameters such as experience, skill set, educational background, and more. It’s also helpful to filter applicants based on specific criteria.
An ATS is meant to make things easier for hiring managers and recruiters. That’s because a company will most likely accept applications for multiple positions simultaneously, meaning there will be thousands of resumes coming in at once. It’s a Herculean and time-consuming task for humans to read carefully through that number of resumes.
While most applicant tracking system software allow you to store candidate information, the top applicant tracking systems make it possible to manage all forms of communications with the candidates. It also makes it effortless to search and filter resumes and candidate information and thereby reduce the time it takes to find the most qualified talent.
Some of the features seen commonly in ATS systems are job posting, interview tools, analytics, and automated alerts. An ATS may share some features with other recruitment tools and applications like HRIS software may include some functionalities of an applicant tracking system.
Put differently, an ATS is a recruiting software application that organizes candidate information and makes it easily searchable. It tracks candidates throughout the hiring process, as the name suggests, and can also schedule interviews, send automated emails to candidates, and issue alerts and notifications.
An HR applicant tracking system can perform several specific tasks, such as automatically removing unqualified candidates or recommending individuals who are best qualified for a job role. To do this, the application will use machine learning algorithms to analyze job applicants. In short, an ATS enables HR professionals to speed up the review of job applications.
Irrespective of the software vendor you choose, all ATS tracking systems have the same basic processes. The first in line is the knockout questions. These questions are designed to narrow the number of applicants and can be in the form of short answer questions or checkboxes.
If a candidate answers the knockout questions wrongly, their resume will be auto-rejected or flagged depending on how the ATS is programmed. If the questions are answered correctly, the candidate’s resume is passed to the next stage.
Resumes are parsed and stored by applicant tracking systems so that it’s easier for HR recruiters and managers to filter and search for candidates with specific keywords. Additionally, they can sort or search for applications based on work experience, education, relevant skills, and more.
Along with keyword searches, ATS also makes it possible to view applications and rank candidates based on their eligibility or experience. Some applicant tracking systems also allow recruiters to star-rate candidates and make notes about them.
From an HR perspective, some of the most important focuses of an ATS are creating job postings, accepting applications, and organizing the information collected. For this to happen, the ATS is integrated with the relevant job boards, making it easier for recruiters to post job advertisements, accept resumes and cover letters, and even schedule interviews from a single portal.
As expected, the same job ad is posted simultaneously on multiple websites, but the ATS makes sure all applications are stored in a single location. Candidates are accepted or rejected for the first round of interviews based on the criteria set, and they’ll receive automated emails informing them of the same.
Recruiters can then view the narrowed list of candidates to see which ones to pursue or reject. As mentioned above, recruiters and hiring managers can make notes on ATS during the interview process, which can be used for future references.
Once the recruiter has identified the most suitable talent, they can send out an offer letter using the ATS itself. Depending on the software solution chosen, recruiters may use the ATS to get a digital signature and request completion of online forms to the hired individuals.
Applicant tracking systems heavily rely on natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence to process candidate applications effectively. Many ATS recruitment systems have mobile-friendly interfaces, making it possible for recruiters to do their job on the go.
In essence, an ATS allows organizations to perform data collection and mining effectively. Since a candidate tracking system contains large volumes of candidate data, it’s often controlled by various data protection legislation, which is a major plus for companies concerned with data security.
ATS saves both time and money as applicant information is stored and organized in a single database, making it easier to search and access information. Some applicant tracking software also allows companies to track where candidates found the job postings. This information can help modify future recruitment efforts and focus only on websites or applications that bring in the best candidates.
Here are some more benefits of having an application tracking system in place:
An ATS is a unified database that houses information regarding candidates, job openings, applications in progress, and onboarding. Although the key features of an online applicant tracking system will vary depending on the software vendor you choose, the best applicant tracking systems will have most of the features discussed below.
An exciting benefit of using an ATS system is that it acts as a central hub where hiring managers, recruiters, and managers can collaborate to evaluate candidates. This will standardize the evaluation process and ensure that every applicant is assessed based on the same criteria.
Additionally, some ATS software makes it possible to rank candidates based on their information in the job applications, making it even easier for recruiters to hire the right talent.
The main purpose of an ATS is to eliminate the need for recruiters to read every resume or cover letter word by word. Thanks to the advanced search feature, recruiters can quickly filter candidates based on keywords, skills, experience, or even specific phrases used by them in their applications.
As the name suggests, the advanced search feature is quite powerful when it comes to easing the job of HR professionals. It makes it easier to filter out candidates that are a poor fit for a specific job. Organizations can also use insights derived from advanced search to better their job descriptions.
Job posting is a monotonous task. Most applicant management systems offer features that enable recruiters to automate this process. Companies can post job openings on multiple platforms such as social media, careers pages, and job search websites like LinkedIn and Indeed with the automated job posting feature. They can use job post templates and, depending on the solution, can also schedule job posts in advance.
Blind screening is a feature that reduces the problems of bias and prejudice in recruitment. As the name suggests, this feature of ATS removes attributes of a candidate such as a photo, address, and ethnicity, which are not needed for a recruiter to make a hiring decision. This feature will allow recruiters to make equitable hiring decisions.
Interview tools could refer to any feature that helps recruiters during the hiring process. This could be features such as automatic interview scheduling, the ability to host video interviews, and the ability to record interviews or make notes.
One of the most significant advantages of using an ATS comes with analytics. Since every data regarding the recruitment process is stored digitally, it’s pretty easy to generate reports. Such reports are beneficial for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the hiring process.
With analytics, companies can understand the websites or ad campaigns that brought in the highest number of qualified candidates. This will allow them to tweak their recruitment efforts and focus on just the platforms that matter.
The ATS software can be viewed as a starting point for candidates. This means that employee branding is crucial and can also affect the number of individuals applying for specific positions. The majority of the best applicant tracking systems allow companies to brand the solution.
Brandable components include input forms, emails, and job posting pages. While some ATS tools will demand you to host your career site on their platforms, some allow you to host career web pages on the company website itself.
Like buying any other software application, buying a new applicant tracking software comes with a lot of prep work. This is especially true if you’re transitioning from paperwork to software or an old software solution to a new ATS.
Either be the case, it’s crucial to consider some pointers to buy the most suitable software. Here are some things to consider to make the proper ATS software purchase decision.
Choosing an ATS software application is a serious decision that demands you to invest both time and money. Due to that reason, among many others, including the hassle of migrating to a new solution, you need to think long term while choosing the software.
Ensure that the solution can cater to your organization’s needs for a few years into the future, at the least. Along with the hassle of data migration, onboarding users and making them fully aware of how to use the application is a tedious task. If you opt for the right and scalable recruitment management system, you wouldn’t have to worry about such tasks for a while.
The hiring process is different for different organizations. It’s crucial to understand the process as the candidate applicant tracking system is meant to automate and augment the process. Discuss with your hiring managers, recruiters, and even onboarded employees to discover the weaknesses and strengths of the current hiring process. This will allow you to understand how the ATS recruitment system can help enhance the process.
Different ATS systems come with varying types and numbers of features. You don’t essentially have to opt for the system with the highest number of features, as it’s improbable that you will use all of them. Instead, it’s better to opt for a solution that offers just the right features the HR department will need.
This process of understanding the needed features can be traced back to understanding the hiring process. After that, make a list of must-have and nice-to-have features. This will allow you to act diligently if there’s a budget in place and opt for the most suitable solution. Doing so will also empower you not to get distracted by the bells and whistles that vendors offer to entice you.
Additionally, try purchasing an ATS that allows you to store and track applications and perform tasks such as scheduling interviews and enabling employees to refer individuals for jobs. This will allow you to rely on fewer software apps and get more done in the process.
Every organization will have multiple software solutions that work towards a common goal. In the case of human resources, it’s hiring, nurturing, and retaining the best talent. Any application you choose should be flexible enough to work with other recruitment software. Otherwise, there will be duplicate data which leads to conflicting information.
When choosing the best ATS recruitment software, ensure that it easily integrates with your existing software ecosystem. This will make things less overwhelming to the human resources management.
Choosing your company's Applicant Tracking Systems software is a complex process. To help HR departments compare and benchmark all Applicant Tracking Systems software, we have selected a list of 81 companies providing SaaS tools for HR.
Applicant Tracking Systems software is often combined with other HR functionalities. If your company is in need of complementary HR features, make sure to take a look at those frequent combinations:
Applicant tracking system, popularly known as ATS, is a digital tool that helps companies collect, store, and analyze candidate information. ATS significantly reduces the managerial burden of the recruitment and hiring process.
ATS stands for applicant tracking system.
The most critical functions of an ATS are:
Here are some of the unique benefits of using an applicant tracking system:
Most organizations use ATS to streamline their recruitment process. 98% of Fortune 500 companies utilize applicant tracking systems. Also, 35% of small organizations and 66% of large companies rely on such recruitment software.
A candidate relationship management (CRM) system and ATS aren’t the same things. CRM is aimed at delivering an engaging candidate experience for active job seekers and passive applicants. On the other hand, ATS is built to be an application repository that helps recruiters sort and choose suitable candidates.
The main purpose of an ATS is to help companies organize candidates for the hiring and recruitment process. These systems allow organizations to collect, organize, and analyze candidate information and filter them based on skills, experience, qualifications, and more.
If you’re planning to buy an ATS, here are some features you’ll come across:
An ATS can help HR managers summarize the fundamentals of each job role, match keywords on resumes with the keywords in the job description, and create reports to show the recruitment trends and discover areas of improvement.