Applicant tracking system (ATS)
What is an applicant tracking system?
An applicant tracking system, often abbreviated to ATS, is an IT application that allows companies to handle their recruitment and hiring electronically.
ATS software helps recruitment teams keep track of job applications, applicants' resumes, and cover letters. ATS also allows its users to post jobs on the ATS system; search resumes/applicants according to specific criteria set by the user, select candidates with the best qualifications for defined job roles, and track/schedule interviews.
There are three kinds of configurations :
- A cloud applicant tracking software is where all your data lives online in a standard ATS solution, whether you're using an on-premise or ATS via the cloud.
- On-premise ATS software provides everything you need to build, implement and use the software in your office.
- Hybrid ATS means that some of your data lives online while other parts are offsite, allowing you to have the advantages of both systems at all times. This option also gives companies more flexibility when reaching users around the world.
HR professionals should choose the best applicant tracking system that will fit their needs in terms of talent acquisition. The software will help the hiring team quickly identify the most qualified candidates according to the job description.
Why are applicant tracking systems important?
Applicant tracking systems are essential because they enable the hiring team to effectively manage job applications, resumes, and cover letters, and the global recruitment process in general.
Applicant tracking software also allows HR professionals to use defined search criteria to find the best-qualified candidates for specific job roles. Applicant tracking systems help hiring managers to keep track of interviews/elevated applications, prioritizing certain applicants according to their qualifications, availability, and interview schedules. This tool can help hiring teams better manage their HR processes in general regarding talent acquisition procedures from job boards postings to candidate relationship management.
Applicant tracking systems also record each user's activity and the timeline for reviewing applicants. It analyzes the data collected during the hiring process to identify successful recruitment campaigns, such as best practices in candidate outreach, etc.
This kind of software is a fast and efficient way of organizing messy workflow by automating repetitive tasks. It uses well-defined workflows to streamline all phases in an applicant's journey from application submission to their joining date in a company.
How do you use an applicant tracking system to manage your recruitment process?
Applicant tracking systems provides two types of services: it helps companies find suitable applicants for specific job roles by accessing their database. It also allows hiring managers to post offers on many job boards, search resumes/applicants according to defined criteria, select job candidates, and record activities related to the hiring process. A typical recruitment workflow mapped with ATS software would look like this:
- Each candidate fills out an online application form
- Hiring team sift through CVs received via the recruitment software; select viable applicants; sorts into pools, and allocate appropriate workflow stages through the recruiting process
- Users create applicant records through their dedicated user interface where they can track each applicant's journey
- A job applicant is assigned to a workflow stage based on an advanced algorithm; the software automatically assigns each recruiter with an appropriate task related to that stage (e.g., evaluating resumes for technical skills, arranging phone interviews, etc.)
- A recruiter conducts their tasks in the recruitment software, after which they can create notes/comments about a specific candidate and upload additional documents such as reference letters etc.
- Hiring managers to consider applicants' qualifications, availability, and interview schedules when scheduling face-to-face interviews or telephonic meetings with potential candidates – if the HR manager deems it necessary – for more assessment at this stage of recruitment workflow. If the software has a chat function, it can schedule phone calls or chat interviews/meetings.
What are the benefits of using an applicant tracking system?
Applicant tracking systems have many benefits for companies, including lower cost, faster time filling job openings, improving performance management, making informed decisions with critical hiring information at hand, and better employee engagement.
Applicant tracking systems are also helpful for hiring-related tasks such as creating applicant records, customizing the hiring process, setting notification rules, etc.
A good applicant tracking software allows hiring managers to store and manage their candidates through the job offer on job boards. A recruiter can then use this software to post jobs, filter applicants, search resumes, interview candidates, and store interview notes. A good hiring software also reduces the time it takes for hiring managers to recruit a candidate by allowing applicants' information to be entered in once and then transferred to numerous job sites, reducing the amount of paperwork needed.
Applicant tracking systems also reduce the chance for errors that can occur when retrieving hiring data manually. Good recruiting software is user-friendly, secure, and customizable to your unique business practices, allowing you to pick and choose which features are most important to you.
It is crucial for any hiring team that wants to improve their performance management and the time allocated to recruitment to use the right applicant tracking software that fits their needs and global hiring process.
Why should companies use an applicant tracking system?
An applicant tracking system is an essential piece of software for an organization that recruits multiple employees. Here's why:
- Everything is in one place. An ATS software allows everything to be stored in one location, from job openings, job descriptions to adverts, posting the job offer on job boards, CVs, and offer letters. This makes the recruiting process easier to manage and makes reviewing hiring decisions easier should you be challenged later. The centralized data point also makes it easier for everyone to access candidate information if necessary.
- Recruiting software removes a lot of repetitive work. With modern technology, thousands of candidates can apply for one job; that's a lot of work for your HR department. Using an applicant tracking system allows you to set up the software to search for applicants that match pre-set criteria, making it easier to identify an acceptable shortlist of qualified candidates.
- An ATS software makes it easier to stay on track. As a candidate progresses through the hiring process, the applicant tracking software will move their information through the system without additional human intervention. This reduces the risk of errors and makes the entire process easier for the hiring manager.
- An applicant tracking software gives the candidates consistent communication. By sending personalized and automated emails, ATS software makes the business of staying in touch with potential new hires and unsuccessful candidates easier. This improved responsiveness can help improve your employer brand.
- An ATS can be integrated with other HRIS tools. If candidates are offered a job and get accepted, they can automatically be integrated into onboarding software for a seamless employee journey. This can help provide them with a good impression of your company, supporting better employee retention.
- An ATS allows employers to manage their recruitment more efficiently, which means they can make a faster decision. ATS can often give candidates a better sense of where they stand in the hiring process to know when to expect an update or if their application has been unsuccessful.
- For job seekers, ATS provides them with easier access to information about past applications, making it easier to keep track of their progress.
How to be more efficient with an applicant tracking system?
A robust applicant tracking system is essential for every HR department. ATS can offer customized solutions according to each company's needs; applicant tracking software is also one of the significant elements for companies to develop during periods of expansion. A sound ATS system will allow you to manage everything about your recruiting process more efficiently, which means you can make a faster decision.
Recruiting software can also give candidates a better sense of where they stand in the hiring process, so they know when to expect an update or if their application has been unsuccessful. Applicant tracking systems allow you to manage your recruitment more efficiently by enabling applications from multiple sources.
Like many IT systems, an applicant tracking system will only work well if it's been well integrated into your organization. Here are some steps to help improve your efficiency with an applicant tracking system.
- Choose the right applicant tracking system for your business.
- Use your HR system to automate whatever you can. Don't spend time completing tasks that your ATS software can do for you. You can use your recruiting software to automate and simplify:
- Email templates
- Job offers
- Hiring approvals
- Interview evaluation forms
- Posting the job offer on job boards
What pitfalls should I avoid when choosing a provider for my company's needs?
Be careful in choosing applicant tracking software for your company. A poorly implemented recruiting software can cause you more problems than it solves. A successful ATS should:
- Be closely integrated with your current systems and hiring processes
- Easily add new features to support the latest technology so that future-proofing is always an option, and
- Enhance productivity by eliminating repetitive, tedious tasks.
Don't be afraid to ask applicant tracking systems providers questions about their results, how they work, and the degree of success for companies with them in the past. A good ATS provider will be happy to answer any questions you have. A great applicant tracking software provider should have testimonials from satisfied customers to show you how they've helped their clients in the past.
Does the applicant tracking system help businesses improve their employer brand?
Yes, ATS can be a powerful tool for managing your applicants and improving your applicant tracking system. Recruiting software lets you work all of your recruitment more efficiently, which means a faster decision-making process. Applicant tracking systems providers offer unique tools to help you with the branding of your company. A good applicant tracking software provider will allow you to create an online private community that connects your recruiters directly to active candidates on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and job boards.
This is an excellent way for companies looking for new employees to strengthen their employer brand while giving applicants an easy way to share their experiences with current job seekers in the applicant's online resume community.