Applicant Tracking Systems
The days of HR specialists weeding through a mountain of paper resumes, trying to find the perfect candidate for their company’s open position, are gone.
Because recruitment and hiring so often placed a drain on a business’s resources, applicant tracking systems (ATS) turned out to be every HR manager’s dream come true.
If you are new to corporate lingo or the HR field, you may have wondered, “What does ATS stand for?” or perhaps you have hesitated to ask a more experienced colleague, “What is an ATS” for fear of looking naïve.
In this article, we will walk you through exactly what an ATS is and how they have provided an effective solution for businesses worldwide to find the best candidates for any open position.
What Is an ATS?
An applicant tracking system or ATS is a sophisticated piece of software designed to assist companies in the management of the recruitment process.
The ATS software collects data on all candidates who apply for open positions within the organization. It allows the company to organize and utilize the data smartly and efficiently.
Each time a business has a new vacancy, it should not need to reinvent the wheel. Applicant tracking systems can help an HR manager quickly my data to see if earlier applicants have the skills required for the new opening.
Using an ATS, the company creates a valuable resource over time, with a database of job seekers within easy reach. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of these systems’ effectiveness.
Imagine having to review the contents of an entire file cabinet to try and jog your memory about that one candidate who had both technical writing experience and a master’s degree. Or the applicant who was fluent in Mandarin and had a web design background?
These systems can help you locate this kind of information using AI, saving your business time and money in the process.
“The workplace of the future is almost here, according to Generation Z interview statistics. Currently, millennials encompass half of the American workforce, while the number of Gen Z and millennial employees are expected to increase in 2025 by 25%.”— Legal Jobs
How Do Applicant Tracking Systems Work?
The ATS is designed to track candidates from the time they apply for an open position through an interview process and (in some cases) the final job offer.
When positions are advertised online, job seekers are prompted to apply with details that feed into the ATS. That begins the process of data being collected and stored, and in the best ATS systems, it can also be parsed and evaluated.
The ATS can take data from the candidates’ resumes and applications and present it to hiring managers in easy-to-use formats; those managers can also use the ATS to track each step with a candidate, such as phone interviews and reference checks.
Before automated hiring processes, it was much easier to let promising candidates slip through the cracks.
Applicant tracking systems mean we do not lose a resume to an unwieldy stack of papers on a pack rat’s desk, and they serve as valuable checkpoints to keep busy hiring managers up to speed on interviewing steps.
Additionally, an ATS helps companies avoid the problem of managers working in silos.
The marketing manager may need to be invested in hiring the company’s new outside sales rep, which she has access to the candidate’s thanks to this software.
It creates a way for colleagues to view and share feedback about job candidates, and it also means a reservoir of potential candidates waiting when the next opportunity arises.
The value of an ATS is best seen in its storage of job applicant details, creating an easy way for managers to search the talent pool in a paperless, easy-to-navigate software application.
A robust applicant tracking system reduces time spent in the recruiting process, and this efficiency ultimately saves your business money in the long run.
What Makes A Good Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
Not all ATSs are alike, and you want to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck when you purchase one for your organization.
Every good ATS will help you collect and store data, but the more robust programs will have advanced features for using that data to manage the hiring process more effectively.
1. Job Posting And Applications
When candidates apply for open positions within your company, the ATS will take their online data and funnel it into one system for consistent formatting and easy-to-search features. AI scans resume and applicants for specific keywords, making hiring more accessible.
In some cases, you may be able to automate postings with the software, placing them everywhere, from your website to job boards and social media.
Best of all, job postings funneled through ATS will ensure consistency in how your open positions are marketed to job seekers.
Applicant tracking software also ensures the applicant can easily submit their data for consideration.
This is your business’s first impression on potential employees, so an intelligent application system will impress upon these candidates that you run an organized, strategic, and growth-minded operation.
2. Resume Importing, Digitization, And Parsing
When shopping for an ATS, be sure to look at what the software is capable of when it comes to resumes. You want a program that can take virtually any format, from a PDF to Microsoft Word, and make sense of that data and store and save it.
For example, a robust applicant tracking system could take a photograph of a paper resume, snapped on a smartphone, and turn that into a digital format compatible with other types of resumes. Parsing data (or translating it from one format to another) is one of the most valuable features of an ATS.
The ability to search that data for keywords is also essential, especially for larger businesses with a steady flow of open positions. For example, a large financial organization might want to seek out candidates with some experience in cryptocurrency, which can be used as a keyword search to pull those applicants into a results list.
3. Customizable Email Templates
The recruitment process is just as much about the candidates assessing your business as it is about you assessing them. Job applicants can be quickly turned off by inconsistent communication − or no communication at all.
The applicant tracking system can help the hiring manager with customizable email templates, allowing you to send out responses quickly and make them feel personalized.
Receiving a simple acknowledgment of an application can go a long way toward keeping an applicant engaged.
Additionally, you might have a formatted email for a group of candidates who did not make it to the in-person interview list. Still, you might want to consider them again for future openings.
A warmly worded message to those candidates, personalized with their names, leaves them with a good impression of your business, despite any disappointment they may feel.
These automated email processes are tremendous time savers and a handy feature of the best applicant tracking systems.
4. Tracking And Checklists
As the name implies, tracking is a core feature of an ATS. The ability to track a qualified candidate from the moment they apply through various stages of recruitment means essential steps are not missed.
For example, the ATS might have checkpoints for such essential steps as contacting the applicant’s references, running a background check, verifying past employment, and administering specific skills assessments.
The tracking functionality can also be used to generate data that may be of interest to senior executives, such as; how many people have applied for a particular position, how many candidates have completed phone interviews, and how many are advancing to in-person interviews. Notes on the candidates’ interviews may also prove helpful for future openings.
“78% of recruiters say using an ATS helps recruit better candidates, faster.”— Gartner
Best Applicant Tracking Systems for 2023 (ATS)
By now, you must be convinced your business could benefit from an ATS, and the next step is to shop for one. Bearing in mind the features outlined above, we would like to recommend a few of our favorites.
1. Breezy ATS
Overview: Breezy HR is a modern, visually attractive, end-to-end recruiting software and applicant tracking system designed to streamline your hiring process. It lets your team advertise open roles, source promising candidates, and manage the interview process all in one place.
Primary Benefits: Breezy HR’s core strengths are its intuitive user interface, customizable career portals, candidate management, and integration with social media channels. It also includes features like automated job postings, resume parsing, pre-screening questionnaires, and candidate scorecards. Breezy HR supports video interviews and provides analytics to help measure and improve your hiring process.
Find out more about pricing here.
2. VidCruiter ATS
Overview: VidCruiter is an applicant tracking system that offers advanced video interviewing capabilities beyond traditional methods. It helps automate and improve various aspects of recruitment, from application to onboarding.
Primary Benefits: VidCruiter stands out for its advanced video interviewing, which provides flexibility and convenience to both the candidates and the hiring team. Other features include automated scheduling, reference checking, skills testing, and structured digital interviews. The system also integrates with major HR systems and provides customizable workflows and analytics.
Find out more about pricing here.
3. ICIMS ATS
Overview: ICIMS is a leading talent acquisition software suite with a powerful applicant tracking system at its core. It offers comprehensive functionalities to attract, engage, hire, and advance the right talent.
Primary Benefits: ICIMS provides a robust set of features, including candidate relationship management, job board posting, social recruiting, employee referral programs, and offer management. It’s renowned for its scalability and flexibility, making it suitable for companies of all sizes. ICIMS also offers advanced reporting and analytics, mobile-optimized career portals, and integration with multiple HR systems.
Find out more about pricing here.
4. SmartRecruiters ATS
Overview: SmartRecruiters is a comprehensive talent acquisition suite that aids businesses in managing the entire recruitment process. It’s known for its modern, intuitive design and high configurability.
Primary Benefits: SmartRecruiters is highly user-friendly and flexible, allowing companies to tailor the system to their unique hiring process. It offers collaborative hiring and multi-channel sourcing, candidate relationship management, interview scheduling, and offer management. One of its key features is the ability to create a custom career website to enhance the candidate experience. It also offers comprehensive analytics for data-driven decision-making.
Find out more about pricing here.
What is the difference between ATS and HRIS?
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, a software application that helps companies manage their recruitment process. It allows companies to store and track job applications, resumes, and other hiring-related information in one place.
HRIS, on the other hand, stands for Human Resources Information System. It is a software application that allows companies to manage and track employee information, such as payroll, benefits, time and attendance, and performance reviews.
Essentially, ATS is focused on managing the recruitment process, while HRIS is focused on managing employee information and data.
Does An ATS prefer Word or PDF?
It’s generally recommended to submit your resume in PDF format when applying for a job since this will ensure that the formatting of your resume stays intact and looks the same on the employer’s end as it does on your end.
However, it is also essential to ensure that the ATS used by the company you are applying to can read PDF files. Some ATS systems may be unable to parse the text in a PDF file correctly, which could cause your resume to be rejected or not adequately considered for the position.
If you are unsure whether the ATS being used by a company is able to read PDFs, it might be a good idea to submit your resume in both PDF and Word format to ensure that it will be correctly read and considered.
Wrapping Up | Best Applicant Tracking Systems
An ATS is an excellent option for HR departments looking to boost efficiency throughout the hiring process. They help automate tasks like sourcing, interviewing, and onboarding, which frees up time for other HR-related work that needs to be done (we all know how busy HR departments have been).
The four favorites mentioned above only brush the surface of the Applicant Tracking Systems available today. Find out which option works best for your company and situation – then decide. We hope this helps – best of luck choosing your next applicant tracking system!
Title: Top applicant tracking systems for 2022
Tags: ATS, Applicant tracking system, applicant tracking system list, what makes a sound applicant tracking system, most popular ats, most popular ATS, what is the best applicant tracking system
Author/Contributor: Reid is a contributor for theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile