What is an applicant tracking system

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

In the past few years, the initial stages of recruiting and screening applicants have moved out of the hands of recruiters and other HR professionals and into part of an automated process facilitated by a new breed of recruiting software. So what is this technology that’s determining whether an applicant moves past the first step of the application process?

An applicant tracking system is a component of recruiting software through which businesses can automate areas of the recruiting process to improve the efficiency of recruiters and hiring managers.

By automating much of the recruiting process, businesses can reduce the amount of time spent and paper consumed organizing applicant information, in effect increasing the ease with which hiring teams can identify and move forward with high-quality job applicants. Furthermore, with these systems, hiring teams can easily identify candidates at any stage of the hiring process and maintain contact at vital points during the recruiting lifecycle.

What do Applicant Tracking Systems do?

As an integral part of recruiting software, applicant tracking systems are designed to help hiring teams manage the many stages of the hiring process and facilitate contact with high-quality talent.

Job board posting, Career Portals, and Social Distribution

The first function of applicant tracking systems is to post simultaneously to multiple job boards that come integrated with the chosen recruiting software. The ATS will track the resulting applicants from each of these job boards.

Applicant tracking systems also provide branded career sites for potential applicants to land on through job opening links shared. These sites can also feature employee testimonials, company news, and information about employee perks and benefits.

Distribution of open positions across social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can help locate candidates that might not be actively searching for openings on job boards, or that might already be connected to someone in the company. Many recruiting software products with ATS functionality can integrate with social networks to source and track applicants originating from these locations.

Automated Application Screening & Resume Ranking

One of the core features of application tracking software is its ability to apply standardized rules and metrics when parsing through applicant resumes to identify and rank qualified applicants. These rules are determined by the hiring team and are often based on the presence of relevant keywords in the applicant’s resume, either relating to desired skills or experience.

Employee Assessments & Pre-Screening Questions

Increasingly, applicant tracking systems include built-in assessment capabilities so applicants can verify their hard and soft skills through quantitative or situational assessments. This eliminates the need to administer such assessments during in-person interviews, and pre-screening questions can be extended for equal employment opportunity, federal contract compliance programs, and affirmative action purposes to ensure company compliance.

Recruiting Software Takeaways

Applicant tracking system functionalities in recruiting software streamline the recruiting process by tracking qualified candidates through each part of the recruiting lifecycle and maintaining contact with the most qualified applicants. ATS platforms reduce the time spent by hiring teams on coordinating candidate information, and built-in dashboards simplify the tracking efforts of recruiters and hiring managers. Some applicant tracking system functionality is also found in HR Management Suites and Training eLearning software, delivering these key recruiting benefits as part of a larger HR platform. .

To learn more about recruiting software tools and functionalities, check out the Fall 2015 G2 Crowd Grid℠ for Recruiting.