What Is an Applicant
Tracking System (ATS)?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps recruiters, staffing agencies, and human resources (HR) departments manage their hiring efforts and stay competitive in today’s talent market. These systems are critically important for companies that are recruiting top talent for their own businesses, and for staffing and recruiting companies looking to fill job openings with the best possible candidates.
At its core, an ATS is a valuable database of possible hires for both current and future openings. It makes it easy to collect, organize, and search through documents, such as resumes and cover letters. Many systems also have a component that allows job seekers to apply directly through the ATS, either via the web or on a mobile device. This minimizes the need for manual entry by job seekers and recruiters.
Most ATS systems have the same basic features, but the way these features work will vary depending on the architecture of the system, as well as the vertical markets the provider serves. An HR-specific applicant tracking system (and some advanced staffing ATS) makes tracking regulatory compliance easy, and human resources professionals will find OFCCP and EEOC tracking features particularly useful.
An applicant tracking system for staffing agencies clues recruiters in to where candidates come from: referrals from previous candidates, specific job boards, or specific job listings, for example. This enables recruiters to fine-tune their strategies for finding the right person by learning where they can find more or better candidates.
Software vs. Cloud-Based ATS Systems
There are two types of applicant tracking systems: software and online services.
Who Uses Applicant Tracking Systems?
Applicant tracking systems streamline the recruitment process for:
Any company not using an ATS to attract, identify, hire, and onboard top candidates is operating at a significant competitive disadvantage.
How ATS Software Handles Resumes
In the past, recruiters and other staffing professionals kept piles of physical resumes. They’d file them under “sales associate” and “office management,” for example, as applicants submitted applications for these positions. When a position opened, they’d reach for the appropriate file, read or scan each resume, gather those that seemed like a good fit, then either contact those candidates individually or forward their information to a hiring manager. The process could be incredibly tedious, depending on how many resumes and cover letters they had to sort through.
In an applicant tracking system, resumes are sorted and categorized automatically. A recruiter simply inputs the requirements for the open position, and within a few clicks has a list of qualified candidates harvested from the database that are ready for further vetting.
Just as a recruiter does, an ATS open for certain keywords in the text. The best systems can search the full database, pull back all relevant candidates, and rank them by fit. This means the system often offers faster search results, full of candidates who are often more relevant than those hand-selected by human recruiters.
How to Use Applicant Tracking Software
1. Create a job order from
within the ATS, and
optimize it for search engines
2. Automatically post it to
your website and on
other platforms through
3. Review your ATS
dashboard to see a
list of qualified
candidates already in
your system’s database
4. Attract more of the
right candidates using
questions that are not
usually answered on a
5. Check your ATS
dashboard to see an
updated list of qualified
by how well they fit
the open position
6. Collaborate with hiring
staff and managers, if
necessary, to narrow
the list before and
during the interview
7. When you find the right
person or people, act
quickly while the
candidate is available
the open position
8. Provide a formal offer
for the role
Applicant Tracking System for Small Business
Many business owners mistakenly believe they’re too small to invest in and use an applicant tracking system because they don’t need to hire people very often. However, the truth is that companies of all sizes can achieve great ROI by using a fully integrated applicant tracking system.
Even with dedicated hiring managers, finding top candidates can be incredibly time-consuming without an ATS. Large corporations may have multiple open positions at a time and receive more than 100 resumes each day. Any size company can benefit from maintaining a well-organized and easily searchable database of candidates to fill positions quickly, easily, and with top talent.
While small businesses may receive fewer resumes for an opening, sorting through them pulls managers away from other important duties. Applicant tracking systems, especially those that are cloud-based, have high potential for streamlined scalability. As personnel requirements change and companies grow, the ability to quickly find the right candidate allows small businesses to:
Quickly fill positions to fuel
Stay agile in a hiring market
that’s constantly changing
Save money on the
- Weed out unqualified candidates in seconds
- Write better, more targeted job descriptions
- Nurture potential applicants with regular status
- Use match scores to provide objective
measurements for hiring decisions
- Automate social recruitment
- Improve employee retention by hiring a better
match for each position
- Track and use ATS data to refine and improve the
effectiveness of recruiting strategies
The Fully Integrated AkkenCloud ATS Helps Companies
Furthermore, the AkkenCloud applicant tracking system stays online and fully operational while updates are made. This eliminates downtime and enables your team to benefit from the innovative initiatives AkkenCloud continually delivers to customers.