Dec 30, 2020
Did you know that employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort through the many resumes they receive? These automated tools search for keywords in a resume and reject 75% of applicants. This is one way to hire the best talent for your company. Does your small business use an ATS?
What Is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
An applicant tracking system or ATS is a software solution to manage all recruitment needs, serving as a data bank for all hiring processes. As the name suggests, ATS enables automated applicant tracking and can store and process vast volumes of data. With features such as interview scheduling, assessment generation, and comparison, message distribution, universal search, and customized import and export of data, applicant tracking systems aid in screening, shortlisting, and communicating with candidates.
ATS options are available for businesses across the board, be it for enterprise, midsize, or small business requirements. Moreover, based on specific business needs, organizations can also choose various formats of deployment.
For example, let’s say you need to purchase an ATS solution for a midsize corporation with an employee strength of 800 (spread across three regions) – which you wish to double over the next year. There was a time when you could not find a customized solution specific to your needs, budget, and growth plans. So you would have had to go for a typical one-size-fits-all option. Now, however, organizations are spoiled for choice in a market that offers multiple options for the most specific combination of needs
While most human capital management (HCM) suites do offer the sub-functionality of an applicant tracking system, there are also several point solutions that specialize only in ATS. The challenge now is not hunting for a specialized, customizable solution but rather choosing the solution that is the best fit out of the many that are available.
When applicants apply for a job online, their contact information, experience, educational background, resume, and cover letter are uploaded into the database. The information can then be transferred from one component of the system to another as candidates move through the hiring process.
The system allows company recruiters to review the applications, send applicants automated messages letting them know their applications have been received, and give online tests. Hiring managers can schedule interviews and mail rejection letters through the ATS. Finally, human resources personnel can use the same information to put individuals on the payroll once they are hired. These integrated systems streamline the recruiting, application, and hiring process for employers.
Using an ATS saves both time and money. Information from applicants is uploaded and organized in a database, making it easily accessible and searchable for human resources professionals. Because the information is collected and automatically organized digitally, companies do not have to pay for additional time to sort and file paper applications.
Some systems can also save job applicants time. Many employers use systems that allow job applicants to upload their vital information, work histories, education, and references directly from their profiles on websites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. While job applicants need to customize their application materials for different positions, being able to bypass the tedious process of retyping this information for every application is a valuable time saver.
Applicant tracking systems allow companies to track where candidates found the job posting, whether on a job board, directly from a company website, through a referral, or from another source. This can be important information that allows employers to focus their recruiting on the areas where the data shows they have the most success while reducing or eliminating efforts in areas that show little results.
However beneficial an applicant tracking system can be, there are often drawbacks employers should consider. Systems are designed to look for specific keywords and types of backgrounds for advertised positions, meaning good candidates who are switching careers might slip through the cracks of the system unnoticed.
There also can be technical issues. Some systems will eliminate candidates if they can’t interpret a scanned resume properly. This can happen if a resume looks slightly different than what the system is programmed to understand, or if the resume is more complex than it can interpret.