What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Released On 17th Aug 2020

An applicant tracking system (or ATS as it is often referred to) is a software used by recruiters and hiring managers to handle and process job applications online.  It has parallels with a piece of software often used in marketing – the customer relationship management system (or CRM).

How does an ATS work?

Often the careers page on a company website is in fact the front end of the ATS portal.  Applicants apply through the front end, usually attaching their CV, completing an application form, and supplying additional documents or supporting information when required.

Once the application has been completed, the candidate will sit within that vacancy in the system, ready to be processed.  The recruiter or hiring manager can then move candidates through the recruitment process seamlessly, often using automation tools and email sequences to simplify the process.

What can I use an ATS for?

The best way to use an ATS is to ensure a seamless and enjoyable candidate experience.  It means you can easily contact candidates to update them on the status of their application, arrange interviews, remind them of their interviews and invite them to apply for other opportunities.

Most ATS systems also have a talent pool or talent bank module so (with the candidates’ permission) if they aren’t the right fit for the opportunity they have applied for, you can store their details against appropriate ‘tags’ to search for in the future.

There are modules available in some ATS systems which will also support with initial screening for high volumes of applicants – but we always recommend caution with these modules, as great candidates can get lost in the process.

What are the benefits of an ATS?

No more spreadsheets, no more paper and email trails to keep track of – everything in one place to ensure a succinct and streamlined recruitment process.  You can leave notes in the system for your colleagues and communicate via the system – ensuring you have an easily accessible and concise paper trail for ever hire, should the information ever be required.

In addition, most ATS systems are completely GDPR compliant – which is essential for storing personal data.

Overall, if recruitment is becoming a chore, you are up to your eyeballs in CV’s and can’t see the wood for the trees, investing in an ATS or working with an outsourced recruitment provider who includes the use of one as part of their service, will be a complete game changer for you and your business.