The benefits of applicant tracking systems


We all know how expensive it can be to recruit the right candidate, as it’s both resource-heavy and time-consuming. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), while far from new, are getting more sophisticated and becoming an increasingly important tool in the move towards simplifying the recruitment process and is useful for both recruiter and jobseeker.

How does an ATS help the recruitment process?

From the applicant’s perspective, an ATS offers a secure and convenient way to apply for jobs, either through a dedicated careers site or through the organisation’s own website. Candidates complete their applications online, along with any job specific assessment questions, and then upload their CV. When the registration is complete, employees can search for appropriate jobs, register for job alerts and apply online without the need to upload new information for every vacancy.

For employers, the ATS enables recruiters to post jobs online, receive and score applications, screen-out unsuitable candidates, progress applications, communicate with candidates, arrange interviews and even manage the offer and hiring process online.

This year looks set to be an active year in the ATS industry. While it’s likely that there won’t be as much vendor consolidation as in past years, developers will now be focused on core functionality like interface design, speed and mobility. This will likely usher in more ATS products with “responsive” design: a product that automatically responds to the environment in which it is being used.

What are the key benefits to using an ATS?

Put simply, the recruitment process can be tough for both employers and candidates, and an ATS allows companies to save time by:

  1. Allowing recruiters to be proactive and quickly create jobs on a platform that can be published on social media networks alongside targeted job boards. An ATS should save you time and money by freeing up resource previously spent on manually logging and processing candidates.
  2. Allowing recruiters to screen candidates, move them through the workflow process and keep all the documentation in one place. Ultimately, an ATS will help improve the quality and control of your recruitment process. You’ll be able to monitor targets of applications at each stage, identify any issue areas/roles early and keep the time to hire period as tight as possible.
  3. Providing detailed reports on where the candidates are coming in from, which recruiters have high placement success rates and takes into account compliance requirements and legislation. An ATS with good reporting functionality will be able to help you measure the effectiveness of marketing and even identify which recruitment agencies are showing value for money. A good reporting engine will also allow you to quickly pull-off reports to show things like diversity statistics, applications at each stage of the process and the source of the application.
  4. Providing companies with their own recruitment site that they can then use to manage candidates who approach the company directly.

What core functionality should you look for in an ATS?

You’ll certainly want to think about using an ATS if your recruiting and hiring process relies on tools such as spreadsheets or handwritten notes to coordinate the process of tracking applicants over the course of the hiring process. Tracking CVs and cover letters manually is not a sustainable system as your recruiting needs intensify, and an ATS can greatly relieve the administrative burdens associated with the recruiting process.

An ATS allows you to collect applications electronically through online forms. Screening questions can often be added to these forms to eliminate unqualified candidates, and many ATSs can select CVs based on keywords chosen by the recruiter.

Once qualified applicants’ information is submitted through the online system, it’s saved into the ATS database and associated with the candidate’s profile. These features allow you to track candidates easily and manage their documents in one place, as well as store past applicants in the system that might be a good fit for a future position.

The most common functions you should look for with an ATS are:

  • Job creation, management and posting
  • Candidate search and apply
  • Candidate communications
  • Candidate screening and ranking
  • Recruitment process management (work?ows and recruitment stages)
  • Candidate talent pools
  • Searching
  • Metrics and reporting

There are a huge number of companies producing Applicants Tracking Systems and if you’re looking for a good place to start OnRec Magazine offers a list of the top 60 suppliers.

1 Comment

  1. Krishna Yerra June 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    It is very true that searching for a good Recruitment Software can be exhaustive and overwhelming with so many softwares being available on the web. The obvious question that any company would get while evaluating a Recruitment Software – How do I know which solution is right for me?

    Not all Recruitment Softwares will have all the features that you need. But there are definitely solutions that are closer to what you need. Before you get down and start evaluating recruitment softwares, you need to check the features that can run the core functionality like Pete (author) mentioned above.

    Once you have gathered all the information, evaluate couple of softwares. Recruitment Softwares like ‘Applicant Tracking System’ ( has all of the above listed features and much more. Try it once.

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