What is an ATS?

What is an ATS?

Applicant Tracking Systems Help You:

  • Streamline the recruitment process
  • Enhance candidate experience
  • Identify top talent
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Ensure compliance

Streamline the recruitment process

An applicant tracking system (ATS) streamlines recruiting by automating and organizing various hiring stages. It gathers, sorts and manages job applications to reduce manual effort and ensure efficiency. Let’s see how:

  • It scans resumes and cover letters for keywords and qualifications analysis to match candidates with job requirements.
  • It schedules interviews and sends notifications to candidates and hiring teams for expedited communication. Active tracking and reminders prevent delays and ensure timely follow-ups.
  • It centralizes candidate data for recruiters, facilitating informed decision-making and saving valuable time shuffling through paperwork and e-mails.
  • It encourages internal hiring team collaboration, allowing them to collectively share feedback and evaluate candidates.
  • It provides valuable recruitment analytics metrics, helping refine hiring strategies. Tracking applicant sources, time-to-fill and other data enables recruitment effort adjustments.

At its core, the primary purpose of an ATS is accelerating the hiring process, improving communication and enhancing candidate selection quality.

Enhance candidate experience

An applicant tracking system (ATS) enhances the candidate experience by streamlining and improving the application process. Its user-friendly interfaces make it easy for candidates to submit applications and upload relevant documents. This feature eliminates cumbersome manual processes and ensures a smooth and efficient application submission.

It matches candidates’ skills and qualifications to job requirements, ensuring well-aligned job recommendations to create a relevant and engaging application experience. Furthermore, an ATS centralizes candidate information, letting recruiters provide prompt and well-informed responses to candidate queries.

An ATS also provides candidates with real-time application status updates for transparent communication, a sense of engagement and reduced uncertainty. Its mobile-friendly application processes cater to candidates who prefer to apply using their smartphones or tablets. This accessibility ensures a seamless experience for candidates on the go.

It also promptly acknowledges candidates’ efforts with automated initial screenings and acknowledgments, making them feel valued. Moreover, streamlined processes reduce candidates’ wait time for updates, contributing to a positive impression of the company’s professionalism.

Identify top talent

An ATS plays a crucial role in identifying top talent through various mechanisms to enhance selection accuracy and efficiency:

  • It analyzes resumes and applications to extract key information and match keywords against job descriptions. This process identifies suitable candidates efficiently.
  • It lets recruiters set specific candidate screening criteria to ensure only candidates who meet the desired qualifications, streamlining the process and focusing on relevant talent.
  • It assigns scores or candidates rankings based on qualifications, experience and role suitability, helping prioritize top candidates for further evaluation.
  • It provides data analytics into candidate sources, application stages and conversion rates, helping recruiters identify effective sourcing channels and assess candidates at each stage.
  • It tracks current employee referrals, which often yield high-quality candidates who already align with company culture.

Encourage collaboration

An ATS promotes collaboration among hiring teams by facilitating seamless communication and shared insights throughout recruitment.

For starters, an ATS stores candidate information in a centralized platform, accessible to all team members on a role-based basis. This element eliminates information silos and ensures seamless accessibility to up-to-date data securely. It also provides real-time updates on candidate statuses, application progress and interview outcomes, so the team members stay informed without relying on manual updates.

Collaborative ATS platforms also facilitate document sharing, allowing team members to collectively review resumes, cover letters and other application materials.

An ATS lets team members provide feedback and evaluations on candidates directly within the system to encourage collaborative hiring. Most ATS platforms offer comment sections or messaging features to enable the hiring team to discuss candidates, share insights and coordinate actions within the system.

ATS solutions often integrate interview scheduling tools to let the team members view each other’s availability and schedule interviews efficiently.

Ensure compliance

An applicant tracking system ensures compliance with various regulations and policies with its systematic measures to monitor and enforce adherence actively:

  • It incorporates data encryption and secure storage to safeguard sensitive candidate information, complying with data protection regulations like GDPR.
  • It standardizes the application process, ensuring candidate evaluation via universal criteria. This capability helps prevent bias and ensures fair treatment in line with equal opportunity laws.
  • It maintains comprehensive audit trails to track all actions within the system, providing a transparent recruitment activities record used to demonstrate compliance.
  • It allows custom recruitment workflows to match internal processes and legal requirements, minimizing non-compliance risk.
  • It generates compliance-related reports like diversity statistics to monitor and address hiring process imbalances.
  • It helps manage candidate consent, ensuring ethical and responsible data usage.


How do you know if you should implement an ATS?

If your business is growing, then it’s likely that you will benefit from an ATS. Regardless of how quickly your team is growing or how large your business is, applicant tracking tools can help you to save both time and money. In fact, according to Recruiterbox, companies with just eight employees can save as much as $10,000 by implementing an ATS.

However, not only growing businesses can benefit from implementing an ATS. These solutions can also help reduce turnover rates by improving the quality of candidates you choose from. While an ATS won’t stop unqualified candidates from applying for a position, it will help you quickly determine which applicants lack the skills you’re looking for so that you can focus on the candidates with the most potential. By helping you to identify the best applicants, an ATS will help you to hire the candidate who is the best fit for the position.

Applicant tracking tools cater to businesses of all sizes. In fact, many vendors offer specialized solutions for businesses in specific industries and scalability allows you to use a system that meets the needs of your business no matter what size it is. Regardless of your hiring needs, an ATS can help you streamline your hiring processes and lighten the load of your HR team.

What’s the difference between an ATS and recruiting software?

While ATS and recruiting systems address similar needs, there are slight differences in their capabilities. The primary focus of an ATS is to track applicants by utilizing tools such as automatic job posting and resume parsing. A recruiting system will undoubtedly address all the same needs as an ATS and do a little extra. Many recruiting systems will also provide advanced ATS features allowing you to post jobs for different businesses and industries. A few other capabilities that a recruitment system should include are:

  • Scheduling work activities like phone calls and candidate start dates
  • Automated email follow-up
  • Connecting multiple users, including recruiters, candidates and clients
  • Advanced search features, such as boolean search

What are the key features to look for in an ATS?

Here are the key features to look for in an ATS:

  • Job Posting and Distribution
  • Resume Parsing
  • Candidate Database
  • Customizable Application Forms
  • Automated Screening and Ranking
  • Collaboration and Communication Tools
  • Interview and Assessment Tools
  • Candidate Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Integration Capabilities
  • Automated Workflow
  • Candidate Source Tracking
  • Onboarding Integration

Can an ATS integrate with other HR software or job boards?

Yes, an ATS can integrate with other HR software and job boards. In fact, this ability is crucial to modern ATS platforms. Connecting with other HR and hiring tools helps streamline processes, reduce manual work or repeating tasks in multiple systems, and provide a seamless user experience for both recruiters and candidates.

How do I select an applicant tracking system?

Selecting the proper solution for your business will require you to assess your specific pain points regarding recruitment. Based on your needs, you can determine which ATS features can help alleviate those pains. From there, you can narrow down which vendors offer solutions to meet your needs. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider looking at our requirements checklist, which can help guide you through the process.

If you’re still unsure where to start, feel free to contact us. Our team is happy to provide various tools, from personalized requirements to pricing guides. Send us an email at or via phone at 855-850-3850.

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