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ATS Systems – The Basics Behind Applicant Tracking

You may have heard of applicant tracking systems or ATS systems. Nut if your company does not make use of one you may not be quite sure how they work. Or id they are quite efficient as some people might have you believe.

Many employers in all kinds of niches and in companies both large and small use ATS systems which are also sometimes known as talent management systems, to process job applications and to manage the hiring process. They provide an automated way for companies to manage the entire recruiting process, from receiving applications to hiring employees.

Just How Do ATS Systems Work?

When applicants apply for a position online, their contact information, experience, educational background, resume, and cover letter are uploaded into the database. The information then can be transferred from one component of the system to another as candidates move through the hiring process.

The information in the database is used for screening candidates, applicant testing, scheduling interviews, managing the hiring process, checking references, and completing new-hire paperwork.

Aside from application submission and resume parsing, applicant tracking systems are also helpful in the next stages of the hiring process; screening and interviewing. Today’s evolved ATS systems boast video interviewing capabilities and interview scheduling tools that are designed to help recruiters speed up their time-to-fill and provide candidates with a better experience. All of this data is stored into one database, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to easily collaborate.

Robust applicant tracking systems will also integrate with background check providers for easy checks and authorizations, send offer letters and even predict an applicant’s potential performance at your company. While each applicant tracking system is designed to work in their own way, they all have the common goal of streamlining the hiring process.

Streamlining the Process

Using an ATS can help save 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 organized digitally and automatically, companies do not have to pay for the additional time taken by sorting and filing paper applications.

Some systems also can save time for job applicants. Many employers use systems that allow job applicants to upload their vital information, work histories, education, and references directly from their profiles on websites like LinkedIn or Indeed. While job applicants obviously need to tailor different applications to different positions, being able to bypass the tedious process of retyping this basic information for every application is a valuable time saver.

Tracking the Process

Applicant tracking systems allow companies to track where candidates found the job posting—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 or find the most desirable candidates while reducing or eliminating efforts in areas that show little success.

What Industries are ATS Systems Suited To?

In a nutshell, if a company hires on a regular basis, the chances are good that an applicant tracking system will be helpful to them. This can be especially true for companies that may boast a higher than average turn over, like a restaurant. Making use of an ATS system not only allows hiring managers to keep track of applications in a better, more efficient manner but it also can be used to store resumes and application for future use.

Will an ATS System Miss Great Candidates?

Many people do worry that if they make use of an applicant tracking system that they will miss out on a potentially great hire because the system rejected the application before the hiring manager ever saw it.

The fact is though that a human may do the same. The ATS system seeks out the keywords that it is told to, which should, if the system is being used correctly, be the same keywords that a human recruiter would look for when perusing resumes. Each ATS system is set up for the unique company making use of it, so how much ‘control’ its AI portion has over the process can be determined individually.

The Cost of an ATS System – Is It Worth It?

Some smaller businesses may balk slightly at the initial cost of an ATS system. However, upon reflection, they often find that an applicant tracking system more than pays for itself, both in terms of money saved and in wasted manpower.

Perhaps the best way for a company to determine if an ATS system is right for their business is too look for one of the many providers who offer demos and free trials. Reading about something, being told about something is fine, but there really is nothing better than seeing it action for yourself!

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