Jobs Career Advice Signup

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Updated on Oct 30, 2020 9342 views
What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

It is widely known that the labour market is very competitive and hiring managers typically have to sift through hundreds and in some cases, thousands of resumes. To solve this problem, the Applicant Tracking System (shortened as ATS) was invented. 

So, when next you are applying for a job, do not assume that the recruiter would pardon the errors or inconsistencies on your resume. For all we know, the company may have the Applicant Tracking System in place that does the elimination, thus removing human judgment. 

What, then, is an Applicant Tracking System? In this post, you would learn what an Applicant Tracking System is, how it works, the best versions, how it can help employers, the resume format that is best suited for it, as well as how to beat it as an applicant.


What Is an Applicant Tracking System?

In simple terms, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application used by human resource personnel as an electronic database for job applicants. When deployed by companies, the Applicant Tracking System automates recruitment exercises. It gathers, sorts, scans and ranks job applications from candidates, so as to scale down the number of those that would move on to the next stage of hiring.

Applicant Tracking Systems eliminates the need for human involvement in foundational stage of the recruitment process, which would, in turn, reduce the likelihood of human errors and recruitment bias. 

How do Applicant Tracking Systems Work?

From publicizing job openings to fielding interviews, applicant tracking systems are  designed with highlights intended to smooth out the recruitment process.

Applicant Tracking Systems help in easing the job application process by taking on tasks humans would have otherwise done and as a result, reduce the stress and the errors that may arise from manual sorting. 

The use of Application Tracking Systems expands the efficiency and abilities of recruiters, hiring managers, and HR groups by supplying them with concentrated information base. Its broad automation capacities allow for improvement of the recruitment team’s effectiveness while meeting the end goal of recruitment- to pull in the most qualified applicants that would contribute their skills to an organization.

In summary, the functions of Application Tracking Systems can be highlighted as follows:

  • Scan, sort, and rank candidates according to computer requirements 
  • Publicize job openings on multiple job boards with a single submission
  • Generate interview requests to potential candidates via email and texts
  • Build, manage, and maintain career pages
  • Keep teams on track to meet hiring goals            

How do Applicant Tracking Systems Benefit Employers?

One thing that would probably never cease to exist in recruitment exercises is the deliberate application of unqualified job seekers. They are well aware that they do not meet the requirements, but they apply anyway. This has burdens those tasked with the recruitment processes with unnecessary  stress which can be avoided with the deployment of ATS. It is, therefore, not surprising that 83% of recruiters use an Applicant Tracking System.

To cut the long story short, the benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems to employers can be simplified below:

  • Reduce time that would have otherwise been spent selecting manually by automating the process of uploading, scanning, ranking, and pre-screening. 
  • Secure storage of inputted standard requirements and admittance to a pipeline of past successful candidates. 
  • Create a standard recruitment process so you do not need to reevaluate the process each time there is an opening. 
  • Keep you consistent with labour laws. 
  • Supplies you with information on employee experiences and work history.
  • Reduce the possibility of recruitment bias that recruiters maybe susceptible to.

Applicant Tracking System Resume Format

If you desire owning a resume that effectively bypassed the ATS, you need to adhere to a standard resume design, for example.. This resume design makes use of the professional summary segment at the head of the resume to highlight your key qualifications and skill sets and then joins it with an ordered "Work History" segment that clarifies how you have utilized these characteristics to add value to your former places of employment. In other words, it judges your perceived productivity using the information you put on your resume.

Standard Applicant Tracking Systems make a superior showing with analyzing  and deciphering a hybrid design since they depend on ordered information to parse your resume. 

Therefore, it is to your greatest advantage to maintain a strategic distance from the functional resume design no matter what because the most attention is put on your capacities, instead of an ordered work history. For information on how to structure your resume to fit this ATS compliant standard, read here.

Best Applicant Tracking Systems

The existence of such a thing as a ‘bad application tracking system’ is near-impossible as automated machines are generally created with the intent to ease living. Nonetheless, there are certain features you should look out for when considering utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems. Some of them are:

  • Presence of Candidate and agency portal
  • Open APIs
  • Marketplace for 3rd party vendors
  • Career page builder       
  • Attractive UI/UX
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Global HR practice compliance 
  • Inbuilt Artificial Intelligence
  • Cloud-based
  • Support from sourcing to hiring
  • Custom-made CRM

Some of the tracking systems with these features are as follows:

  1. Greenhouse 

The Greenhouse Applicant Tracking System is one of  the best ATS for the relatively small/medium sized companies. The tracking system is reinforced by best in classification APIs, permit their HR clientele to deploy outsider applications at no additional cost. It is for this reason that Greenhouse Applicant Tracking is the most used tracking system in the Human Resources field.

One of the key components of the Greenhouse Applicant Tracking is the keyword frequency. It is responsible for how the outcome is  gotten back to the recruiter is through keyword recurrence So, if the recruiter inputs interpersonal skills as a requirement, only applicants with this skill set will have their applications appear on top, others would be flagged.

  1. Clear Company 

ClearCompany Applicant Tracking System is well regarded by hiring managers as it adopts an exceptional strategy with employment, beginning the exercises with requiring the hiring manager characterize their model candidate for the job.  

From there, ClearCompany encourages you to source distinctly, pose the correct inquiries, make an offer your applicants are probably going to acknowledge, and afterwards help in the onboarding of newly recruited workers into their significant positions. It also allows for discounted job postings on widely-read job boards and multilingual job applications.

  1. Avature

Avature is another highly rated Applicant Tracking System. Its ATS is completely adjustable to your company and/or recruitment exercises aims and objectives. To put it another way, you can construct your own enrolling work processes for high volume, senior-level job enlisting, and anything in the middle. You can alter dashboards, set up robotized work processes, and influence the intensity of an across the board ATS + CRM.

 Likewise, you can do this all through a no-code interface that permits non-specialized clients to change the framework (with bunches of permissioning set up). This might be pointless excess for littler associations, however for mid market and venture, Avature is an extremely solid candidate global positioning framework.

  1. Workable 

Workable’s Applicant Tracking System framework is an incredible fit for both small and large organizations the same. It is, therefore, no big surprise they have more than 20,000 clients around the world. The most fascinating viewpoint to Workable's answer to the recruitment gap is their AI-controlled sourcing ability which they have incorporated with the remainder of the ATS, and that gives you admittance to more than 400 million job applicants’ records worldwide.

  1. Recruiterbox 

Recruiterbox is arguably one of the most unique applicant tracking systems available. Its framework includes highlights like video talking, booking, and computerized updates. 

Another selling point of it is that it permits applicants and hiring managers to work together on recruiting/meeting without signing in to the framework. 

In conclusion, Recruiterbox can be set up under two hours for smaller organizations; which eliminates the unnecessary hassle small companies tend to face on other applicant tracking systems.

How to beat the Applicant Tracking System 

It is not just to know about the Applicant Tracking System that is pertinent; you must also be able to apply the standardized requirements to your resume to avoid becoming a victim of automated disqualification. 

To avoid the above problems, do the following:

  1. Use Targeted Keywords 

The most important part of your resume when ran through the ATS is the listed keywords.. The function of an ATS is to peruse your application and contrast its content with the pre-installed and  expected set of requirements and then searching for the best match. 

The implication of this is that your resume cannot be one-size-fits all; it must be custom fitted for each position you apply to. Yes, it is very demanding and can be cumbersome as some job seekers apply for multiple jobs at a time. Here is the thing, though – Applicant Tracking Systems are gradually becoming a given in the recruitment scenes and as machines can only operate with what they are fed, you cannot afford to have a universal resume. 

Read the job posting cautiously and use similar keywords to portray your skills and experience. However, this does not translate to keyword stuffing. It is counterproductive, as the tracking systems are also programmed to flag unnecessary repetitions.

  1. Avoid Using Graphics of Any Kind

Graphics are unnecessary on a resume as they take up valuable space and make you appear a tad bit unprofessional. Indeed, they are to look but in the grand scheme of things, resumes with  pictures embedded in them become a distorted wreck, or get totally discarded from your application, after it goes through the candidate applicant tracking system.

For example, on the off chance that you embed a picture or graph to feature your skills, the ATS will be not able to understand it. Additionally, if you employ  a cool realistic to mark your name on your resume, this snippet of data will be lost on the applicant tracking system.

  1. Use Standard Headings

While it is important you stand out from other applicants to boost your chances of getting hired, this does not generally apply to your resume. Try as much as possible to stick to a tested and trusted standardized format as Applicant Tracking Systems use headings to sort out your CV so that the information in each section can be adequately analyzed and registered.

As a result of this, make sure you make use of take simple headings that the ATS will recognize. This is not the time for you to show off your linguistic prowess; stick to the standard set of resume headings. The  ATS will typically sets the resume into these four categories:

  • Education
  • Contact Information
  • Skills
  • Work Experience

Only make use of the above stated requirements for your resume. Save displaying your individuality uniqueness for if and when you make it to the interview stage.

  1. Crosscheck for Grammar and Spelling Errors

It goes without saying that your professional documents should be free of grammatical errors and be clear and straightforward. However, you are human and humans are bound to make mistakes. Grammar and spelling errors do not necessarily imply a lack of eloquence as they could be innocent oversight.

This is why it is important for you to double check your resume before sending it out. While some recruiters may overlook with a spelling mistake, but with an ATS, your resume would not even make it for consideration. It is a machine and as a result, is incapable of leniency. 

The ATS scans for matching keywords and standard headings, so a wrongly spelled or grammatically incorrect word/sentence would not come up as a match, even if you possess all the requirements for the job. Proofreading and proper formatting can be what stands between employment and rejection; so, be guided.

  1. Format Your Resume Properly

To reiterate what has been said multiple times in this post: applicant tracking systems are not humans. They cannot use their initiative to interpret your content. They merely use the requirements that have been feed to judge your application.

So, your resume is not the best place to display your customization skill. The biggest fallout from standard resume format is the bullet point. When used as intended, bullet points are a great way to underscore skills, achievements and qualifications on a resume. 

On the flip side, if you deviate from this, your message could get lost in translation and could lost in translation and scrambled by the system. You should avoid using elaborate characters when creating a bulleted list on your resume. Stick to the simplest options, such as a solid circle, open circle, or square.

Remember that your resume format should enhance your resume, rather than make it incompatible with an ATS.

It is important to remember that there is no perfect resume or candidate. So, do not let the inclusion of machines in the recruitment process scare you off applying. Even if you do not the full requirements, apply anyways as there is no way to know if you are not the most qualified candidate at that particular time. 

Likewise, while the ATS functions to eliminate non-compliant resumes, it is not looking for a hundred percent copy of the recruitment but the most adherent to it. 

Lastly, the Applicant Tracking System is not all that there is to the recruitment process. There are still other phases of it – tests, interviews, trainings and so on, and you should be adequately prepared for each and every one of them. Good luck in your application!

To know more about the recruitment process after you have scaled through the ATS, read here.


Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

Leave a Comment

Login required
Related Post
Top Post