What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of recruiting software designed to simplify the hiring process from beginning to end, also known as a talent management system. It assists organizations in tasks such as posting job openings on multiple job boards, storing applicant data, and screening applications for potential matches. An ATS often uses filters based on keywords and set parameters such as years of experience and skill sets designated by the organization to select applicants. Additionally, some ATS are now using more advanced methods such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing to screen applications.

The Function of an ATS

The primary function of an ATS is to help sift through resumes and applications to determine which candidates should move to the next phase of the hiring process. It serves as a central place where hiring managers and recruiters can submit feedback and collaborate to choose the best candidate more quickly. Moreover, ATS software improves the candidate experience by providing built-in communication channels and automated email reminders to help recruiters communicate with candidates more efficiently.

A candidate relationship management system (CRM) is a means of attracting job candidates before there is a high demand to fill the position. The system is usually used by recruiters to sort through passive, qualified candidates for any given job as well as manage active job applicants and former job applicants. The main purpose of a CRM is to build relationships between applicants and potential candidates of the past and present so positions can be filled quickly when they arise within the company.

In contrast to a CRM, an ATS simplifies the active job applicant process exclusively. The system is designed to streamline certain tasks and increase efficiency when hiring or interviewing a large group of job candidates. Companies that use an ATS optimized to work hand-in-hand with a CRM will save money within their hiring budget and improve their net hiring score. Recruiters who use both systems can streamline the hiring process and be ahead of their competitors.

While some companies do not use ATS, many opt to utilize both CRM and ATS software to avoid mistakes, reduce the time to hire, cut down on the cost per hire, and improve the quality of the hires. The hiring process is simplified further, and recruiters can fill positions quickly, leaving minimal administrative work.