What is an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)?

If you work in staffing, you’ve probably heard of the term applicant tracking system (ATS).

But what does it mean?

And why are they integral to staffing success? Read on for the basics of applicant tracking systems.

An applicant tracking system automates an organization’s recruiting and staffing operations and provides a central repository for candidate data—including résumés and applications. An ATS is built to help you better manage every stage in the recruiting process, from application to hire, while delivering greater overall efficiency.

How Applicant Tracking Systems Work

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

The system allows company recruiters to review the applications, send applicants automated messages letting them know their applications have been received, and give online tests. Hiring managers can schedule interviews and mail rejection letters through the ATS. Finally, human resources personnel can use the same information to put individuals on the payroll once they are hired. These integrated systems streamline the recruiting, application, and hiring process for employers.

Why Do I Need an Applicant Tracking System?

A good ATS has the power to overhaul your entire staffing operation into the most productive, profitable, and efficient business it can be. With proper implementation, they increase recruiter productivity, save time, and provide organization and structure for your staffing operations.

Specifically, firms that use an Applicant Tracking System report:

75% less wasted time
70% faster report creation
15% less time to fill
10% more placements per month

Staffing firms that use an applicant tracking system and those that do report more placements and less unproductive time than firms that don’t. Ninety-four percent of recruiting professionals say their ATS has positively impacted their hiring process.

What are the benefits of an ATS?

What is it specifically about an applicant tracking system that makes it so important to your staffing success? You can find a comprehensive list of ATS benefits here, but here are some of the top reasons people invest in an applicant tracking system.

  • Avoid Errors: As your business grows, it’s easy for bad data to slip through the cracks. And spotting an error in thousands of rows of numbers and names can be near-impossible. As your team’s data—and potential mistakes—pile up, it can have costly repercussions on your reporting and your business.
  • Source Candidates More Efficiently: Want to step up your candidate sourcing game? Existing candidates within an ATS is the number one source for identifying quality candidates, according to a survey of staffing professionals—outpacing referrals, social media, and job boards. With the organization an ATS provides, it’s easier to place and redeploy candidates.
  • Improve the Client Experience: A good recruitment ATS can help you better manage your client relationships in a number of ways. For example, it can automatically log all of your conversations with a client, so nothing gets lost in transit. You can also harness the power of AI to avoid getting blindsided by unhappy clients through predictive intelligence that flags potential problems before they become terminations.

Signs Businesses Need an Applicant Tracking System

While applicant tracking systems can be used by companies of all sizes, they’re particularly useful for businesses who are regularly hiring employees for a variety of positions, or those that tend to get large numbers of applicants for each position.

Businesses are likely to see a significant ROI with an applicant tracking system if they’re screening more than 1000 resumes annually. They’ll also benefit from an ATS if they have a long or convoluted hiring process, or if they’re experiencing problems with their recruiting and administration.

Applicant tracking systems can significantly reduce time-to-fill. This means that companies that find it difficult to manage the workload associated with large pools of candidates will find the streamlined process much more effective.

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