Application tracking systems (ATS) exist to help businesses reduce the amount of manual work required to find, select and recruit the best possible employees. They have an enormous capacity to simplify your business’ recruitment process by streamlining and automating time consuming manual tasks that stop you from adding value somewhere else in your business. They also help you find the best candidates more quickly.
When you have an influx of job applications on your desk or in your inbox, it can be tricky to know the best way to narrow down the stack. An ATS can digitally scan and sort every application enabling you to start the hiring process with a smaller, more targeted pile.
What are application tracking systems?
Applicant tracking systems are a type of software application that businesses use to streamline the recruitment process by electronically storing and managing the data of potential job candidates. While the main function of an ATS is the capability to collect and sort a large number of resumes, depending on the system you choose, other features you might have access to include the ability to:
- Directly post and track job openings to job sites and social media
- Highlight candidates based on keyword or phrase searches
- Rank candidates based on how similar some resumes are to particular job descriptions
- Send applicants automated messages
- Schedule interviews and mail rejection letters
How do application tracking systems work?
When applicants apply for a job you’ve posted online, they upload their resume (and sometimes cover letter) using a webform. Your ATS will then scan and store the relevant information from these documents in its database. Relevant information might include:
- Contact information
- Past experience
- Educational background
- Past achievements
Plus, as a candidate moves through your recruitment process, your ATS can also transfer their data from one part of your system to another. And finally, your HR team can use the same information to add successful candidates on the payroll once they become your employee.
How can application tracking systems help simplify your recruitment process?
The main way that an ATS simplifies your recruitment process is by enabling your recruiters to manage the entire process from a single, integrated space. Elements of helpful automation also help to save your HR team hours of manual work that they could be spending on working with your employees to help them thrive, work more productively and kick goals. Digging a little deeper, there are five other ways that you can streamline your hiring with an effective ATS:
- Seamlessly create and post new roles
Once you’ve written up the perfect new job description for your business, it’s time to track down those golden candidates. An ATS makes it easy to post new jobs on the best job boards and sites (or even by email) to help you entice people with the skills and cultural fit you’re looking for.
Remember to create a detailed listing to help your ATS make better matches with the most relevant candidates.
- Keep multiple resumes in one manageable and searchable place
No matter where you receive applications from, whether it be from a job site, via email or directly from someone in person, your ATS makes it simple to import them quickly into your database. This means that you can view, store and categorise all your applicants in one easy-to-search place. Plus, even once you’ve filled a particular role, you will still have access to all the applications you previously highlighted for future roles that pop up.
- Eliminate undesirable candidates
When you receive hundreds of applications, an ATS can save you time by filtering out unqualified candidates. Your ATS does this by making candidates answer some knockout questions when they apply. Depending on how the applicant answers, the ATS will either flag them and reject the application or upload their data into the database for you to review.
This can save recruitment teams hours of scanning and sorting resumes (and even making calls to ask specific knockout questions themselves) in that initial stage of hiring.
- Highlight, track and build shortlists of qualified candidates
Once your ATS has created a list of all the applications who made it through to the database, the system will begin to scan and pull out important information (that you have nominated) about each candidate and present it in a straightforward, digestible way.
You can ‘tell’ your ATS to scan for the information you’re most interested in for each new role, for example, specific skills, experience or education. From there, the ATS can identify the top candidates for the job at hand for you to quickly and easily scan, rate and make notes on before you move onto the next stage of the hiring process - interviews.
- Schedule interviews
When it’s time to meet up with your favourite candidates, you can easily sync your ATS with your existing company calendars so you can see when the best time is to arrange interviews.
Plus, if it suits your business better, most ATSs include video interviewing options that can make it easy for hiring people who will be working remotely or in another state for example.
A guide to applicant tracking systems
You want to get the most out of your ATS and to do this, there are a few things you need to get sorted as a priority before you can start finding and hiring the best people. Follow this simple three step guide to choose, implement and use the best ATS for your business:
- Choose the best ATS for your business
Choosing an ATS that works with the unique characteristics of your business is key if you really want to improve your recruitment. Researching and reading reviews about how a certain ATS solution has worked for other businesses that are a similar size and type to yours is a great way to narrow down your choices.
Plus, remember that your ATS could be the first time a new employee interacts with your business, so it should reflect your brand and company culture as much as possible. The ability to customise and create dashboards can make a big difference.
- Integrate your ATS with your website and company systems
After selecting an ATS, it’s easy to get excited and want to start using it right away. But, before you get carried away, you need to implement it properly. The most important part of a successful implementation is integration. The better integrated an ATS is with your existing systems, the more useful it will be.
Placing an ATS widget on your website can make your company look more organised and appealing to potential candidates. Plus, some people (who could be exactly who you’re looking for) might prefer applying directly with a company.
Integrating your ATS with your HR systems will also make importing new employee information faster, more accurate and easier to report on and analyse.
- Use your ATS to the best of its ability
There are five main steps to using (and getting the most out of) your new ATS, including
- Create a new job
Your ATS will post it to as many job boards and social media platforms as you nominate.
- Watch your database fill out
As candidates apply, your ATS automatically captures their details and loads them into your database for review.
- View an organised, filterable list of relevant candidates
‘Tell’ your ATS which types of information you are most interested in so it can start sorting and filtering your pool of candidates.
- Review and rate your favourites
Easily click through and review the top applications, rate your favourites, make notes and schedule interviews.
- Easily onboard new hires
Link your ATS with your HR systems, including payroll, and seamlessly copy over all the relevant data of anyone you hire into their new employee file.
- Create a new job
Disclaimer: This document contains general information and is also not intended to constitute legal or taxation advice. If you need legal or taxation advice, we recommend you speak to a qualified adviser.
Author: Breathe New Zealand
Posted on 11 May, 2022