A to Z of ATS: Ultimate Guide to Understanding Applicant Tracking System & Choosing the Best One
The worldwide ATS (applicant tracking system) market reached revenues of $1.43 billion in 2021, per reports. It can grow further at 9.05% CAGR between 2022 and 2030. And it makes sense because traditionally, recruiters have been spending significant time and manual effort to locate suitable candidates and see them through the hiring process. Communicate with the hiring team on Slack, schedule interviews on Zoom, and note feedback on paper — all the while being susceptible to losing track of the candidate pipeline. Enters ATS to save the day!
The impressive ATS features include candidate management, automated rating/screening of talent, customizable inputs for hiring needs at different steps, scheduling of interviews, etc. Yet to make the most of ATS, it is crucial to understand the basics like what an ATS is, how ATS integration works with other recruitment tools, when to rely on ATS, etc. – all to build up clarity on whether you need ATS for your organization or not and how to choose the best ATS in the market today!
In this guide on ATS, we will cover these, plus answer all your common questions on ATS integration.
What are ATS tools for recruitment?
An ATS or applicant tracking system is a software module that functions as a centralized point or location for all recruitment activities. This simplifies the entire procedure for both recruiters and aspirants alike. They may be integrated into other software solutions or offered individually for companies, with several tools to help at every recruitment stage.
Businesses can deploy their ATS solutions for sourcing candidate details, organizing potential employees, and lowering the overall time taken to apply for jobs.
The ATS helps considerably in monitoring all recruitment actions, enabling smoother management of candidates while lowering the time to apply or fill out job posts.
Who does an ATS solution help?
ATS solutions usually cater to specific types of users, while many organizations choose ATS integration for their existing software solutions regarding hiring, recruitment, and organizational management. Some of the predominant users for these solutions include:
Staffing agencies or recruiting services
They gain the most from ATS solutions since they save time in sourcing candidate information and executing overall recruitment functions.
Employees may view job listings/posts and also refer it to their friends, acquaintances, and family members. Getting in touch with recruiters and following up is a hassle. Depending on an ATS cuts down on the silos. Employees can also track their referral status without directly getting in touch with recruiters.
HR/talent acquisition managers
They can deploy ATS for report generation and monitor the entire recruitment pipeline. These managers can also derive more insights into the status of their pipelines and the influx of job applicants into the system.
Now that you know who can benefit from ATS, how about delving deeper into its core benefits? Here is the lowdown.
Advantages of using ATS solutions
The right online applicant tracking system can come with several benefits, freeing up recruiters for more productive and valuable tasks. Some of these advantages include:
An ATS makes job postings easier and smoother while integrating seamlessly with multiple job boards. As a result, recruiters can conveniently push out all job posts and applications anywhere.
All manual and repetitive duties may be easily automated so that recruiters can focus more on vital organizational tasks. These include interview/appointment scheduling and email-based communication with potential hires.
An ATS will offer records of total candidate histories, offering a complete picture for every company and recruiter.
Improved operational decision-making
With everyone gaining full access to crucial data, including stakeholders and decision-makers, decision-making will be more accessible at the operational end.
Better talent sourcing
An ATS helps in acquiring and nurturing prospects for company roles in the future.
The biggest takeaway is that an ATS enables higher time and cost savings (lowering the time required to hire prospects) along with enabling recruiters and organizations to stay on the right side of legal compliance and regulations.
On the count of sheer effectiveness, nothing can match an applicant tracking system.
Major features of an ATS
An ATS is usually backed up with several valuable features for recruiters and organizations. These make it possible to streamline the entire recruitment procedure with aplomb. Some of these include:
Integration with job boards and job websites
Creating an open job position in the system will require inputs of all vital information. Once done, the same position may be posted quickly across multiple job sites/boards, while candidates, after finding the advertisements, will apply via the ATS directly to the organization. Each application will reflect in the system after that.
Application Form Support
An effective ATS will come with easily buildable application forms. These queries will address the most crucial attributes, qualifications, and skills the company desires. In addition, answers given by prospects will be accessible to the company/recruiter upon application completion, offering instant insights on whether a candidate is qualified for a particular job role/position.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has driven a lot of innovation in ATS recruiting, enabling companies to choose their desired skill sets, experience levels, educational qualifications, and other parameters. AI tools use these parameters for scanning resumes and candidate profiles, scoring them against open positions, and rating them into a shortlist. This will naturally simplify the hiring process for companies while saving significant time, energy, and money in the bargain.
Tracking and monitoring feature
There are boards for monitoring each candidate’s recruitment stage and status within the system. This gives all stakeholders quick glimpses of people who have been sourced, assessed, interviewed, or chosen for specific positions. Therefore, the software should ideally enable search, discovery, and filtering of prospects for evaluation.
The ATS should automatically and consistently create formatted and handy profiles of candidates by pulling out crucial data from their resumes.
Insights and Analytics
With a huge volume of data involved in the entire process, the ATS can help transform the raw data into better insights through the power of analytics. This will help recruiters consistently make better decisions based on solid data.
How does an ATS function?
Given all the features and facets of an ATS, it can sound overwhelming how it works. But it’s not. Below we explain stepwise functioning of a typical online applicant tracking system:
This starts with recruitment managers creating job requisitions on the system for identifying and posting upcoming/open job positions.
Sourcing skilled talent
The software helps post job descriptions and listings to multiple sites, platforms, and boards. This helps in sourcing the best professionals with a few clicks.
The ATS uses scorecards for scoring/ranking spirants, based on which recruiters can get valuable insights. It can also help in scheduling assessments or interviews.
The ATS makes use of scorecards for scoring/ranking spirants, based on which recruiters can get valuable insights. It can also help in scheduling assessments or interviews.
The software plays a big role in helping new hires get into the company database after signing their contracts or job offers. It will cover all tasks related to the pre-onboarding stage, including signing documents, completing forms, and e-signatures.
The functioning methodology of an ATS is simple enough, and all sounds so good. However, before adopting one such tool, it’s critical to look at it from an economic point of view to decide if you would actually need it. Here’s what to consider.
When do you require an ATS?
Do you require ATS integration with your company software stack? When should you ideally purchase an ATS? This software is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all companies. However, here are some of the scenarios where it may be necessary:
- Company expansion is on the cards at a fast pace in the coming few quarters or even in the current one.
- The company is recruiting for a minimum of three different job positions simultaneously.
- You face challenges in reaching out to candidates through several platforms and managing these profiles and interactions.
- You already have to regularly take care of multiple software systems for recruitment, including job sites and boards, video interview programs, online calendars, portals, social media platforms, and much more. You naturally wish to consolidate them into a single solution to simplify the procedure.
- You grapple with places to save candidate information and interactions for placing them in future job positions or keeping their data consolidated in one place.
- You are missing out on skilled talent due to delayed or inefficient outreach/communication modules.
- You need to get the full picture of the status of your recruitment process at each stage. This leaves you needing clarification about whether things are going right and what improvements you need to make.
- You are getting a massive volume of applications for every job position you are advertising, making it tough to manage them all efficiently and leading to you missing out on several good profiles.
- You require a solution to sort and score profiles which is time-consuming and eats into productivity if done manually.
- You want to narrow down the best candidate profiles swiftly and spend less time individually going through each one.
- You have a complicated hiring system where candidates go through a lengthy and outdated system that requires intensive communication at regular intervals.
- You want all stakeholders to be in the loop about recruitment and view all necessary information and progress reports instantly.
- Your recruitment team is spending more time on manual jobs, including candidate communication, interview scheduling, appointments, and the like, leaving them constrained to focus on other productive tasks for the organization.
Take a careful look at the scenarios mentioned above while choosing whether to go for an applicant tracking system or not. You should also have a few parameters in place while choosing between multiple software solutions.
Tips on Choosing your ATS
How do you choose the right option for your needs? There are multiple programs and options available in the market. Selecting your ATS necessitates looking up a few aspects, which include the following:
- It should ensure a seamless and simplified application procedure for candidates, offering better experiences for them while also increasing the scope of candidate nurturing and engagement at the same time.
- It should integrate easily with major job boards and other listing sites. It should help you post across all these sites with a single click while also getting applications directly into your system without logging into every site at an individual level.
- Since multiple people and departments often assess candidates, it should offer collaborative tools and features. An ATS that has good tools for collaboration, including integration with calendars and emails along with shared notes, will always work better for organizations. There should also be a feature to invite or tag people who are not within the team to ensure that everyone is in the loop about candidates and every stage of the recruitment process.
- Integration with emails should be there. This will help you communicate much better with candidates and enhance engagement considerably at the same time. This helps in directly emailing applicants while organizing and demarcating communication at an individual level. Proper communication, or the lack of it, is often a deterrent in the hiring process, leading to recruiters missing out on the best talent across job positions.
- The ATS should be simple and easy to operate on a regular basis. You should not have to possess a technical background to use the same, considering that HR teams and other stakeholders in the organization will mostly use it. The whole point of the software is to save time and energy. It should not lead to higher time expenditure in learning how to use all the integrated tools and features.
- The software should be able to organize and compile all candidate information and his/her history that you can access instantly whenever you require the same. This will have details of the candidate’s skills, contact details, and other qualifications. This will also show you all earlier feedback, engagement, and communication for a candidate.
- The applicant tracking system should be implementable for any organization without it disrupting the entire IT framework.
- You should be able to personalize your online applicant tracking system in terms of specific inputs for candidate sourcing and screening and also every stage of the recruitment process/candidate experience, including application forms and layouts.
Choosing the right solution can shore up business revenues (in terms of time savings and higher productivity) and streamline your recruitment process more effectively in turn.
Which ATS is considered to be the most popular?
There are several ATS in the market competing for the top spot. However, some of those online applicant tracking systems have established themselves as the most sought-after among HR across the world because of their unique offerings in addition to standard ATS features.
The most popular ATS include:
A well-known name among all ATS systems, Bullhorn’s applicant tracking system is designed to help you quickly find the perfect candidate and streamline all workflows. It integrates with major vendors, is updated frequently, offers advanced analytics, and more.
Greenhouse helps streamline the recruitment process end-to-end. It also allows for collaboration among team members, sourcing and engaging candidates, etc., while providing GDPR-standard security and performance.
Built for large companies with a global presence, iCIMS can handle the hiring of up to 50,000 candidates. It allows you to attract new candidates through custom-branded career sites, employee-generated testimonial videos, personalized emails, etc.
SmartRecruiters’ enterprise-grade talent acquisition suite goes beyond applicant tracking; it’s got solutions for candidate sourcing, assessment, and engagement, as well as native collaboration and AI tools.
Preferred for its ease of usage, Lever packs the capabilities of both an ATS and a CRM. In addition, they’re DEI-conscious with Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) surveys and several measures to reduce hiring bias.
An ATS (applicant tracking system) is steadily becoming a necessity for every recruiter looking for hiring efficiency. This one tool alone can automate manual and repetitive tasks and improve candidate communication, screening, and scheduling. Moreover, it helps post across job boards while directly receiving and managing applications. It is also ideal for collaborative candidate screening and viewing everything across a consolidated platform.
However, in today’s dynamically changing world, companies are now integrating several regulatory compliances and aspects like DEI into their hiring strategies. The need of the hour is an effective solution that can help companies stick to their hiring blueprints while integrating smoothly with existing ATS/CRM solutions and sourcing candidates from multiple channels. Arya Quantum is one such solution that promises to simplify recruitment with powerful tools and features. It collaborates with top job boards while posting job ads on multiple platforms. It also helps with pipeline and resumes reviews while automating engagement through personalized Chatbots.
What does ATS integration mean?
It involves integrating your ATS solution with additional software, such as your HRIS, eSignature software, or business communications platform. Once connected, their data can easily be kept in sync and transferred between apps.
What is an ATS vs CRM?
Where a CRM system aids in building and maintaining a talent pool of active and passive candidates for recruitment, an ATS organizes and coordinates the actual application and hiring process. Both are important recruiting technology tools.
What is the role of ATS in human resource management?
With the help of an ATS, manual tasks may be automated, the recruitment team’s visibility into the hiring process is increased, and communication opportunities are expanded along the candidate journey.
What is open source ATS?
A fully functional, open-source online applicant tracking system is free to use. It assists you in managing the entire recruiting life-cycle, from business growth through placement completion.
What is an applicant tracking system examples?
A software program called an applicant tracking system (ATS) automates administrative tasks in hiring and recruiting. An ATS, for instance, allows scheduling interviews more quickly, advertising jobs more easily, optimizing referrals, automating processes, and more.