What is an Applicant Tracking System?

At a glance

An applicant tracking system, also known as an ATS, is an essential tool in recruitment efforts. It organizes candidates into one central database and tracks prospects throughout their journeys.

Published on:
June 12, 2024

Understanding Applicant Tracking Systems

When applying for a job, candidates often submit their applications to an employer's applicant tracking system, a crucial tool in the recruitment process. ATSs play a pivotal role, from disseminating job postings to managing all applications, and even assisting in the selection of strong candidates for interviews or job offers. They streamline the process, making it more efficient and effective.

Most job seekers now apply online, with their applications organized into an employer's ATS. They help employers manage recruitment, from posting jobs to screening applicants and even scheduling interviews and offer letters for selected candidates.

The Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems

For small businesses, attracting and retaining top talent can be a challenge. This is where applicant tracking systems come in, alleviating the administrative burden on recruiting teams by automating the hiring process. The benefits of ATSs for small businesses are numerous, including improved candidate engagement, decreased time-to-fill, reduced cost-to-hire, and a smooth transition from prospect to employee.

  • They help improve candidate engagement by automating communications and ensuring that no piece of the candidate journey is overlooked. 
  • They can create an ideal candidate profile and assess to what degree applicants meet the desired criteria, leading to decreased time-to-fill.
  • They reduce inefficiencies by cutting down on manual processes and human error, reducing cost-to-hire.
  • They help out even after the hire, creating a smooth transition from prospect to hired employee.
Applicant tracking systems ease the burden of recruiting by automating tasks, creating candidate profiles, and streamlining the hiring process from attraction to hire. 

Challenges and Considerations

There are many different ATSs to choose from, which can be a challenge for small businesses. Additionally, depending on your hiring needs, your ATS may need to meet certain criteria, such as implementing well with outside software like background checks. 

With many great options on the market, selecting the right ATS for your business's needs can be challenging.

The Future of Applicant Tracking Systems

As the recruitment landscape continues to evolve digitally, applicant tracking systems (ATSs) are poised to keep pace. With the potential for enhanced automation capabilities powered by artificial intelligence, the future of ATSs is promising. This advancement could enable teams to create targeted job postings, more accurately find and attract well-suited candidates, and seamlessly integrate their ATS with other digital tools and social media platforms. 

Application tracking systems will evolve significantly as AI and other technology improve, allowing for increased capabilities in personalization, platform integration, and more.

Best Practices for Small Businesses

Small businesses should carefully consider the ATS they use and ensure that it meets their needs when making hires. Additionally, it's essential to consider the candidate experience of the ATS you choose, as businesses with clunky application processes may need more applications.

Small businesses should choose the right ATS that meets their needs and provides a positive candidate experience.

Main takeaway

Applicant tracking systems (ATSs) streamline recruitment by organizing candidate data and automating administrative processes, improving hiring efficiency for businesses of all sizes. An adequate ATS can improve candidate engagement, minimize costs by automating repetitive tasks, and reduce time-to-fill. Ensuring a seamless candidate experience with a well-established ATS is essential for small businesses to attract and retain top talent, especially in competitive job markets.

About the author

Casey Pontrelli

Casey Pontrelli is a multi-talented professional with a background in content creation, branding, and social media marketing. Whether writing for a newspaper, eCommerce website, B2B startup, or a marketing agency, she has taken her strong background in journalism and turned her focus to SEO and content marketing. She’s written about everything from boutiques to cars to small businesses, and enjoys most when she knows her writing has had an impact. When she’s not writing up a storm or creating attention-grabbing social media posts, Casey enjoys hanging out with her partner and three cats, Eddy, Larry, and Marcus, going on long walks in the Green Belt, and, predictably, reading.

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