What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, is a software-based system designed to help organizations visualize and store job applicant and candidate data throughout the hiring process.

There are five core features to any ATS:

  • Provide an online space for open positions to be viewed by applicants
  • Allow candidates to apply for positions directly online
  • Screen candidates with either automatic or manual review
  • Organizational user view for candidate progress tracking
  • Communication tools to record in-system and offline events

So what does this look like in practice?

Let’s imagine you are looking to hire a new administrative assistant without an ATS. The first step in your process would be to define the requirements for the position. You would then look to identify sources that you have used successfully in the past. These sources could be job fairs, job-board listings, networking events, or even legacy advertisements like radio or newspaper.

Once you identify your sources, you would ‘post’ your position to your various sources. You would probably update your company’s careers page to include the new opening. Applicants would learn about your job (or not!) and you would begin to receive a trickle and then a flood of calls, emails, applications and resumes.

At this point you have a stack of documents that grows and morphs day-to-day. You probably have created sub-folders in sub-folders in your email inbox. After hours of review of paper and electronic documents, you now have a group of people you think might be a good fit for your open position.

As you can see this process is arduous and unstructured (and we haven’t even started phone screening!) Let’s see how things are different when using an ATS.

The first step is the same. However, with an ATS in place you don’t need to create a job description and find sources from scratch, they are saved from the last time you hired for this (or any) position.

Posting with most Applicant Tracking Systems is made much easier with features like job-board integration, custom job links and email addresses, and direct integration with your organization’s website. As an example IntelliHire’s career’s page ‘widget’ will plug in directly to your careers page so when you post a new job it immediately shows up online on your website!

Since applicants are applying to a job directly on a website you receive virtually no documents through email or paper. Applicants submit all of their contact information, answer questions about their skills, and upload all of the documents you need from them online. Instead of spending all of your time collecting, organizing and trying to keep up with candidate information, you can focus on identifying the best fits for your culture and need.

If you’d like to learn more about the IntelliHire Applicant Tracking System contact us today.