ATS Quick Summary
With applicant tracking system (ATS) software, recruiters and other hiring personnel can use features such as customized hiring workflows, resume management and applicant scoring to lower recruiting costs and hire better employees, faster.
Benefits of ATS Software
ATS software provides businesses with a number of benefits over other methods, including:
Customized hiring workflows. No two companies evaluate and hire workers the same way. With an ATS, you can customize the hiring workflow for every role in your organization to standardize the steps in your recruiting process, including interviews and applicant assessments. Task lists, shared calendars and automated alerts ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Automated job posting. Many ATS platforms allow users to post job openings to their company careers page, social media accounts and popular job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn to be seen by interested job seekers. The ability to reuse job posting templates and schedule posts in advance can save users valuable time.
Candidate data management. As applicants from various sources submit their resumes to be considered for positions, ATS software can automatically import them into a secure database for safekeeping. Comprehensive candidate profiles can be created, searched through and filtered by a number of criteria (e.g., location, role, skills) to easily hone in on what you're looking for.
Applicant scoring and ranking. ATS software provides a centralized hub where recruiters, hiring managers and more can collaborate on evaluating job applicants. Standardized rubrics ensure everyone uses the same criteria for every candidate. Some systems can even rank candidates automatically based on what you value most in an employee at your organization for a given role.
Recruiting analytics and reporting. Where are candidates falling out in your recruiting process? Which online source sends your company the best job candidates? Embedded recruiting analytics in an ATS can answer these questions and highlight areas where your organization can improve. ATSs can also generate standardized reports for compliance purposes or to keep stakeholders up-to-date.
Competitive Advantages of Using ATS Software
Every business needs an edge over competitors when it comes to finding, attracting, evaluating and hiring the best workers. ATS software can give you that edge by helping you:
Hire people faster. A 2016 study by employment insight firm DHI Group found the average job vacancy in the U.S. is 29.2 days. The longer it takes for you to find and hire a qualified candidate, the longer it will take for them to become a productive employee. ATS software can help you diagnose bottlenecks in your hiring workflow to cut down the time it takes to fill your vacancies.
Lower cost per hire. It's not always easy to understand where your recruiting spend isn't providing the best return without the proper software to crunch the numbers. Using historical information and data visualization tools housed in an ATS platform, you can better streamline hiring processes and identify new areas for optimization to lower recruiting costs.
Identify top talent. Sometimes the unlikeliest of traits can predict worker success. With ATS software, you and your team can more consistently evaluate and rank applicants. After someone's hired, you can look at their performance metrics to better understand what job applicant qualities are most likely to translate well to specific roles within your organization.
Scale your business. You can get by by keeping track of applicants with manual methods like pen and paper or spreadsheets when you're really small or in the middle of a hiring drought, but that won't always be the case. Investing early is wise, because ATS software is a vital component to growing and optimizing your business.
Businesses Sizes Using ATS Software
ATS software buyers come from a wide variety of industries and sizes, and are generally categorized by how many employees they have in their organization:
Small business buyer. These buyers have anywhere from 1-50 employees and don't have a department dedicated to HR and recruiting initiatives.
Midsize business buyer. These buyers have anywhere from 51-500 employees and are experiencing rapid growth, prompting them to hire an internal recruiter.
Enterprise business buyer. These buyers have more than 500 employees, multiple recruiting personnel and a dedicated IT department.
When you choose to purchase ATS software will depend entirely on your hiring needs, but Software Advice sees peak adoption at 1,001 to 5,000 employees:
Buyers Requesting Applicant Tracking Software, by Number of Employees
Source: "Software Needs Cycle for HR"
Software Related to ATS
Here are some other types of software related to ATS platforms that can improve your recruiting efforts or your workforce as a whole:
Recruiting software: Extends beyond applicant tracking needs to help recruiters manage employer branding initiatives, improve the candidate experience, perform background checks and more.
Staffing agency software: Specializes in helping external recruiting and staffing agencies better manage clients and quickly fill roles with high-quality talent with features like time and expense tracking, back office management and email/calendar integration.
Onboarding software: Helps businesses automate processes to turn new hires into full-fledged employees. Features include new hire task assignment, digital signature capabilities and onboarding form management.
Talent management software: Allows HR personnel to manage the entire employee lifecycle, from attraction and hiring to management and development, with applications for applicant tracking, performance management and more.
HR apps: Gives HR personnel, managers, recruiters and employees the flexibility to complete important personnel tasks on their smartphone or tablet with features like mobile clock-in and out and one-click payroll runs.