Applicant tracking system (ATS)

Applicant tracking system (ATS) is used for covering recruitment needs in an electronic and more optimized way. Advantages of ATS are that they can be stored and accessed online. There are various ATS for small and medium businesses or enterprises.  Depending on business needs and functionality implemented, ATS can be free, open source, sold as standalone software or on software as a service (SaaS) basis for subscription.

Initially the applicant tracking system were used only by large corporations, which had to deal with thousands of job applications weekly. However this tool turned to be efficient for businesses of every type and size, so now almost 95% of Fortune 500 companies successfully use ATS to manage and streamline their recruiting.

ATS is much like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, however, they have specifics, related to recruitment tracking process. Comprehensive Applicant Tracking Systems, like PeopleForce, keep detailed database of applicants, including CVs and personal data, hiring process management with options of assigning responsible people, tracking recruiting process, sending automated notifications, accepting electronic signatures and detailed access control over sensitive information.

Why use Applicant Tracking System?

Learning about job opportunities and applying for jobs has become so much easier worldwide. Recruiting managers receive and look through at average 250 applications per vacancy, as reported by Inc. Only 4-6 candidates of those will be invited for interview. Can you image how much time and effort recruiters put into searching through all applications, reviewing and selecting the most relevant ones, and afterwards sending both negative and positive feedback to applicants. Here comes ATS as high tech solution to HR managers and recruiters needs.

Robust ATS provide functionality to organize and save CVs and all personal data of applicants for later. That makes easier for recruiters to refer to previous applicants in case of new job opening or different position. If recruiter has ever contacted you months later, then (s)he probably makes good use of ATS. ATS preserves applications and applicants data even after the vacancy was closed.

Tips for Candidates Applying Through ATS

If you see an online form for job applications, then most likely that Applicant tracking system will handle your information. So here are several tips for candidates for successful job application.

  • Use the right keywords. Often applicant tracking systems filter applications by keywords, so make sure that your resume contains keywords, related to job requirements. Pay attention to what position you’re applying to and include those exact words, used in job description. For example, if position requires Microsoft Word, don’t write Microsoft Office in your CV. Human will definitely understand that, but automated system may not.
  • Be attentive and carefully follow the instructions. If you’re required to submit CV in .doc format, don’t upload it in .pdf. Include all the files that are required, for example, not only CV, but also cover letter, references, tests, etc. That’s not a hard task, just read carefully all the instructions, prior to submitting your application.
  • Avoid putting important information in the header or footer. Many applicant tracking systems might not be able to properly parse details in document header or footer. You can secure your CV from such case, just by putting all important information, especially contact information, in main body of your CV.
  • Avoid fancy images and graphics. Images, charts and graphics in CV may look nice and creative, but ATS may mess up or omit them. In such case you risk being lost in applicant tracking system for the sake of having beautiful CV. Set your priorities and keep designed CV for positions, where you apply manually via e-mail.

However, we must admit that Applicant tracking system of PeopleForce parses all data from CV correctly and leaves room for manual entering of applicant’s information. So these tips are applicable for applicant tracking system other, than PeopleForce 🙂