How to Leverage Applicant Tracking System

Gone are the days when paper applications were posted to the companies for job vacancies. It was a huge task to manage those applications and find out a suitable profile for the position open. In this digital era, no one wants to waste valuable time when there is a huge pressure of recruitment.

With increased use of information technology and continuous recruitment of a huge number of people in fresh workforce, use of automated systems for tracking job applications has also been increased.

Automated systems of recruitment are known as Applicant Tracking Systems. Job seekers submit online application forms and the data gets stored in the databases of companies. Later the HR or recruitment team sorts out the applications on the base of saved information and their requirements, to choose their best candidate.

With the number of teams using these software solutions, the question here is -- do applicant tracking systems really work? How to use the ATS systems effectively for searching the best job or recruiting best candidate?

This guide will help give you answers to the most common questions to do with applications.

What is ATS or Applicant Tracking System?

ATS of Applicant Tracking System is a software system that is used to handle the recruitment process of an organization. It tracks, sorts, handles hundreds or thousands of resumes of the job seekers and applicants. It is an intelligent system to save information, screen resumes to sort according to the skills and requirements of the recruitment team. ATS searches the best candidates to call for interviews through keywords entered by the recruitment team personnel. Basically, it manages the entire hiring process in an automated way to provide a quick and easy solution for recruitment division of an organization.

Other than screening the resume and storing candidate information, ATS is also used to schedule meeting or interview with the candidate, checking the references posted by internal teams separately, test the applicants online or complete paperwork after a new hire.

Reasons for use of ATS hugely by companies

The majority of the companies use Applicant Tracking system to smoothen their recruitment process today. The first and the foremost reason of using ATS by these organizations are - saving the mammoth task of paperwork and of course, time. But this is not the only reason to use this kind of smart system. Here are some other factors that force the companies to use ATS as the inseparable component of their hiring process –

  1. Ease of use for both applicants and the employer: The hassle of sending paper applications have been reduced tremendously for applicants after companies have introduced the ATS systems. Also, it is easy for the recruitment team to get all those applications from great candidates from all over the world through just a few click.

  2. The risk of losing resumes reduced: The risk of losing paper resumes or deleting a resume sent through email has been reduced. Most importantly the ATS systems are cloud based these days, so losing a resume stored in recruitment team’s computer has nullified today.

  3. Organize the applicant data: ATS helps companies to organize and save applicant data effectively, even for future use. It also can keep track of the relevant data of the applicants regularly during the recruitment process.

  4. Manage the complete recruitment lifecycle: ATS softwares are capable of managing the life cycle of the recruitment process from start to end. From finding a resume, screening best possible candidate, schedule an interview and documentation of the new joined – ATS manages it all.

  5. Faster screening: ATS systems screen relevant resumes faster than a human being. It uses keywords entered by the team to search the resumes. So, the effort of reading thousands complete resume to find the relevant skill has been omitted and thus the time for screening the relevant application has been reduced drastically.

What is a job seeker's benefit to use an ATS?

Till now it is clear that ATS systems definitely work for an organization effectively and there is a good reason to use ATS for them. But, what about the job seeking candidates?

Let us see what an applicant tracking system do for a job seeker:

  1. It is easy to apply online filling the forms with relevant applications that will go to the database of the organization for further screening by the ATS systems.

  2. Faster screening makes the recruitment process quick. So, a job seeker knows he is hired or not, very quickly and thus he looks forward to joining or searching jobs further quickly. This reduces the frustration among the job seekers and saves them from losing another opportunity.

  3. Chance of overlooking or deleting a resume accidentally has been reduced. So, all the resumes comes forefront for screening through different search mechanisms inside the ATS systems.

  4. Security of data is higher with the use of cloud based ATS systems.

Different ways to leverage the ATS

Softwares are made to help to perform different tasks easily. But to do that we have to give the proper inputs. To use the ATS for maximum benefits, here are some ways for the job seekers:

  1. Understand the requirements first. Read thoroughly the experience or skill set the company wants, before submitting the resume. This will reduce the chance of elimination for the candidate and also reduce the time of screening non-relevant resume for the ATS.

  2. A job applicant should not create a flat resume for every kind of job application. The resume should be edited and created according to each and specific job requirements so that it can get focused while being searched through an ATS system.

  3. The resume should include the relevant keywords and skills that are mentioned in the job post.

  4. Research of other similar and relevant key words for the specific position can be beneficial. Sometimes some keywords get inserted in the search box of the ATS system but not mentioned there in the job post. This activity will help the system pick the candidate's resume instantly while searching for those keywords. For example, there is a vacancy of "Software Quality Analyst" in a company. To apply for that position, the resume of the candidate may include keywords like "team management", "communication”, “SDLC” etc. other keywords along with the main keywords like “analysis” or “quality analysis”. This will help the resume screened fast if the recruitment team enters those keywords for search.

  5. Social media profiles are very important as it reflects the life and thinking of the candidate, which is very important for a company to know. If a resume includes genuine social media profile of a candidate, it will increase the importance of the profile to get searched for.

Optimized resume, keyword based descriptions and good research about the job postings will make the ATS very good tool for a candidate to apply and get selected in an organization. Also, for the recruiters, ATS can be beneficial only when it is used to recruit quality candidates to build an effective workforce for the company.