What is Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An applicant tracking system is a software solution that manages an organization’s recruiting and staffing operations and provides a central database for candidates’ information such as resumes and applications.  An ATS is made to help agencies better manage every step in the staffing process, from application to accepting, while delivering greater overall efficiency. ATSs are somehow like CRM (Customer Relationship Management ) systems however they are specifically produced for recruitment purposes. Most job boards and resume boards ( LinkedIn.com, Indeed.comMonster.comHotjobsCareerBuilderReed Online, etc.) have partnerships with ATS software companies to provide analyzing support and easy data cloning from one system to another.

Benefits of ATS

ATS software has many benefits for the recruitment processes. Since it facilitates and fastens the applicant scanning, it saves the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks. For example, 70 percent of the resumes are not seen by the employer. Big companies get thousands of resumes each week (a reported 50,000 per week for Microsoft and 75,000 per week for Google) and on average each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes. There’s no time for a human to go through each one. The ATS cuts automatically almost 70 percent that doesn’t match the required criteria. The way it works simply is that the position requirements are input into the ATS then the software scans the stored resumes for the given requirements. When the ATS extracts a resume that meets the expectations, it automatically moves that applicant forward in the staffing process.

By keeping all the documents in the program, you have all the details you need in one location. You can easily switch between apps, compare candidates, change candidate status, select candidates, and scan candidates without leaving the program.

Additionally, an Applicant Tracking System allows you to upload the job openings on several platforms with a single click. It is unnecessary to manually log in to individual accounts from each social platform and post the job.

ATS facilitates communication and collaboration throughout the staffing process. Moreover, from the applicant side, ATS improves the application process by keeping applicants up-to-date on their status, notifying them when their applications have been received and whether they’re being considered for the position.

Companies can attract and communicate more candidates with an applicant tracking system. That said, ATS contributes to boosting brand recognition and improving the talent pipeline.

Shortfalls of ATS

One of the main drawbacks of applicant tracking systems is that they are built to look for resumes and applications that meet the full requirements of the position announced. It usually means that candidates that could have valuable experience, yet are switching careers and therefore have a varied resume, do not even get considered for the role.

Another shortfall of applicant tracking systems is that sometimes the results can be inaccurate and unreliable. The reason may be invalid resumes such as the scanner not being able to read them properly. If a resume is a bit more complex than others, this may also cause elimination by the ATS. Given that, you might have missed the most appropriate candidate just because of a resume detection failure.

On the other hand, since ATS is a technological, tool the users have to be trained well to get the best results. For example, if the recruiter is not able to input the correct keywords regarding his/her search, the result will not be fully meeting the expectations.


As with all technological systems, there are benefits and shortfalls to using applicant tracking systems such as mentioned above. However, the modern version of the ATS is more of a well-designed recruitment optimization tool than a traditional resume database. Thanks to recent advancements, applicant tracking systems are currently being more user-friendly and helpful compared to the former versions.

If you are considering using an applicant tracking system to assist you in the recruitment process, it is highly recommended firstly assessing the advantages and disadvantages to check it is the right decision for your business. And lastly, examine the specific ATS in detail to decide which one fits your organization the best regarding your business processes.


  1. Younas, Mohammad (2018-04-25). “10 Features Every Career Portal Should Have Today”Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  2. https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/what-is-ats#2
  3. https://blog.ongig.com/applicant-tracking-system/top-applicant-tracking-systems-ats-software-2020/
  4. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/1015-applicant-tracking-systems.aspx
  5. https://www.thehrbooth.co.uk/blog/hr-software/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-using-applicant-tracking-systems-for-recruitment/
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applicant_tracking_system
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