Table of Contents: All you need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
- I. What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
- II. How do Applicant Tracking Systems Work?
- III. How Applicant Tracking Systems Benefit Job Seekers?
- IV. How Applicant Tracking Systems Benefit Recruiters?
- V. What’s the Best Applicant Tracking System for Your Business?
- VI. Drawbacks of Applicant Tracking Systems
- VII. What is the Average Cost of an Applicant Tracking System?
- VIII. Software Related to Applicant Tracking Systems
An applicant tracking system is a software used by companies to find and recruit employees
An applicant tracking system, also known as ATS, is an innovative software that enables companies to find and recruit the best candidates for job openings. Candidates get hired quicker and are able to start the onboarding process, saving companies time and money. Applicant tracking systems allow recruiters and hiring managers to search for resumes based on certain keywords and phrases related to the job posting and filters out candidates who do not meet the criteria.
ATS do not only benefit recruiters and hiring managers, job seekers can significantly improve their chances of getting their resumes noticed if they are aware of what ATS scan for. This blog post will later cover how job seekers can “beat” applicant tracking systems, improving their chances of getting an interview and being hired for a job.
Applicant tracking systems collect and sort through thousands of resumes, job applications and cover letters, showcasing only the top candidates for a job post based on desired requirements. ATS allows companies and business to stay organized and efficient in terms of human resource tasks.
A neat aspect of applicant tracking systems is that they are not all created equal. Companies and businesses can purchase applicant tracking systems based on certain features that will optimize their specific recruitment process. For example, if you are the manager of a team of 30 recruiters in a company that has 250 employees, you are most likely going to need a more advanced applicant tracking system than 2 hiring managers in a company with only 30 employees total. There are countless applicant tracking softwares, so you are sure to find one that works for your business. You can also demo applicant tracking systems before you buy on so that you can be certain which ATS will benefit your company.
Overall, an applicant tracking system is designed to help better control every step of a company’s recruiting and hiring process, from application and interviewing, to hiring on onboarding. ATS significantly cuts off the time recruiters and hiring managers spend tracking job seekers, identifying quality candidates, and hiring the right person for the job.
Applicant tracking systems use algorithms to find candidates based on keywords and phrases
As you probably know, companies, organizations and businesses of all industries and sizes get tons of resumes sent to them for available jobs that have been posted on their webpages. These jobs are often posted on third party job boards as well. Because nowadays applying for a job is as simple as making “one click,” people can take advantage of that one click button. This makes it hard for recruiters to look for candidates who are actually qualified for a job posting because anyone and everyone is applying to the same position. Applicant tracking system were created to help sift through some of the noise in any given application.
When job seekers fill out a job applications online, their resume and cover letter typically is not going straight to the hiring manager or recruiter. An applicant tracking system scans resumes, cover letters and job applications and collects candidate information such as contact info, employment history, job skills, etc. More importantly, the ATS is looking for key words and phrases that match the job description. Applicant tracking systems use algorithms that are able to run a deeper analysis of candidates applying for a job.
ATS are designed sort out and rank candidates by conducting an initial scan or analysis of job seeker applications and resumes. The system will then select qualified candidates who best meet the job qualifications or posting. You will not bypass the preliminary analysis if the algorithm detects that your resume is lacking keywords.
When job seekers submit job applications through an applicant tracking system, the system will store candidate info into a database. If a resume has the right skills sets that hiring managers desire, the applicant tracking system will rank the job application higher in the search results. This is why having the right keywords and phrases on you resume is important. The keyword searches that applicant tracking systems scan can include skills, job titles, and experiences specific to the job posting.
It is also important to format resumes so that they can be read by the applicant tracking system. Some applicant tracking systems automatically toss out resumes if the font or formatting is wrong, even if you are the perfect candidate and meet all the job requirements. Having “bad” formatting and fonts, and even fancy graphs and images, can confuse the applicant tracking system and your resumes will not be considered. This article will cover resume tips in a later section.
Have you ever applied for a job that you didn’t get, but received a notification or email stating that your resume will be kept on file? Some companies keep your resumes on file even after the position closes because recruiters and hiring managers can use the applicant tracking system to search through all resumes on file within the company. When a new position opens, the hiring team does not have to worry about starting from scratch to find a candidate, they can just have the ATS search through all the resumes that are on file. This means candidates that were rejected still have a chance of being hired long after originally submitting their resumes.
There are a plethora of companies developing ATS software to assist with human resources and each system offers different features. One example of an applicant tracking system is Nextal. Nextal is a collaborative recruiting platform that helps businesses hire the top candidates faster and smarter. This ATS makes every step of the hiring process simple, intuitive, and effective, resulting in efficient recruiters, satisfied hiring managers, and improved human resource departments.
Nextal is designed to be used by anyone involved in the hiring process. Whether you are a small company, a large company, or a hiring agency, Nextal helps you track candidates all the way from job posting to hiring. It cuts off the time taken to track, identify and find the quality candidate the hiring managers need.
To get a better understanding of what applicant tracking systems offer, read through the ATS features included in the Nextal software.
With this feature, you can easily find and source candidates applying to your job posting from different sources such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, etc
This feature allows hiring managers and recruiters to send emails about the status of a job and request interviews from the application. It is efficient and quick communication centralized in one place that is easy to use.
3. Customized Process
A business is only as exceptional as the employees in it, and to get quality people, a strong recruitment and hiring process is a must. You can customize and streamline your hiring process from application to hire. For example, you could customize a job application to include a specific set of questions. This helps hiring managers filter out candidates based on their responses.
4. Advanced Analytics
This ATS feature gives you real time insights about your entire hiring strategy.
5. Custom Job Site
It is possible to create branded career pages and easily publish your listing. A customized career site is very professional and looks impressive to job seekers. With this feature, you can make sure your company’s branding is consistent.
6. Knowledge Management
Knowledge management allows recruiters and hiring managers to keep the entire history of each application in one place.
With this applicant tracking system feature, you can set up notifications to engage your interviewers and get their feedback on your company’s hiring process.
8. Candidate Nurturing
Every business or company should build relationships with potential candidates and customers at any time. Engaging with customers can close sales and increase revenue for your business.
9. Job Syndication
This applicant tracking system feature is makes it easy to publish job listings on different web platforms.
10. Cloud Hosting
All your data will be managed on the cloud. All you need to do is create an account!
Even social media can play a role in applicant tracking systems. ATS can draw info about job candidates from their social media profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter, to actively recruit, or reject, prospective employees. This is why many stress the significance of not posting anything unprofessional on social media when trying to secure a job. As a result, employers can decide if you’re good fit for their organization with the help of ATS.
What is an ATS compliant resume and how can it help you land a job?
You have all the right skills for an available job and your resume clearly showcases your talent. Also on your resume is a list of accomplishments and promotions throughout the years. You have saved companies money by working diligently and solving problems. You are smart and work well with others, but somehow you are having trouble getting an interview. What is the issue?
Like the majority of job seekers, you are at the mercy of smart applicant tracking systems. As you know by now, applicant tracking systems are searching for keywords and specific skills in order to rank candidates for job postings. If your resume does not score among the top percentage of candidates, it will not pass the initial step of the hiring process and will not be seen by a human recruiter.
According to Jobscan, 98% percent of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems, so it is important for job seekers to optimize their resumes so that they have a chance of getting past the system.
Study the job posting and include terms mentioned in the description on your resume and in your application.
Job seekers should also be aware of what applicant tracking systems are unable to read. Here are some helpful tips for getting your resume through the initial automated hiring process.
Make sure your resume has a simple format that highlights your work history chronologically. If you decide to download a resume template from a website, make sure the resume is ATS compliant. Sometimes creative, elaborate or colorful resumes cannot be scanned by applicant tracking systems, so it is best to use a template that is simple. A lot of job seekers put their contact info in the header of their resumes, but some applicant tracking systems cannot read info included in headers, so it is best to keep this tip in mind as well!
Have you ever read a text that had a random characters or symbols in it? Applicant tracking system can’t read elaborate font. Sometimes a recruiter will see these odd characters in your resume and you don’t even know it. It is best to use a plain, simple font like Verdana, a sans-serif font. Be sure to use black text as well.
Don’t use fancy downloaded templates from the internet. While it may be appealing to a human recruiter, the applicant tracking system will not appreciate it and your info could get scrambled. Stick to using a clean and simple design for your resume or make sure your template is ATS complaint.
4. Missing Keywords
The recruiter or hiring manager of a company creates job descriptions with certain qualifications, skills and experiences that they believe are a match for the job. The job description you see posted online is full of keywords that ultimately determines if your resume will be chosen for further consideration. No matter how perfect or qualified you are for the job, if you do not have a certain amount of the right keywords, your resume will not be showcased to the hiring manager.
For example, a finance company seeking to hire a Sr. Financial Analyst might use the following keywords: CFA, Portfolio, ROI. Your resume and application should use these exact words and similar words relating to the skills necessary for the position.
5. Charts, Graphs and Images
Although it may be eye catching, most applicant tracking systems will not be able to decipher resumes and job applications with graphs, charts and images.
If you are curious to learn more about how to beat applicant tracking systems, CIO posted the secrets to beating an applicant tracking system earlier this year.
An applicant tracking system can overhaul a company’s entire hiring process.
Switching from a manual recruiting process to an automated one has many benefits for recruiters and hiring managers. Saving time is a huge benefit because employees don’t need to sift through hundreds of resumes to decipher which candidates should move along in the hiring process.
Recruiters also save time because they can access previous successful applications for new jobs instead of beginning the search for candidates all over again. Therefore, they will have a superior quality talent pool to choose from.
Applicant tracking systems allow for a standardized hiring process that easy and efficient and speeds up the human resources process. ATS allows recruiters and hiring managers to be more productive.
They can reduce employee turnover rate because employers hire qualified and better screened job seekers with the help of applicant tracking systems.
Applicant tracking systems weed out bad and unqualified candidates so that hiring managers and recruiters do not have to waste time reading through unfit job applications.
ATS can keep recruiters compliant with hiring laws by eliminating biases whether the biases be conscious or unconscious.
Applicant tracking systems allow hiring managers and recruiters to get back to candidates about job posting quicker with automated messaging and responses. ATS can also send out interview reminders.
An applicant tracking systems can greatly impact your company by providing structure and overhauling your hiring process into the most efficient, cheap, and productive process that it can be.
The best applicant tracking system works for your budget, employees, and business needs.
There are so many applicant tracking systems to choose from. How can you tell which applicant tracking system is right for you? It is a good idea to think through what your goals are for your business and how an applicant tracking system can help achieve those goals. Here are some things to keep in mind before choosing an applicant tracking system.
1. How many people do you plan to hire?
How many candidates is your company hiring? Do you know how many opportunities for new jobs will arise in the future? If you are only hire a few employees, think about purchasing a stand alone applicant tracking system.
2. Is the applicant tracking system easy to use?
You might find that some applicant tracking systems are easier to use than others. Try a demo of various types of applicant tracking systems to get a feel for which system works for you or your hiring team.
3. Will the applicant tracking system you purchase fit the needs of your business a few years down the road?
If your company or business plans to expand, be sure to buy an applicant tracking system that you will not outgrow. Maybe your recruiting team is a staff of 15 now, but do you know what the future holds? If in 5 years time your recruiting team totals 65, the same system may not work for you.
4. What is your budget?
The costs of applicant tracking systems vary. It is important to figure out what is absolutely necessary for your business and where you can cut costs, if possible. If you just need basic features, like candidate sourcing, do not spend extra money on an applicant tracking system that has a bunch of neat features knowing you will hardly use them. Common features are applicant tracking, job posting, candidate profiles, and applicant scoring/ranking. Will the applicant tracking system be used by one hiring manager or a large team of recruiters? Cost can depend on how many employees need to access the system. ATS costs can also be based on number of applicants or job openings.
5. What features do you need?
Features like social media and automated emails may come in handy. Are you a hiring manager that needs to send automated emails to save the human resources department time? Want to check out your future candidates on Facebook or Twitter? There are a lot of unique features that may be of use to you. Do some research on what different applicant tracking systems offer.
Applicant tracking systems are very choosy and can pass over quality job candidates
While applicant tracking systems provide an easy and efficient way to hire top candidates, there are a few disadvantages.
There are probably many job seekers who are not familiar with applicant tracking systems. These job seekers could be very intelligent and hard working employees, but recruiters and hiring managers would never know because their resumes are not ranked high by the ATS. Simply because the ATS uses algorithms, perfect candidates who do not format their resumes to beat the system, will get looked over.
On the flipside, some job seekers may try to cheat the system because they know how to incorporate all the right keywords into their resume even though they are not qualified. These candidates end up ranked as a top candidates just because they filled their applications with what they system wants to read, leaving the good candidates left out.
Some applicant tracking systems tend to be picky, so resumes that have minor “mistakes” like the wrong type font or a chart that showcases skills, automatically do not make it through the screening process.
Applicant tracking systems look for job applications and resumes that are an exact match or very close to matching the job description. The issue is that there are hard working people who desire to switch careers. For example, if you are a teacher wanting to enter the marketing field, your resume will not have a bunch keywords related to teaching and not marketing. This does not mean that you wouldn’t excel in marketing, it just means that you are going to have a harder time getting you resume reviewed by a recruiter or hiring manager.
College graduates also can run into “issues” with their resumes because they have not yet entered the workforce. The resumes of college students and recent grads tend to be slim in the work experience category, which is what ATS likes to scan and pulled information from.
The cost of applicant tracking systems can range from free to $100,000+
The cost of applicant tracking systems can vary depending on a number of aspects. Some applicant tracking systems charge a flat free, while other applicant tracking systems charge per employee. To get an exact price, you will have to visit the site of the ATS you desire to purchase. Below are some descriptions of pricing models for applicant tracking systems.
The good news is that there are some FREE applicant systems, so if you have little to no budget, this option is good for you. The downside to free applicant tracking systems is that tech support probably won’t be offered to you. If you run into problems with your free applicant tracking system, you will have to figure out how to troubleshoot issues on your own.
Pay per recruiter
The most common pricing model for ATS is pay per recruiter. With this model, companies pay a fee each month per recruiter and hiring manager. Depending on the software, the fee may be different for recruiters and hiring managers, but your can have as many uses as you want.
Pay per employee
Another common pricing model for applicant tracking systems is pay per employee. Obviously, larger companies will pay more for applicant tracking systems than smaller and mid sized companies. This is different from the pricing model pay per recruiter because no matter how many employees use the ATS, you will still be charged for the total amount of employees within the company. If your company is a large enterprise, the cost may decrease per employee
Pay per job opening
This applicant tracking system pricing model charges companies based on how many jobs are open within company. This pricing model may also charge your business based on how many resumes or job applications you receive in the system.
You can purchase some applicant tracking systems for a flat fee. This can be a one-time flat fee or an annual or monthly flat fee.
There is some budgeting to keep in mind such a one-time setup fees, onboarding fees, and ATS add on fees. These also vary depending on which applicant tracking system you purchase.
There are several softwares related to applicant tracking systems that can also help your company’s staffing and human resource needs.
Here are some types of software that you can do research on that may also help with your human resources and candidate management needs:
- Human Resource Management System
- Talent Management System
- Human Capital Management
- Onboarding Software
- Recruiting Agency Software
- Staffing and Temp Staffing Agency Software
- HR Apps
This wraps up what we think you should know about applicant tracking systems, from how they work to how much they cost. We hope you use the information we have provided to you to score that awesome job and hire outstanding employees!
Want to know more about turning your recruitment and hiring process into a competitive advantage? Schedule a demo with Nextal today!