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Everything you need to know about applicant tracking software 

January 28, 2021
iCIMS Staff
15 min read

Your CEO wants a workforce that drives successHiring managers want qualified and capable team members. Coworkers want people who contribute and add valueThe question is how to acquire the talent – or find the people – to enable your organization to meet these goals.  

To recruit, hire, and onboard new employees, you need a powerful applicant tracking system (ATS). Findings from Aptitude Research indicate that two of the top ATS benefits are improving decision making (26%) and providing a workflow (24%). Enhancing these abilities also appears to be a top priority – one in four companies are looking to replace their ATS in 2021. 

Whether you’re looking for a new system, or choosing an ATS for the first time, this is a software that will enable your organization to:  

  • Empower recruiters to attract job seekers, review applications, and communicate with candidates  
  • Create profiles and build relationships with top talent  
  • Apply data and analytics to create a successful hiring strategy 

From the job ads you post to the offer letters you send, applicant tracking software helps organizations manage every recruitment and hiring step. An ATS is the single system that enables organizations to attract potential talent 

Recruiters use the ATS to review talent profilesscreen applicationsand engage with candidates. The software can also automate sending offer letters and process the hiring and onboarding of new employees. With these ATS-enabled efficiencies, there’s room for recruiters to make the hiring experience more personal.  

The most basic applicant tracking software acts as a database to store candidate information. Of course, today’s systems and software have the power to do much more than store first and last names. Robust applicant tracking software allows you to make the most out of publicizing open positions on job boards. It enables you to build relationships with candidates who express interestAnd, finally, a robust ATS streamlines search with automation and deploys AI to remove bias.  

Who needs an ATS? 

To meet high-volume hiring needsenterprise-level organizations adopted applicant tracking software early onHowever, it’s no longer just a system for large organizations. In recent years, smaller organizations have realized what an applicant tracking system can deliver. These platforms help large and small organizations alike tackle current hiring challenges 

How does an applicant tracking system work? 

Without a system to manage recruiting and hiring, recruiters and organizations suffer. Applicant tracking software relieves that problem. Rather than sorting through endless resumes and unorganized files, an ATS empowers recruiters. It’s the system they need to track and manage every aspect of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees – with efficiency.

A modern ATS has the power to automate and manage each recruitment phaseUsing this system, recruiters advertise open jobsreview applications, and schedule interviewsThanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) within the ATSrecruiters can quickly screen candidatesThe ATS streamlines administrative tasks so that recruiters can efficiently engage and connect with candidates. Once an application has been submitted, you don’t lose candidate data. Instead, within the ATS you have access to a talent pool comprised of people who were interested enough to apply and may be interested in future openings.  

How are applicant tracking systems deployed? 

When hiring talent, employers need an online applicant tracking system that supports scalability, sustainability, and flexibility. As you consider how to deploy a new system, look for an approach that fits your current recruiting, reporting, and communication approach, as well as adapts to future changesAs you scope out deployment and implementation, think about existing databases and integration, as well as any reporting requirements. These are all key to a successful foundation for maximizing all an ATS offers your organization. 

ATS vs. CRM 

From the moment a recruiter posts to a job board to a candidate’s offer letter, the ATS helps facilitate every step of the hiring process. Candidate relationship management (CRM) software also supports hiring. However, the focus of the CRM is on nurturing active and passive talent through the recruiting funnel. Through email marketing, recruiting events, and job recommendation portals, a CRM enables recruiters to stay in touch with potential candidates. Here’s more on how candidate relationship management software differs from applicant tracking, and why both are essential for talent acquisition.  

The best applicant tracking software: 

  • Facilitates communication. Whether via text, email, or chatbots, candidates get the contact they need from recruitersMeanwhile, hiring managers receive updates and send responses about the search process, interviewsand offer letters. 
  • Helps build your talent pool. The applicant tracking system serves as a record of all candidates and hires. It’s a valuable collection of talent from which the organization can continue to source candidates.  
  • Serves as the single source of truth. Across the entire company, recruiters and HR teams have access to the same recruiting data. It’s easy to search, filter, and find ideal candidates based on required skills and abilities. 

Benefits of an applicant tracking system  

An applicant tracking system benefits the entire organization, not just recruiters. When you implement an ATS, you’ll find that: 

  • Streamlined administrative tasks increase productivity. 
  • Recruiters have more time to find higher-quality candidates. 
  • The candidate experience improves.  
  • AI helps you reach a broader talent pool and reduces bias 
  • Real-time talent data informs a hiring strategy that delivers the talent you need.  

The right applicant tracking system enhances the entire recruitment process – for the applicant who wants to find a great job, the recruiter searching for the best candidates, and the organization that needs top talent.  

An ATS enables you to recruit a workforce that drives success. Organizations that want to streamline recruitment processes, and provide an employer-of-choice experience for everyone involved, should consider using an applicant tracking system. 

Interested in learning more about how an ATS can help your organization? Download our Business Case for Focused and Inclusive Applicant Tracking Software. 

Download the business case for a focused and inclusive ATS

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