An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS can be implemented or accessed online on an enterprise or small business level, depending on the needs of the company and there is also free and open source ATS software available.
When you apply for a job online, your resume isn’t typically going directly to a recruiter or hiring manager. It’s first being processed by an ATS. Whether that human recruiter ever sees your resume could depend on how well your resume is optimized for ATS algorithms.
Why employers use applicant tracking systems
Top employers hire for several jobs at a time and receive hundreds of resumes for any given opening. Because applying for a job online is easier than ever, many of these applicants are unqualified and figured “it was worth a try.”
Applicant tracking systems keep all these resumes in one place, helping recruiters and hiring managers stay organized as well as EEOC compliant. In theory, these systems also save time by automatically surfacing and highlighting top candidates. In reality, ATS do help hiring professionals narrow their applicant pool, but top candidates slip through the cracks.
Most large corporations utilize applicant tracking systems. Jobscan research found that 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS while a Kelly OCG survey estimated 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations rely on recruitment software. If you’re applying to a large organization, chances are you’ll face an ATS. If you’re applying through any online form, you’re applying through an ATS. Even job sites like Indeed and LinkedIn have their own built in ATS.
Some recruiters still choose to glance at every job application that comes through their applicant tracking system. In this case, most take a quick glance at the applicant’s past highlights, job titles, and companies. They can make a determination about whether they want to learn more in about 6 seconds. It’s important to make sure your top skills and qualifications are easily identifiable.
Some applicant tracking systems can automatically compare your resume to the job description. For example, Taleo calls this feature “Req Rank,” which ranks each applicant based on how well their resume scores based on the job description. A common way recruiters filter resumes in an applicant tracking system is by searching for key skills and titles. For example, if a recruiter is hiring for an Administrative Assistant position out of 400 resumes, their first step will probably be a search for “Administrative Assistant.” This will isolate candidates that have done the exact job before. Anyone that doesn’t have that exact term in their resume is out of luck. A search can contain multiple terms. For example, they might perform a complex search that contains a combination of titles and skills important for the job:
Administrative Assistant AND data entry AND payroll …
Candidates who can predict the correct resume keywords will have the greatest chance of being included in recruiter search results. The best way figure out which skills and keywords to include is by analyzing the job description. Jobs can automates this process by analyzing your resume against the job description to show the top skills and keywords missing from your resume.
Our Top 3
Homebase makes hourly work easier for the whole team. With free online tools and mobile apps for managers and employees, Homebase eliminates the paperwork and headaches of scheduling, payroll, hiring and team communication. Start saving 4+ hours every week by visiting joinhomebase.com. Used by over 100,000 businesses of all sizes across the US.
BambooHR offers easy, integrated applicant tracking (ATS) as part of our award-winning cloud-based HR platform. Onboarding tools, e-signatures, time-off tracking, performance management, plus easy reporting and a convenient mobile app set you free to do great work. Released from the data management spiral, HR professionals become more effective, more efficient, and more human. Visit bamboohr.com or give us a call to see a demo and start a free trial.
#1. Breezy HR
The most highly rated ATS on Capterra, Breezy streamlines your entire hiring process; giving you more time to connect with candidates by automating tasks like advertising on 40+ job boards, screening, interview scheduling & follow-ups. We include all the tools your team needs to hire more efficiently, from referrals & sourcing tools for LinkedIn and dozens of others to custom scorecards & interview guides. With Breezy, you’ll be making better, hiring decisions in less time. It’s GDPR compliant.
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