An Applicant Tracking System, otherwise known as an "ATS," is a means of recruiting, tracking and managing your applicants. Historically, these activities were done via hiring managers receiving paper applications and –
filing that information somewhere for tracking purposes. Today, most companies are realizing that the manual method of managing paper applications can be automated to streamline and enhance the hiring process.
An ATS works like this: A candidate applies for a position on the corporate website through "apply online" buttons or "career centers," which are typically developed by third-party vendors. The portal then prompts the applicant to qualify for the job by passing a requirements section and completing an online diagnostic or questionnaire. Only after qualifying can the applicant submit a resume and/or complete an application. Once the individual has completed the application process, the hiring manager for that particular job receives a report via email that scores and ranks the applicant based on the criteria for the job.
The benefits of using an online recruiting and screening system are tremendous. For example, all of the applicants that have applied for any position in the company can be viewed in the online database by corporate as well as the various hiring managers. In addition, an ATS gives corporate headquarters a view into who is applying, how they scored, which recruiting source provides the most qualified applicants, and who is and is not being hired. Finally, an ATS provides one centralized location for interview notes and appraisals.
Although there are many vendors marketing ATS’s, very few have a built-in diagnostic or set of measurements for assessing whether an individual is suitable for a job. Tracking candidates is important, but identifying those who are likely to do well in a given position is critical.
If an ATS sounds simple, that’s because it is. An ATS is one of those things that companies are realizing they need and getting, if they don’t already have one.