What Is ATS Or Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant Tracking System

Everything is getting automated nowadays to reduce human efforts as much as possible. You just have to name a process and there will be software available in the market, to automate that process. This is done not only to reduce human efforts but also to cut costs. The processes can be done more efficiently and in a streamlined manner with lower costs. 

When the organizations are automating almost all of their processes, then why not the recruitment process? Big organizations receive hundreds of applications during their recruitment process. Do they go through each and every one of them? The answer is no, as they use the Applicant Tracking System(ATS).

What is Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant Tracking System

Applicant Tracking System is a software that helps the recruiters in storing and organizing the resume of applicants, in a manner that makes the hiring process smooth. Once the applications are received, ATS takes out information, like contact details, qualifications, experience, from them and store it in the database. It also sorts the applicants according to the job description and also helps throughout the recruitment process. 

It was initially used by some large-scale corporations, but now almost 98% of the Fortune 500 companies and many mid-scale businesses use this. 

Need for the Applicant Tracking System

Not only big companies, but even the mid-level companies receive hundreds or applicant’s resumes during the recruitment process. This is because the process of applying for jobs has become really easy. All you need is an internet connection and a resume, with that you can apply anywhere anytime. This makes the recruiter’s task even difficult. As they would never want to ignore a good candidate’s application, so they must go through all of them.  

Now imagine going through hundreds of applications just to select less than 10 out of them. Just to make this process smooth, Applicant Tracking System is being used. It not only stores the information of the applicants but also helps throughout the process of hiring. It can even select candidates out according to the job profile and description, take their test if required and even call them for an interview. ATS selects a candidate as a recruiter would. 

See also  Methods of Fixing Social-Emotional Abilities into the School Curricula

ATS also helps the HR department to find candidates on the basis of keywords. Like if the job description is of a web developer, then the recruiter might search ‘web developer’ and look through the candidates that come up. This allows them to find candidates that previously have experience as a WD. ATS can also rank/rate your resume on the basis of how well it matches to a given job description. This also makes it difficult for the applicants, as they have to be very careful with words while making their resumes. No basic resume can get through this system.

ATS also came in use after The Internet Applicant Rule was applied. According to the rule, all organizations with more than 100 employees have to submit an EEO-1 report, every September. The EEO-1 report is used to track the gender and race information of the employees. And with the help of ATS, it becomes easy for the organizations to track information of their employees

Basic ATS features

Generally, each and every ATS differ from each other in one or other feature. And different organizations use different ATS according to their requirements. But some features are there which are present in almost all good ATS. They are:

  1. Automated Emails: Selected or rejected, everyone should get a response from the recruiter. A good ATS has a customizable automated email that can be sent to particular applicants.
  2. Keyword Search: Recruiters are able to search for keywords in the resumes so that they can select candidates according to their needs.
  3. Resume Parsing: This is the basic feature of the ATS. It takes the information out from resumes and keeps them in an organized manner.
  4. Storage: ATS keeps all the resumes for future reference, as a candidate might be suitable for some future job.
See also  Most Common Java Interview Questions to Be Prepared For

How applicants can get through Applicant Tracking System

Applicant Tracking System

You have to optimize your resume according to the type of job you’re applying to. This is the only way to get through the ATS. While making your resume, there are some points you can keep in mind to get your resume selected through ATS:

  1. Functional resume formats do not focus on the parts on which recruiters are interested the most. So, avoid using this format, instead, use a different format that can catch the eye of the recruiter. Only those resumes will be selected by the ATS.
  2. Don’t go too fancy on your resume. Use standard words like skills and education, only then the ATS will be able to understand.
  3. Avoid parsing errors. No matter how good, after all, ATS is a software. So, avoid using anything that might cause a parsing error, tables, headers and footers being a few of them.
  4. Update your resume every time you apply somewhere. Each organization has a different job description, even for the same designation. Update your resume according to the keywords that might help you get through each one of the Applicant Tracking System.
  5. Try not to be too smart. Don’t try to cheat ATS, as that might get you through the first step, but can get you blacklisted from the organization.

The downside of using Applicant Tracking System

No matter how good a software is, it can never match human’s ability to do things. So here are some problems that recruiters might face due to the ATS:

  1. Errors: Some good candidates might get rejected due to glitch in the software or due to a parsing issue with their resume.
  2. Keywords: Good candidates can also get rejected because they might not have a background same as the job they applied for.


We hope you have understood everything about the Applicant Tracking System. For any more questions that you have related to this subject, you can ask us in the comment section and we will be always there to answer all your queries.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here