What is Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

By Abhishek Kathpal | Updated 21 July, 2022

The job market is stacked with many applicants and job seekers jostling for high-quality employment. As such, there is the potential for a multitude of resumes to flock in for every opening and create a recruiting nightmare for companies. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is the corporate solution to this potential problem.

What is Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) meaning and definition

An Applicant Tracking System is a human resources tool that helps companies efficiently collect, organize, and sort through applicants' resumes. The primary logic behind Applicant Tracking systems is that they lighten the burden of hiring managers and recruiters. For instance, without their use, big-firm recruiters would probably find themselves reading hundreds or thousands of resumes to fill out a handful of positions. That would be unsustainable and inefficient.

How do Applicant Tracking Systems work?

Simply put, they collect, and store resumes. An ATS would run through a resume, extract relevant information and organize them into easily understandable data for recruiters. In addition, many ATS also use "knockout" questions. As the name implies, such questions help the system flag or disqualify candidates. The questions are usually polar or short-answer questions.After storing the resume data, hiring managers can use the ATS to tailor-search specific candidates. For this purpose, ATS usually comes with filter capability. To aid searches, managers can search according to skills, locations, keywords, etc. Since these ATS almost always store the data permanently, a resume submission means the information is now on the company's system. As a result, a job applicant could come under consideration for a later role.

Are Applicant Tracking Systems used often?

Applicant Tracking Systems are a favorite human resources tool for large companies with the reach and popularity to attract too many resumes. So, while many smaller companies may still fancy the old-fashioned method of reading all resumes, almost all large corporations use ATS. Some observers estimate that 99% of Fortune 500 companies used an ATS as recently as 2018. That number is sure to have risen in the years since.

About the Author

Abhishek Kathpal

Abhi is the co-founder at Longlist.io. Funded by US based OnDeck, Longlist is currently enabling 50+ businesses to increase their candidate and client reach outs, automating the workflow across stages.