Applicant Tracking SystemsMarket InsightsRecruitment

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

By December 13, 2021December 21st, 2021No Comments

This is the second part of a two part blog series on Customer Relationship Management and ATS within the recruitment space. 

This blog aims to break down the fundamental elements of an ATS, what we mean when we say ATS, why the software helps recruiters across the world, and how strategic use of ATS benefits the recruitment processes and culture in any company.

As we mentioned in our last blog, ATS and CRM systems sit in the same enterprise space and are two parts of a process whole – that of increasing efficiencies, improving communications, increasing relevance of service and leveraging brand power through building relationships. 

But there are (as of writing) about 450 ATS providers in the UK, so choosing one can be a hard slog through the SaaS mire without a strategy and a plan for what you need from an applicant tracking system.

The trick for employers is to understand which ATS suits their company, brand, applicant, industry and crucially the recruiters on the front line.

What is an ATS?

An Applicant Tracking System can be best described as a great recruitment filter. 

  • It’s a piece of software that integrates within your recruitment “stack”. Job applicants are automatically fed into this system and filtered according to applicant/job relevance, suitability and applicability. 
  • In the main, this “vetting” scours an applicant’s CV looking for the most relevant and most appropriate keywords, skills, and qualifications that match a set job role and the skills and personality criteria needed to fill that role. 
  • However, newer applicant tracking system providers are including this functionality into a package of tools recruiters can use to create a more streamlined, more effective recruitment solution.
  • An effective applicant tracking system seamlessly provides an added layer of administrative and organisation efficiency across end-to-end recruitment by reducing a job’s time-to-fill and improving the effectiveness of recruitment services. 
  • This is what could be considered a base-line level of success for an applicant tracking system in any given company – are the right people getting into work quicker?

Applicant Tracking Systems may seem like they’re built specifically for larger enterprises that deal with huge influxes of candidates for every job posted and need that extra layer of efficiencies, but innovation never sleeps. There are ATS providers across the UK that cater for organisations of every size, from startups to multinationals which contain a multitude of tools to help keep recruitment equitable, more communicative, more personal, and industry specific.

Does every company need an applicant tracking system?

While it’s not a legal requirement to use an ATS if you’re involved in recruiting, the benefits of some level of digital applicant tracking functionality are legion. 

From streamlining applications and tracking communications, to onboarding tools, skills testing and email automation, an ATS provides an extra layer of competitive talent handling, which makes all the difference in our disrupted, disparate new recruiting norm.

How do I choose the right ATS for my company?

Almost every applicant tracking system provider will offer a demo of their services – our advice will always be to compare and contrast leading ATS providers in your industry and make sure of their licensing, budget, reach, job posting limits and account management services.

A good rule of thumb is balance your budget to your workflow.

The ATS you choose has to be able to match set recruitment formulas within your industry, as well as handle volume and breadth of search, affordably.

Integration, here, is key – an ATS can work outside of a dedicated CRM, job poster or internal database, but value on investment can only be improved by choosing an ATS that fits seamlessly into your stack – this might take a bit of trial and error to get right, and again this is why ATS account managers and sales teams help with the integration process. 

Are there any limits to ATS?

The integration of an ATS into your recruitment funnels and stack should never be at the detriment of the human element of recruitment – common user mistakes when using an ATS often revolve around recruiters or resources thinking applicant tracking systems are solely responsible for building a relationship with an applicant. 

Akin to how you judge and incorporate CRM into your funnel, your understanding of “value” will come from how each ATS provider focuses on their USP to further differentiate their platform, and how this augments, rather than replaces, your human recruitment function. 

Other considerations such as mobile/social media recruiting, native CRM and onboarding tools are increasingly becoming requested of ATS providers (bringing numerous tools under one roof, if you will), all in the name of efficiency. But again, the inclusion of every tool at your disposal does not necessarily guarantee a better service.

Security and data protection is incredibly vital, and ATS providers of quality will make sure they communicate how they help you adhere to data protection laws, and consistently secure applicant details – although this shouldn’t be considered a “limit” per se, human error cannot be discounted and the roll of out any applicant tracking system should be accompanied by ample training of your recruitment team.

How do applicant tracking systems help candidates?

The efficiencies noted above help candidates in many ways – from creating faster cultures of communications and turnover, to reducing bias at sourcing stage, and creating fairer systems of vetting. 

Having one platform for all stakeholders to securely access applicant details also streamlines data use, applicant status and metrics, creating a more usable and hyper-personalised feedback system for recruiters to inform candidates of that status of their application and, critically, how they could improve their CV’s and career potential.

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Rectec Compare’s core premise – a simple yet highly detailed free tool for hiring managers and HR teams to assess which ATS is right for their recruitment enterprise – was founded to give professional recruiters peace of mind that, amid the multitude of ATS SaaS platforms available in the UK and abroad, there are a handful that will be the perfect fit for your company. 

ATS is now ubiquitous with efficient recruitment practice and Rectec help enterprises of every stripe find the right one for them.

It is absolutely business critical for anyone who deals with recruitment, HR and people management to know why they need to carefully choose their ATS provider, how their chosen ATS software benefits their service, and whether the recent changes to life, work and brand connections ushered in by COVID-19 have created gaps in their ATS function or candidate expectations.  

A quick, responsive process is what you need to keep in mind during the recruitment process. At Rectec we can help you find the best ATS or CRM to suit your needs.

You can click here to register for Rectec Compare – and best of all, it’s completely free of charge.