Applicant Tracking System (ATS): What Job Applicant Needs To Know?

Applicant Tracking System(ATS)

1) What is applicant tracking system?

The Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS is the software that is used by recruiters to help them in the long and critical process of recruitment for their company. Because of their ease of use, and the amount of help an ATS can provide, Applicant Tracking Systems are becoming increasingly popular day by day.

ATS softwares help literally every step of the recruitment process. From the very beginning, when a recruiter creates a job, ATS starts with helping them reaching out to numerous job posting sites at once. Then, when applicants start applying for the job and send their resumes, ATS stores them, organize them and scores them. Based on the credentials provided by applicant via resume and other details, Applicant Tracking Systems may accept or reject applications, depending on the parameters set by the recruiters.

Proceeding further, when several candidates are selected for the next step (generally Interview), ATS can help prepare and manage interview schedules.Finally, when the process of selection is done, ATS can help big time in the onboarding process of the new recruits. Basically, an Applicant Tracking Software helps in every stage of recruitment process.

If your primary interest is just to know more about resume optimization or how to get past ATS as a job applicant, you may directly go to the points starting from 5 in this article.

2) Why do Companies use ATS?

The reason why more and more companies are opting for ATS in their recruitment process is simple: it makes their job easier. An ATS can-

Applicant Tracking System
  • Streamline the process– Applicant Tracking Systems help the hiring managers by efficiently selecting and rejecting applications based on the pre-set criteria.
  • Save time– ATS saves valuable time for recruiters by going through numerous applications in a very short span of time. Literally no human can have that time or energy to look into thousands of applications one by one. ATS makes sure that the company doesn’t have to lose the chances of hiring the best candidates just because a recruiter doesn’t have enough time.
  • Track and keep record of the whole process-ATS does not only seeks out the right candidates for you, but Applicant Tracking Systems track and keep record of the whole process, like how many candidates applied for this job, how many of them have the necessary qualifications, where did they apply from, how did they come to know about the job etc.
  • Provide Analytics of recruitment process – ATS Provides valuable analytics measuring the number of applications per job, fill rates (meaning how many jobs are filled and at what speed), billing rates or salary details, efficiency of recruiter etc. This will help in improving efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment process. To sum it up, ATS does almost everything that a team of efficient human assistants would do for recruiters

3) What are the Functions of Applicant Tracking Systems?

Applicant Tracking Systems serve many functions in the recruitment process. An ATS is like a highly-efficient assistant to recruitment team. The main functions of Applicant Tracking System are-

  • Posting jobs to job boards: There are numerous numbers of recruitment sites in the internet. Posting a job to each and every one of them individually is a time-consuming task for recruiters. An Applicant Tracking System helps in this area, as ATS shows the recruiters a complete list of all such sites together, and recruiters can select to post their jobs on all of them at once.Thus, ATS helps in reaching out to a greater audience and improve the chances of finding the perfect candidate.
  • Parsing resumes and matching them against job description: One of the major functions of ATS is resume parsing. ATS stores resumes and automatically extracts the data in a resume and match them against the job description. If good matches are found, then ATS forwards the resumes for further consideration.
  • Storing & Retrieving information as and when needed: ATS stores all the applications and resumes of the applicants in its database. These can be retrieved by the hiring managers later on, whenever a need arises. Recruiters can look for a particular resume by name, or a bunch of resumes containing some particular credentials.
  • Helping in coordinating and scheduling interviews: An Applicant Tracking System also helps in the interview process. ATS can send emails/ messages to the selected candidates together and schedule their interviews. ATS can even be used for screening candidates further by asking them a few questions about the job/ skills/ experiences etc, and judging them by the answers provided.
  • Managing entire process of recruitment including on boarding: So, not only Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) help recruiters finding the perfect employee, they help in the on boarding process too. ATS can welcome the new employees; inform them about the company and their works, offering explanations to their queries and so on. Recruiters can add all these information in the ATS software and they will get the on boarding process done smoothly and timely.

4) Examples of Applicant Tracking Systems

There are so many Applicant Tracking Systems available right now that recruiters can almost get spoiled with choices. Of course, the budget is a real concern because ATSs vary significantly in terms of their pricing. However, find below a list of the most popular Applicant Tracking Systems available in the market.

5) What do Job Applicants need to know about ATS?

Here are a few things you need to know as a job applicant, so that you can face the ATS resume screening process better

  • More than 75% of the companies in the world are using ATS.
  • More than 75%- and up to 98% of resumes are either rejected by ATS or ranked lower during resume screening process, that in turn makes applicant’s chances of getting an interview call even lower.
  • ATSs use keywords( hard skills and soft skills) as the prime factor, based on which they screen resumes and select or rank them.
  • Even qualified and experienced candidates might not get a call from recruiters because of their resumes that are not ideally optimized for ATS.
  • RezRunner tool helps jobseekers beat the ATS by correctly optimizing their resume by using proper keywords and other necessary measures.

From the job applicant’s point of view, you need not know the entire process of how the Applicant Tracking Systems are used. Rather, knowing how the resume parsing or CV scanning features work in ATS can help you preparing an ideal resume for the ATS. By knowing some simple tricks and tips, you can improve your chances of getting an interview call significantly.

6) How do these Online Resume Parsers or CV Scanners work?

These CV/Resume scanners, which are part of ATS software, parse resume and divide the text into keywords,and then separate these keywords into groups, such as education, experience, contact information etc. and store them.

In addition to that, when a recruiter wants to fetch a resume that fits to the job description, ATS compares the CV/resume against the job description skills and provide a CV/Resume score. There are two way the recruiter search can happen

  1. When the job posting is live and people apply with their resumes. These resumes are parsed and provided with a resume score based on how well the resume matches the job description.
  2. Some times recruiters instead of posting the job, they search their database of resumes against a job description or some keywords.

In either of the ways, usually the recruiter picks only the top few resumes high CV score for further processing.

Tip: Before you apply for any job, it is in your best interest to check your resume against Job Description to see how ATS would parse your resume . So that you can update your resume for ATS resume screening. You can check your resume/CV score for that specific job.

7) What you need to do as an applicant to increase your chances?

Now that you know how the resume parsers work, you just need to reverse-engineer the resume screening process of ATS. The challenge is, there’s a bunch of ATS software, and though all of them have similar methods of working for resume screening, each one of the applicant tracking system varies a little in essence, and works little differently. Another challenge that the applicant faces is each job description is different. Yes, even if the job title that you are applying for is same, it is quite possible that each job description is different in terms of skills required and the amount of importance they give for each specific skill. Your goal should be to optimize your resume in such a way that no matter which ATS comes your way, you have better chances. You must do it for each job you apply for.

8) How to optimize your resume to pass the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)screening?

Well, there are primarily two aspects in resume optimization. One is letting your resume pass ATS easily, and the second one is making sure that your resume ranks on top by ATS.

1) To let your resume pass the ATS screening, you need to use right formats for the resume so that it gets picked up. To know more, you may go over the blog how to optimize resume to beat ATS.

2) Using the right resume skills is the most important task in resume optimization and to rank better by ATS. Go over the blog How to use resume skills to get more interview calls for further knowledge over this subject.

Another thing you can do is run your resume through RezRunner to check your resume score for a specific job description. This way you will know your resume score well before Applicant Tracking System (ATS) screens your resume, and you can update your resume to improve your chances to get more interview calls.

Run Your Resume Against Job Description to Get Suggestions