An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that helps an organization manage and automate their recruitment process. Applicant Tracking Systems can be used by any organization that recruits permanent or temporary staff, including:
- Independent recruiters
- Staffing agencies
- Executive search firms
- Large enterprises
- Small and mid-size businesses (SMB)
For large enterprises and SMB, an applicant tracking system is typically implemented and managed by the Human Resource (HR) group, but for small companies without a HR function the system can be managed directly by hiring managers.
Typical functions of an Applicant Tracking System
Applicant Tracking Systems typically contain the following functions.
- Creating job requisition
- Job board posting
- Online application
- Applicant screening
- Applicant scoring and knock-out
- Workflow automation
- Resume search
- Self identification / EEO tracking and reporting
- Standard and ad-hoc Reporting
Trends in Applicant Tracking Systems
Historically, Applicant Tracking Systems have been expensive to purchase and implement, due to licensing, customization and management costs. As a result, they were mainly used by large recruiting firms and large enterprises. However, recent trends have made Applicant Tracking Systems more attractive to smaller recruiters and small and mid-size businesses.
Many systems are now offered using the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model with a low, recurring subscription fee rather than a large upfront license fee. This allows organizations to implement a system without making a major commitment to a product. Also, Applicant Tracking Systems have become more configurable, allowing users to self-implement their systems using internal resources, rather than incurring vendor customization charges.