• 4 min. read

ATS: everything you need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems!

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were introduced in the 90’s and they symbolised a turning point in the management of recruitment processes.

Written by Daniela Costa

Before the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) entered the scene, recruiters kept candidates’ applications in filing cabinets or stacked up in piles on their desks. ATSs were introduced to the market in the 90’s and even though the first versions were very basic, it symbolised a turning point in the management of the recruitment process across the companies that integrated this solution into their processes. Mainly, because it allowed recruiters to keep a track record of the applications and better organise the information regarding each applicant.

HR tech has evolved a lot since then and so did the recruitment process itself. During the early 2000s, due to the widespread of Internet use and the explosion of social media platforms, online applications became more and more usual. On top of that, in the last few years, the job market turned candidate-centric and new dimensions like employer brand and candidate experience, for example, became a vital part of the recruiting activity.

All this contributed to the continuous development of the ATSs with the creation of new features to attend all recruitment needs. As Josh Bersin stated in his “HR Technology Disruptions for 2018” report, “hiring people is by far the most important thing companies do”. With the massive influx of online applications, features like automatic matching of candidates against job requirements are crucial to help recruiters optimise the recruitment cycle, find the best candidates and make the right hiring decision.

In this first article of a series of blog posts about ATSs, we aim to help recruiters and companies understand and learn about the importance of recruitment software for a successful recruitment strategy.

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?

An Applicant Tracking System or ATS, as it is commonly referred to, is a software that manages the recruitment process. It gathers and organises the candidates’ information and provides an initial screening of all incoming applications, allowing recruiters to optimise their activity by focusing only on the profiles that best match the requirements.

In addition, ATSs have other features and functionalities that also improves the recruiter’s productivity like job posting on multiple job boards and integrated email templates to facilitate the communication with candidates. Although some people are still resistant or suspicious about the use of ATSs in recruitment, especially for automatic screening of candidates, the truth is that an ATS analysing a CV is, in most cases, more efficient than having a recruiter that is overwhelmed by the insane amount of applications received for a specific job, looking at it for a few seconds.

In both cases, there’s a search for specific criteria to validate the application. But it’s usual for recruiters to unconsciously look for reasons to reject applicants, whereas a software performs the search action according to the keyword set for that specific job, without the prejudice of unconscious bias.

How do Applicant Tracking Systems streamline the recruitment process?

ATSs are used by both large and small companies and can have different features and functionalities according with the software provider and the needs of the business.

Nevertheless, all ATSs help to streamline and standardise the recruitment process, making it digital, which benefits both recruiters and candidates.

How does it do that? This recruitment software integrates various steps of the recruiting process and performs various functions (tracking, ranking, evaluating, communicating, etc). It allows a fast implementation of agile procedures to maximise recruiting effectiveness by customising the candidate journey and the recruiter workflow or automating the screening process to quickly identify the best talent.

Basically, jobs are created in the recruitment platform and, from there, they’re advertised in job boards, career pages, etc. Candidates then submit their application, that is automatically categorised and ranked by the software. Recruiters access the candidates profiles (accepted and rejected, if they wish to do so) and analyse and evaluate the candidates, deciding which should continue in the process and do further assessment. After that, the selected applicants are interviewed, and someone is offered the job.

While this flow develops, all the interaction between recruiters and candidates are registered in the ATS, as well as all the applicants' data. This provides better organisation and prevents the administrative chaos of the old-fashion spreadsheet and email workflow.

ATS also promotes collaborative hiring through commenting and sharing features, that allow recruiters to give their feedback to the team about the candidates, which positively impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the decision-making process.

Despite the major benefits, recruiting activities are still largely performed manually and in a very time-consuming and unstructured way. This inefficiency impacts directly the recruitment costs and can even compromise a company’s viability. So, companies need to keep in mind that using an ATS is one of the cornerstones of an effective and successful recruitment strategy.


Skeeled offers you the perfect opportunity to bring innovation and digitalisation to your hiring. Check our website or our LinkedIn and Facebook pages for further information.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Your team here at skeeled

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