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Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

The definition of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is digital software that assists in the recruiting and hiring process. 

The main functionality of an ATS is to collect, sort, and filter applicants who submit job applications. Other features of an ATS system for recruiting include:

  • Tracking an applicant through the hiring pipeline (hence the meaning of the AT in ATS)

  • Suggesting and sending automated emails and responses to candidates

  • Revealing analytics for tracked applications

From what an ATS is to how you can best leverage an ATS for recruiting. Key learnings in this glossary post:

How does applicant tracking software work?

Applicant Tracking Systems collect, store, and track applicants, candidate information, and resumes sent to an open position. These are usually stored and tracked in an ATS database that can be viewed, searched, and sorted on demand.

Meaning, ATS tools help employers and recruiters track different sources of candidate applications, as well as applicant patterns. This makes it easier to understand which job posting platforms are the most effective, alongside other analytics such as:

  • Whether a diversity recruiting strategy is working or needs adjusting

  • Which job titles and keywords receive the most attention in a job ad

  • Which times of the week are best to post roles

These are just some examples of the ways an ATS can help recruitment. Some ATS tools, like JOIN also offer an automatic ranking feature that automatically compares applicants’ resumes to the job description. This helps speed up the hiring process as whoever is in charge of hiring can choose to only review applications identified as a high match by their online applicant tracking system.

Additionally, applicant tracking software can act as a candidate relationship management tool, providing an overview of the entire application journey and automating tasks like candidate communication and interview scheduling. Which tools you gain will depend on which ATS you use.

All of the above should improve things like candidate experience, make sourcing candidates easier and improve employer branding. 

How does an ATS system improve recruiting and hiring for SMBs?

ATS portals are not just for large enterprises with large volumes of open positions. ATS software is also very advantageous to small and medium-sized businesses as it can improve the efficiency of recruiting efforts, making it faster and easier to hire.

Here are some of the main benefits of using an ATS for recruiting:

Easily multipost job ads

One of the biggest advantages of an ATS for most companies is the multiposting feature. This feature allows you to create a job ad inside your applicant tracking software and then automatically post it to dozens – if not hundreds – of job boards with just one click.

This incredibly speeds up the whole job posting process and saves you a lot of manual action having to otherwise sign in to each job platform separately, build the job ad, and post it. This means you save a lot of valuable time that you can use to focus on finding the perfect candidate instead.

See how JOIN can help you easily post jobs for free in 2023!

Further streamline processes

Speeding up job posting is just one of the many ways in which an applicant tracking system helps you streamline your processes.

An ATS allows for efficient management of recruiting activities like screening candidates, scheduling emails and interviews, and communicating with candidates. With the help of an applicant tracking system, you can more easily automate and speed up these processes that otherwise would take up a lot of manual effort.

Improves organisation

All resumes and job applications are collected and kept within the ATS system, improving organisation and reducing admin time for hiring managers. This means you have everything you need collected in one central location – your ATS software.

Rather than manually signing in to a dozen job portals every time you want to check performance of your job ad or whether you have new applications, everything will be conveniently collected inside your ATS.

Saves time on candidate selection

The talent pool is narrowed down faster as the ATS tool will highlight qualified candidates and unqualified candidates will be filtered out. This makes the whole candidate selection and screening process a lot quicker and easier.

And depending on the specific ATS system you’re using, you can also add job application form questions that candidates have to answer when applying. You can determine which questions are mandatory, for example whether the applicant is eligible to work in your location, and your ATS can automatically reject candidates based on their answers.

Better evaluation

Tracking applicants provides a clearer picture of your overall process and insights into what hiring areas need improvement. The applicant tracking software allows you to more easily track, measure, and analyse different areas of your hiring process, so you can make better-informed decisions moving forward.

Easy collaboration with other stakeholders

In most ATS systems (including JOIN), you can easily collaborate inside the software with other team members or hiring managers. Instead of long email threads or discussing everything on Slack, you’ll have all messaging related to the hiring process directly inside the same tool.

This makes (cross-departmental) collaboration a lot easier and ensures you and your team reach the right hiring decision more quickly.

Seamless onboarding

With all pertinent information already in one place within the ATS, it’s easy to transfer candidate data to an employee profile once hired. Many applicant tracking tools, such as JOIN, also allow you to integrate your ATS with your other HR tools and software. This way, you can easily sync candidate data between platforms.

For more information, check out this overview of the integrations we offer.

Levelling up your recruiting with a free ATS

If you would like to learn more about the specifics of JOIN, you can check out the many cool features our ATS offers. One of the main benefits of using JOIN is that you can use our software completely for free.

The signup process takes just a few minutes and once done you can start multiposting your job ad selecting from the 10+ free job boards offered in JOIN. This includes the best free job boards listed in this article!

Still not sure if an applicant tracking software is right for your business? Then also check out our article with the top 4 ATS tips and hacks to speed up your recruitment!

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