What is ATS?


ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System or Application Tracking System. It is a software that helps you manage hiring and keep a track of all the steps right from posting the job description to rolling out the offer letter.

A good ATS should have the following features:

A Careers page

A well designed careers page is an important requirement of any company that is hiring. Hence, it is important that ATS allows creating a careers page that can be customized to match the look and feel of the hiring company website. It should allow uploading of the company logo. The page colors on the careers page should be customizable to match the colors of the company branding. ATS should also allow adding information that encourages candidates to apply for the company. Information such as why should one work at the company, pictures of the company office and team showcasing the company culture, etc.

Provision to post Job Descriptions

The usual way of sharing job descriptions is by creating a document and sharing it via email and messaging apps. However, this is not the most efficient way. A better way is to post it on the internet as a webpage whose url can be shared with everyone in your network and outside. ATS allows you to post job descriptions for all the vacancies on separate urls. And all these urls are listed on the careers page of the company. This gives candidates complete visibility of all the job openings allowing them to select the one they’d like to apply to.

ATS should allow creating customized application forms

Well, a good ATS allows two things: 1. Creating application forms for candidates to apply to jobs and 2. Allowing the hiring team to customize the application forms.

Provision to submit the application online is important as otherwise all the candidates will email their applications cluttering your inbox. This may lead to missing some important mails as well as losing some applications as well. However, when the applications are submitted online, they all reside in the ATS. These applications then become available to you to evaluate at your convenience without cluttering your inbox.

The provision to customize the application form for each job is important as this allows the hiring team to ask job specific filtering questions right in the application form. This helps them save time and effort in individually calling and filtering out irrelevant applications.

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Hiring team should be allowed to collaborate and work together

Hiring for any vacancy requires evaluation by 2-3 people at least. These 2-3 people have to work together with the HR as they keep evaluating a constant flow of candidates. An applicant tracking system provides a login to all these people on the hiring team and gives them access to the candidates. This way, all the people on the team are able to collaborate and work together in evaluating the candidates.

Creating customized, templatized email notifications should be allowed by ATS

When you are evaluating candidates, you need to send a lot of emails during the process. Most of these emails have repetitive content. Some are for informing the candidates that they have not been shortlisted for an interview while some are for informing them that they have indeed been shortlisted for an interview. Some are for sending assignments while some are for informing them of rejection. Writing so many similar emails is cumbersome and frustrating. A good ATS solves this problem. It will have a provision to create custom email templates that can be reused across candidates. You can select the relevant template based on the requirement and send it in a single click.

ATS should auto-post to popular job boards

One big problem hiring teams have is to get the vacancy in front of candidates. They want to get as many eyeballs as they can so as to attract the largest talent pool to choose from. One way of doing this is by posting the job vacancy on as many popular job boards as possible. This again is time consuming. Doing this for one job is still okay but having to do this every other week is painful. Modern ATS helps you relieve some of this pain. The ATS will auto-post the job vacancy to a large number of popular job boards as soon as you publish the vacancy on the ATS.

Sharing of job openings on social media platforms should be allowed

Continuing the point above, the recruitment team would love to have as many candidates see the job post as possible. While sharing on job boards is definitely one way of getting more eye balls, but sharing on social media is equally important. Social media allows users to share others content which helps in increasing the visibility of the posts. And because we have a decent number of social media platforms, posting every vacancy across all these platforms is effort intensive. Hence, any ATS you select should have a functionality to auto-post your vacancies across social media platforms.

ATS should have an interface to manage candidates present at different stages of the process

Chances are you’ll start receiving a steady stream of applicants if you’ve managed to get the job post published on a decent number of job boards and social media sites. To manage the evaluation of this continuous flow of applicants across 3-4+ member recruitment team is a nightmare. Which candidate is at which stage of the process and who should they be evaluated by becomes difficult to find out. This results in some applicants falling through the cracks without anyone getting to know about it.

To prevent this, contemporary ATS platforms provide a nice interface, mostly a Kanban board where you can get a birds eye view of all the applicants and the stages they belong to. Each evaluator is also able to see who all they need to evaluate at any point of time. Applications can easily be dragged and dropped to the next stage.

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Evaluators should be able to post comments and notes on each application

When the recruitment team is evaluating so many candidates, it becomes impossible to remember the observations about all of them. Hence, it becomes important to note down all the observations each evaluator has about each candidate. And all the observations about a particular candidate should be available in one single place for easy reference and decision making. ATS makes this easy by giving you a single view of each application with all the details including the notes and comments by each evaluator along with the date and time they were made.

Auto-scheduling of interviews should be allowed by ATS

Scheduling of interviews is a big headache for the HR team. Coordinating with the candidate and the interviewer to get them to agree on a time slot is time consuming. The constant back and forth makes the process irritating. And having to do this for so many candidates and for multiple interviewers becomes a nightmare. But don’t you worry, an application tracking software will come to your rescue. It syncs with the calendars of the interviewers and auto-sends a link to the candidates to schedule an interview with the relevant interviewer, as soon as the application moves to that interviewers list. This completely eliminates the manual coordination work, freeing up the HR to take care of more important things.

ATS should allow automated sending of assignments and receiving submissions

Evaluation for most vacancies these days involves getting an assignment or two done. This again is mostly a manual process where the HR will send across an email with the assignment to the candidate who will then work on it and reply, again via an email, with their submission. The HR then has to send the same to the evaluator. ATS eliminates all the manual work in this process as well. It auto-sends the assignment to all the candidates moved to a particular list. These assignments are sent with a link to upload their submissions. These uploaded submissions get directly added to the application card available for all the evaluators to review.

Candidates should be auto-informed at every stage

Another highly time consuming task for the HR is to inform the candidates every time their application moves a stage. Some candidates require multiple calls as they may be busy when called initially. It wastes a lot of time of the HR. However, HR doesn’t need to do this manual activity if they are using an ATS. ATS send out an auto-notification email to the candidates every time their application moves to the next stage. The notification also contains the action that needs to be taken – which may be submitting an assignment or blocking time for an interview in the evaluators calendar.

ATS should keep the staffing agencies auto-informed at every stage

Like candidates, staffing agencies are also eager to know the status of candidates submitted by them. They keep calling and mailing the HR to know the status. Having to answer these calls and emails wastes a lot of time which can be saved. A good ATS saves this time. It keeps a track of all the staffing agencies and tags the respective staffing agency with the candidates they supply. Then every time the candidate moves along in the process, both the candidate and the staffing agency are notified about it.

Recruitment analytics should be provided by ATS

When the hiring team is running the recruitment process manually, it becomes difficult for the organisation to understand the efficiency, the bottlenecks, the cost-breakup, etc. However, since ATS keeps a track of each step of the hiring process, it is also able to provide detailed analytics on the process. It provides insights like time-to-close for each vacancy, the cost of closing vacancies across departments, staffing agency billing to reconcile with their invoices, and more.

A good, modern day ATS will have all the above functionalities and more. It is a no-brainer that you should opt for an ATS to streamline and automate your hiring process. However, if you are still not convinced, check out 9 reasons why you need an Applicant Tracking System. And if you are convinced already, head on to 14 things to look for in an Application Tracking Software or just sign up to use Free Forever Folk Flow Applicant Tracking System.

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