Skip to main content
Back to Category

What Is an Applicant Tracking System?


An applicant tracking system (ATS) simplifies an employer’s recruitment and hiring process via automation and software solutions. An ATS is something like the human resources equivalent of the customer relationship management (CRM) tools employed by sales teams, but with a focus on job seekers and talent acquisition.

When candidates apply for a job, an ATS automatically uploads their job application and pertinent information — résumé, experience, contact information, etc. — to a database. This provides recruiters and hiring managers with a tracking system that can streamline their recruitment process by more easily matching candidates who fit a job description with the right job openings.

An ATS may also help streamline the application process on the other end. Using recruitment software can simplify a candidate’s job search by allowing them to respond to a job posting by uploading their information directly to job boards and social media websites. This cuts down on the frustration of the application process and gives employers a deeper pool of candidates to choose from.

How do applicant tracking systems work?

In the old days, businesses had to provide paper applications for applicants to fill out. Eventually, you’d be left with a stack of paper applications that felt nearly impossible to sort through. With an applicant tracking system, employers can easily sort through applicants’ data to find the best people to hire for the job.

So, what is an applicant tracking system? An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of talent management software that’s used in the recruiting and hiring process. Rather than sorting through stacks of applications by hand, using an ATS allows you to view all relevant applicant data in a single database. Sorting through this database allows you to look only at the applicants who are a good fit for the job.

It’s important to keep in mind that an ATS isn’t an automated hiring system. While applicant tracking system software can help filter out applicants who don’t meet the criteria for a particular job, you still have full control when it comes to weeding out applicants and making the final call.

What are the benefits of applicant tracking systems?

You might know about the benefits of job scheduling software, but what are the benefits of using an applicant tracking system? The biggest benefit of an ATS is the fact that you don’t have to spend your time manually sorting through applications to find the best applicants. Instead, you get all that data in one convenient database that you can search and sort to find the right people for the job. This saves you time, and saving time means you save money. Plus, using an applicant tracking system frees up more time for you to work on growing your business and planning for the future.

The best applicant tracking systems also give you a better overview of the job applications you receive. Let’s face it— looking through dozens of applications without skimming and missing information is tough. If you’re dealing with hundreds of applications, finding the time to get a thorough look at every application can be challenging and time-consuming. With an ATS, you have an easy-to-read set of data that gives you a better picture of who applied for a position and who’s qualified.

If you’re hiring for a position that needs to be filled as soon as possible, HR software solutions such as an ATS can help you make the right decision in less time. This is imperative if you’re recruiting candidates for a recent vacancy that you haven’t been able to fill internally. Even if you’re not in a rush to hire somebody, an ATS helps keep your business properly staffed and operating without roadblocks.

While it’s not an issue for every business or job opening, some businesses get a lot of applications from people who simply aren’t qualified. With an applicant tracking system, those applications will never come across your desk. Not having to deal with unnecessary resumes and applications can save you time that you can spend making a more informed hiring decision.

Why use an applicant tracking system?

Starting and growing a successful business isn’t easy. Utilizing technology is one of the best things you can do to increase your odds of success and take some of the stress off of yourself. An applicant tracking system is one of many tools you can use to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, so you can dedicate more time to focus on your business as a whole. Whether you spend the time you free up working on a time-sensitive project or increasing your advertising efforts, an ATS can help you manage your time better.

It’s best to use an applicant tracking system in conjunction with other HRIS software, such as payroll software. By making use of a full suite of tools designed to streamline your business, you can improve efficiency, save time and money, and make sure your employees are satisfied and not overworked.

What to look for in an applicant tracking system

Making the transition from a traditional application process to an applicant tracking system can be difficult, so choosing the right software is important. You want software that’s easy to work with, so you don’t have to spend too much time learning how to use an ATS. That being said, you also want a feature-rich applicant tracking system that does everything you need it to.

Beyond the software, you should look for an ATS that’s supported by a reputable company. Some companies may charge extra fees to import data and get started with the software, or to customize the software to fit your business. There’s also the matter of finding an ATS that’s backed by good customer support, so you can get help if you need it. These are basic features that you should look for whether you’re shopping for an ATS or time and attendance software.

If you’re looking for the best applicant tracking system for your business, Ascentis' powerful recruiting software can help you with all of your applicant tracking needs.  


Looking for HR tools and resources?

Streamline your processes with Ascentis

Learn More

Other terms:

Clock In and Clock Out Software


We've all seen the old-time newsreel footage of hundreds of ... See more

Disability leave


The Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) requires employe... See more

Sick pay


Paid sick leave laws vary widely depending on where your bus... See more

Sign up for a free demo today