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Applicant Tracking System (ATS)


An applicant tracking system (ATS) assists in automating a company’s overall talent acquisition (recruiting) needs. A strong ATS must be both flexible and scalable. For example, it should enable options such as "easy apply," (i.e. quick resume submission) as well as a more comprehensive online application approach that align with both the company’s strategy and culture. In both instances, it must allow for candidates entering the consideration process to complete the necessary documentation for compliance purposes.

An ATS must be applicable in its setup to both a centralized or decentralized HR function. Strong data capture is at the heart of any HRMS module and an ATS is no different. Important functionality in an ATS to consider is the ability to:

  • Create and manage position requisitions
  • Automate the updating of a corporate careers page
  • Facilitate the ability for candidates to submit their resumes and apply on-line for positions
  • Employment application
  • Initial "filter" questions to assist in qualification
  • Flag candidates for consideration or no interest
  • Conduct searches from existing candidate pool based on relevant keywords
  • Allow for internal candidate inclusion and priority setting (i.e. internal candidates get to apply first)
  • Allow for agency inclusion and tracking within the ATS by position
  • Route candidates to appropriate team members / managers for review and consideration
  • Track process steps and related notes and outcomes related to a candidate
  • Process hire / decline candidate(s)
  • Pass new hire information to HRMS
  • Facilitate government reporting requirements
  • Provide extensive talent acquisition management reporting by recruiter, position, hiring manager, location, etc. to gain greater insight into both responsiveness and effectiveness of sourcing efforts

The investment an organization makes into its talent acquisition efforts annually is extensive. Take into account the cost of job postings and/or job board annual contracts, applicable agency fees, background check fees, personality profile assessment fees, skills testing fees, the cost of talent acquisition staff wages, and the time (translated to wages) managers spend in the assessment process.

However, even with all of the investment above, without the ability to monitor and assess if recruiting efforts are working (i.e. efficient and timely) and quickly identify where any bottlenecks may lie, an organization’s investment dollars can be wasted on lost candidates opportunities and subsequent “bad hires.” ATS should absolutely provide an organization with greater insight in to the effectiveness of its talent acquisition function, to ensure that its investment in sourcing future team members is spent wisely.