Complete Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

ATS computer
Morgane Lança
June 6 2024

Finding and hiring the best fit for your company can be a long and challenging process. In a world where job seekers’ expectations have evolved and candidate experience is now essential to the hiring process, it can be difficult to maintain effective practices with limited resources and time constraints.

That’s where Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, come into play. These recruiting tools lighten your workload while improving your efficiency and productivity. What exactly is an Applicant Tracking System, what are its main features, how can it benefit your company and how can you make your final choice? You will find all the answers you need in this complete guide!

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

ATS are collaborative tools used by your entire recruiting team to share the profiles they are interested in, while facilitating the publication of job offers and creating a bank of candidates accessible at any time. They also automate your hiring process by sending out pre-defined emails to applicants, thus ensuring a smooth candidate experience.

Over time, these recruiting solutions have improved and increased the number of features they offer to fit the changing needs of recruiters and candidates. Nowadays, they are tools that can have a real impact on your recruitment practices and make your company more attractive to potential candidates.

Main features of an ATS

ATS offer a wide range of features, but here are the main ones you need to look for:

  • Centralized candidate database: All your past and current applicants can be found on a single platform, and you can easily search for the right fit on your ATS database by using filters and keywords.
  • Keyword search: Looking for a specific certification on a resume? A coveted quality mentioned in a cover letter? Simply use your ATS’ keyword search feature to find what you want in a few clicks.
  • Candidate profiles: Access numerous candidate profiles anytime and anywhere you like. You can even write down notes directly on profiles to keep track of information gained during exchanges with applicants!
  • Customizable hiring processes: Define the different steps of your interview to ensure that your process is tailored to your needs and your reality. A sure way to find the best fit in no time!
  • Candidate communication: You can contact applicants directly on your platform by using email templates, thus automating your exchanges and avoiding forgetting to follow-up with your candidates.
  • Career page integration: If you have a career page, the applications you receive there will automatically be transferred to your ATS. You will never again miss out on the best recruiting opportunity!
  • Job sites integration: The icing on the cake: applications received through postings on job sites can also be integrated into your ATS. Centralizing applicant information is definitely the way to go to ensure effective recruitment activities!
  • AI features: Avoid bias, gain time, and identify qualified candidates with an AI supported candidate selection process.

Convinced yet? Read on to discover how these key features can have a real positive impact on your entire recruitment process!

Benefits of Using an ATS

1. Time and Money Savings

Applicant Tracking Systems can help you overcome common recruitment challenges by helping you implement a streamlined recruitment process while reducing hiring costs. Indeed, the time you will save on administrative tasks will translate into a reduced workload for your recruiters and HR department, who will in turn have more time to focus on the strategic dimension of their role. Their hiring process will become more efficient and you will find the best talent in record time.

Moreover, avoiding the cost of bad hire is a lot easier with recruiting tools: taking notes on applicants’ profiles and using collaborative hiring features will help you notice if potential applicants are fit for the role or not. You will also reduce the likelihood of missing out on suitable candidates thanks to automated emailing tools and relevant keyword searches.

2. More Effective Hiring Processes

Who has never dreamed of erasing repetitive tasks throughout the hiring process? ATS are great tools to automate time-consuming tasks that are neither strategic nor creative, thus ensuring a quicker, more efficient recruiting process. In addition, they keep data related to past recruitment processes and former candidate applications accessible at all times on a centralized talent pool database.

That’s not all: they also provide a clear vision of the recruitment effort and what you have left to do, while offering reports on recruiting metrics. The icing on the cake: they promote collaborative hiring by sharing information on the platform to help out the hiring team. All of these essential benefits will result in an improved recruiting process, a collaborative hiring pipeline, and optimized cost per hire rates!

3. Detailed Reporting and Analytics

With an ATS, you can generate detailed reports to help you make informed decisions and optimize your recruitment process by identifying areas for improvement:

  • Dashboards with data on candidates and hiring processes;
  • Sourcing features to determine the origin of incoming applications;
  • Reports on candidate feedback;
  • Calculation of average cost per hire.

You can also create customized reports for a detailed analysis of your practices and the results achieved over a given period.


4. Optimized Candidate Experience

Optimizing candidate experience should be one of recruiters’ top priorities, and Applicant Tracking Systems are valuable tools in that regard. Indeed, they promote open and transparent communication with applicants by providing several email templates, including onboarding email templates that you can automate, thus ensuring that candidates are not indefinitely waiting for your follow-up. Furthermore, recruitment tools help ensure a fair process for all applicants because they remove potential bias from the selection process. All in all, streamlined recruitment also reflects positively on your company and its processes: candidates will see that you have strong workflows in place and they will be more interested in joining your team.

How to Choose Your Applicant Tracking Software

You should take your budget and requirements into consideration before making a choice. Business size and industry is also important, considering that some solutions target recruitment agencies and others are more appropriate to small and medium-sized businesses.

Here are some questions that need to be taken into consideration before making a choice:

  • What are my main recruiting needs in the short and longer term?
  • What is my definitive budget?
  • Have I considered all the options available and are they tailored to my company’s needs?
  • Can I get a free demonstration of the tool?
  • Is it affordable and powerful enough for my reality? 

Answering these questions will help you make the best decision when choosing your recruitment platform. If you need more help before you make the final choice, here is a list of best recruiting software solutions, sorted by business size and type!

Best Recruiting Software Solutions

Best for SMBs: Folks ATS

Hundreds of businesses and recruiters already use Folks ATS to find and hire the best talent while saving money and increasing candidate engagement. Offering flexible, affordable and advanced features to streamline your recruitment strategy, this Canadian recruiting software is tailored to the reality and needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Plus, the platform is entirely bilingual!

Best for Recruiting Websites: Breezy HR

This ATS offers multi-source display and gives the option of using paid promotion for job postings. When a job is posted, it is automatically displayed on Google, LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, ZipRecuiter, etc. This multiple display allows a large number of clicks and has the potential to generate a lot of traffic on job postings. However, the platform is only available in English.

Best for Starting Your Digital Shift: Glow in the Cloud

If you have not yet started a digital shift in your company, this ATS will help you easily modernize and streamline your recruitment process.

Best for Recruiters: Workland

Recruiters and recruiting agencies may have different needs when it comes to recruitment tools. This solution is especially designed for these contexts and will help improve your recruitment practices.

Improved efficiency, time savings, reduced bias, streamlined practices and better job candidate journey… As you can see, there are many benefits to implementing ATS in your recruitment process. Modernizing recruiting practices will become an increasingly important challenge for recruiters as AI and recruiting tools will change hiring processes in the future. Learn more about Folks ATS and the benefits it can bring to your company today!

Do you want to improve the entire recruitment process in your company?

Discover Folks ATS, the best Applicant Tracking System for SMBs!


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