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Applicant Tracking System Software – Every HR’s Go-To Guide

14 MINS READ

Imagine successfully pulling off a seamless recruitment process with decreased hiring timelines?

Complete with increased chances of finding high-quality candidates at lower costs, and providing a top-notch candidate experience – all without burning you out?

You might think all of this would only be possible in a utopian HR world, right? Wrong!

With the advent of applicant tracking systems (ATS), a recruitment process as seamless as the one described above is no longer just a distant dream. 

Why do you think 97.4% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS? It’s precisely for this reason!

A seamless and efficient recruitment process is crucial as it not only helps decrease hiring timelines (more than 86% of recruiters agree) but it also contributes to a positive experience for both candidates and recruiters. 

Taking all that into consideration, Applicant Tracking Systems are indeed a boon to modern recruitment practices. 

But what are we dealing with here? What exactly are they? What are their benefits, and how do they operate? 

Let’s crack down on each of these questions in the coming sections!

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Zappyhire ATS

Let’s start with the basics! What exactly is an applicant tracking system, or an ATS, that we’ve been going on about?

At its very core, an ATS is a software used by recruiters, hiring managers, or recruitment teams to handle job applications and streamline their entire hiring process

This extremely powerful tool with highly advanced capabilities, automates time-consuming, manual tasks, which is a major reason why a recruitment cycle traditionally takes a whopping 44 days to complete. 

By banishing these manual processes, an ATS significantly speeds up hiring, preventing not just the loss of top talent but also saving precious resources like time, money and recruiter energy!

An applicant tracking system serves as the centralized hub that organizes candidate information, tracks resumes, aids pre-screening and screening processes, engages candidates, and improves overall hiring quality.

The bottom line – the use of ATSs leads to more thorough, data backed, informed decisions and of course better hires, all in a short amount of time at low costs, keeping both candidates and recruiters happy!

A few examples of leading Applicant Tracking Software are – Zappyhire, PyjamaHR, Talentlyft and Eightfold. 

How does an Applicant Tracking System work?

How an ATS works

Now coming to the pressing question you might be having right now – ATSs do all these amazing things, but HOW?? How do applicant tracking systems actually work?

ATSs consist of an arsenal of features designed for specific recruitment tasks. 

For example, a Resume Parser aids in extracting important candidate details from resumes, while features like Robotic Video Interviews facilitate the pre-screening and evaluation process. 

These features assist recruiters at every stage of the recruitment process, in the following ways:

1. Job requisition & posting:

Applicant Tracking Software streamline and simplify the process of job requisition creation and enable publishing of job openings to multiple channels simultaneously in an instant. 

This widespread distribution of these job postings plays a very crucial role in expanding the candidate pool

Applicants then face knockout questions(questions that pre-filter candidates before the pre-screening stage) mostly while or before filling out the application form, which helps filter out those who may not be able to perform key job functions.

2. Candidate sourcing:

Applicant Tracking Systems help recruiters source candidates by utilizing integrated job boards, social media platforms, and employee referral tools to cast a wide net. 

They also help in the enhanced visibility of job postings and facilitate initial candidate engagement.

3. Pre-screening & screening:

Every second spent on the wrong candidate has major consequences when it comes to recruitment, which is why recruiters must positively filter out unfit candidates early on in the process.

This is where the ATSs pre-screening tools like Resume Parsers, Robotic Video Interviews, and Recruiting Chatbots come in. 

They efficiently and effectively help identify candidates who probably won’t make the cut quite early on, ensuring that the recruitment team invests time and resources in the most promising applicants.

4. Managing interviews:

With traditional interviews taking up to 45-90 minutes, organizations cannot sit still and do nothing when ATSs like Zappyhire offer video interviews that help cut down the overall time-to-hire by 70%!

They help streamline the interview process by automating processes such as interview scheduling and fostering seamless collaboration among different stakeholders. 

5. Candidate evaluation:

These software further aid in candidate evaluation by offering AI assessments, enabling collaborative hiring and providing detailed reports & analytics about the candidate’s performance. 

They also help in evaluation processes by automatically scoring and ranking candidates, giving recruitment teams a comprehensive, 360 degree overview of each candidate’s potential.

6. Reporting and analytics:

After all of the above, as mentioned earlier, Applicant Tracking Systems equip recruiters with crucial reports and insights, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that help improve workforce diversity, quality of hire, and more.

Benefits of applicant tracking systems

Benefits of an ATS

94% of recruiters and hiring professionals say their ATS or recruiting software has positively impacted their hiring process. 

Why? It’s a no-brainer! It’s owing to the countless benefits they offer. 

From a decrease in time-to-hire (one of the best by-products of using an ATS) to improving employer branding, let’s take a look at each of these benefits:

1. Helps reduce time-to-hire

This is perhaps the biggest win associated with ATSs – it saves time for recruiters and candidates alike, thereby conserving resources for the organization. 

Studies have revealed that optimizing the job recruitment process using an ATS can shorten the hiring cycle by a whopping 60%

They streamline processes and eliminate manual repetitive tasks, such as scouring through countless resumes or interviewing scores of unqualified candidates.

2. Streamlines recruitment process

Efficiency is synonymous with an Applicant Tracking Software. 

If you have even a basic knowledge of ATSs, you’ll understand how often the term “streamline” is used, and for good reason too!

An ATS transforms recruitment by introducing faster, simpler and more straightforward methods that significantly improve the recruitment process.

It does this by centralizing candidate data. And the right applicant tracking system allows you to integrate them seamlessly with your existing systems. 

All essential data, from resumes to interview notes, is stored in one place, making it easily accessible and manageable.

It also automates communications, updating candidates about their application status and scheduling interviews.

3. Improves candidate engagement and experience

Hey, it’s not just about the time-to-hire, cost-to-hire, and quality of hire… we mustn’t forget the ones at the center of it all – the candidates! 

Recruitment must be candidate-centric to ensure a successful cycle! After all, they’re the ones who ultimately contribute to your company’s success.

Applicant tracking systems help improve candidate engagement by taking care of most of the time-consuming manual processes, leaving time for recruiters to do what they must – engage with their prospects and actually get to know them.

Recruiting chatbots play an important role here, ensuring personalized engagement, thereby boosting candidate experience. 

Integration with numerous communication channels further facilitates consistent and effective communication.

4. Improves quality of hire

We wonder how you’ll react when you find out that only 16% of new hires have the skills needed both for their current and future roles! 

Which effectively translates to the fact that the quality of hires made by organizations is not up to mark, reflecting gaps in the recruitment process and associated assessments. 

Applicant Tracking Systems help conduct thorough screening and pre-screening, help weed out candidates who aren’t the right fit at the very early stages itself, and provide data to help make informed decisions. 

They also facilitate skill-based hiring, aligning candidate capabilities with job requirements.

5. Reduces cost-per-hire

$1,400 is how much an organization spends to onboard a new employee, can you believe it? 

If that is the case, then if the quality of hire is up to the mark, it’s an investment, if not, that’s $1,400 down the drain. 

This is just one part of the total costs. Recruiting is not cheap, to say the least. 

The longer the hiring timelines, the higher the costs due to more time and effort being spent by resources and the longer period of a job being vacant. 

Point being, literally anything that goes wrong means high costs that the organization must deal with. 

The solution? 

Cut costs with Applicant Tracking Software – fast hiring timelines, high-quality hires who are the right fit for roles, which results in lower attrition rates, all contribute to lower costs per hire.

6. Seamless collaborative hiring

Collaborative hiring is not a cakewalk! 

Coordination of tasks, scheduling interviews according to each team member’s availability, keeping everyone in the loop, adding and receiving feedback – all of that is enough to wreak havoc in a recruiter’s life! 

The impact spills into the recruitment process in the form of slow and inefficient processes, extended hiring timelines, recruiter burnout, and dissatisfied candidates, etc. 
ATSs save the day by providing a centralized platform that facilitates seamless collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the hiring process.

Their ability to integrate with communication channels like Slack and WhatsApp, among others, also contribute positively to facilitating collaborative hiring.

7. Improves employer branding

Reputation – not quite easy to build but all it takes is one negative review to get the castle crumbling down… 

Building an employer brand is incredibly crucial as it becomes your identity. 

Did you know, 86% of employees look at company reviews and ratings before applying for a job and that 50% of candidates won’t apply to a company with a bad reputation?? That says a lot… 

Applicant tracking systems enable the organization to build a positive employer brand by ensuring positive candidate experiences through streamlined, transparent, and engaging recruitment processes.

candidate experience eBook

8. Access to a large talent pool

What happens if your options for candidates are limited and subpar right from the start? That’s starting the journey on the wrong foot. 

An Applicant Tracking System Software helps expand your reach and improve the quality of your talent pool by broadening job post distribution. 

ATSs distribute job postings across multiple platforms, including job boards, social media channels, and professional networks, reaching a wider audience than traditional methods. 

This approach attracts passive candidates who may not actively be seeking new opportunities but are open to the right ones, significantly enhancing your candidate pool.

Recruiters using an applicant tracking system

Why use an applicant tracking system?

As a recruiter, you’re probably more than familiar with the countless recruitment challenges you face on a day-to-day basis. 

In the same vein, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) becomes not just a tool but a game changer in navigating this complex environment. 

Aside from the numerous benefits we explored in the previous section, an ATS helps with diversity hiring by providing detailed reports and analytics that identify gaps, allowing for targeted improvements. 

This gap identification isn’t limited to just diversity hiring, it is applicable across the organization’s recruitment operations in general.

For instance, certain reports may indicate that particular job roles have a longer time-to-fill as opposed to others. This insight can help the hiring team take the necessary steps to address it. 

They also offer unmatched visibility into the hiring process, enabling continuous optimization. 

With these numerous benefits, recruiters can reduce their focus on manual tasks and invest more time in activities that require human intelligence, empathy, and strategic insight.

Applicant Tracking System features

How to choose an applicant tracking system

When choosing an Applicant Tracking Software, keep in mind factors such as functionality, ease of use, and scalability, among others.

ATSs are indeed an investment, and it is only after careful consideration and thorough research that one should consider investing. 

While each organization has unique challenges and therefore unique requirements, the following are some basic features that most ATSs already have (in fact, they are MUST-HAVES):

1. Job posting

This feature simplifies the distribution of job vacancies across multiple platforms ensuring maximum reach and visibility.

2. Multi-channel communication capabilities

This allows for seamless communication across different platforms, facilitating consistent, timely and effective interaction with candidates.

3. Robust candidate database management

This aspect of ATSs, makes sure it centralizes all candidate information, providing easy access and efficient management of candidate profiles.

4. Advanced resume parsing

Parsing resumes is a time consuming yet extremely crucial task when it comes to hiring. Picking a very good resume parser is extremely crucial, no shortcuts there.

They automatically extract key candidate  details and information from resumes, enhancing the speed and accuracy of data entry, all while easing the recruiter’s workload.

5. Configurability

ATSs must certainly offer flexibility to customize features according to the specific requirements of the organization in question.

6. Integrations

What’s the point if your ATS cannot integrate with your existing systems? 

It is very important for your ATS to be able to seamlessly connect with other HR technologies, thereby expanding functionality and improving data flow.

Zappyhire integrations

7. Comprehensive candidate tracking

As the name indicates, one of the major basic requirements an ATS fulfills is keeping track of all candidate interactions and statuses throughout the hiring process, ensuring no detail is missed out on.

8. Sophisticated data analysis for actionable insights

It would be a waste if the Applicant Tracking System software you choose doesn’t offer a product that delivers deep insights through advanced analytics.

They must ultimately help recruiters make informed recruitment decisions.

Zappyhire applicant tracking system

FYI, highly advanced ATSs like Zappyhire offer additional cutting-edge features like –

1. Video Interviewing Software

Conducts knowledge analysis and predicts language fluency with 98% accuracy, and helps streamline the interview process thereby decreasing the overall time-to-screen.

2. Multilingual Chatbot

Available 24/7 for pre-screening, answers basic queries candidates may have, and offers personalized engagement.

3. AI Assessments

Effortlessly assesses candidates’ cognitive abilities, personality fit, and skills to ensure a good match with the role in question.

4. Resume Parser

Extracts key data from scores of resumes quickly and accurately.

And a LOT more impressive features and offerings!

Bear in mind – before locking in your choice, also consider functionality, ease of use, scalability, analytics and reporting capabilities, integration scope, cost-effectiveness, customizations, and the ability to support multiple languages and local standards

These above-mentioned factors are integral in ensuring that the ATS not just meets your current requirements but also adapts to your organization’s growth and changes.

HR professional using an applicant tracking system

Applicant Tracking System pricing

Feel like we’re reading your mind? It’s only natural to wonder about the costs of these super-recruitment assistants! 

Applicant Tracking Software’s pricing ranges vastly, some tools may be free with limited functionalities, while others may vary depending on the size of the organization and the chosen pricing model. 

Let’s take a look at the different models available in the market:

1. Flat rate

This model offers a single fixed rate regardless of the number of users, features, job vacancies, or usage.

2. Pay per user

Charges are based on the number of users with access to the product.

3. Pay per vacancy

This model charges according to the number of job roles vacant for which the ATS is being used.

4. Pay per module

Charges apply for each module your organization opts for. For example, an ATS is separate from the CRM module, and you would need to pay separately for both.

5. Pay as you go

This typically means paying according to usage, but the specifics can vary, such as paying after a fixed period or based on specific usage metrics.

By organization size:

1. Large businesses and enterprises

Applicant Tracking Systems designed for these organizations are generally more expensive due to their extensive feature sets tailored to handle high-volume hiring.

Prices may start at $15,000 for large businesses and may range between $100,000 – $125,000 for enterprise level per year.

2. Medium-sized businesses

Applicant Tracking Software for medium-sized companies may range from about $3,000 – $15,000 per year. Features and pricing are usually more modest compared to larger enterprises.

3. Small-sized companies

For small sized companies, the pricing ranges from free to around $500 per year. These solutions tend to offer basic features suited to less complex hiring needs and limited hiring budgets.

Successful recruitment with applicant tracking system

To conclude…

Recruiters, we are very lucky to be living in a world where there’s a solution to almost every challenge that you may face at work. 

Recruitment isn’t easy, we know, which is why it is worth considering expanding your knowledge about Applicant Tracking System Softwares and what they can do for you, and how you can best leverage them. 

Having access to the tech stack is one thing, and having the expertise and knowledge to use it effectively is another.

Since you’ve already taken the first step by reading this blog, how about digging a bit deeper? 

Our comprehensive eBook, Everything You Need to Know About Next-Gen ATS, is the right resource for you!

Fancy reading it? Download it now!

Next-gen Applicant Tracking System eBook

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