Understanding Applicant Tracking Systems

How do applicant tracking systems filter out job candidates?

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are software applications that help employers manage their recruitment and hiring processes. One of the primary functions of an ATS is to filter out job candidates based on certain criteria.

Here are some of the ways that an ATS may filter out candidates:

  1. Keyword matching: An ATS will scan a candidate's resume or application for specific keywords that match the job description. If the candidate's resume doesn't contain those keywords, the ATS may reject the candidate.
  2. Qualification criteria: An ATS can be programmed to filter out candidates who don't meet certain qualifications such as education, experience, or certifications.
  3. Location: Employers may use an ATS to screen candidates based on their proximity to the job location.
  4. Work history: An ATS can be used to screen out candidates who have gaps in their work history or who have job-hopped frequently.
  5. Format and structure: An ATS may reject candidates whose resumes aren't formatted correctly or who don't follow specific guidelines.

Here's how an ATS typically scans for keywords:

  1. The system receives a resume: The applicant tracking system receives a resume from a job seeker. The resume is usually in a digital format, such as a Word document or PDF.
  2. The system analyzes the text: The ATS then analyzes the text of the resume, looking for keywords and phrases that match the job description.
  3. The system assigns a score: The ATS assigns a score to the resume based on the number of relevant keywords and phrases found in the text.
  4. The system ranks the resume: Based on the score, the ATS ranks the resume against other resumes in the system.
  5. The recruiter reviews the resume: The recruiter reviews the top-ranked resumes and decides which candidates to move forward in the hiring process.

It is important to note that an ATS is not perfect and can sometimes reject qualified candidates. It's always a good idea to tailor your resume and application to the job description and make sure your qualifications are clearly highlighted.

How Many Companies use ATS

It is difficult to determine exactly how many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) since there are many providers and types of systems available. However, it is estimated that the majority of medium to large-sized companies use some form of ATS to manage their recruitment and hiring processes.

It is estimated that over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems. Additionally, the study found that smaller companies are increasingly adopting ATS software as well, with over 66% of small businesses using some form of ATS to manage their hiring process.

Overall, it is safe to say that the use of ATS software is very common among companies of all sizes, and it is likely that the majority of jobseekers will encounter an ATS at some point during their job search.

Origins of the Applicant Tracking System

The origins of ATS can be traced back to the 1990s when companies started using software to manage their recruitment processes. However, some sources credit BrassRing Systems as the first company to create an ATS in 1995.

BrassRing Systems, which was later acquired by IBM, developed an online job application system that allowed employers to collect and manage resumes electronically. This early ATS software was designed to help employers streamline their hiring processes, save time, and reduce the costs associated with recruiting.

Since then, the use of ATS software has become increasingly widespread, with many providers and types of systems available on the market today. Most medium to large-sized companies now use some form of ATS to manage their recruitment and hiring processes, and the technology continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of employers and jobseekers alike.