Back to Blog Recruitment Tech 101: What Is an Applicant Tracking System? (ATS) by Bob McHugh on September 4th, 2019 Welcome to Recruitment 101. In this series, we’ll capture some frequently asked questions about recruitment technology and its benefits for agencies. First up: What is an ATS? If you work in recruitment, you’ve probably heard of the term applicant tracking system (ATS) But what does it mean? And why are they integral to recruitment success? Read on for the basics or check out the Recruitment CRM Buyer’s Guide for a more in-depth look at the wonderful world of applicant tracking systems. What’s an applicant tracking system (ATS)? An applicant tracking system (ATS) automates an organisation’s recruitment operations and provides a central repository for candidate data—including résumés and applications. It’s built to help you better manage every stage in the recruiting process, from application to hire, while delivering greater overall efficiency. Why Should I Use an ATS? A good ATS has the power to overhaul your entire recruitment operation into the most productive, profitable and efficient business it can be. With proper implementation, they increase recruiter productivity, save time, and provide organisation and structure for your recruitment operations. 67 percent of recruitment agencies use a Recruitment CRM and those that do report more placements and less unproductive time than agencies that don’t. Ninety-four percent of recruiters and hiring professionals say their ATS has positively impacted their hiring process. What’s the Difference Between an ATS and a CRM? A customer relationship management (CRM) system is traditionally used to manage client-facing relationships.A recruitment CRM (or applicant tracking system) also manages the candidate-side of your business. ATS capabilities make it easier to manage all aspects of client and candidate relationships, helping to generate and close job orders more efficiently. Capabilities will vary with each system, but to streamline your business, seek a single system that combines candidate and client functions so your team has everything they need in one place. How Do I Find the Right ATS for Me? How can you ensure that you choose the right ATS for your firm’s needs? Follow these steps to determine what you need in an applicant tracking system. Review your recruiting process Document your recruiting workflow steps, taking note of the activities necessary for a recruiter to do their job. How often are you doing each of these steps? What does your firm do really well? Do you use any third-party tools like job boards or social media? Determine what your current solutions are lacking What are your biggest pain points? Where do your recruiters spend the most time? What features are you missing that would provide the most value to you? Make an ATS wishlist What would your perfect ATS look like? Which features are must-haves and which ones are just nice-to-haves? Share this list with prospective providers so they can address your specific needs. What Should I Ask an ATS Provider Before I Buy? Towards the end of your ATS journey, you’ll be scheduling demos with a shortlist of your top ATS choices. We put together a list of 50 questions you may want to ask. Here are ten questions you’ll want answered before you make this important investment. Does your ATS specialize in the specific needs of third-party staffing firms? How many staffing firms use your product? Does your ATS have a native mobile app? Do you have an open ecosystem with partner solutions that integrate with you ATS? Are you investing in improvements to your product? Does your ATS have any unique features that other systems don’t? Does your ATS offer a front-to-back experience—capabilities for the front office, middle office, and back office? Are there ongoing resources for using and learning about the ATS? Is it possible to customize fields and workflows? Do you provide live or on-demand training support? Ready to take a deeper dive into the world of applicant tracking systems? Check out the ATS Buyer’s Guide for everything you need to know to make a worthwhile investment in your staffing firm’s future. Want to learn more about what you should look for in an applicant tracking system? Check out the Recruitment CRM and ATS Buyer’s Guide for everything you need to know to make a worthwhile investment in your recruitment agency’s future.