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What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Ever wonder what recruiters use the moment you apply for a job online? Or what happens to your resume after submitting a job application? Most companies use a database system or what is usually called an Applicant Tracking System ("ATS") - it is an increasingly popular tool for employers who are looking to streamline their hiring processes. An ATS is a software program that automates the recruitment process by collecting, sorting, and storing information about job applicants. It’s designed to make the process of finding, assessing, and onboarding new employees much easier and more efficient for recruiters and hiring managers.

Using an ATS, employers can track and review job applications, resumes, and other hiring-related documents. It can be used to filter through applications and hone in on the most qualified candidates, making the selection process easier and more accurate. This can save employers time and money, as they no longer have to manually sort through hundreds of applications.

The ATS can also be used to keep track of the entire recruitment process. Recruiters can use the system to send out automated emails to job applicants, schedule interviews, and notify hiring managers when they need to take action. This helps to ensure that the recruitment process stays on track and that no steps are missed.

Finally, an ATS can be used to provide valuable insights into the hiring process. Using statistical data gathered from the system, employers can gain valuable insights into their recruitment

How Does an ATS Work?

When you submit your resume through an ATS, it creates a personal record for you in the database (including your resume). Then, recruiters can search for keywords for the particular job openings to find candidates who fit those qualifications. If your resume contains the keywords the employer wants, then the ATS will highlight your profile in the search results.

The keyword searches by recruiters include the skills and experiences specific to the particular job opening. The employer can even command the ATS to search the company’s entire database of resumes to look for candidates with certain qualifications. This means that even if you submitted your resume a long time ago and never got a response, the company may have kept it on file in its database, and the ATS might identify you as a good candidate for a different position long after you originally submitted your resume.

Here is a basic concept of how recruiters use an ATS:

What is the Importance of an ATS and Why do Employers Use Them?

ATSs are designed to help organizations manage the recruiting process, from job postings and applications to hiring and onboarding new employees. The importance of an ATS lies in its ability to streamline the recruitment process and make it more efficient. It helps employers to quickly and easily identify job seekers who match the job description and qualifications, and allows them to quickly filter out those who don’t. This saves employers time and money, enabling them to fill open positions faster and focus on other areas of their business. An ATS also helps employers keep better track of applicants and their documents, making it easier to track and review applications as they come in.

When do Job Seekers Come in Contact with an ATS?

While ATS serve recruiters, there are multiple occasions when job seekers interact with ATS too.

Job seekers come in contact with an applicant tracking system when they apply for a job. It will start to store, sort, and manage the large volume of job applications it receives, often in response to a job posting.

For job seekers, it’s important to understand how the ATS works and how to optimize their applications for the system. This will help you understand it better and make informed decisions.

If you think your best qualities only show once you meet your potential employers upon interview, you can boost your chances if you can rank highly in the ATS. Researching jobs and optimizing your resume with the right keywords before you apply is the best way to get interviews. EarnBetter has a free tool that can help you with this at

But always remember, even with an ATS, it is a human who will decide on your application at the end of the day. Prepare your resume for a machine as well as for a human. This will help you win an interview for your dream role.