An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS can be implemented or accessed online on an enterprise or small businesslevel, depending on the needs of the company, and there is also free and open source ATS software available. An ATS is very similar tocustomer relationship management (CRM) systems, but are designed for recruitment tracking purposes. In many cases they filter applications automatically based on given criteria such as keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience and schools attended. This has caused many to adapt resume optimization techniques similar to those used in search engine optimization when creating and formatting their resume.
Almost all recruitment agencies and most major corporations with an in-house recruitment function use some form of applicant tracking system to handle job postings, applicants, resumes,interviews. A dedicated ATS is not uncommon for recruitment specific needs. On the enterprise level it may be offered as a module or functional addition to a human resources suite or Human Resource Information System (HRIS). The ATS is expanding into small and medium enterprises through open source or software as a service offerings (SaaS).
The principal function of an ATS is to provide a central location and database for a company’s recruitment efforts. ATSs are built to better assist management of resumes and applicant information. Data is either collected from internal applications via the ATS front-end, located on the company website or is extracted from applicants on job boards. The majority of job and resume boards(Monster.com, Hotjobs, CareerBuilder, Indeed.com) have partnerships with ATS software providers to provide parsing support and ease of data migration from one system to another