Candidate experience

What is An Applicant Tracking System?

5 Mins read

What is An Applicant Tracking System?

Even though 98.9% of the fortune 500 use Applicant Tracking Systems to manage their recruitments, ATS (applicant tracking system) implementation is far from mainstream. So many of us find ourselves asking the question of what is an ATS, and does my organization need one?

If you have not implemented an ATS yet, you might be managing your recruitment in a number of other ways such as a folder in your inbox, an excel spreadsheet, or none recruitment tools like trello, jira or pipedrive. Like most basic recruitment processes, it might look like this.

Recruitment Fundamentals

  1. Create a job description online via your site or on a job board
  2. Share online via social media and other portals
  3. Receive applications via your email
  4. Engage the applications you think fit and invite for an interview
  5. Make an offer to the candidate you prefer most
  6. Hire the candidate

It isn’t rocket science right?

So what is an Applicant Tracking System and why do you need one when what I just described can easily be managed in an excel for free? Let’s look at the fundamental way companies use ATS systems in there recruitment process.

ATS Fundamentals

  1. Create and host a job opening. Decide on the job description, design and branding.
  2. Create an application form with fields you believe are most important for your process.
  3. One click sharing of job opportunity on various free and paid job boards for increased applications.
  4. Sort and organize applications based on job suitability.
  5. Communicate with both the candidate and your team members through the recruitment process to ensure complete history of company communication is stored and understood.
  6. Track candidates through the job stages communicating to both successful and unsuccessful candidates resulting in a new hire.
  7. Analyse the recruitment process by numbers and look for future improvements.

As you can see, the process has more steps and each step more detailed.


So now to answer the question of if this is for you and your business?

Did you ever forget to get back to someone who applied for you role?

If the answer is Yes. You are not alone, but it’s a strong sign it’s time for an ATS.

ghosting candidates

In a recent poll ran by Andrew Seaman (with 2,564 votes) 93% of people said they had experienced recruitment ‘ghosting’. Or in other words, was reached by a recruiting manager but then dropped at some point in the recruitment process. You may think this isn’t a big deal, as you certainly kept in contact with your promising candidates and one was successfully hired, however it won’t be the last recruitment your business runs. The candidate you hired might churn within 3 months and you will need to start all over again because you burned the bridge to the unsuccessful candidates costing you time and money. Furthermore candidates now have very little hesitation to call companies out for bad recruitment processes.

ATS systems can help you see which candidates are at which phase, but also ask you to provide feedback at the moment you decide not to move forward with the candidate which can be automatically emails to them putting their mind at rest.

Does your company invest in Employer Branding?

If yes, an ATS might be a good tool to ensure such investment isn’t wasted by poor recruitment processes.

bad recruitment

As mentioned above, ensuring timing communication to ALL candidates takes a big step to keeping your brand image intacted. Furthermore, having a full communication history that your team can access in case of such a public post can quickly defuse negative comments about your company.

Do you get enough candidates to feel satisfied you picked the right person for your job openings?

If the answer is no, the answer for this can be many reasons. An ATS can help you identify the problem fast.

So many of us rely on both our online and offline network of friends when looking to hire. We post on facebook, linkedin etc and we ask our network to share and make suggestions.

hiring via social media

Sometimes these can generate lots of candidates and for of course no extra cost. However, sometimes they can bring little to no candidates, and the worst part is not knowing why.

The first solution an ATS will give you, is it will tell you where your candidates come from.

Knowing which channel is performing OR underperforming will tell you if your social post was a miss, or maybe it always brings you 10 candidates, but your advert didn’t work. You can quickly react and change the content or title of the ad to try and increase applications.

ATS providers will also offer you the chance to share your job opening to a wider audience via free job boards. Traffit offers such boards as Facebook Jobs, Indeed and Jooble which you can share to in just a couple of clicks.

Does hiring the right candidate take too long?

The average time to fill a position worldwide is currently 42 days. Which most companies consider just the way it is. However we are learning more than ever the cost of slow hiring from three different channels.

Good Talent doesn’t hang around.

Cost of your recruiters time is increasing.

The empty position is costing your company in unfulfilled responsibilities.

Firstly, if you want to close the best talent, regardless of if you sourced them, or they came to you. You need your communication game to be on point. Email communication with reminders set is now the bare minimum with also most ATS offering SMS manual and automated communication to close the chance of lost contact. The average time for strong candidates to go from apply to offer received is 10 days. You can’t afford to have a slow process if you want the best talent.

If you do lose candidates due to slow processes such as Hiring Manager approvals and screening, than your recruiters have to go out and source more candidates. This requires more CV screening, sourcing, phone interviews etc. The average salary for a full time HR professional is $28 per hour. The time is costing your business money. ATS solutions offer automation for screening and reminders so that you keep your best talent feeling taken care of.

The cost of an unfilled sales position can be up to $5,000 per day. The cost of delayed coding for a ecommerce store can be $10,000 per day. The list goes on and on. Ultimately Hiring Managers are now counting more and more the cost of unfilled positions with 33% of job postings being unfill more then 3 months. The combination of ATS job posting, automation and communication tools is a sure fire way to lower your time to hire and fill those vital roles quickly.


I hope this post answered what is an applicant tracking system and it gave insight into if your company is ready for an ATS and the benefits it can bring. There are a number of ATS solutions on the market, and I recommend you can research them, but in the meantime I invite you to try Traffit for 14 days completely free. There is no time like the present to improve your recruitment processes and for your company to start taking advantage of the benefits.