Understanding Applicant Tracking Software

Imagine this; You’re a recruiter - you’ve screened thousands of applications where 99% of the submissions have grammatical errors, irrelevant experience, or worse.

Along comes a technology that promises to filter through the pile to only find candidates that actually have a chance of making it through the hiring process.

Amazing, right?

Any recruiter will tell you that Applicant Tracking Software certainly makes their life easier. According to a recent report by Jobscan, 99% of Fortune 500 companies are now using Application Tracking Software.

While this technology is great for recruiters and businesses everywhere, what does that mean for you, the job searcher?

In this article, we will discuss what ATS is, how it works, and what job seekers can do to increase their chances of success.

What is Applicant Tracking Software?

ATS is a software application that automates the recruitment process. It’s used by employers to manage job postings, collect resumes, and track applicants. The software uses algorithms to filter and rank resumes based on specific criteria. The goal is to eliminate unqualified candidates and highlight the most suitable ones for the job.

A few notable ATS are Taleo, Workable, Greenhouse, and Lever.

How does Applicant Tracking Software work?

When a job seeker applies for a job, they will likely submit their application online. Their application will then be parsed by the ATS, which scans the document for relevant information. The system looks for specific keywords and phrases that match the job posting. If the ATS finds a match, the resume will be moved to the next stage of the recruitment process.

The ATS will also analyze the resume to determine the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and experience. It will look for information such as job titles, education, work history, and certifications. The system will then rank the resumes based on how well they match the job posting.

Employers can customize the ATS to suit their specific needs. They can set filters to screen out candidates who do not meet certain criteria. For example, an employer may set a filter to screen out candidates who do not have a certain level of education or relevant work experience.

If you'd like to learn more, you can snoop the help center of any of the major ATS tools. Lever has a great source of information on learning more about how recruiters use this to their advantage.

Tips for Job Searchers

With the prevalence of ATS, it is essential for job seekers to understand how the system works and what they can do to increase their chances of success. Here are some tips to help job seekers get past the ATS and stand out to potential employers:

Use Relevant Keywords

The ATS scans resumes for specific keywords and phrases that match the job posting. Job seekers should ensure their resume includes relevant keywords to increase their chances of success. They should read the job posting carefully and identify keywords that relate to the job. Job seekers can also research the company to identify keywords and phrases that align with the company’s values and mission.

Tailor your Resume and LinkedIn

Job searchers should custom tailor their resume and LinkedIn profiles to suit the job posting. It's important to have your application match with the job requirements as much as possible. Use the job posting as a guide to ensure your application includes all the information the employer is looking for.

Keep it simple

The ATS can struggle to parse complex resumes. Job seekers should use a simple and straightforward format to make it easy for the system to read their resume. They should avoid using images, graphics, and complex formatting.

Use standard headings

Job seekers should use standard headings for their resume. This will make it easier for the ATS to identify the different sections of the resume. Job seekers should use headings such as “Work Experience,” “Education,” and “Skills.”

Proofread your Application

Job seekers should proofread their resume before submitting it. The ATS can penalize resumes with spelling and grammar errors. Job seekers should ensure their resume is error-free and easy to read.

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