An increasing number of small and mid-sized businesses use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to streamline hiring processes and hire the most suitable talent.

Most applicants are unaware of what happens after they apply for a job they think they are eligible for. It is important to gauge how the ATS application works, what happens after a job seeker submits their resume, and get to understand the ATS workflow. Here are a few things every job seeker should know.

  • What are applicant tracking systems?

Applicant tracking system software provides recruiting and hiring tools for recruiters, HR managers, and hiring managers. The application allows companies to retrieve information, sort talent based on experience and skill set, and filter applicants It also allows you to process resumes by extracting data and converting it into a structured format that is easily manageable.

When you submit your resume for a job position online, your resume doesn’t go straight to a recruiter or hiring manager. It will be initially processed by an ATS which filters and sorts the resumes received based on the job description and skillsets.

  • Why employers use applicant tracking systems?

Businesses hire for many positions at a given time and receive hundreds of applications from candidates for any given job. Applying for a job is now simpler than ever and can be done instantly with a single click. It’s difficult for recruiters to manage the thousands of resumes they receive daily and to manually evaluate applications to determine suitable ones and eliminate misfits.

Applicant tracking systems store all these applications in a single location, helping recruiters and hiring managers to sort the resumes as well as stay compliant with regulations in hiring. In theory, these systems also save time by automatically filtering, evaluating resumes, and ranking them in order of suitability. In essence, ATS helps recruiters to filter their talent pool, streamline, and simplify the hiring process. move applicants through the recruitment funnel and choose the best talent.

  • Applicant tracking systems are widely used

Most large and medium-sized companies use applicant tracking systems. A leading survey estimated 66% of large companies and 35% of medium & small-sized businesses use ATS.

There are dozens of different ATS, each with its own features, strengths, shortcomings, and disadvantages. If you’re applying to a large organization, chances are you’ll face an ATS. If you’re applying through any online form, you’re applying via an ATS. Most job portals such as Indeed and LinkedIn have their ATS platforms.

  • How applicant tracking systems work?

Applicant tracking systems retrieve, sort, and store resumes in a database for recruiters and HR managers to access. Recruiters or hiring managers can then search and sort through the resumes in a number of ways, depending on the system they’re using.

Some recruiters may still manually evaluate every application that comes through their applicant tracking system. In this case, most take a quick look at the applicant’s credentials, experience, skill sets, past achievements, job titles, and previous employers. They can make up their mind about whether they to proceed with your application in a few seconds. It’s vital to make sure your top skills and qualifications are highlighted.

Applicant tracking systems can automatically compare your resume to the job description and rank and rate applicants based on suitability while filtering out the unqualified. Instead of reviewing each and every application, the recruiter can choose to select the applicants the ATS has identified as a great fit.

  • Keyword Searches

A popular technique recruiters filter resumes in an applicant tracking system is by searching for key skill sets and positions.

For example, if a recruiter is hiring for a software engineer out of 1000 applications, the first step will probably be a search for “software engineer”. This will filter applicants that have done that role before. Any applicant that doesn’t have that keyword in their resume will be filtered out.

A search can contain multiple terms. For example, they might perform a complex search that contains a combination of titles and skills such as java or .net which are important for the job.

  • Resume formatting matters in applicant tracking systems

When you upload your resume into an applicant tracking system, the recruiter won’t necessarily view the resume. The ATS parsing software will parse the document into a structured format to make things sorted, uniform, and searchable.