What is an Applicant Tracking System

what is an applicant tracking system

If you’ve applied to a job online, the chances are great that your resume has been through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) scan. There are several systems that companies use including:

  • BambooHR
  • Oracle Taleo
  • IBM Konexa BrassRing
  • Jobvite
  • iCIMS
  • Workday

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Basically speaking it is a program containing customized algorithms that scan resumes for relevance. It ranks candidates in order based on how much of a match they are for the position that’s open. It searches for things like keywords, years of experience, and other data sets the company wishes to program into the system.

ATS Programs are Really Popular

Approximately 90% of companies use ATS scans. This includes mom and pop shops all the way to Fortune 500 companies. The companies use these programs because they just don’t have time for a human to go through all the resumes they receive. Depending on the job opening, a company can get between 250 and 500 applicants. Can you imagine having the job of sifting through all those resumes?!

Here’s What the ATS Scans Do

This is what the employer’s view of an ATS looks like. It provides the employer the ranking (in this case a star-rating), as mentioned before. They also allow hiring managers to make notes about each candidate.

What Should Job Seekers Do?

Remember the big numbers we talked about earlier? Here’s another big number for you. Approximately 75% of resumes are rejected by the ATS scans. This means they end up in a digital la-la land, never to see the light of day. This is probably THE #1 REASON PEOPLE DON’T GET THE INTERVIEW. You can’t be called to an interview if no one is physically looking at your resume.

To ensure compatibility with an ATS program, check your resume for the following:

  1. Margins are no less than 1/2 an inch.
  2. Font no less than 11 pt.
  3. Use relevant keywords – the days of throwing the same resume at 100 jobs is over.
  4. Spell out abbreviations the first time you use them and put the letters in parenthesis. After that you can use the abbreviations.
  5. Avoid the use of tables, images, or fancy fonts. ATS scans can’t parse information if the resume is heavily formatted.