What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that automates and manages the recruiting and application process.

myTalentLink, a division of Staffing Solutions Enterprises, is a web-based recruiting and performance management solutions provider. We spoke with Jessica Morris, Marketing Coordinator for myTalentLink, and Susan Dark, Account Manager for myTalentLink, about ATS basics and benefits that companies should be aware of.

Applicant Tracking Systems 101

An ATS streamlines the recruiting process for companies. It conveniently houses resumes and serves as a central location to recruit and track candidates for open requisitions. Also, any activity that happens is stored and the history is available to access at any time.

“Reporting is so much easier with an ATS,” says Morris. “Companies can view candidate sources, requisition activity, and access equal employment opportunity data- all at their fingertips. Although an ATS automates the hiring process, it is a resource tool that also streamlines the process for a recruiter, not eliminating it.”

The benefits

Applicant tracking systems have many benefits. Morris and Dark highlight a few that are not only beneficial for the company but also for the potential candidate.

  • Exposure – An ATS allows the user to cross-post open positions to a variety of job boards and social media sites easily and efficiently.  Likewise, a job seeker can share your posting on social media or send to a friend; widening the employer’s recruiting net.
  • Transparency – All transactions are recorded, providing a complete audit trail.
  • Time-saving –  Some systems, like myTalentLink, allows the user to send template letters and new hire documentation to candidates, as well as schedule interviews – all right through the system. This not only saves time but also ensures that nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Internal Communication – Users can communicate by referring a candidate to another suitable position for your organization. Also, resumes can be routed through the system to hiring managers or other key contacts involved in hiring. No one is left in the dark during the process.
  • External Communication – Often times, candidates apply to a job and never hear back. Utilizing an ATS allows for automatic email notifications when a candidate submits a resumé or applies to a position.

When you should invest in an ATS

If your file cabinets or computer desktop folders are exploding with resumes, then it may be time for you to consider transitioning to an ATS. Automating allows you to go paperless, search with filters, and serves as a central recruiting hub.

“Typically, prospective clients have 4-5 job entries listed a month,” says Dark. And often times, smaller companies only have one HR person handling the responsibilities, including recruiting. When hiring demands rise, an ATS can help reduce administrative time, allowing you to tend to other tasks and responsibilities.”

Dark notes that if you aren’t tracking the metrics of your organization’s recruiting efforts, you may be missing out on some key information that could be beneficial to your overall goal. Having a system that shows real-time reports that allow you to track time-to-fill rates and recruiter effectiveness is most beneficial. 

“These valuable insights reveal the inner workings of your recruiting process, so you can address and improve any internal issues within your organization,” says Dark.

Buying advice for an ATS

Some tips to consider when in the market for an ATS:

  • Decide which elements are most important to your recruiting process, from job seeker experience to reporting results. Also, be sure to focus on the solutions that meet those needs.
  • Research and know what size system best suits your organization. Often times, companies go after “big brand” ATS software services and pay dearly for enterprise wide, a robust system that becomes underutilized.
  • Test drive the software yourself if you can’t decide. You can ask to try out the solution on your own for a week or so to ensure you are making the right decision.

If you think your company could benefit from Applicant Tracking System, make sure to do your homework on which system will work best for you. For more information on myTalentLink, visit here.


  • Liz Maier-Liu

    Liz Maier-Liu specializes in writing high-quality, engaging copy across all channels, including email, web, blogs, print, and social media. She is passionate about helping ERC build long-lasting relationships with clients and members through storytelling and delightful copy that calls them to action.Since 2019, Liz has supported ERC’s marketing team. She currently manages ERC’s email marketing campaigns, social media accounts, marketing automation, and websites. Liz also executes content strategies that drive engagement, leads, and customer retention.