Applicant Tracking System

How Does an Applicant Tracking System Work?

how does applicant tracking system work

Ever wonder how recruiters sort through thousands of job applications for every single job posting? It would require thousands of manhours to read and evaluate each resume manually. That’s why most companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a software that automates the hiring process and makes it easier and faster for recruiters to find the best candidates. But how does an applicant tracking system work, exactly?

An ATS is a smart software that scans, scores, and ranks resumes based on how well they match the job and company requirements. It also helps recruiters manage and communicate with candidates through one easy-to-use platform. You can schedule interviews, sync calendars, and track candidate records with the ATS.

An ATS can make hiring a breeze for recruiters as well as candidates. It is useful for various hiring scenarios and needs, whether you are looking for remote workers, diverse talent, or seasonal staff.

How an Applicant Tracking System Works Behind the Scenes

An ATS is a complex software system that uses various technologies and algorithms to perform its functions. Some of the key components of an ATS are:

The Database: This is where all the information about the candidates, jobs, hiring managers, and other relevant data are stored and organized. The database can be hosted on-premise or on the cloud, depending on the preferences and security needs of the organization.

The Parser: An ATS extracts relevant information from resumes, such as name, contact details, education, work history, skills, etc., and converts it into a standardized format that can be easily searched and analyzed by the ATS.

The Matching: This is a tool that compares the parsed resumes with the job requirements and the ideal candidate profile, using various criteria such as keywords, skills, experience level, location, etc., and assigns a score or rank to each candidate based on their fit.

AI / ML: An ATS uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enhance its capabilities.  For example, AI/ML can help create dynamic candidate profiles based on their behavior and preferences; suggest relevant jobs or candidates based on  data enrichment; predict future outcomes such as hiring success or turnover; and provide insights and recommendations for improving the hiring process.

Communication: An ATS comes with a feature that enables seamless communication between recruiters, candidates, and hiring managers via email or text messages. The communication tool can also automate certain tasks such as sending confirmations, reminders, feedback, and updates; scheduling interviews; generating reports; etc.

Integration: A fully featured ATS is able to integrate with other software systems or platforms that are used in the hiring process. For example, integration can enable posting jobs on multiple channels; syncing calendars with email providers; importing data from social media or professional networks; exporting data to payroll or HR systems; etc.

These components work together to create a smooth and efficient workflow for the hiring process. Depending on the features and functionalities of the ATS, it can also offer additional tools such as analytics, reporting, dashboards, alerts, notifications, etc.

Why You Should Use it for Recruitment

An ATS can offer many benefits for recruiters, candidates, and organizations alike. Some of these benefits are:

1. Source and Attract Qualified Candidates

An ATS can help recruiters reach out to a larger pool of potential candidates across various platforms and channels. It can also help them create a strong employer brand by showcasing their culture, values, mission, vision, etc., and attracting candidates who share their vision.

Moreover, an ATS can help recruiters find passive candidates who are not actively looking for a job but may be interested in new opportunities. For example, an ATS can use AI/ML to analyze the online behavior and preferences of candidates and send them personalized messages or job recommendations based on their interests.

2. Increase Candidate Engagement

An ATS can help recruiters keep candidates engaged throughout the hiring process by providing them with timely and personalized communication. It can also help them create a positive candidate experience by making the application process easy and user-friendly; providing feedback and updates; respecting their time and privacy; and addressing their questions and concerns.

For example, an ATS can use communication tools to send automated messages to candidates at different stages of the hiring process, such as acknowledging their application, inviting them for an interview, informing them of the next steps, etc.

3. Improve Efficiency and Lower Costs

An ATS can help recruiters save time and money by automating manual and repetitive tasks such as posting jobs, screening resumes, scheduling interviews, etc. It can also help them reduce errors and biases by using standardized and objective criteria to evaluate candidates.

Furthermore, an ATS can help them optimize their hiring strategy by providing them with data and analytics on key metrics such as cost-per-hire, time-to-hire, quality-of-hire, etc. For example, an ATS can use parser tools to scan resumes quickly and accurately; matcher tools to filter out unqualified candidates; integration tools to post jobs on multiple platforms with one click; etc.

LEARN MORE: A Step-by-Step Guide To The Applicant Tracking System

4. Optimize the Onboarding Process

An ATS can help recruiters ensure a smooth transition for new hires from the hiring stage to the working stage. It can help them provide new hires with all the necessary information and documents they need to start working; introduce them to their team and manager; assign them tasks and goals; and monitor their progress and performance.

An ATS can also help recruiters retain new hires by providing them with feedback, recognition, and support. For example, an ATS can use integration tools to export data from the ATS to the payroll or HR system; communication tools to send welcome messages or surveys to new hires; analytics tools to track their performance or satisfaction; etc.

An ATS can also offer other benefits such as improving compliance with legal regulations or industry standards; enhancing collaboration among recruiters and hiring managers; increasing diversity and inclusion in the hiring process; and supporting the organizational culture and values.

How Manatal Does it: An Example

If you are looking for a reliable and efficient recruitment solution, you might be overwhelmed by the many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) available on the market today. Each ATS claims to have unique features and abilities that can optimize your hiring process. But how do you know which one is right for you?

One ATS that stands out from the crowd is Manatal. Manatal is a leading AI recruitment software that helps you source and hire candidates faster. It is designed for HR teams, recruitment agencies, and headhunters who want to simplify and streamline their hiring workflow.

How Manatal ATS Uses AI

Driven by AI, Manatal is able to automate the process and allows you to get things done within a few clicks. Once you have job advertisements ready, Manatal can help you share the ads across 2500+ channels, including Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, CareerJet, JobStreet, and more, within just one click.

how does applicant tracking system work

And to help ensure that you’re filling open roles with the right talent without any bias, Manatal’s AI Recommendations scans job descriptions and quickly extracts the key skills and requirements. Then it cross-references the result with your talent pool based on skills, experiences, and education to identify candidates who fit the position best, regarding their gender and ethnicity.

Recruitment Management

For recruiters, juggling between the hiring managers and candidates is one of recruiters’ greatest challenges. Without proper management, all parties could end up with a bumpy experience. With Manatal’s Recruitment CRM, that will no longer be an issue. You can easily track and manage your customers or hiring manager from the prospecting stage to closing. You can also collaborate with your customers, grant them access to candidates’ data to leave their thoughts on individuals they would like to know more about, and keep them in the loop 24/7 with Manatal’s messaging function.

how does applicant tracking system work

Reporting & Analytics

Last but not least, the most essential process at the end of every hiring campaign is to look back at your performance and pinpoint the mistakes to come up with a stronger strategy. With Manatal’s Reports & Analytics feature, you can have full visibility on every key metric of your recruitment, track where things have gone right, see who in your team has made mistakes, and find a proper solution for your next campaign.

LEARN MORE: Manatal’s Reports & Analytics


An efficient tool is a must in the overheated war for talent such as today. And an Applicant Tracking System is a powerful tool that can come in and help recruiters and HR professionals manage the hiring process from end to end.

The ability to help them source and attract qualified candidates; increase candidate engagement; improve efficiency and lower costs, optimize the onboarding process, improve the quality and quantity of their talent pool, makes ATS and essential too for every recruiter and HR professional.

By utilizing a powerful ATS such as Manatal, you can leverage its innovative features to make the hiring process easier, faster, and better for everyone involved.

Start a 14-day free trial with Manatal today and learn more about its ability to transform your recruitment with a few clicks

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