The HR Dictionary

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software for recruiters and employers to track and process candidates throughout the recruiting and hiring process. Depending on the needs of the organization, an ATS can easily be purchased from a vendor online or built in-house. However, due to the high level of costs and other resources incurred to build systems, many organizations prefer to select ready-made ATS software from other businesses. There are also free and open-source ATS software such as OrangeHRM’s open-source HR software trusted by over 5 million users worldwide for organizations that are looking for a cost-effective way to manage recruitment. 

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is similar to customer relationship management (CRM) systems but is created for tracking the recruitment activities of an organization. Many advanced ATSs automatically sort applications based on predetermined criteria including keywords, talents, prior employers, years of experience, and educational institutions attended.

In addition, a recruitment system’s main purpose is to give a company's recruitment efforts a central place and database. Recruitment software is designed to make managing resumes and applicant data easier for the recruitment team or the HR department. The data is usually retrieved from candidates applying via job boards or obtained through applications made via the ATS front-end, which is mostly accessible via the corporate website.