What is an applicant tracking system (ATS) and why is it important for recruiters?

Sofia Lindman Talent acquisition Candidate experience

Ever wondered how top companies manage their hiring process? They rely on something called an applicant tracking system. According to Jobscan research, over 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use it. In a sea of numerous job applicants, ensuring a top candidate experience is crucial. An ATS becomes a valuable asset for companies, taking charge of routine tasks that would otherwise require additional HR hires. To summarise, an ATS is a time and cost-saving solution for businesses dealing with sizable applicant volumes, letting you focus on what truly matters.

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What is an applicant tracking system?

An ATS, sometimes referred to as an ‘ats system' or ‘ats software’, is the central hub that handles everything from posting a job to scheduling interviews, managing documents, follow-ups, and even making job offers. An ATS enables recruiters to handle job applications, track candidate progress, and facilitate communication efficiently throughout the candidate journey. An ATS enables a wide range of benefits, including cost and time efficiencies, increased quality of hires, and a stronger employer brand. 

Benefits of an applicant tracking system

Every company aims to hire the best talent, and using an ATS serves as a crucial foundation to enhance time efficiency and streamline the entire recruitment process. But what does this tech tool actually do? Let's explore five key benefits that an ATS brings to your recruitment process.

  • Creates a compelling employer brand: In a competitive job market, a strong first impression is crucial. An ATS helps you easily craft custom career pages and branded job ads, presenting an appealing image of your employer brand. It streamlines administrative tasks, strengthens your employer brand, and helps you attract high-quality applicants.

  • Analytics & reporting assistance: Let’s be honest: Spreadsheets belong in the past. With the help of an ATS, you can access enterprise-grade business analytics, design personalised dashboards and export data. This helps you improve and refine your recruitment process.

  • Targets relevant candidates: Using an ATS enables targeted job ad placements, reaching specific audiences across platforms. It offers real-time campaign tracking and reporting, ensuring efficient outreach to the right candidates.

  • Balances automation with human touch: Automating repetitive tasks optimises efficiency while maintaining a personalised touch. With an ATS, you get to streamline the recruitment process using automated workflows, rules, and triggered actions for each step of hiring, so that you can focus on what matters - your candidates.

  • Ensures GDPR compliance: Handling the hiring process within GDPR guidelines is essential. An ATS like Jobylon facilitates GDPR compliance by providing data cleanup rules, permission-based access, secure internal communication, and anonymisation of candidate data for reporting purposes.

Why use an applicant tracking system in recruiting?

Hiring the right talent is the cornerstone of organisational success, and in today's competitive landscape, using technology to streamline recruitment processes is crucial. An ATS is a pivotal tool in modern recruitment strategies, offering a variety of advantages that redefine how companies source, engage, and hire top talent. 

How does an ATS work?

An ATS plays an important role in streamlining your recruitment process. In essence, an ATS optimises recruitment efforts by boosting your ability to reach the right candidates, streamlines application management, and facilitates effective communication, ultimately enhancing the efficiency of your recruitment process. 

Here's a breakdown of how an ATS works:

  • Attracts top talent: Drawing in the best candidates by showcasing job openings on personalised career pages and mobile-friendly job listings across different platforms and languages.
  • Simplifies applicant interaction: Effortlessly handle and interact with applicants, streamline interviews, and keep communications organised. 
  • Speeds up hiring: An ATS automates many tasks like scheduling interviews and screening candidates, freeing you to focus more on your candidates' needs.
  • Enhances decision-making: Improve your hiring process with a platform that helps you attract talents quicker and gives you clear insights for better decisions. With an ATS, you get access to dashboards that make tracking key metrics easy, helping you manage hiring more effectively.

Important applicant tracking system features

Choosing the right ATS requires a clear understanding of your recruitment priorities. These systems are essential for streamlining candidate management, ensuring compliance, and creating smoother recruitment processes. Let's walk through nine key components and functionalities that define an effective ATS, helping you make informed decisions to select the right one.

  • User-friendly interface: A user-friendly interface does not only speed up the recruitment process but also reduces the likelihood of human error. It empowers your team to focus on the real art of recruiting, instead of dealing with complicated software. The cherry on top? Your team won't need extensive training to master the system, saving a significant amount of time in an industry where speed is everything.

  • Integration capabilities: Integration capabilities are the lifeblood of an ATS. Your ATS should be like the hub, connecting all your systems seamlessly. Smooth communication is crucial for streamlining your recruitment workflow, getting rid of manual data entry, and making sure that all your platforms are on the same page.

  • Advanced search and matching: With an advanced search and matching function, recruiters can process numerous resumes effortlessly. Take, for instance, the keyword search feature. It allows you to pinpoint relevant candidate profiles by identifying specific words or phrases associated with the job role. It’s like having access to a digital magnifying glass highlighting potential "needle in a haystack" candidates.

  • Automated communication: This feature allows you to set up communication templates that can be sent out to candidates automatically at different stages of the recruitment process. It keeps the conversation going with candidates in a professional manner, saving you time to focus on the real deal – finding the best talent for your organisation.

  • Analytics and reporting: Recruiters today recognise the strength of data-driven decisions over relying on instincts or old-school techniques. Numbers give you clear insights into what's working, what’s not, and where you can improve. That's why it's essential for an ATS to have robust analytics and reporting capabilities

  • Mobile compatibility: An ATS needs to be as agile as the talent it aims to attract. For recruiters, a mobile-compatible ATS provides a seamless working experience, allowing them to review applications, schedule interviews, and manage candidate communication from anywhere, at any time.

  • Compliance features: In the complex world of hiring, compliance is key. An ATS serves as a guardian, making sure your recruitment procedures comply with employment laws and regulations. A comprehensive compliance feature ensures your recruitment efforts stay on the right path and safeguards your company's reputation.

  • Flexibility and customisation: A flexible ATS provides the ability to adapt and customise the system to align with your unique recruitment processes and workflows. This ensures that the ATS integrates seamlessly into your existing systems and allows for a smooth transition without disrupting your recruitment operations.

  • Employer branding: An ATS plays a pivotal role in your employer brand by empowering you to create branded career pages and compelling job ads. These platforms serve as a window into your company culture, achievements, and values, resonating with potential candidates and attracting those aligned with your company. 


Needless to say, there’s endless reasons why an ATS can serve as a critical part of your recruitment function. The right ATS is one that lets you customise it to reflect your organisation's unique culture and needs. It's not just a tool for managing applicants—it's a platform where you can tell your company story, showcase your employer brand and build relationships with future candidates. In conclusion, an ATS is not just a software but a catalyst to reshape how companies attract, engage, and hire top-tier talent. 

Looking for the right ATS for your organisation? Discover how Jobylon can assist in finding an ATS tailored to your recruitment needs and culture.

Book a demo now to explore the possibilities!

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Sofia Lindman

I'm Sofia! A peanut butter brownie lover, +4 years traveling digital nomad, and the Content & Brand Marketing manager at Jobylon. With an underlying passion to elevate from the industrial age thinking, I love to inspire companies to create a modern, more autonomous workspace that resonates with the future workforce and create a new narrivate around what it means to work.

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