What is an Applicant Tracking System?

what is an applicant tracking sytem
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At the core, an applicant tracking system (ATS) is software to manage all the candidates that are applying for positions, job orders, and client relationships in a single organized database. An ATS is the heart of your staffing business, and it enables you to automate the complete recruitment life cycle. It tracks candidate and customer activities and data and serves as a single source of truth for staffing firm operations. ATS recruitment software makes it more efficient for staffing agencies, HR departments, and recruiters to manage their hiring efforts. If you have ever asked yourself “what is an applicant tracking system?” then you are in the right place!

An applicant tracking system enables staffing firms to more effectively manage the entire lifecycle of the candidate—from attraction and selection through to the onboarding process and assignments. It tracks all candidate data, including applications and resumes. Similarly, ATS recruitment software manages the entire lifecycle of clients, from job orders received to assignment completion.

Why Should You Use ATS Software For Your Staffing Agency?

Without an applicant tracking system, recruiters working individually would be faced with managing numerous spreadsheets, endless emails, candidate screening, resumes, interview notes, job boards—the list goes on and on. 

Selecting the right ATS for your staffing business is one of the most important business decisions you will make. Your ATS isn’t meant to simply help you hire more people quickly; it will improve the quality of the talent that you hire. The ATS allows staffing firms to keep everyone within the firm (Sales, Recruiting, Operations, Finance, HR) in sync and improves internal and external communication with applicants, clients, and employees. Hiring efforts become more coordinated when hiring managers and recruiters benefit from the messaging, sharing of notes on applicant files, and scheduling of interviews that are part of a well-implemented applicant tracking system.

ATS automation brings many benefits, such as posting to job boards, sorting and ranking resumes, storing applicant data, creating email marketing, and more. Automation will up process, improve process compliance, and improve candidate and customer satisfaction, all while lowering time-to-fill. Conversational systems and bots that are integrated with ATS systems can automate and accelerate the screening process. This allows recruiters to spend more time focusing on higher-value activities.

How To Pick The Best ATS Software For Your Staffing Business

Candidate experience

Does the ATS recruitment software that you’re considering focus on improving the candidate experience? The experience that a candidate has navigating your career site, applying for a job, and communicating with you throughout the process will determine how they feel about ultimately working with your firm. The ability to provide a great high-touch experience is often enabled through automation software that works with the ATS. A good ATS will allow you to cultivate and maintain candidate relationships with less effort; communication with applicants throughout the assignment is vital. Also make sure to select an ATS that facilitates a great onboarding process, since that is how candidates are officially introduced to your company culture.

Quality reporting, BI, and analytics

Does it provide quality reporting and BI that will enable you to get the insights that you need to manage your business effectively? Your ATS recruitment software should make it easy to search and sort through information. Use ATS data analytics to determine the success factors that can help inform your recruiting strategy for the future. Most important of all, make sure that a potential ATS’s reporting can be easily customized to fit your specific needs.

Optimized for mobile

In this day and age, being mobile-friendly is critically important. Hiring managers are on their phones. Recruiters are on their phones. The candidates that you’re most excited about are on their phones, applying for jobs and waiting to hear back from countless companies. Make sure that your mobile experience is as seamless and intuitive as possible. A good ATS will ensure that recruiters are constantly receiving updated information about clients and candidates, straight to their phone, so that they can jump on great opportunities before a competitor does.

API and Integrations

Take into consideration the other software products that you are integrating with. Does the ATS you’re interested in integrate easily with your tech stack? Does it support the marketplace partners that you want to incorporate into your tech stack or expect to work with in the future?

As you add additional marketplace partners and automation, switching to a new platform becomes increasingly costly. You don’t want to constantly be switching between your ATS and other platforms, which can be a huge, time-consuming, and distracting process. Your time can be better spent elsewhere.

The Best ATS Software For Recruitment Companies

Below we have picked our favorite ATS software products that could be a good fit for you. It will also be worthwhile for you to check out our full list of all the applicant tracking systems.


Bullhornm - applicant tracking system

Candidate management from sourcing to submittal is streamlined with Bullhorn’s ATS. Its email integration integrates the applicant tracking system & CRM with Gmail and Outlook so that you can view your inbox directly within the platform. Parse in resumes, add notes, and create new tasks and appointments from candidate emails. 

Capture candidate information from job boards and immediately add it into Bullhorn. Using Bullhorn Sourcing Accelerator’s Google Chrome extension, you have the option to update or add candidates without leaving the job board. Use the parsing engine to gather information to populate fields in Bullhorn candidate, contact, and job records in advance. 

Bullhorn’s reporting and analytics enable you to turn your team’s recruiting activity data into insights that you can use. Standard reports include sourcing effectiveness, analysis of overall team and individual recruiter performance, placement activity, activity against specific job orders, and more.

Crelate Talent

Crelate Talent is an applicant tracking and recruitment CRM that combines candidate management and sales pipelines in a single solution in an effort to help companies attract, engage, and hire talent. You can manage task lists, track the progress of your candidates, send emails, and record your interactions all from your pipeline screen.

Crelate’s automatic email and calendar integrates with Office 365 and Gmail. You can see which candidates are engaged and which need to be nurtured by tracking candidates across multiple jobs. Search all fields and records at once and add Boolean, tag, and proximity filters to discover the best candidate. 

You don’t need to leave your talent pipeline to review resumes. With Crelate, you can manage your requisitions and orders alongside your talent pipelines. Capture leads and build your sales funnel, and manage interactions with clients and talent across your sales lifecycle. 


JobAdder - applicant tracking system

JobAdder is a global recruitment ATS and CRM platform that has one centralized dashboard to manage all candidates, jobs, and tasks. Post job advertisements to over 200 job boards and social media at the same time. 

JobAdder has a voice-to-text feature you can use to record client and candidate information by speaking your thoughts right after a meeting or interview. Whether you’re telling your talent pool about job openings, sending interview reminders, or updating candidates on the progress of their application, JobAdder’s SMS feature simplifies communication with your candidates.

Applicant details are automatically captured then loaded into the applicant tracking system for you to review. You can view job applicants, review their resumes, interview them, and track their progress throughout the recruitment cycle. 


Avionte’s ATS and customer relationship management tool are combined in one solution that automates daily front office tasks. When it comes to candidate sourcing, Avionté enables the sorting of thousands of resumes across multiple job boards. The Echo Chrome plugin enables recruiters to quickly import prospect profiles from professional networks directly into Avionté. 

Two-way-text messaging provides a convenient experience for candidates and recruiters whereby they can communicate with one another in real time. Analytics help sales teams efficiently identify high return accounts, decision makers, and more. Also, there are over 150 different reports to choose from.

Job boards are personalized and branded, and onboarding is paperless and mobile. Other modules include time and attendance, payroll, and billing and HR.


oorwin - applicant tracking system

Oorwin is an integrated ATS, HR, and CRM Platform. Manage your tasks with email integration with Gmail or Outlook. With real-time mail sync, automated job uploads, resume parsing, and application imports, you will be able to reduce time spent on manual labor.

Oorwin’s Semantic Candidate Searching and Matching helps find, engage, and hire unique talent from multiple sources. Automate the candidate screening process with AI-powered Candidate Ranking algorithms and shift your focus instead to candidate engagement.

Identify and manage leads with AI-enabled deal finders and opportunity rankers. You can make better informed decisions with the help of Oorwin’s reports, dashboards, and analytics. Help your team by creating and triggering custom reports for team updates and performance status.


JobDiva’s Talent Management Solution helps you to build candidate pipelines, create mass email marketing campaigns, manage your customer relations and sales opportunities, and more. JobDiva is a smart recruiting system that is always “on”—meaning that it is always collecting data, combining reports, and analyzing staffing activities. 

The software’s Applicant Tracking System helps automate several core recruitment processes so that recruiters can spend their energy on making placements. JobDiva has been designed to drive growth by combining candidate searching, candidate matching, Customer Relations Management, a career portal, and reporting.

Do You Understand What is an Applicant Tracking System?

I hope we completely answered your question: what is an applicant tracking system? Ats recruitment software can be hard to choose as you do not want to make a mistake and pick the wrong one.

This is why we created this complete guide to ATS software so people like you know exactly what they need to know.