The Pros and Cons of Using an Applicant Tracking System

by Shenron on June 24, 2013

If you ever wondered how companies choose job applicants when there are hundreds to look at, you can bet it’s not because they are sifting through each individual resume they receive. There’s no way a company like AT&T, Google, or Gannett can look through each and every single application they receive; it’s not humanly possible, nor is it financially responsible. For these reasons, software that tracks applications was developed. This software has drastically changed the way companies hire and how people get job interviews, but it isn’t always positive for the company or applicants.

What It Does

These tracking systems allow for the electronic handling of recruitment needs and help to choose qualified applicants. The systems can be used with small or large businesses, but almost all corporations use some form of tracking system to manage the resumes of people who have applied for an open position with the company. The ATS is supposed to assist in the management of resumes and applicant information, either by storing, rejecting or accepting the resume before a human hiring agent even sees it.

applicant tracking software The Pros and Cons of Using an Applicant Tracking System

How It Helps

The application tracking system can either pull from the company’s own site or database, or can search the Internet for resumes that match keywords for the open positions. This means if you have your resume on a website like CareerBuilder or Monster, the company can find you. This expands your job searching range without you having to do anything additional. Additionally, if you apply for a job but are better suited for another the company has, the ATS will send your resume to someone with that job posting, so your resume is not automatically rejected and you may find a job you didn’t even expect to find.

How It Hurts

These systems aren’t just used to help companies and applicants. They can hurt you. Assume you have your resume on a site like Monster and you are applying for jobs but not getting anywhere. If you’ve ever wondered why, look at your resume. The ATS is designed to search out keywords, and if your resume doesn’t have those keywords, then it will get ignored or kicked to the side. The ATS helps narrow down the number of resumes a hiring agent has to physically read, so if you aren’t chosen by the ATS, your resume will never make it to a person. This type of system can severely hurt you as an applicant. It can also hurt companies because they may be missing out on great applicants who just don’t have the right type of resume.

Tracking systems save time and money for both companies that are hiring, but they can also hurt if the system doesn’t pick up on resumes correctly. The ATS narrows down the application pool, but it may also miss great potential employees. It can also help companies find applicants that have not directly applied for the company, while simultaneously finding applicants that may not know about the company some open job positions. It has its pros and cons, but one thing is certain: These systems are only gaining in popularity.

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