Ask An HR

Do Employers Really Use ATS?

Ask an HR ATS Use

Employers certainly do use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS):  Nearly all Fortune 500 companies and a majority of other big employers and independent recruiters use them.  Even a substantial minority of smaller firms use applicant tracking software.  ATS usage is projected for sustained growth through the remainder of this decade.

The number of ATS platforms is substantial and growing.  Some of them display tell-tale signs within the application process that inform the candidate which ATS the employer is using.

iCIMS Talent Cloud
Paycor Recruiting
SAP SuccessFactors
Oracle Taleo
Zoho Recruiting
CareerBuilder Recruiting
Workday Recruiting
Silkroad Recruiting

Each system offers a suite of capabilities that is aggregated below:

Candidate Sourcing

  • Automatically posts job listings to career sites, job boards and social networks
  • Automatically captures candidate data from job boards
  • Harvests resumes for recruiters

Candidate Experience

  • Helps to remove bias in job descriptions
  • Candidate-friendly “single click” applications
  • Digital assistants answer candidate questions and provide guided experiences.
  • Candidates self-schedule interviews and calendars.
  • Candidates can track the status of applications.
  • Candidates receive SMS messages from employers and recruiters.
  • Automated e-mail messaging, offer letters and e-signatures

Talent Acquisition Process

  • Tracks candidates’ progress through the selection process
  • Provides recruiting team collaboration tools, integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams
  • Offers customizable candidate interview kits
  • Complies with nondiscrimination laws by gathering reportable candidate data

Evaluating Candidates

  • Screens, matches, and ranks candidates to job needs
  • Automatically collects post-interview feedback on scorecards
  • Identifies patterns of candidates’ successes and failures, sharpens filters
  • Assesses candidate qualities that determine long-term fit 

New Employee Onboarding

  • Hiring managers create digital job offers and launch onboarding.
  • Personalized preboarding and onboarding tools
  • Customizable new hire packets

Integration With Other Company Systems

  • Integrates with Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), Gmail, Google Calendar, MS Outlook and Office 365
  • Embedded video interviewing tools
  • Streamlines workflows and automates rules and self-service tools

Building a Database

  • Provides an all-inclusive historical record (information, messages, and feedback) for each candidate
  • Combines past, internal, and sourced candidates as well as referrals
  • Tracks employee referrals of candidates and manages payouts

Analytics and Reports

  • Analytics provide standard and customizable Key Performance Indicators reports on selected recruiting metrics including time-to-hire, source quality and conversion rates, identify bottlenecks.
  • Ability to track recruiter productivity and hiring manager activity
  • Connects key hiring processes with recruiting data to reduce administrative work
  • Tracks real-time performance of key recruiting channels
  • Analytics integrate with business intelligence software.

The Take-Away, Optimize Your Resume for ATS!

Understanding ATS capabilities and crafting a well-written resume that accommodates the system’s algorithms will help you land the sought-after job interview.  Now more than ever, employ the best practice of judiciously customizing your resume and keywords to the job description each time you apply.  Using the following is also recommended:

  • A chronological or hybrid resume format instead of the functional format
  • A traditional resume font such as Helvetica, Garamond, Tahoma, Georgia, Calibri, Verdana or Cambria
  • A professional file name with your first and last name in an easy-to-scan format such as a .docx 
  • Lead off with an impactful career summary of the skills and accomplishments that you offer expressed in action words, instead of an outdated objective statement. 
  • Standard resume headings
  • Avoid using acronyms, tables, columns, headers, and footers so that your information does not get lost or cause parsing errors.

Conclusion Applicant Tracking Systems certainly provide special rather unforgiving challenges for job seekers to optimize the ATS compatibility of their resumes.  But their features also provide advantages to the candidate/employee experience and the ultimate onboarding for the job opportunity that you targeted.


  • Gary Palma, SHRM-SCP

    Gary Palma is a certified US HR professional with over 30 years of experience. He has served as a senior HR executive in manufacturing and other business organizations. He has provided HR and employee... more

Leave a Response