Applicant Tracking System Tutorial

published on 25 September 2022

A job seeker’s journey towards getting hired typically includes doing some research, applying through various applications, waiting for responses, negotiating with employers, and then making a decision whether or not to accept an offer.

That process can feel like it lags up in its own separate track due to all of the other steps that have to happen before you find employment.

It is common at this stage to be overwhelmed by what comes next and how to prioritize your efforts.

In addition, there are always new tools coming out which make the hiring process more efficient, so staying up to date can get tricky.

This article aims to give you the fundamentals of using an applicant tracking system (ATS) efficiently. If you already use an ATS, you may notice changes to the way you manage applicants as well as the time you spend on each one.

Different types of ATSs


Recent developments in applicant tracking software include chatbot-style applications that seem more like interactive apps rather than just surveys or questionnaires. These AI-powered programs are starting to take over some of the tasks typically done by human recruiters, such as screening applicants for potential job interviews.

Many companies have already made their chatbots available via smartphone apps so candidates can talk directly to them. The chatbot modifies its questions depending on who it talks to and what answers it receives back.

This is how it works: After you apply online for a position, your personal data will be collected for various purposes, including an ATS. Some offer free access while others cost money per use.

Some give you limited access to only certain parts of the system, but most allow you full entry level features with no limit. This way you don’t need to spend extra money if you’re not really looking into the details of the process.

There are also times when a recruiter may ask you about things that can sometimes come up in conversations with colleagues or during phone calls, such as if someone else was offering employment at the same time you were.

These experiences usually depend on whether you're being straightforward with people, and how much one person's influence is on another individual. So there are factors beyond pure talent that play a part in getting hired.

How to choose an ATS


When it comes down to it, there are two main reasons employers use applicant tracking systems (ATSs). The first is for efficiency – they want to reduce the time it takes to process applications by using an automated system.

The second is due to the nature of their jobs – most positions require candidates to be able to work under pressure so having an efficient application process is important.

By using an ATS, they have now freed up your time so you can apply to other positions or do something else with your life!

Both of these reasons make ATSs very valuable tools for job seekers looking to find employment. Before choosing which one to use though, make sure to check out some ATS reviews as well as comparisons between them.

There are many free ATSs available but unfortunately not all of them are effective. It’s best to spend money on an excellent ATS that works for you.

Step 1: Make list of features you need


Now that you have an idea what ATS software you want to use, it’s time to determine if those features are essential or not. You don’t need all the bells and whistles in the world, so be honest with yourself about whether or not they're needed before investing in them.

It is totally understandable if you already have some of the basics like job search apps and recording interviews, but other advanced features may not be necessary for your personal needs at this stage. For example, most employers will accept a business card as proof of employment, so why invest in an expensive looking one when you can just take along yours?

Also, many people these days use LinkedIn and Facebook for professional networking, so why pay extra to use another app for nothing. In fact, you can even create a free account on both!

By being aware of which features you really need, you will save money and avoid buying things you won't use.

Step 2: Look at their website


Now that you have decided what features you'd like an ATS to have, it is time to look at the company’s website! You will want to make sure that the organization uses clear and concise language throughout their pages, that their logos are clearly recognizable and professional looking, and that they use appropriate fonts for the content that they publish.

Also, be aware of any special announcements or events that the company may have posted about themselves on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This can include testimonials, pictures of them with candidates, and interviews. If possible, check out some of their previous work too!

Lastly, do not hesitate to go through the other job applications that they have published online. These could include LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and whatever else they feel necessary to represent themselves.

Step 3: Ask colleagues which they like best


Even though there are many ATSs out there, not all of them have the same features or functions. Some work better for certain employers than others do, so it is important to know what features you want before picking one.

Some employers offer free trial periods of their software, so why not try both out and see which one works better for you? Or maybe there is a feature that matter most to you in the apps that you already use, such as Facebook or Google.

By asking around, you will find out if anyone else has used an ATS successfully and whether any negative things about the app hurt their business.

Step 4: Test them out


A very important part of any job hunt is trying out the tools to see how well they work for you. Make sure that you can use these products effectively, and learn the basics of each one.

There are many free versions of some applications so do not worry about cost unless you have to. Some companies will allow you to test out their service completely free!

By testing out the apps, you will know if there are any kinks that need to be worked out or ways to make it more efficient. This will help you focus on finding jobs rather than looking through menus or figuring out what features exist.

You should also look at how quickly each application responds-if it takes too long, this could be a sign that the company does not seem professional.

Does the company offer any customer service?


A quick way to determine if an ATS is worth using is by looking at the online resources it offers. Most companies will have a website that features their product, but are they able to answer questions? Are there other ways to contact them?

Most large corporations can afford professional services of applicant tracking software. These firms usually partner up with the ATS manufacturer to help run its systems. This gives you more access to professionals in the field, so you do not need to worry about setting up the system yourself!

There are many free applications available as well, some even offering limited functionality. If you are willing to learn how to use the app properly, then this is okay. It would also be helpful to check out YouTube videos or reading material about the ATS tool.

Will there be training programs offered?


Even if an applicant tracking system (ATS) company does not offer live trainings, they may offer self-service tutorials or other resources to help you use their ATS software.

This is usually done through their own website or a third-party resource site that offers free content or educational materials. By going into those resources, you will get some of the same information as from the live event!

There are many reasons why this is a good option for most ATS users.

First, it can be much less expensive than attending a live event where only a few people typically attend. It is also more flexible since you do not have to schedule your time to go to a formal event.

Second, most people are now able to access the internet so this type of online learning is accessible to just about anyone. Some companies even make it easy to download their software which can help you in your job search.

A third reason is that sometimes things “fall out” during the live event. For example, maybe one of the key features of the ATS software gets limited for some reason. This could mean that someone else has used that feature already and knows how to utilize it properly.

By using these alternative types of events, you will still get the benefits of what the ATS tool can do for you! And if there is something that really needs to be covered, you will know how to do it later when no one is watching.

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