ATS (Applicant Tracking System): definition and use


If you’re on this page, it’s because you’re wondering what an ATS is, what it can be used for, and if there’s a difference with recruitment software or an HRIS.

Let’s take a look at it together.

What is a ATS?

An ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is, to translate it literally, an application tracking tool. It is used to centralize and track applications to job offers in one place. Today, most ATSs have additional features to make them recruitment software.

An ATS can be a software to be installed on a computer or accessible online under a SaaS (Software as a Service) model, as is the case for Jobaffinity.

Are ATS and recruitment software the same thing?

Today, yes, originally, not quite.

The ATS was used exclusively to track applications in a centralized manner. It was used to analyze resumes semi-automatically or completely automatically (resume parsing) to sort out the applications that corresponded to the position that was programmed.

This way, recruiters already had a first sorting to determine which candidates would be able to move on to the next step of the process.

But over the years and with the software and technological evolutions, more and more functionalities have been added: creation of ads, multicasting, appointment setting, candidate pool…

Today, the two mean the same thing, even if, in reality, a recruitment software is by definition more complete than an ATS. In today’s HR language, however, as most ATSs have evolved, ATS and recruitment software have become synonymous.

Is an ATS an HRIS?

First of all, what is an HRIS?

Human Resources Management Information System. It is a tool or software that helps in the administrative management of the personnel of a company or community (vacations, pay, benefits, piloting, training…), its evolution and the different HR needs.

So, as you may have guessed, no, an ATS is not an HRIS, but an HRIS can contain ATS elements, or be connected to an ATS.

For example, our Jobaffinity recruitment software is able to connect by default with the HRIS software: Lucca.

What are the features of a good ATS / recruitment software?

Now that we have seen that ATS and recruitment software mean the same thing today, let’s see what a good ATS can do and how it can really change your life if you are a recruiter.

Create ads directly within the tool

Via a dedicated interface, you will be able to create job offers directly within the tool in order to store them, modify them, and share them with your employees to get their opinion.

You will also be able to attach dedicated questionnaires with a rating system in order to make a first sorting very quickly during the first answers.

If you need advice on this, read our guide on writing job offers.

All your ads will be centralized in the tool, which will allow you to quickly duplicate or reactivate ads that you have already used.

Enable the multi-distribution of job offers

Creating ads is good. It’s better that potential candidates can see them and respond to them.

Once you have created your ad, you will be able to post it in a few clicks in several places: on different job boards, on specific social network profiles (LinkedIn for example) or even directly on your career page or your internal portal.

This way you only have to worry about posting your job once rather than connecting to all the different portals. Responses will also be centralized in the tool so you can have everything in one place.

We have just written an article that explains in detail how to multicast ads with Jobaffinity

Sort applications quickly and efficiently

Candidates are pouring in, responses are pouring in and resumes are piling up. This is often where the headache for recruiters begins.

Well, with a recruitment software, this is no longer a headache: all the answers are in the same place, correctly sorted by offer. If you have set up a recruitment questionnaire, the candidates’ scores will be displayed directly in your list.

Jobaffinity’s added bonus is the hover CV: no need to click or open dozens of windows, just hover your mouse over an application and the CV will be displayed right in front of you!

An added bonus: our tool immediately gives you the distance between your candidate’s place of residence and the location of the position; this can be very important.

Applications can also be rejected or validated to move on to the next step (with an automatic message if you wish), you can add comments or notes, or even send them to your colleagues so that they can give their opinion (we will come back to this in the section on collaborative work).

Resume parsing (automated reading of resumes)

Our tool also allows CV parsing, i.e. an automatic analysis of the CV to fill in the candidate’s file with the right information. The time saving is obviously enormous.

Our partner Textkernel allows you to go even further in the parsing process to extract more and more detailed data in 24 languages, with an extract of skills or skill categories, past professions and years of experience, level of education, etc.

The interest? Well beyond the fact that it will allow you to standardize all applications in your tool, whatever the format of the CV (pdf, doc, docx, html…), it will also allow you to do sorting or semantic searches without ever having to open the CVs.

Can you imagine the time saved?

Organize and manage appointments, messages and interviews

A recruitment software will also allow you to directly manage the sending of emails, sms or whatsapp messages.

These messages can be automatic: acknowledgement of receipt of application, information on the recruitment deadline, information that the profile has been selected for the next step … You can determine yourself the message templates you want.

Our tool will also be able to connect to your digital agendas and mailboxes in order to manage all appointments and interviews as well as exchanges with candidates.

Build a pool of candidates

It would be a shame to forget all these applications, even if they were not selected for a specific position at a given time, this does not mean that the candidate will not be very interesting for another position or recruitment some time later.

To make your job easier, our recruitment software will allow you to build up what is called a candidate pool. This is a simple way to store online all the profiles that have responded to your advertisements (or that have sent an unsolicited application) in order to classify them in different categories.

You can choose how you want to organize your pools. But they will always allow you to do semantic searches, by location, skill, profile type…

The little Jobaffinity bonus? You can connect it to LinkedIn for sourcing, and save all the profiles you are interested in so that you can easily contact them for recruitment purposes.

Working on a collaborative recruitment

We rarely recruit just for ourselves. We recruit to integrate one or more people within a company, a group, a community, a team.

This is where the recruitment tool becomes collaborative.

There are several levels of rights in Jobaffinity: administrator, recruiter and manager.

The administrator has access to everything and regulates what others can see.

Recruiters have access to the offers and profiles that the administrator allows them to see: perfect for not bothering your field manager with applications for the accounting department, or dividing them up by franchise, by business unit, etc.

Finally, managers can give their opinions and make comments and notes on the applications sent to them. They don’t even need to have an account, they receive an email with temporary identifiers to see the profiles on which their opinion is requested.

All this allows several people, even in different places, to comment on different profiles, CVs, ads or lists of candidates.

Respecting the RGPD when recruiting

Of course, when a tool needs to retrieve personal data, as is the case in recruitment, the tool must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Jobaffinity contains extensive documentation and guidance on how to properly manage the GDPR, as well as a dedicated menu with advanced and automated options to ensure that all standards and requests are met.

What’s more, all data is stored in France, at Claranet, the European leader in hosting and security.

Report on your recruitment actions

Processes and campaigns mean reporting. A recruitment software should allow you to do this quickly and easily.

In Jobaffinity you will find a library of reporting templates to extract all relevant data on your recruitments.

You can also request customized reports from your customer service department.

In a nutshell: to speed up the recruitment process

As you can see, an ATS such as Jobaffinity will allow you to greatly accelerate all your recruitment processes while simplifying your life. Accelerating the recruitment process reduces the dropout rate.

It takes just a few minutes to get started, so if you would like a demonstration, please ask us. You can also request access to a demo account.

What types of businesses need a ATS?

Our main customers are :

  • Growing startups
  • Medium and large companies
  • Franchises
  • Communities
  • Recruitment firms & headhunters

Obviously, if you only recruit two or three people a year, even though an ATS like Jobaffinity will still save you time, it may not be worth it.

So it’s not so much the type of company that’s important, but how often you recruit.

If you are a recruitment agency, a large company or a franchise that has to manage recruitments all over France (or even the world) at a very regular frequency, it becomes essential.

Save time, recruit better and more efficiently with an ATS like Jobaffinity.


To see all the features of the recruitment software, make an appointment for a demo

Intuition Software

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