Applicant Tracking Systems are software systems designed to track, organize, and communicate with applicants in a database that is searchable and easy to use. For non recruiters, ATS is a recruiter tool much like CRM is to salespeople and Google is to the general public. Not great examples but about as close as it gets.
I've used, seen, or evaluated over 30 different ATS over the years. I've talked to many recruiters as well about these and others that I haven't even seen and yet we all seem to come to the same conclusion. They are all bad. How is that possible? Why do recruiters generally agree that ATS are still far from being truly where they need to be? Simple. Recruiters by nature are go-getters. We are aggressive, phone calling, emailing, interviewing, follow-uping (if that's a word) machines. Each day is all about go-go-go. We are highly competitive and need speed and time to be on our side. The reason we hate ATS? Because, they slow us down. Also, they can be quite expensive.
Ok so there are some benefits and its precisely for those reasons that we continue to use them. First, we need them. We talk to thousands of candidates over the years and cannot recall every conversation by memory. We need somewhere to take notes and track where we left off. We need a place to store resumes and contact info and an easy way to retrieve this info on demand. Not to mention, we need to comply with certain regulatory mandates.
The best ATS for my dollar so far is not even an ATS. It's a software designed for other reasons that I have found is quite good as an ATS. What makes it good? It's fast, cloud based, and REALLY cheap. That means I get exactly the info I need upon request, I can get it anywhere there is internet connection, and ANYBODY, I mean ANYBODY can afford it. Message me privately and I will share what I use. Keep in mind, I personally like it because I'm an independent recruiter. It does everything I need it to do without it being overburdensome. It would not be as useful probably in a corporate setting but might be Ok for a small staffing firm.
What are your experiences? What ATS do you like or dislike? What is your favorite?