An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is a software-driven recruitment tool that aids in tracking and organizing employment applications and resumes, screening, and even posting job listings onto search engines, social networking sites, and job boards. Most ATS programs are designed to work for small businesses as well as for large companies with thousands of employees. The popularity of ATSs has grown to near ubiquity, with most major corporations having adopted an ATS as an extension of their human resources functionality.
An ATS is essentially a central database where all recruitment-related material is collected, organized, and stored for easy access. Applicant data can be collected in a few ways: from an application embedded within a company's internal website, direct extraction from resume websites or from an off-site website created and maintained by the ATS vendor. Not only does ATS software perform application collection and organization functions, but also company-defined resume analysis, which works as a gatekeeper function passing along only applications fitting specified criteria.
Most ATS providers offer off-site storage, which may or may not be required by law. Given the personal nature of the stored data, off-site storage is often preferred for confidentiality reasons, even when not legally mandated. Applicant tracking system pricing is based on the size of the client company and the required level of service, but it can also vary from provider to provider. Currently SaaS based applicant software systems are the preferred model for most organizations.