Why you should use an applicant tracking system

August 19, 2021 | 5 minute read
Albert Qian
Content marketing manager for HCM
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The recruiting landscape looks vastly different in the era of digital transformation. Gone is the experience of visiting company lobbies for job applications. They’ve been replaced by digital properties with websites that promise a fulfilling career, social media pages showing company culture, and opportunities to connect over virtual coffee meetings. For many companies, applying for a job is not just sending an email, but rather the induction into a complete experience.

Among the tools of the trade for this experience are applicant tracking systems (ATS), or software for HR recruiters and employers to track candidates through the recruitment and hiring process. Applicant tracking platforms are built for businesses of all sizes and solve many different use cases for business growth.

You cannot merely implement an applicant tracking system and hope to create a positive company experience. You must customize and adjust to your needs as your business evolves.

What is an applicant tracking system?

Attracting top talent is a priority for top organizations and the right technology can help in the process of recruiting, onboarding, and retaining qualified candidates. Applicant tracking systems can often solve these challenges, existing as either a candidate database or more complex and unified software as a part of a broader human capital management (HCM) suite of applications.

Some benefits of an applicant tracking system for HR organizations include:

  • Sourcing and attracting qualified candidates: An applicant tracking system addresses the challenge of reaching strong candidates by casting a wide net in the marketplace. As applicants apply for open roles, the system can also build a profile of the ideal candidate, their skills, and leading solutions can even predict success factors—with the help of artificial intelligence. 
  •  Improve efficiency and lower costs: Hiring new workers can be costly, especially if the HR organization is hampered by manual and inefficient processes. An applicant tracking system reduces costs and mitigates risk by accelerating time-to-hire, automating tasks, and creating visibility into the hiring cycle for recruiting and finance teams. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
  • Write stronger job descriptions: A job description communicates everything a company and a particular role needs to be successful. Traditionally, recruiters and hiring managers needed to work together to develop these, which wouldn’t always yield the maximum candidate pool. Applicant tracking systems on the other hand, provide keyword-rich templates that attract the desired attention at the right time and place where candidates are looking. The most advanced solutions can even leverage data from past requisitions and employees to streamline and optimize job descriptions even further.
  • Remain competitive: Among Fortune 500 companies, 99% of them use an applicant tracking system in their hiring process. Wherever your company is in its journey, an applicant tracking system can level the playing field by creating better, quicker access to quality candidates.

What are the benefits of an applicant tracking system for candidates?

As candidates speak to multiple companies, a hiring experience can serve as a key differentiator. This is especially true during a hot job market when speed is of the essence.

According to surveys, applicant tracking systems have proven to be successful, helping 86% of recruiters hire their next candidate faster, and the candidate experience these solutions provide is a key component of this success. Applicant tracking systems fill gaps that would otherwise cause candidates to seek other opportunities, including providing auto-fill applications, continuous updates on hiring status, and a steady flow of candidate communications. Newer, more innovative systems even incorporate personalization into the mix and tailor career sites and job portals to the interests of applicants–and often extend this personalization into employment as well.

Applicant tracking systems can also provide post-hire support, helping candidates hit the ground running as soon as they sign their offer letter. Onboarding processes such as submitting tax forms and key employee data ensure productivity can start as soon as the first day of work.

How applicant tracking systems are evolving

Like many technologies, applicant tracking systems continue to evolve to match the pace of change and demand in the workforce. Such systems must match the consumer-grade experiences that job seekers have become accustomed to on ecommerce platforms, engaging with friends on social media, or consuming entertainment.

As a result, modern applicant tracking systems now integrate mobile-first, user-friendly interfaces on the front-end that provide an easy-to-use interface that job seekers can engage with from their smartphone or tablet. Added connectivity to social networks further provide a method to connect with passive candidates.

On the backend, applicant tracking systems are now cloud-based and in some cases, fully unified with cloud HR platforms. This unification delivers several benefits:

First, it gives talent professionals more visibility into the skills and aspirations of internal talent, helping teams understand ideal employees to target for internal mobility. This capability is becoming increasingly crucial for organizations who struggle to attract external talent.

Second, interconnected applicant tracking systems pull and centralize data in real-time from across the business, leading to smarter decision making. For example, by connecting recruiting with talent management and learning, teams can quickly understand the hiring source of top performers or identify effective development courses worth incorporating into onboarding.

And third, unified cloud systems help reduce integration and maintenance dependencies, translating into technology cost savings. This in turn also helps reduce IT dependency, as HR and recruiting practitioners no longer have to worry about configuring differing products to work with the rest of their software or deal with manual patching and updates.

One last point to make regarding applicant tracking system evolution is around emerging technologies. Some recruiting solutions now include artificial intelligencemachine learning, and data analytics to drive decision making related to candidate selection and the hiring process. Such infrastructure is rare except in market-leading platforms but crucial as it provides an opportunity to finely tune the workforce, including achieving diversity and inclusion initiatives.


Whether you’re looking for a recruiting solution to attract more candidates or drive productivity for hiring teams at home, Oracle Recruiting, part of Oracle Cloud HCM, is here to help. Built for the needs of today, our platform provides organizations with personalized candidate experiences, native CRM tools, AI-powered insights, and internal talent visibility. 

To learn why hundreds of businesses across the globe are choosing Oracle for talent acquisition, visit oracle.com/recruiting 

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Albert Qian

Content marketing manager for HCM

Albert Qian is the senior content marketing manager for the Oracle Cloud HCM Campaigns team and the editor-in-chief for this blog. He's passionate about telling the story of HR technology and how it can create better workforces.

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