An ATS, for those that don't know, is shorthand for Applicant Tracking Software that most companies use for their hiring process.
On the surface, they are very well intentioned. Companies set them up to announce to the world what their openings are, give descriptions about those openings and provide a generally uniform way for applicants to apply.
Unfortunately, for the applicant, the process of using these systems to apply for jobs are often unwieldy, cumbersome and occasionally a pain in the ass to navigate.
Oh, and sometimes, they just straight don't work.
Here are my top four issues with ATSs and what can be done to improve them:
- While it is annoying to spend 45 minutes to an hour entering all of my general information into one while applying - I shouldn't have to repeat this if there are multiple positions that interest me or I'm qualified for. I don't mind customizing a cover letter for every position, but my work history, education and contact information isn't going to change! There are a lot of companies that make you go through this every time and after doing this once, it's going to take an amazing position to make me do this again at the same company. A simple fix is to save all of this information with a profile and it automatically populates this information with an opportunity to edit information as necessary.
- ATSs that only work in Microsoft Windows and with Internet Explorer. This is 2012, not 1997. Coding your ATS so that it only works with those parameters is lazy and your company misses out on a ton of potential candidates. See here for more information.
- The resume black hole. Just as it is simple for companies to collect information from applicants using ATSs, I am amazed by the amount of companies who don't send any information to the applicant regarding their application. No confirmation of receipt of the application. No update as to where you stand in the application process, even after a candidate has been selected. I don't expect a call from a real human being telling me they won't be interviewing me or have selected someone else (although that would be awesome and amazing if it were done). At the least, send an automated email explaining where the applicant is in the process! It's not hard!
- Instead of dealing with an ATS, just go to my LinkedIn profile. All of the information a firm wants is there. Are you hiring? You can find me here!