An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. Nearly all major corporations use some form of applicant tracking system to handle job applications and to manage resume data. Here is a list of some frequently used ATSs that mid-size and larger companies use:
An ATS can be used to post job openings on a corporate website or job board, screen resumes, and generate interview requests to potential candidates by email. It is estimated that roughly 50 percent of mid-sized companies and almost all large corporations use some type of ATS.
Benefits of an ATS for employers:
•sourcing large volumes of qualified candidates;
•tightly managing the flow of candidates through the pipeline;
•streamlining interactions between recruiters and hiring managers, or
•creating a consistent and compelling brand experience for candidates.
When you click on ‘Apply Now’ on a job board (workopolis.com, monster.ca, and corporate web sites; note that many now allow you to log in faster via your Facebook account) be aware that you will be leaving that site and moving into the ATS.
Career Link clients often apply for jobs with organizations such as Vancouver Coastal Health, Safeway, Starbucks, Catalyst Paper, Aramark, Walmart, Canada Post, and many other larger companies that use ATSs.
A few things to be aware of when applying:
• The registration process does not mean you are applying for the position; you are just completing the registration. ATS registration will always require you to set up a login name and password. Many users will use their email address as a login name, which is fine except, do NOT use your usual email password (this would mean they can now access your email account!) but make up another password. Pay attention to whether they require a certain number of characters and type of characters, too when typing in your new password (make a note of it, too).
• There will also be areas that you will need to fill out in order to simply register with the ATS; make sure that you notice the often red * (asterisks) and be certain you fill in the information that has the * the first time around or you will be directed back to do so later, when you thought you were finished!
• For an ideal employment experience, answering the screening questions as truthfully as possible is best for both you and the potential employer.
• Many ATSs give you the option of copying (select all the text in your document (press ctrl-A), copy it (press crtl-C) your resume/cover letter and pasting (press ctrl-V) OR attaching a document. Always pay attention to the types of files they accept [this is usually indicated after the attachment box (eg. .doc, .pdf, .txt)]. Sometimes they will also have file size restrictions where the attached file cannot be larger than say 1 megabyte. We can help you navigate these choices here in the drop-in Career Lab at Career Link.
• Depending on the job, you may want to attach supporting documents like tickets, certificates or diplomas, and these will need to be in an electronic format (typically scanned into a Pdf/Adobe Acrobat file). Often ATSs will allow you to attach such documents separately. We can help you obtain a scan of your documents here at Career Link.
• ATSs are designed to pick out key text from the cover letter and resume you upload: the closer your documents match the job description, the more likely you will be recognized as right for that position.
• Remember that just because you have uploaded all your materials, and have a password, etc, if you have not specifically applied for a position offered, your resume may remain on file (and can be edited/updated at a later time) but you will not have applied for a job! Make sure you have indicated the position you are seeking via a checkbox they have provided.
Of course, there is help and there are computers available at Career Link (open Monday to Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm) if the prospect of applying online seems too scary. With a little help, you’ll feel more confident in this brave new world and wonder why you ever hesitated, particularly when you get that great job.