Need To Know: What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

As a job seeker you need to understand the “competitive landscape.”  That is, how does the finding and hiring process work?

If you include recruiters into your job search landscape, you should know that they use a system called an Applicant Tracking System.

This is a version of a customer relationship management system (think: salesforce, ACT!, Goldmine, Highrise) that a recruiter uses to keep track of the applicant (YOU).

If they are interested in you, there will be notes on you, when you talked, what you talked about, keywords they can search for later (job titles, associations, etc.).

Most ATS’s, I think, also have some kind of resume searching function, where they can load your resume and then later do a search on keywords.  For example, if a recruiter has 2,000 people in her ATS, and wants to find someone who is a senior project manager, she can do a search on that phrase on all the resumes she has.

Something people talk about is to ensure your resume is ATS-ready… you can google that, but don’t let it stress you out (I think it’s more important to spend the time doing real, effective networking, if you can’t figure the ATS-ready thing out).

So there you go, now you know.  Your name and information is probably in a database somewhere.

The End.

If you want more, you must know that I designed JibberJobber for the job seeker because I didn’t like the idea that they had sophisticated software to track this stuff, and we only had a Number 2 Pencil with a yellow legal pad.  Or, a spreadsheet that kept whining “tweak me!  It will just take a minute (or a few hours), and you won’t have to network during that time!”

I wanted a real tool, like an ATS, or a CRM, that we could use to track who we were meeting, who we needed to follow-up with, how we were networking into companies, what recruiters we were working with, what jobs we had applied to, which version of what resume we used to apply to a job, etc.

That is what JibberJobber is.  And it levels the playing field… now WE have something as powerful as THEY do.

Game on!