"An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS system can be implemented on an Enterprise or small business level, depending on the needs of the company. ATS systems are very similar to Customer Relationship Management Systems, but are designed for recruitment tracking purposes.
Nearly all major corporations use some form of Applicant Tracking Systems to handle job applications and to manage resume data. A dedicated ATS is not uncommon for recruitment specific needs. On the enterprise level it may be offered as a module or functional addition to a Human Resources Suite or Human Resource Information System (HRIS). The ATS is expanding into Small and medium enterprises through Open Source or Software as a service offerings (SaaS).
The principal function of an ATS is to provide a central location and database for a company's recruitment efforts. ATS are built to better assist management of resumes and applicant information. Data is either collected from internal applications via the ATS front-end, located on the company website or is extracted from applicants on job boards. The majority of job and resume boards (Monster, Hotjobs, Career Builder) have partnerships with ATS software providers to provide parsing support and ease of data migration from one system to another.
Functionality of an ATS is not limited to data mining and collection, ATS applications in the recruitment industry include the ability automate the Recruitment Process via a defined workflow.
Another benefit of an applicant tracking system is analyzing and coordinating recruitment efforts - managing the conceptual structure known as Human Capital. A corporate career site or company specific job board module may be offered, allowing companies to provide opportunities to internal candidates prior to external recruitment efforts. Candidates may be identified via preexisting data or through information garnered through other means. This data is typically stored for search and retrieval processes. ATS systems have expanded ATS offerings that include off-site, encrypted resume and data storage, legally required by Equal Opportunity Employment Laws.
Applicant Tracking Systems may also be referred to as a Talent Management Systems (TMS) and/or Talent Platform and are often provided via an application service provider or software as a service (SaaS) model. The level of service and cost can vary greatly across providers."