Applicant tracking systems - how do they work?

When a company is hiring for a (or several) position(s), there is a lot of work put into finding the perfect candidates. A lot of time and effort are put into reviewing applications and determining who should be considered for the position. This is where applicant tracking system software come into play. An ATS is a type of software that provides recruiting tools for companies. They act as a database for job applicants and weed out applicants who do not fit the criteria, thus saving recruiters time and effort.

So many companies, including Fortune 500 companies, use an ATS as a part of their recruiting strategy. In order to even be considered for a position, an applicant must know how to beat the system. They need to know how an ATS works in order to be considered as a possible candidate. By knowing what an applicant tracking system is and how it works, applicants can tailor their applications to meet (and hopefully exceed) the standards in order to move forward in the recruiting process.

How does applicant tracking software work?

While each ATS is different, yet they all follow the same basic proceedings. Essentially, when someone, or many people, apply for a job, their information is uploaded into the database and from there, it is scanned by an automated system that looks for specific keywords and sometimes even synonyms of those words. Depending on what the recruiter is looking for, the system will either pass an application on or the recruiter will never even see it.

When applying through an ATS, the applicant will probably have to answer a series of questions that will determine whether or not the application will move on or not. If the questions are answered correctly, the application will proceed to the next stage. However, if even one of the questions are answered unsatisfactorily, the application will go no further. Once the application has moved on, the recruiters can search through the applications in the system using keywords which are typically words taken directly from the job description.

The keywords used to search the applications could be based on skills, experience, work experience, etc. From these keywords, a number of resumes and applications are presented and they can begin to read through them. Some application tracking systems have a ranking tool that will rank each application based on how well it correlates with the job description, so it is important to create an application that is geared towards the ATS.

Why do companies use ATS?

Employers typically hire for several jobs at one time which can be quite an on-taking of extra work due to the hundreds of resumes and applications they receive. Even unqualified people will sometimes “give it a shot” which brings in even more resumes and requires more time and effort by the recruiter. Application tracking systems essentially make this a much easier and more organized project.

ATS tracking systems keeps all of the applications in one place. This, in itself, is a huge help when it comes to helping employers stay organized and know where everything is. Another reason employers use ATS is that, in theory, they can save time by automatically ranking candidates in terms of the keywords mentioned above. They help recruiters narrow their selection down without the long process of going through each and every application.

Because no recruiter wants to sift through hundreds of applications and resumes, the ATS is becoming more and more popular and is being used in several different industries. Companies are looking for the fastest and most efficient way to do their hiring, and this just might be it.

How to beat the best applicant tracking systems

There is no generic or universal way to beat an application tracking system. From certain questions to weed applicants out to keyword searches, there are many ways in which an application could be kept from moving on to the next stage of the hiring process. That being said, there are some ways that will help an applicant’s chances of beating the system


  • Create a resume that is specifically tailored to the job description the applicant is applying for.

  • Use specific keywords from the job description in your application.

  • Avoid a functional resume format and use a chronological or hybrid format.

  • Use a traditional font such as Helvetica or Georgia.

  • ● Use standard headings like “Work Experience”.

  • Follow instructions, meaning include the correct documents and sending the correct document type (i.e. if they ask for a .docx file, don’t send a PDF).

Each of these suggestions can help an applicant’s chance of moving to the next stage of the hiring process.

Why not let the experts help?

There are numerous professionals who are experts at tailoring resumes to specific jobs. However, in order to ensure success, choosing the best of the best is key. The experts at are just that. They can take any resume and turn it into the perfect one with ease.

When choosing a company to help with designing a resume to send out, there are some important things to consider such as:

  • Is it legit?

  • Do they have expertise in a variety of different job fields?

  • Will they work one-on-one with the client and create a resume that is exactly what they want/need?

  • Will they create several resumes tailored to the exact jobs being applied for?

  • Are they friendly and professional?

Once you’ve determined which resume type is best for your needs, you should spend time looking at sample resumes from people in your particular industry. This is a good way to check out what formats are ideal, and how certain sections are arranged.

The experts at Resume Press can answer yes to each of the above questions. They are friendly, professional, and will work directly with each of their clients to ensure their success in the job hunt. By contacting Resume Press, the applicant is guaranteed to find what they are looking for and more.

Whether applying for one job or several, the professionals at will ensure that the client walks away with a resume that is sure to pass any ATS and get the applicant moved to the next stage of the hiring process. Whatever the applicant needs, Resume Press has it all.


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