Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, are programs that automate and optimize much of a recruiter’s hiring processes. They are much like CRMs only for recruiting, and they have infiltrated the entire recruiting process. They save recruiters and hiring managers from an impossible mound of applications to manually go through and streamline the entire hiring process, even onboarding. But you may be wondering how free online applicant tracking system software has been around and what recruiters did before they had them. We’re going to answer all that and more below.
Precursors to ATS
Before any ATS was created, recruiters and hiring personnel relied on paper resumes, phones, and non-computer based ads such as bulletin boards, classified ads, and signs. Sourcing and networking relied on word-of-mouth and a pretty small number of people who saw your advertisements or who you spotted somewhere locally. Also, applicant information was only as safe as you could keep your physical documents.
The first applicant tracking systems were created in the early 1970s. There was computer use, but not widespread internet use, so these systems were limited to the computer and did little more than store resumes in an easy-to-find-and-read format on a physical network.
Jobs were still posted on bulletin boards, run in classified sections, and shared by word-of-mouth and signs outside the buildings. Recruiters would reach out to candidates by phone. These early applicant tracking systems did perform two of the vital functions we expect today: they made handling resumes more efficient and helped eliminate liability issues.
Eventually one could scan paper resumes to be entered into the ATS, cross-reference candidates, and track the employees’ steps through the hiring process. These early systems were incredibly complicated to use. It was a skill people had to build, rather than a simple, user-friendly interface like we expect in today’s software. Despite the difficulty, companies already recognized the benefits of ATS and, by 1994, even medium-sized businesses were using them.
The following is an excerpt from a 1997 essay:
“Smaller companies are also using the software. The Association of Human Resource Systems Professionals in a 1994 study of nearly 400 companies found that 4 out of 10 companies with fewer than 1,000 workers were using a free online applicant tracking system to keep tabs on people who apply for employment.” (Kennedy & Morrow, 1995, p. 11)
The Internet & ATS Systems
ATS systems began to take on more of their modern-day features in the mid to late 1990s when the internet broke out in all its glory. In fact, many consider this the true beginning of ATS. Recruiters could advertise jobs online, candidates could apply online, and resumes could be immediately parsed and uploaded into the ATS.
With online job advertisements came a wider reach, meaning more people saw each job opening. It was also easier to apply to these jobs, meaning more of the people that saw the opening applied to it. The desire for ATS systems exploded.
Because of internet connections, ATS systems could be shared within companies with much greater ease, allowing for more streamlined hiring efforts across multiple locations. This is the age of the On-Premise Applicant Tracking Systems.
With new and improved ATS systems, recruiters could manage and track instant email communications with candidates, immediately reject candidates by email, post job opportunities to multiple online job boards at once, and more.
As wonderful as all of these new opportunities were, they were not perfect and ATS couldn’t rest on their laurels.
ATS systems had long been distrusted by job candidates, and the more prominent ATS became, the stronger the feeling grew.
- could simply not “see” a candidate if their resume wasn’t in the right format or didn’t contain the right keywords.
- Would rank them based on keywords in their resume.
- Instantly reject them based on keywords and specific qualifications.
Job candidates have tended to believe their resumes are being unfairly missed or rejected because of these automations, and while they have always significantly reduced resume handling time for recruiters, this keyword-based selection could cut into the benefits, even for recruiters and hiring managers.
Free Online Applicant Tracking System
Between 2005 and 2011, the first batch of SAAS based ATSes were launched. These systems slowly started proliferating. Some of the On-Premise ATS vendors created online versions. Even in this wave, it was mostly used by large and mid-sized businesses.
Modern Online ATS For Small Business Hiring
In the most recent evolution of the ATS starting in 2012 with the huge push towards “cloud”, a new breed of Free Online Applicant Tracking Systems like Recruiteze are creating generic solutions for every business. The businesses are adopting at a rapid pace, due to the more affordable pricing and the fact they are not required to lock in to multi-year contracts. These systems offer everything a business needs to manage their jobs, candidates, scheduling and notes in an simple, responsive interface.
Here are the some of the features that make your hiring easy and professional.
Career Portal – These systems offer an easy to integrate career portal, which you can plugin to the career page on your website.
Custom Job Application – Provide you an ability to design custom job applications.
Candidate Tracking/Management – Ability to store, search and contact candidates efficiently.
CRM – A basic CRM to manage your contacts.
The Future Of Applicant Tracking Systems
ATSes are still not perfect. They will need to grow with changes in technology and how businesses and candidates go about the job process. There is opportunity to evolve using newer technologies as they become mature and affordable.
Free Online Applicant Tracking System | Recruiteze
With our online applicant tracking system, you can easily manage your job requisitions, applications, notes, communication and scheduling. Recruiteze offers the most intuitive and simple interface to manage your hiring process. It is primarily built for small to medium sized businesses who do not want to pay through the nose for an efficient online ATS. Recruiteze is available from anywhere you have a browser and internet connection from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Try Recruiteze free today!
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