Understanding ATS and finding the top solutions for Salesforce – in 5 mins

application tracking system process (ATS)

Learn what is an applicant tracking system (ATS) and the best ATS solution in the Salesforce ecosystem. How, why, and by whom should it be used?

In this era, an increasing number of businesses have opted to use Salesforce to help them track customer interactions and relationships. As the world’s most popular Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM), they are serving about 150,000 customers on a daily basis. More than 80% of Fortune 500 companies use at least one Salesforce cloud. Salesforce has been quick and powerful in winning a considerable market share. As a result, various ATS applications are developed and built on Salesforce to serve the wide range of demands of human resources (HR) customers.

ATS stands for the applicant tracking system, which is increasingly becoming a pivotal component of the business and is used by recruiters to hire prospective talents. In this article, we will explain to you:

1. What is an ATS?

An ATS is a software system that helps recruiters manage their hiring processes including the job posting, job applications and applicant interviews. It handles numerous hiring tasks and often allows recruiters to comment on and rate job applications in a single database. As it handles information in a structured format, recruiters can easily store and screen applications and search for potential matches.

2. How an ATS works

ATS is typically used for sourcing, pre-screening, and managing candidates before, during, and after the interview process. There are 4 primary steps that explain how an applicant tracking system works:

  • Job posting: the recruiter will enter the information of the position, job titles, desired skills as well as the required experience into the ATS to scan the CV for the keywords matched later on.
  • Creating a profile of an ideal candidate to set as a standard to select the top matching applicants.
  • Once resumes are submitted to the system, the ATS will parse, sort, and rank them based on how relevant they are matching to the ideal profile. The ATS finds the matching keywords from the job ad and the submitted resume.
  • The hiring manager then identifies the most qualified and matched candidates (normally they will choose the top 15 to 25% of them), then moves them forward in the hiring process.

3. What is the difference between ATS and Recruitment CRM system?

There are two major types of recruiting software systems:

  • ATS
  • Candidate relationship management systems (Recruitment CRM).

These have three main differences:

  • ATS targets those who applied for the companies’ positions while Recruitment CRM targets potential candidates – those who haven’t applied yet to the company.
  • Whilst the key features of ATS concentrates on resume parsing, applicant screening, and assessment, Recruitment CRM offers a more holistic picture and functions that include email marketing, scheduling, and communication tools for building a relationship with possible candidates.
  • Unlike an ATS, which only provides recruiters with the data entered by the applicants, Recruitment CRM allows recruiters to input additional data that they discover related to their potential and prospective talents.

Most companies tend to use both systems (Recruitment CRM and ATS) to track their HR process. This article will solely deal with the latter.

4. The features of an applicant tracking system

For job searchers, ATS streamlines and enhances the application process, making it easier and faster. For example, as an applicant applies to a position, some companies ask the applicant to register an account and fill in their experience and other information in the company’s database even though it is already mentioned in their CV. With the help of ATS, the job seeker can skip this tedious procedure.

For the recruiters, using an ATS allows them to expand their talent pools, and also keep all potential talents’ profiles in a single system. In practice, one position can receive around 250 applications according to Glassdoor. Our internal research has revealed that Microsoft, Google, Apple, and McKinsey open around 8000, 5000, 5500, and 1500 positions respectively on Linkedin. This implies that Microsoft recruiters can face to 2,000,000 applications per year. Thanks to the use of ATS software, recruiters can highlight and automatically find the top candidates with the help of the 8 following capabilities:

  • Resume parsing: this allows extracting data directly from the applicants’ resumes. It also converts free-form resumes into a structured set of information that is suitable for storing, reporting on, and manipulating. As various applicants come up with different CV designs, formatting applicants’ resumes into a standardized style will save recruiters a great deal of time, since they know where to quickly find the necessary information.
  • Advanced search: this allows filtering applications by specific keywords, skills, job titles, education, experience, and so forth.
  • Candidate sourcing: with this functionality, recruiters can search for, identify and reach out to their potential candidates. Candidate sourcing seeks not only active candidates (who applied for the position) but also passive ones (who haven’t noticed or applied for the role but have previously left their information in a company’s database).
  • Multi-channel candidate sourcing: this feature helps recruiters search for potential candidates across several channels from job boards and social media to employee referrals.
  • Built-in CRM functionalities: depending on the software, some ATSs also include CRM functionalities to meet all customer management demands on one single platform.
  • Interview scheduling: with the help of an ATS, recruiters can automate the interview set-up process and save time when rescheduling is required, have reminders sent out, and synchronize different calendars.
  • Collaboration enhancement:  this allows people from different departments of the organization to cooperate with and take part in prescreening, sourcing, and decision-making on new hires.
  • Automation: with an ATS, recruiters can schedule and automate their workflows so they will be activated when predefined conditions are fulfilled.

5. Who should use an ATS

An ATS helps companies save a lot of time – up to 20% (TalentLyft). No surprise, then, that Jobscan research found 98.8% of fortune 500 companies, 66% of big corporations, and 35% of small companies relying on an ATS and recruitment software. And the number of users is growing.

A 2022 Kinsta study said that Linkedin, for example, has over 58 million companies listed, and every week, approximately 50 million job seekers look for open positions there. The majority of the applications to a position can come from LinkedIn.

According to the research, 87% of recruiters routinely utilize Linkedin to discover talent. Therefore, large organizations especially should also deploy an ATS solution that can be integrated with Linkedin to fill in open positions more effectively.

So, from large businesses to SMEs, all companies can benefit from deploying an ATS.

6. Why companies should use an ATS

Zippia reported that 80% of jobs are found online in today’s fast-paced world. The Internet has changed the way we communicate, making applying for jobs online easier than ever. As a result, numerous candidates may apply for a position for which they are unqualified, thinking that they nevertheless “should give it a try.”

Hence, it is no surprise that online job ads receive approximately 250 applications, which causes a lot of work for recruiters if done manually. In the face of this challenge, an ATS can:

  • improve communication between hiring managers
  • speed up the application screening process
  • decrease the time spent on repetitive tasks
  • enhance candidate experience and engagement
  • make job posting easier
  • reduce the cost per hire
  • improve the hiring results.

7 . What are the best ATSs solutions in the Salesforce ecosystem?

Being the largest CRM (Customer Relationship Management) from 2018 to 2022, Salesforce serves more than 150,000 customers every day with multiple backgrounds and scales ranging from small, to medium to big corporates. Here are the leading applicant tracking systems (popular ATS) in the Salesforce ecosystem.

  • Mysolution
  • Bullhorn
  • Seven20
  • TargetRecruit
  • Byner
  • SocialHire Recruit
  • CloudGofer Recruiting App
  • Mployee


With the high volumes of applications today, companies increasingly deploy automated ATS software to help with the process, saving time considerably. But it still has several shortcomings.

According to research by Capterra, 75% of all applications are discarded by ATS software and not evaluated by a real person. This poses some problems. As an ATS evaluates candidates’ profiles based on keywords, capable individuals may not qualify due to their personal traits.  What if an applicant has a more personal communication style and way of laying out their CV?

In this case, their profile may be just excluded. For example, let us assume that a job listing has the keyword “PPC marketing” but an applicant has written “adept knowledge of online and social ads and analytics, including Google and LinkedIn.

If the ATS understands just a limited set of keywords, such applicants may get easily disqualified; anyway, the selection process is flawed.

This goes to show, how much the quality of the ATS software matters – and that candidates are better off when putting effort into making their application ATS-friendly.

But still, the ATS is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool to businesses. It speeds up the recruitment process with its analyzing, tracking, and recruitment process management capabilities.

We hope that this article has given you some useful insights on the ATS itself, the reasons why deploy it, and the things to consider, when doing so – as well as the use of Salesforce as an ATS solution. Would you like to discover more about ATS software on Salesforce? Visit Salesforce AppExchange to find out for yourself what is the best ATS for your business case and understand why HR companies love their Salesforce ATS

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