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Applicant Tracking

The number of job applications that the top companies receive, on a regular basis, is large in number. Applicants send in their resumes to companies, and the HR department has to tediously go through each one of them to hire the best talents. However, with the sheer volume and magnitude of applications coming in, this is no easy task for the recruiting department. Managing all resume data manually is next to impossible, and there lies a considerable risk of losing important job-aspirant information. This is where the process of Applicant Tracking comes in extremely handy for business firms.

Applicant tracking is done using a specific software (the data is handled electronically), and it substitutes manual recruitment measures. This considerably eases the complexity of the process of recruiting new employees, and ensures that the most deserving candidates get selected. The process of application tracking is flexible too, and can be molded as per the requirements of a business firm. Over the recent years, this technique has rapidly gained in popularity, and is now being used by many large scale enterprises and smaller business firms too. All these companies need is a Human Resources (HR) section that is willing to leverage such a system. The applicant tracking systems are generally put in place as a supplementing tool to this department and hence, the system is also termed as Human Resource Information System (HRIS).

Many companies use the applicant tracking system directly on their own websites. This helps in collecting data about the applicants internally in an organized fashion. Such front-end usage of applicant tracking also makes sure that no necessary applicant data gets misplaced. On the other hand, many popular job portals also have tie-ups with the applicant tracking software used by companies. Such job portals (like Monster, CareerBuilder and HotJobs) use the software to screen the resumes that are submitted by applicants. The transfer of applicant data from these portals to the business is another crucial part of the recruitment process, and this is also handled effectively by the applicant tracking technique.

The usage of applicant tracking systems is widely recommended for efficient and smooth employee recruitment drives. The technique is simple, easy-to-use, and maintains a large database of candidate profiles and data, and can collect and store huge volumes of application data. Application tracking also helps the recruiting staff of companies to classify candidate resumes in different, well-defined ‘stages’ of selection. The benefits of application tracking indeed go a long way beyond just simple data mining and storage. The resumes and profiles of internal candidates may also be considered when new vacancies come up in an office. Indeed, the Equal Opportunity Employment Regulations of the US requires that internal applications should be considered before firms go for external recruitment campaigns. The functionality of application tracking systems assumes further importance at this juncture, since they can store, access and retrieve existing candidate data too. The profile information of specific internal candidates is looked up, retrieved from the system, and placed before the recruitment board for further scrutiny.

Acquiring and handling human capital in an effective, efficient manner is one of the most important pre-requisites for satisfactory performance of companies. Applicant tracking systems help firms a great deal in this function. Candidates need to be sorted and ordered on the basis of the skills and talent they possess as well as the extent to which their profiles match the requirement of the companies. The method of tracking applications electronically is considered to be the ideal option in this context, and hence, ‘Talent Management System’ is another suitable name that can be given to this technique.

The usage of application tracking systems is a relatively new technique that is being adopted by businesses. CATS, the introductory version of open source application training system, hit the market in 2006. Initially created under a customized Mozilla Public License, it evolved over time, and almost became a closed source model by the end of 2008. However, the software has stayed true to its original form in its naming, and is available as OpenCATS. The GNU General Public License (GPL) also provides a free, open source, web-based applicant tracking system, called Ants.

Top companies attract a lot of potential candidates, most of them with highly-qualified and suitable profiles. The firms need to pick the best among them so as to ensure that their requirement is ideally fulfilled, and the available human capital is tapped efficiently too. The process of recruitment thus must be handled with due diligence. The software has hence also been named as Candidate Management Systems. Applications are suitably screened and suitable candidates are intimated of interview calls (via e-mail) by the application tracking systems as well. Individual applicant tracking, requisition tracking, automated resume ranking, customized input forms, pre-screening questions and response tracking are some of the other features that are commonly found in most applicant tracking software products.

Just as candidates vie for lucrative job-offers, companies are also in the market, competing to acquire the services of the best talents that are available. In this scenario, it makes practical business sense to avail of applicant tracking techniques. Studies show that while most large scale businesses make use of these methods for recruitment, it is popular among middle-sized and small businesses as well. As per available figures, over half of the registered mid-sized companies use application tracking for hiring employees. Indeed, application tracking is currently the most in-demand method of smooth and streamlined employee recruitment by companies from all over the world.

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