Applicant Tracking Systems for Recruiters: Pros and Cons

Good applicant tracking systems can help recruiters tremendously. These systems can also be extremely effective for smaller business without a human resources manager. With these systems it is easier to bring the best candidates to the top of the pile.

The main idea of these systems is to provide a location and database for hiring and recruitment efforts all in one place. The tracking systems help manage resumes and all information from applicants. There are several methods to get the information into the software. For example if the human resources manager or a recruiter is interviewing the information can be entered and notes made as the interview is going on. The applicants that apply on line would have the option to enter the information right into the system. The third way data on prospective applicants could be entered is through resume boards.

Once an applicant tracking system has the information the system can sort this information in any number of ways. For example, if this position requires a college degree it can sort out any resume that may have come in that does not list that information. Most applicant tracking systems also offer employee referral rewards.

There are a number of other features that these systems can provide to help with the hiring process. When deciding if applicant-tracking systems will work for your business keep in mind the following pros and cons.


  • These systems can automatically post to online job boards
  • Tracks all applicant information
  • Allows specific screening questions
  • Keeps track of the flow in the application process
  • Will allow one email to go to multiple applicants
  • Has the ability to automate assessments for hiring
  • Tasks, notes and any other reports can be right there attached to the application.
  • As a recruiter for multiple companies it is important to have vetted and qualified applicants that you can keep track of by their skill, experience and education. Using an applicant tracking system may take a good deal of work out of the filing cabinets and put it at your fingertips. These systems are most useful when you have a large number of applicants for a multitude of jobs.


  • Applicant tracking systems kill about 75% of resumes that are submitted
  • The tracking systems can be flawed if the resume is not formatted as expected.
  • PDF files are often misread and discarded
  • Tracking software cannot read graphics
  • The best candidate for a job may not have a resume that the software can pick up correctly

If your job is recruiting for your company or for many companies applicant tracking systems are certainly something to consider. The question is will the software make finding the best candidates for the opening you are trying to fill easier. The next question is will the recruitment software allow the very best candidate for the job through the screening processes it puts resumes through.