ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, which is a type of software application used to automate recruitment processes. ATS was originally created for large corporations and approximately 95% of Fortune 500 companies relying on ATS. With large corporations reporting that the streamlining and automation of recruitment processes was cutting down significantly on costs, companies of all sizes began adopting the use of ATS.

Applicant tracking software is used to scan, collect, sort, rank, and store applicant data. ATS parses a resume into categories and then scans for specific keywords to determine if a candidate is a good fit. The collection of data can be done in both a proactive and reactive manner. Some companies collect and store data from resumes they receive, while others actively collect data from profiles on job boards (LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed,, etc.) to identify qualified candidates to reach out to, and some companies collect information both ways.

While the use of applicant tracking software is often touted by CEOs and CFOs, it can work against qualified applicants if they are not using the appropriate keywords in their resume, application, or online profiles. Numbers provided by recruiters across well known companies report that only  10% to 25% of all resumes submitted ever make their way to a human.

And in the case where companies are collecting information from job boards or recruiters, a company may not ever publish a job posting. So candidates without a properly optimized online presence may never even learn about a stellar opportunity that they would have loved to be considered for.