How an ATS Works

If you submit your resume to an organization of any significant size at all, odds are your
resume will be dumped into their Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which has two primary
functions:

    Keeping Track of the Job Side of the Process
    The ATS will keep track of all jobs that are currently open within the company, as well
    as jobs that were open previously but have since been cancelled or filled. For each job
    it shows the dates and history of the job opening, the hiring manager, the various
    people that authorized the job opening, pertinent dates, pay scale, all candidates that
    have applied for it, who was eventually hired, etc.

    Keeping Track of the Applicant Side of the Process
    The ATS will keep track of every applicant's contact information, a copy of their cover
    letter (if submitted), their resume, which jobs they’ve applied for within the organization,
    and the answers to questions they were asked by the automated system when they
    initially applied online. It also keeps track of the reason the applicant was not selected
    for any particular job, and allows for a quick and easy way for the recruiter to send
    form letters, typically used to inform a candidate that they’ve not been selected. Lastly,
    for those applicants that have been invited for an in-person interview, it shows the
    status of interviews including dates and times, the interviewers, and the comments and
    recommendations made by the interviewers.

When you apply to an organization online, your resume is added to the list of applicants that
have applied to a particular job. The recruiter responsible for a particular job should review
all resumes one by one, and a decision should be made about each particular applicant. For
the applicants not selected, the recruiter should send a courtesy email to inform the appli-
cants, but that’s not always the case due to the sheer volume of resumes. In addition--and
depending on the particular ATS--the recruiter may be able to select the reason for rejection
from a pre-established list of reasons that's included in the ATS. For those applicants that
seem to possibly be a fit for the job opening, the recruiter will keep them in the active file for
that job until a final determination is made, and a candidate is hired; the job is then closed,
and removed from the company's online list of jobs.

Having your resume in a company's database means a recruiter can do a keyword search for
future jobs and find you once again.
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