Your Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Everything you need to know about applicant tracking systems, the benefits of using an ATS, and what to look for in recruitment software platforms.

More and more, employers and HR leaders are using Applicant Tracking Systems to optimize the recruitment process in the current competitive hiring environment. However, some employers or business advisors may not be familiar with the term and are unsure of how this technology can benefit their organization.

Below, we’ll cover what an Applicant Tracking System is, detail the benefits of using an ATS, and what to look for when selecting a recruitment software solution.

What is an (ATS) Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant Tracking System (ATS): A hiring software tool that manages recruitment online and electronically.

An ATS may be provided through a comprehensive Human Resource Information System (HRIS) or as a standalone tool.

Basic ATS functions include job post creation, job post sharing, collaborative candidate review, applicant communication, and job offering tools. HR leaders can attract candidates, manage applicants, make offers and onboard new hires via one streamlined tool.

Why Use an Applicant Tracking System?

An ATS streamlines the hiring process and provides administrators with powerful applicant management tools. With the recruiting market currently in the hands of applicants, recruiters must appeal to quality candidates and act quickly to keep them. The growing supply-demand gap for skilled talent has dramatically increased employers’ need for applicant tracking systems.

Accessing an ATS via a comprehensive HRIS has additional benefits—capturing a new hire’s information at the first point of contact facilitates simple onboarding and employee benefits enrollment, which improves retention rates.

BerniePortal Applicant Tracking is an online applicant tracking feature that is used to attract applicants, manage candidates, and offer and onboard new hires to the company. Download the BerniePortal Applicant Tracking Case Study to read about our experience implementing BerniePortal Applicant Tracking within our company. Based on our recruitment process, we identified 5 core challenges that were solved by implementing BerniePortal’s Applicant Tracking feature.

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What to Look For in a Applicant Tracking System

No Login Required

Look for a system that doesn’t require applicants to create a login to submit an application. This can deter quality applicants from applying to open positions.

ATS Integrations with Job Search Tools

Integrating with job search websites such as Indeed empowers small and mid-sized employers to reach even more qualified candidates. Look for a solution where jobs created in the ATS are automatically available on job seeking applications via direct integration.

BerniePortal and Indeed Partner to Enhance and Optimize Recruiting:

Indeed Partnership

Learn more about BerniePortal’s partnership with Indeed, the world’s number one job site.

Internal Messaging

Hiring managers should be able to directly communicate with job candidates within the ATS. This cuts down on inbox overflow and centralizes all relevant interactions, making the hiring manager’s job even easier.


An all-in-one system means new hires and administrators don’t have to use multiple sites with multiple logins to manage hiring, onboarding and benefits enrollment. One simple system means one-stop-shop for support.

Where to Find an Applicant Tracking System

Standalone Solution vs. an HRIS

The first question to ask when looking for an ATS is whether you need a standalone solution or if you want to access the technology through an all-in-one HRIS.

All-in-one platforms generally provide solutions for the full scope of HR—from applicant tracking, to onboarding, to benefits enrollment and more.

Standalone solutions address just one of these needs. For most small and mid-sized employers, an all-in-one system will provide more value than adopting one or more point solutions. Benefits of this approach include better connectivity across the HR ecosystem, as well as having just one system to learn and manage.

However, if your applicant tracking needs are very unique, you may need a more robust solution provided by standalone tech.

Where to Find Applicant Tracking System Software

The second question to ask is where to access the technology. Some HR platforms are marketed directly to small and mid-sized employers, while others are provided through value-added resellers, such as benefit brokers.

As brokers compete to better serve the needs of small and mid-sized employers, they are increasingly recognizing that to solve a clients’ benefits challenges, they need to provide a solution for the rest of the businesses’ HR needs. Many brokers also cover a portion of the cost. As a result, accessing an ATS via an HRIS provided through a broker typically represents a significantly lower-cost investment than systems marketed directly to employers.

BerniePortal is an all-in-one HRIS that provides solutions for the full scope of small and mid-sized businesses’ HR needs, including applicant tracking through BerniePortal Applicant Tracking.

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