Workforce Technology

The Correlation Between Talent Acquisition & Applicant Tracking Systems

Uncover the relationship between talent acquisition and applicant tracking systems (ATS), gaining insight into how these components can streamline your recruitment efforts.
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Every company is searching for the perfect candidates. For some companies and positions, this can mean selecting candidates from an applicant pool of hundreds or even thousands of candidates. Many HR and recruiting departments use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage their job listings and applicants, regardless of candidate pool size. These software systems automate much of the recruiting process. However, they do not replace a talent acquisition strategy – rather, when an ATS is used properly it streamlines a talent acquisition strategy, freeing up time for recruiters and hiring managers to execute the strategy rather than completing labor-intensive administrative functions.

An ATS and talent acquisition strategy are intertwined, mutually complementing each other to help a company find exceptional prospective employees. So, what is talent acquisition, and what is an ATS? What makes them unique but also, how can they work in concert?

Talent acquisition often falls under the HR umbrella, but it is more than that. Talent acquisition encompasses the whole body of employees that attract and hire potential candidates. It is a combined group of expert workers that manage and supervise the hiring pipeline.

Recruiters, head hunters, HR professionals, hiring managers, even general employees; they all form the entity of talent acquisition.

The simplest explanation for talent acquisition is filling job openings with the best possible applicants. Delve deeper, and it will uveal a complex multi-step process that talent acquisition juggles along with many responsibilities to be able to meet the end goal.

All of these activities are strenuous work by themselves. But combine them together, and they form a perpetual need for alertness and vigorous talent-hunting activities. They can demand sizeable personnel just to get things going and find suitable candidates on time. Therefore, companies utilize ATS software solutions to make recruiting more efficient and streamlined. Let’s break down the main activities that talent acquisition handles:

  • Sourcing
  • Attracting
  • Interviewing
  • Hiring
  • Onboarding

How Can an ATS Support Talent Acquisition?

An ATS is an essential component of modern recruiting.  
All the activities that a recruiter does an ATS complements. In a way, the ATS guides the recruiter to streamline the whole hiring process efficiently. It gives a recruiter the right tools at the right time to finish the job faster, smarter and better.  

Moreover, an ATS takes out much of the room for human error in the talent acquisition process. So, what features does an ATS have that uplift the hiring process? 

Useful ATS Features

Attracting and engaging candidates

  • Easy posting to job boards – an ATS helps get job listings in front of quality candidate
  • Fully-customizable careers pages and online job applications – an ATS creates a great candidate experience that drives applicants to apply
  • Mobile-friendly app – an ATS makes it easy to establish initial communication with candidates
  • Employee referral platform – an ATS gives all employees a chance to help attract the right candidates

Managing & Interviewing Applicants

  • Communicating with job applicants – an ATS provides email templates and advanced candidate search functionality
  • Scheduling interviews and processing candidates – an ATS integrates with email tools for interview scheduling
  • Communicating with your hiring team – an ATS typically has a chat feature that recruiters and hiring managers use to communicate through during interviewing
  • Collecting interview feedback – an ATS gathers the feedback and interview scorecards for all the candidates and makes them assessable to all parties involved in hiring
talent acquisition and ats

Making Job Offers & Onboarding New Hires

  • Approval processes – an ATS helps by consolidating interviewer’s observations and makes them visible to all
  • Integrated background checks – an ATS does a background check for selected candidates
  • Digital offer letters – an ATS guides recruiters to create smart offer letters
  • Onboarding – an ATS handles most of the onboarding. Collected employee information can be used through an automated onboarding mechanism to automatically update systems of record, such as ERP, accounting software, and payroll software, with the new hire’s information.
  • EEOC and OFCCP compliance – an ATS executes and implements the two arms of the federal government that have authority over concerns of discrimination relating to employment.

These features are much of what an ATS has to offer. Every monotonous assignment that needs to be done by talent acquisition, an ATS enhances. By doing all these activities, an ATS infiltrates the talent acquisition processes and aids in creating and promoting a powerful company brand. Therefore, it leaves an impeccable impression on clients about what kind of company wants to hire them.

Having a strong brand can help recruiters retain the best and brightest talent available on the job market. And with that, ATS gives recruiters a chance to accomplish goals faster and better and advance in their careers.

ATS & Talent Acquisition Strategy

Not only is recruiting with an ATS far more efficient than doing so without one, but pairing it with a talent acquisition strategy creates a far-ranging reach for a recruiting team. If the game plan is to find and retain diverse A-players from across the globe, then this is the way to go.

A good acquisition strategy and an ATS as a cornerstone of the hiring process is an unparalleled combination. As candidates are added to the system, an ATS solution will store various data for supporting dashboards and ongoing reports. This gives recruiters an insight into people analytics and lets them use the data to analyze the company’s talent acquisition strategy. When a good acquisition plan and an ATS put in their best effort, a strong company emerges.

The question is, how does an ATS infiltrate a talent acquisition strategy. Well, here are the four easily customizable strategies and the way an ATS helps accomplish them.

Build a Strong Employer Brand

The easiest way to building a strong brand is by embracing social media channels. With the power that social media holds, it is undeniable that companies can pique passive candidates’ attention. Once the employer brand is defined, recruiters can bring the ATS’ unique way of presenting the company and approach clients to build the organizations online reputation. In fact, 79% of job seekers use social media in their job search. Therefore, talented prospective candidates are undoubtably flocking to social media; it has become critical to use those channels to leverage the company’s brand. 

Embrace Data-Driven Talent Acquisition & Leverage Software to Help

Use the ATS’ data-driven, accurate facts from which the company can identify skill gaps and target suitable candidates. For example, HR can build a skill inventory for each position by listing the skills that the company’s best employees already possess. Another good example is to make recruiting decisions that are more objective (and legally sound). An efficient recruiting strategy is to choose the best candidate based on evaluation scores and standardized interview performance. 

By using this data, the company can reduce the recruiting costs and prevent turnover. This is a well-paved path that can align the larger strategic business goals. 

Create a Solid Talent Pipeline

By creating a talent pipeline, recruiters proactively cultivate a pool of potential candidates for a range of roles. This drastically reduces the time spent on sourcing applicants. 

Therefore, by using the ATS’s rich database, recruiters already have it all on demand. The internal talent pool from candidates which demonstrated outstanding performance and potential are all stored in the ATS, waiting for a second chance.

Create Landing Pages

Landing pages are becoming a part of the content marketing candidate’s journey. When recruiters post something on social media or promote a digital ad, they link to the job description that the ATS generates. Moreover, they create personalized landing pages for each campaign that anchor towards different audiences.


In the end, an ATS and a talent acquisition strategy form a unique partnership. When put together, they are the company’s most praised compilation. This duo works harder and smarter to achieve the end goals of leading teams that understand how to maximize profit from every assignment. By joining forces, they help make faster and more informed decisions that are in the company’s best interest. 

When a correlation between talent acquisition and ATS is formed, it can push the limits on using complex data so recruiters can base decisions on bottom-line costs. This leads to a guaranteed return on investment (ROI). It also speeds up the recruitment process fulfilling every hiring manager’s dream of having a high-performing team. 


Senior Content Writer at Shortlister

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