June 15, 2021
Hiring 19 February 2020
Understanding Hiring Software: Why It Works and Why It Sometimes Doesn't
Britta Howlett
Evaluating candidates, ATS, Qualified Candidates

Many companies big and small are moving towards using applicant tracking systems or ATS, in an effort to make the hiring process less tedious. If employers relied on HR managers alone to do the vetting process, the hours would be endless. Although ATS has many benefits, there are a certain number of flaws in the system. We have outlined the pros and cons of using an ATS:


Applicant tracking systems (ATS) were made to make things easier for recruiters and hiring managers. They can, for example, post jobs, store applications, sort, communicate with applicants and so on. All in all, ATS are beneficial in several ways:

Increases Efficiency

Applicant tracking systems allow hiring managers to quickly search a database of applications according to specific criteria allowing them to find someone who is ideal for their company. By doing so hiring managers are able to skip through all applicants who don’t fit in that certain category. 

Saves Time and Money

One of the strongest selling points of using an ATS is the amount of money and time you save. There is no need to put effort and time for job postings and you certainly won’t have to spend hours scanning hundreds of resumes.  This means that hiring managers can dedicate their time to more relevant efforts. 

Improves Applicant Experience and Engagement

One of the hardest parts about applying for a job is the waiting period. Candidates are eager to find out if they got the job or not but when it comes down to it, many candidates are left in the dark and never know why they didn’t get the job. 

The latest automation resolves this problem. They are able to keep applicants up to date. Using chat boxes are also a great tool because they keep candidates engaged and involved throughout the whole recruitment process. 


Tragically, it seems like the applicant tracking system came into popularity at the same time our country experienced the greatest recession in history. This all happened not too long ago, and many can still remember its wrath. After all, most are still feeling it these many years later, paying off all that student debt and looking for a job in a relevant industry! There’s no doubt that unemployment rates were sky high in the late 2000s, and applicant tracking systems really only added salt to the wound. 

Wikipedia defines Applicant tracking systems as a “software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs.” Here is a list of top reasons why the systems have helped take the “human” out of human resources:

They Suggest a Culture of Compliance

These software's are designed to skim through thousands of resumes and determine which are the “best fit” according to keyword matches. Recruiters end up putting themselves in a position where they trust their system to make these important decisions for them. However, candidates could just be including a list of keywords in their resume just to make it thorough, while many other qualified candidates may be getting looked over. 

In some cases, as many as 5000 applicants would be looked over for grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes, none of which really say anything substantial about an applicant. In addition to performance tracking, ATSs don’t account for creativity and potential or how candidates will fit in with the company culture.

They Take the Human out of Human Resources

One of the main selling points of these systems is performance tracking, so you can tell which candidates are performing better than others. However, online performance tracking and reviewing really takes away from that supervisor/employee relationship. Performance reviews are an opportunity to really tell employees what they are excelling at and what they can improve upon. 

Many employees look forward to the opportunity of getting reassurance for their hard work, so they can learn what they could be doing better. When supervisors and managers don’t take the time to do this in person, it can lose its value. Number tracking aside, when you have more qualified candidates hired through performance-based hiring, the need for performance (post-hire) tracking becomes less and less. 

They Don’t Allow Companies to Test out Skill-Sets

The fundamental issue with applicant tracking systems is with their sourcing. The systems allow companies to place openings on job boards and social media sites to promote their positions. Many would find this to be a game-changing feature. 

When people apply to these positions using these job boards, they upload their resumes and maybe add links to their LinkedIn’s for a greater picture of who they are. The problem lies in that both instances the recruiter is relying on information that they cannot really test. So whether it’s “5 years experience in sales” or “proficient in javascript”, you don’t really know who you’re getting.  

They Don't Account for Future Growth

Most Applicant Tracking Systems do not take into mind how the candidates will progress within your company. While applicants may have the necessary skills for the job at hand, will their skills allow them to stay in the company long-term and to be promoted up through the ranks

Getting someone to fit the position is only the first step. To get the most out of your recruiting, take into account your company's pathways and how your potential employee fits into the big picture.

They are a Waste of Time for Recruiters

Most importantly, recruiters should not be sources of talent, rather evaluators of it. Recruiters spend so much time trying to find the best people to bring in for interviewing and end up falling short more often than not because they are not spending their time evaluating candidates' technical skill sets to determine a mutual culture fit for the company. 

If recruiters spent less time looking for candidates by posting on job boards or scanning profiles on social media, they would reduce cost and lower turnover rates. 

Real-life experiences

We asked a few hiring managers what they struggle with when using software to hire. Their thoughts included the following:

“HR software is just so impersonal. After an interview, we upload all the notes to the system. However, the nuances of the interview are lost - and the notes are just facts and figures and general info about what happened” - Tracey Elisabeth HR Director of Studio 54

“The biggest challenge with hiring software is that it’s effectively a customized CRM. It lacks the ability to assess or deliver qualitative insight on a candidate beyond pipeline management and a central point for internal team feedback during the hiring process.” - Oren Greenberg from Kurve

“Faking of CVs and credentials by candidates: Not all, but most candidates lie on their Cvs and it is hard to check and verify that.” - Saurabh Jindal Director of Talk Travel

Revolutionizing Hiring Software

At ProSky, we are working on identifying these shortcomings and their solutions to create a better applicant tracking system.  These are some of our most important improvements:

  • Personalize employee growth: Place every employee on progressive, personalized pathways that will help them be more effective in their current and future job roles. Personalize training, evaluations, feedback, and communication in an efficient manner for each employee.  Increase retention while seeing higher work efficiencies. 

  • Automating HR tasks such as recruiting, hiring, evaluation, and feedback, so that HR managers can start focusing on organization development, structuring, and succession planning.

  • Using challenges and projects to test candidates skills: Instead of using traditional resumes, Prosky allows you to test candidates' skills. This means you can determine much quicker if a candidate is a good cultural fit. Beyond the initial recruitment process, you can then use the tool for onboarding and to improve retention.

Learn more about how you can use performance-based hiring to bring in the right candidates for your company.