Posted January 26, 2015 by

Study shows ATS block 86-94% of those trying to apply

Most popular applicant tracking systems, as ranked by OnGig

Most popular applicant tracking systems, as ranked by OnGig

Human resource departments have always understood the need to efficiently manage the flow of information about people who want to work for our organizations.

Several decades ago the need for efficiency led to the popularization of applicant tracking systems and those have allowed employers to greatly reduce their costs-per-hire, time-to-hire, and ability to defend themselves in lawsuits. That’s all good but with the good often comes some bad.

At niche job board College Recruiter, we see ATS from the vantage point of our employer clients as well as the millions of actively searching recent grads and students who use our site and more passive candidates who we reach via targeted email, targeted mobile banner, and targeted display ad campaigns. As you might expect, many of them get pretty frustrated and the most highly qualified and therefore most sought after candidates tend to give up because, well, they can.

The high — typically 90 percent — drop-off or drop-out rate never ceases to amaze me. For every 10 candidates who read a job posting ad on College Recruiter or any other job board, only about one who is interested enough to click our apply button will actually apply. That’s astounding. There’s typically nothing new at the employer’s site so it shouldn’t be an issue of the candidate being surprised. Rather, it seems to be a process issue. They can’t or won’t put up the process. And this isn’t a problem confined to just one ATS. We see this across the board with all ATS, including the 15 most popular applicant tracking systems:

  1. Taleo 54.0%
  2. Kenexa-Brassring 12.9%
  3. Jobvite 9.6%
  4. iCims 7.3%
  5. SAP-SuccessFactors 3.9%
  6. Peoplefluent (formerly Peopleclick) 3.7%
  7. ADP 2.3%
  8. Silkroad 1.7%
  9. iRecruitment 1.0%
  10. Greenhouse 0.8%
  11. Newton Software 0.8%
  12. Ultipro 0.8%
  13. Jobscore 0.6%
  14. Lumesse 0.6%
  15. HRDepartment.com 0.4%

We’re often asked by our employer clients what percentage of the candidates who read a posting on our site, click our apply button to go to the employer’s ATS to apply actually apply. The short answer is, “it depends.” The long answer is, “it depends largely upon the kinds of positions for which you’re hiring, the locations in which those positions are available, and the ATS you use.” Would it surprise you to learn that one of the major ATS sees 14.12 percent of apply clicks from all sources convert into applications while another sees only 5.85 percent? That means that if you’re using the worst and your competitor is using the best you need to drive almost three times as many candidates to your career site just to stay even.

We’re happy to share with you the results of the study by our partner, Appcast, for eight of the leading ATS and even break-out those numbers to show you the percentages who successfully apply when on a smartphone or tablet device versus when on a laptop or desktop. If you feel that it would make sense for you to review those numbers, please Contact Us.

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