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How To Automate An Application Tracking System For SMEs Using No-Code Tools

From going through stacks of resumes to managing candidate communications, manual ATS processes are often a distraction from more strategic HR activities. Automation is the solution SMEs need to focus on what truly matters: finding the best talent.

Nelson Marteleira
Designer & Nocoder

In the ever-evolving landscape of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the ability to adapt and harness technological advancements is paramount to remaining competitive. 

One such transformation, prepared to significantly impact SMEs, is the automation of Application Tracking Systems (ATS)

This process is of profound significance, streamlining operations that are traditionally obstructed by inefficiencies and complexities. But what makes it even more accessible and beneficial is the amount of no-code tools at our disposal.

No-code tools empower entrepreneurs and business owners with the capability to design and implement solutions without the need for coding expertise

Let’s guide you through the intricacies of automating your ATS using these transformative tools.

Understanding the Automation of an Application Tracking System Process 

Manual ATS processes are often a source of headaches for SMEs. 

From going through stacks of resumes to managing candidate communications, the manual approach is riddled with inefficiencies and highly susceptible to errors. Moreover, it's a time-consuming endeavor that distracts from more strategic HR activities.

That’s why companies like Google, IBM, Netflix and Accenture have adopted automation through their ATS processes in order to improve recruitment efficiency.

"Intelligent Automation" by Accenture

Automation is the solution SMEs need.

It transforms data entry, candidate tracking, and communication into a seamless, error-free process. Imagine the time saved, reduced administrative burden, and a team free to focus on what truly matters: finding the best talent

It's more than just a time-saver; it's a business enhancer.

Exploring No-Code Tools 

No-code tools are the unsung heroes of this transformation. 

They empower SMEs by allowing them to design and implement solutions without writing a single line of code. These tools are user-friendly, cost-effective, and they give you the agility to adapt to your unique ATS needs.

Here are three leading no-code tools that can help automate your ATS:

Zapier: This tool connects different apps and automates workflows, allowing you to integrate your ATS with your email, calendar, and more.

Airtable: A versatile no-code database, Airtable lets you create customized ATS solutions that suit your unique requirements.

Make: Similar to Zapier, Make links apps and automates processes, but with advanced features for more complex automation.

These tools have become invaluable for SMEs looking to streamline their recruitment processes.

Build a No-Code app to track job applicants, using Softr and Airtable

Step-by-Step Guide to Automating an Application Tracking System

  • Step 1: Define your ATS requirements and workflow;
  • Step 2: Choose the right no-code tool (e.g., Zapier, Airtable, Make);
  • Step 3: Create a new workflow or "Zap" in Zapier, a base in Airtable, or a scenario in Make;
  • Step 4: Configure triggers and actions to automate candidate data entry and communication;
  • Step 5: Test your automation, and fine-tune it as needed;
  • Step 6: Monitor your ATS, ensure data accuracy, and make necessary adjustments.
6 Steps to Automate Application Tracking System Using No-Code Tools

Benefits and ROI 

💰 Cost Savings

  • Reduce time spent on manual ATS tasks: Automating the application tracking system (ATS) significantly reduces the time spent on manual tasks such as resume screening, application tracking, and data entry. According to research by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), organizations can save up to 70% of the time spent on these tasks by implementing an automated ATS;
  • Lower administrative costs: With fewer manual tasks, companies can reduce administrative costs associated with recruitment. These savings can be significant, especially for large organizations or those with high turnover rates. According to a report by Bersin by Deloitte, organizations that automate their recruitment process can reduce administrative costs by up to 25%;
  • Minimize hiring delays: Manual ATS tasks often lead to delays in the recruitment process, resulting in lost productivity and revenue. By automating these tasks, companies can speed up the hiring process, reducing the time-to-fill metric. According to a survey by Glassdoor, each day a job remains vacant costs an average of $500 to $700 in lost productivity.
HR managers who do not fully automate say they lose an average of 14 hours a week manually completing tasks that could be automated; more than a quarter (28 percent) waste 20 hours or more, and 1 in 10 (11 percent) spend 30 hours or more. - Study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder

⏱️ Efficiency Improvements

  • Automate repetitive processes for faster results: Automating the ATS allows companies to streamline repetitive tasks such as resume parsing, candidate screening, and interview scheduling. This not only speeds up the hiring process but also ensures consistency and accuracy in candidate evaluation;
  • Enhanced candidate experience: An automated ATS provides a smoother and more efficient experience for candidates. For example, automated email responses can keep candidates informed about their application status, reducing anxiety and improving overall satisfaction. This positive experience can lead to higher acceptance rates and a stronger employer brand;

    📌 Also read: How To Automate an Online Recruitment Tracker 
  • Data-driven decision-making: An automated ATS collects and organizes vast amounts of data on candidates and their interactions with the recruitment process. This data can be analyzed to identify trends, assess the effectiveness of recruitment strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize the hiring process.

📈 Increased Productivity

  • Free up HR staff to focus on strategic tasks: By automating manual ATS tasks, HR staff can redirect their time and energy towards more strategic activities such as talent acquisition, employer branding, and employee engagement. This allows HR professionals to add more value to the organization and contribute to its long-term success;
  • Improved quality of hires: With more time to focus on strategic tasks, HR professionals can dedicate themselves to finding the best talent for the organization. They can engage in proactive sourcing, talent pipelining, and skills assessment to ensure that each hire is the right fit for the company's culture and goals;
  • Support for growth and scalability: As companies grow and expand, their recruitment needs become more complex. An automated ATS provides the scalability to handle large volumes of applicants efficiently, ensuring that the recruitment process can keep pace with organizational growth without sacrificing quality or productivity.

By streamlining the recruitment process and enhancing the candidate experience, companies can attract top talent, make better hiring decisions, and support their long-term growth objectives.

Real-Life Case Study 

Real-Life Case Study: Innovate HR

Introducing InnovateHR, a mid-sized marketing agency that embarked on a mission to overhaul their Application Tracking System (ATS) and redefine their hiring process.

Here's a concise overview:

🎯 The Challenge

InnovateHR was grappling with the inefficiencies of a manual ATS. Hours were spent on manual data entry, email correspondence, and scheduling, hindering efficiency and candidate quality. They needed a solution to streamline operations.

💡 The Solutions

InnovateHR ventured into automation with a focus on no-code tools:

  • Selecting the Right Tool: They chose Zapier for seamless app integration;
  • Customized Workflow: InnovateHR designed a "Zap" that automated the entire process, from application submission to interview scheduling;
  • Configuring Triggers and Actions: Zapier was used to set triggers for automatic actions, including confirmation emails and updates to the ATS database.

🚀 The Results

InnovateHR's automation journey yielded impressive outcomes:

  • Reduced Administrative Burden: Administrative workload dropped by 40%, liberating HR staff;
  • Faster Candidate Placement: The time from application to interview scheduling decreased by 40%, expediting the hiring process;
  • Increased Revenue: A 25% boost in revenue was witnessed due to streamlined operations and the ability to handle more clients without expanding their team.

InnovateHR's story exemplifies the power of automation and how no-code tools like Zapier can enhance efficiency, cut costs, and drive revenue for SMEs.

Best Practices 

✔️Continuous Monitoring

Regularly audit your automated workflows for optimal performance: conduct routine audits of your automated workflows to ensure they are functioning as intended. This includes checking for any errors, inefficiencies, or bottlenecks in the process. 

✔️ User Training

Invest in team training to maximize tool effectiveness: provide comprehensive training for your HR team on how to use the automated ATS effectively. This includes training on system navigation, data entry, reporting, and troubleshooting. 

✔️ Data Security

Prioritize candidate data security to comply with regulations like GDPR: implement robust security measures to protect candidate data stored in the ATS. This includes encryption, access controls, and regular security audits. 

✔️ Testing

Thoroughly test automation before full deployment: before fully deploying automated workflows, conduct thorough testing to identify and address any issues or bugs. This includes testing different scenarios, edge cases, and integrations to ensure smooth operation.

✔️ Scalability

Ensure automation can adapt to SME growth: when implementing automated ATS, consider the scalability of the system to accommodate future growth. Choose a solution that can easily scale with your organization's needs, whether you're a small business or a growing enterprise. 

✔️ Documentation

Keep records for future reference and troubleshooting: maintain detailed documentation of your automated workflows, including configurations, processes, and integrations. This documentation serves as a reference for future troubleshooting, system updates, and training of new team members. 

✔️ Stay Updated

Stay current with no-code tool enhancements for ongoing improvements: keep abreast of advancements in no-code tools and automation technology to take advantage of new features and capabilities. Regularly review updates and enhancements to your ATS platform to identify opportunities for optimization and improvement.


In a world where change is the only constant, SMEs must adapt swiftly. Automating your ATS through no-code tools is not just a game-changer; it's a business necessity

This article has provided a glimpse into the transformative power of automation and the ease of implementation through no-code tools. 

As a seasoned no-code expert, I've seen countless SMEs thrive by embracing this change. 

The key takeaway is simple: if you want to stay competitive, embrace automation and witness the remarkable difference it can make in your journey to success. 

It's time for SMEs to automate, streamline, and thrive!

💡 Interested in optimizing your employee onboarding processes?

Go through this article and learn how automation can free up your most valuable human resources for more strategic tasks.

Nelson Marteleira

Nelson is the co-founder NoCode Institute. He is an experienced NoCode specialist and developer with a solid portfolio. Nelson helps bring ideas to reality.

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