How to Track Job Applications Like a Pro and Improve Your Recruitment Process

Published by:
Joe Caccavale
March 7, 2023
min read

The Ultimate ATS Comparison Guide

Recruiting the right candidate can be a daunting task for any employer. With so many applications to track, it's easy to get lost in the process and, subsequently, overlook top talent. The good news is, there are now ways for employers to track job applications more effectively - and it starts, unsurprisingly, with smarter tools. 

A better applicant tracking system (ATS) will not only help you to ultimately hire the best fit for your company, but will save time and resources, too. Making sure you’re in-the-know about what those tools are, then, is essential if you’re to make any headway when it comes to streamlining your recruitment process. 

This blog will cover the importance of tracking job applications, the different methods for doing so, and how to use the data to improve your recruitment process. As a provider of unbiased recruitment software, we understand the challenges faced by modern businesses in attracting and retaining top talent. By implementing effective tracking strategies, rest assured you’ll improve your candidate experience, increase your hiring success rate, and ultimately, grow your business.

So, let's dive in and explore how to track job applications and improve your recruitment process.

Tracking job applications: What does it mean, and why is it important?

Tracking job applications typically involves keeping a record of all the resumes, cover letters, and other application materials received from candidates during the recruitment process. This can include details such as the date the application was received, the source of the application, the status of the application, and any other relevant information.

By tracking job applications, either manually or via a system, employers can:

  • Stay organised: With a clear record of all applications, employers can easily keep track of where each candidate is in the hiring process and avoid losing track of top talent.
  • Save time: By eliminating the need to search through multiple emails or physical documents, tracking job applications can save recruiters time and increase their efficiency - even more so if using an automated management process.
  • Make informed decisions: With detailed records of each candidate's application, recruiters can make informed decisions about who to invite for an interview or move forward in the hiring process. Again, this can be streamlined even further with help from a smart applicant tracking system.
  • Improve the candidate experience: By keeping candidates informed about the status of their application and providing timely feedback, businesses can create a positive candidate experience that reflects well on their brand. 

4 methods of tracking job applications

So, what exactly is the best way to track job applications? Well, there are various methods to choose from, and knowing which is the right one for your business will involve taking your hiring volume, business size and current recruitment process into account. Below, we explore four of the most common methods for tracking job applications:

  1. Applicant Tracking Systems
    An ATS is a solution designed specifically for tracking job applications and can automate many aspects of the recruitment process, from resume screening to interview scheduling and candidate communication. This can save businesses hours of valuable time and increase overall efficiency. Their only sticking point: ATS systems can sometimes be expensive and require time to integrate across your team.

  2. All-in-one recruitment software
    A solution like our ethical, unbiased software is designed to streamline the entire recruitment process from job posting to hiring. It provides advanced features for tracking job applications, such as automated email communication, resume parsing, and candidate screening, saving businesses valuable time and increasing quality of hire.

  3. Spreadsheets
    Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are popular, simple solutions for job application tracking. They’re easy to set up, customisable, and allow businesses to quickly sort and filter candidate information. However, spreadsheets can become cumbersome to manage as the number of applications increases, and there is a higher risk of data entry errors.

  4. Email Folders
    Some businesses choose to create folders in their email inbox to track job applications. This is a simple, free and straightforward method - but can become disorganised and difficult to manage.

How data from tracking job applications improves the recruitment process

By tracking job applications, you won’t just be saving valuable time - you’ll also be collecting valuable data. This data can be used to further improve the recruitment process, helping you to identify trends, areas for improvement, and opportunities to enhance the overall candidate experience. 

Here are a few ways that businesses might consider using data to improve their recruitment process:

  • Identify bottlenecks: By tracking the time taken at each stage of the recruitment process, businesses can identify bottlenecks and make the necessary adjustments to speed things up. This could involve shortening the time taken to review resumes or scheduling interviews more efficiently.
  • Evaluate recruitment sources: Tracking the source of each application means businesses can evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment sources, and focus on those that provide the highest quality candidates. 
  • Improve candidate experience: Monitoring the status of each application and providing timely feedback enables businesses to create a positive candidate experience that reflects well on their brand. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to refer other qualified candidates and apply for future job openings.
  • Enhance diversity and inclusion: By tracking demographic data such as gender, ethnicity, and age, businesses can evaluate the diversity of their candidate pool and take steps to enhance their inclusion efforts. This can help businesses attract a wider range of qualified candidates and create a more inclusive workplace culture.

Common mistakes to avoid when tracking job applications

While tracking job applications can be a valuable tool in improving the recruitment process, it can be all too easy to make these common mistakes:

  • Inconsistent data entry, leading to difficulties filtering candidate information

  • Neglecting to regularly update information such as interview notes, and their status in the recruitment process
  • Overlooking candidate experience by neglecting to provide timely feedback and regular communications, thus damaging the reputation of the business
  • Not analysing data and missing out on valuable insights that can help businesses improve their recruitment process

3 ways Applied works to effectively track job applications

We’ve covered the importance of consistent job application tracking, so now let’s discuss how it can be done most effectively by using the Applied platform. 

  1. Standardised candidate sourcing and management
    Applied ensures an even playing field across all the roles you’re hiring for by automating the candidate management process. Right from the beginning, the platform will automatically remove unconscious bias triggers when reviewing applications so that you’ll base decisions purely on skills testing results. All this data is easy to access and manage via a central dashboard.
  1. Regular updates and automated communications
    Regularly updating candidate information allows you to maintain a streamlined process - and keep the candidate experience positive. Using the Applied platform means candidate status will be automatically updated, and communications regarding interview scheduling and feedback can also be automated. 
  1. Reliable data analysis
    Analysing data from tracking job applications can provide valuable insights that businesses can use to improve their recruitment process. Applied can provide regular reports to evaluate testing effectiveness, identify bottlenecks, and maintain diversity and inclusion efforts.

The Applied platform supports businesses by creating a streamlined process that attracts top talent and creates a positive candidate experience. If your recruitment software needs a time-saving, future-proof upgrade, this could be it!

Applied job tracking

Tracking job applications: FAQs

How can I ensure candidate data is kept private and secure while tracking job applications?

  1. Use a secure Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that is GDPR compliant and has data encryption features, like Applied.
  2. Only collect the necessary candidate information and ensure that it is stored securely and accessed only by authorised personnel.
  3. Obtain candidate consent to collect and store their data and clearly communicate your privacy policy.
  4. Regularly review and delete candidate data that is no longer needed.
  5. Consider hiring a data protection officer to oversee your organisation's data privacy and security efforts.

Are there any legal considerations to keep in mind when tracking job applications?

  1. Data protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU.
  2. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations.
  3. Record-keeping regulations (maintaining an accurate and complete record of job applications).
  4. Anti-discrimination laws.
  5. Confidentiality.
  6. Job posting regulations (ensuring all job postings are compliant with relevant labour laws).

Applied is the all-in-one platform for fairer hiring - purpose-built to reduce bias and reliably predict the best talent.

Start transforming your hiring now: book in a demo.