New White Paper Cites That ATS Sourcing Data is Over 80 Percent Inaccurate

Survey of 63,000 Candidate Applications Confirms Major Flaws in Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Sourcing Information 

North Miami Beach, Fl., October 18, 2006 – The gross inaccuracy of sourcing data reported by leading ATS (Applicant Tracking System) providers was a leading topic of interest at the first annual IAEWS (International Association of Employment Web Sites) Congress in September. Based on the responses from a sample of 62,908 candidate applications, only one in six candidates correctly identified the job board from which they applied to the clients’ jobs. A recent White Paper issued by, the leading job board for the retail industry, confirms this startling reality.  

While tracking systems may do a stellar job in tracking the progress of candidates through the hiring process, most rely on basic and highly inaccurate drop-down boxes to identify which boards deliver the highest quality candidates. As the study shows, the ATS sourcing reports are largely meaningless. Unfortunately, as most companies rely on these reports to make strategic job board selection decisions, they are in danger of underutilizing their most successful sources of hire in favor of less-focused boards. 

“We conducted the study after finding significant differences between the number of candidates applying to jobs from and the reports produced by our clients’ ATS providers,” said Jake Firth, Vice President and CTO of “We simulated the typical drop down box format used by ATS providers and asked candidates to identify the source of hire. A total of 62,908 responded to the question. As all candidates applied directly from, 100% should have chosen Yet five out of six selected alternative sources - a staggering 83% inaccuracy.” 

The results of the survey showed that almost 50% of candidates chose not to specify the source, or select ‘other.’ Some chose Yahoo or Google, from which they may have originally clicked into Some selected, on which jobs from are cross-posted. Some chose generalist boards, though none of the candidates came form these boards. And as an indication that candidates show little concern about the accuracy of their selection, hundreds chose highway billboards and television ads as their source.  

Likely reasons for inaccurate selection include: apathy over surveys, confusing drop-down box formats, ambiguity over the question, reluctance to reveal the source and pandering to the potential employer by selecting ‘corporate site.’ 

The solution to accurate tracking is to implement ‘tracking tags.’ These tags append to the application URL so that the ATS can verify the true source. Unfortunately, most ATS providers are unwilling to spend the time and expense to implant these. The common line of thinking can be paraphrased as, “why should we spend the money if our clients aren’t requesting this change.” But most ATS users naively assume that, as they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a tracking system, the results should be accurate.  

Yet based on such a large sample of 63,000 responses, an 83% inaccuracy rating should spur companies to address the discrepancies and insist on ‘tracking tags,’ or switch ATS providers. They will then be able to determine which boards deliver the best candidates, leading to better purchasing decisions and higher quality hires. 

The “ATS Sourcing Data – 83% Inaccurate” White Paper is available for download at 

About Jake Firth

Jake Firth is a pioneer in the online job board industry.  As VP, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of, and, he has established and maintained the job boards in the #1 position in their respective industries.  

About is the #1 online job board specializing in retail careers.  It is the only retail job board selected by Weddle’s list of leading job boards.  Visit for more information. 


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Submitted by WEDDLE on October 19, 2006 - 16:05.

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