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Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) reviews by real, verified users. Find unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, and price based on the most reviews available anywhere.

Best Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used to streamline the recruiting and hiring of new talent. ATS manage the entire recruiting process from career page hosting to interview scheduling. These systems help recruiters reduce the time spent reading resumes and screening potential applicants by collecting, sorting, and organizing applicant resumes. They store applicant information in a centralized system of record so candidate information can be retained and talent pools developed.

ATS is often implemented by HR departments to boost efficiency during the hiring process and simplify the qualification of candidates. Some applicant tracking systems also provide HR personnel and recruiters with job posting features and/or candidate relationship management software solutions. ATS can be implemented either as a standalone solution or as part of an integrated HR management suite. These systems can also integrate with onboarding software and recruitment marketing software to form a talent acquisition suite.

To qualify for inclusion in the ATS category, a product must:

Collect, sort, and screen resumes and any associated candidate information
Manage talent pools within a custom workflow
Enable communication between HR personnel, hiring manager, or recruiter and candidate

Top 10 Applicant Tracking Systems

  • Paylocity
  • Zoho
  • Lever
  • BambooHR
  • Greenhouse
  • SmartRecruiters
  • iCIMS Talent Cloud
  • Workable
  • Paycom
  • CEIPAL TalentHire

Compare Applicant Tracking Systems

G2 takes pride in showing unbiased reviews on user satisfaction in our ratings and reports. We do not allow paid placements in any of our ratings, rankings, or reports. Learn about our scoring methodologies.
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(1,544)4.5 out of 5

Our all-in-one software platform gives HR pros a way to easily manage daily tasks in payroll, benefits, talent, and workforce management. But what makes us different is that our technology is backed by a culture that truly cares about our clients’ success. Providers will merely sell you a product. But a partner actually cares about you and your business. A partner takes the time to get to know you and understand your needs. We work with you to identify the best solutions that will benefit your

(1,042)4.4 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$25 /Recuiter/Month

Zoho Recruit is an applicant tracking system catering to multiple hurdles faced by recruiters. With complete solutions for both in-house recruiters and staffing agencies, Zoho Recruit helps you source, track, and hire the best candidates, without any juggling required across different media. Customize every aspect of your workday and automate tasks like sending emails, updating interview status, and more. Get reports and analytics at your fingertips and plan better hiring strategies.

(1,189)4.1 out of 5

Lever's mission is to help the world hire with conviction. Our fresh take on the talent acquisition system combines powerful ATS and CRM functionality in a single, modern platform—so employers can source, nurture, and manage candidates all from one place.

(654)4.3 out of 5
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BambooHR is the No. 1 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company providing online HR Software for small and medium businesses that have outgrown spreadsheets. BambooHR’s cloud-based system is an intuitive, affordable way for growing companies to track and manage essential employee information in a personalized Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Now HR managers have more time for meaningful work, executives get accurate, timely reports and employees can self-service their time off, using a conv

(563)4.3 out of 5
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Greenhouse delivers a complete solution to help companies hire for what's next. As the fastest-growing hiring platform in the industry, thousands of leading companies like Cisco Meraki, and Pinterest use Greenhouse's intelligent guidance to design and automate all aspects of hiring. Greenhouse Recruiting products drive excellent candidate interactions at every touch point, eliminate administrative burden and keep everyone on the hiring team engaged. Greenhouse also leads the industry

(415)4.3 out of 5
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SmartRecruiters’ Talent Acquisition Suite is used by high-performance organizations for making the best hires. It has full functionality for recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring built on a modern cloud platform with an open marketplace for 3rd party recruitment services. Unlike the first generation applicant tracking systems it replaces, SmartRecruiters provides an amazing candidate experience, hiring managers actually want to use the product, and recruiters love us because we make the

(450)4.1 out of 5

iCIMS Talent Cloud is a cloud platform for recruiting that enables employers to manage their end-to-end talent hiring lifecycle in one unified recruitment platform. ICIMS Talent Cloud is designed to meet employers’ evolving needs with solutions that can be used together for a seamless experience or integrated with other applicant tracking and HR systems for flexibility. To expand on core talent acquisition capabilities, the iCIMS Talent Cloud is complemented by an ecosystem of nearly 300 inte

(167)4.5 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$99 Monthly

Workable provides best-in-class recruitment tools, processes and automation in one complete solution. Whether you’re hiring employee # 2 or 200 new employees, Workable’s scalable tools, know-how and support help you make the hires that make your business great. Companies who use Workable get from requisition to offer letter faster, with automated and AI-powered tools that source and suggest candidates, simplify decision making and streamline the hiring process. From local chains to global ent

(754)4.2 out of 5
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One System Matters Paycom offers the only full HR solution contained in one database. So, the technology you use to hire new employees is the same tech you use to pay your workforce, comply with regulations, train your people and much more. It is all there – all of your workforce data – in one system, and that is important. We help businesses streamline their employment processes from recruiting to retirement and everything in between. Our Talent Acquisition, Time and Labor Management, Payroll

(372)4.6 out of 5
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Entry Level Price:$24 per user Per Month

CEIPAL TalentHire is a fully scalable, fully integrated Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which assists Staffing/Recruiting firms in automating their workflows & enabling them to close more placements faster. With more than 1400 clients across Staffing & Recruiting industry, CEIPAL is pioneering staffing successes with its combination of next-gen technology & exceptional VFM (Value for Money) Offerings. Key features include: Job Requisition, Job Posting, Applicant Sourcing Screening &

(1,061)4.0 out of 5
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Workday Human Capital Management is built as a single system with a single source of data, single security model, and single user experience. Workday offers organizations a cloud-based system that evolves to meet changing business needs today and into the future. The user-friendly, global system also ensures that customers are always on the latest version with up-to-date capabilities, whether they’re using Workday on a browser or mobile device. Workday HCM is part of a single system with other W

(407)4.1 out of 5
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Jobvite is a comprehensive talent acquisition-focused suite that powers a marketing-inspired recruiting approach by intelligently attracting your dream candidates, automatically screening for the highest quality, engaging employees invested in their futures, and retaining the people who care the most about your organization by combining the power of data and the human touch. Our comprehensive recruiting platform accelerates recruiting with an easy-to-use ATS, social recruiting capabilities, mobi

(274)4.6 out of 5
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JobDiva is a global leader in Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology for staffing enterprises, incorporating a patent-protected recruiting engine and supported by a full suite of advanced features to drive the hiring process from first engagement to hire and on-boarding, along with a partner ecosystem of 150+ integrations. JobDiva has 30,000+ users globally. JobDiva helps organizations find talent faster, engage with greater ease and achieve commanding growth.

UKG Pro™ is a powerful, global human capital management (HCM) solution. Transform your business with a connected global workforce experience delivered through resilient and mindful HR technology. From payroll to talent to service delivery to surveys, and everything in between, UKG Pro is the powerful HCM suite you need to drive people-focused results.

(176)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:Free

Recruitee is an integrated cloud-based recruitment management and applicant tracking system (ATS) designed to assist internal HR teams of all sizes in organizing and scaling their hiring process. The solution features business branding, job multi-posting, candidate sourcing, applicant tracking recruitment analyzing, and more, all on an easy-to-use platform. Recruitee is designed to help you launch your hiring, scale your practices, and lead your hiring team. Recruitee is used by companies of a

(249)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$39 / month

JazzHR is powerful, user-friendly, and affordable recruiting software that is purpose-built to help growing companies exceed their recruiting goals. JazzHR's best-in-class software replaces time-consuming and manual hiring tasks with intuitive software designed to help recruiters and hiring managers recruit, and hire the right talent, fast. To learn more about JazzHR, visit or follow us at

(571)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$95 /month

ApplicantStack is a full-service applicant tracking system that automates and streamlines all stages of the hiring process. Start a free trial today! Use ApplicantStack to find your next new hire. Experience the leading hiring platform for healthcare, professional services, tech, manufacturing, food & beverage, and hospitality employers. Automate Your Hiring Process From Job Posting to Offer Letter Easily post jobs, track applications, screen and filter applicants, set email triggers, mana

(349)4.5 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$0 per month

A modern, effortless end-to-end recruiting product you and your team will 😍. Breezy streamlines your entire hiring process; giving you more time to connect with candidates by automating manual tasks like job posts, advertising on job boards, interview scheduling & follow-ups. We include all the tools your team needs to hire more efficiently, from employee referrals & sourcing tools for LinkedIn and dozens of others to custom scorecards & interview guides and we back it all up with p

(459)4.0 out of 5
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Bullhorn is the global leader in CRM and operations software for the staffing industry. More than 10,000 staffing companies rely on Bullhorn's cloud-based platform to drive sales, build relationships, and power their recruitment processes from end to end. Headquartered in Boston, with offices around the world, Bullhorn employs more than 900 people globally. The company is founder-led and backed by Vista Equity Partners. To learn more, visit or follow @Bullhorn on Twitter.

(377)4.1 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Paycor delivers a unified human capital management solution with a singular focus on helping business leaders, entrepreneurs and HR practitioners make a difference in their organizations. With intuitive recruiting, HR and payroll solutions at its core, more than 30,000 small and medium-sized businesses trust Paycor to help them manage their most valuable asset - their people. Paycor helps you become more efficient, while helping you connect better with your employees through a modern, unified H

(147)4.7 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Oorwin is an AI-Powered integrated SaaS platform that offers a diverse suite of products across Recruitment, Sales and HR to foster productivity and growth for staffing agencies and consulting companies. Built upon nearly a decade of research and experience, Oorwin is poised to change the traditional practices of hiring, sales, and customer experience with its ease of use and simplicity. Oorwin is a unique blend of technology at its core and customer-focused support that empowers companies to wo

UKG Ready™ is a flexible and seamless HR solution that provides a connected people experience to easily manage the entire employee journey, from a single solution. Designed for flexibility and ease of use, UKG Ready combines the power of HR, talent, payroll, and time to deliver a personalized, people-centered experience that cuts out busy work, increases efficiency, and helps you maintain compliance.

(195)4.6 out of 5

For more than a decade, ClearCompany has helped companies identify, hire and retain thousands of A Players from among millions of applicants. In short, we help our clients reach the next level of total talent management. How? With one organic, unified platform designed and built from the ground up for better hiring experiences, seamless onboarding, company-wide goal alignment and performance management, all driven by best practices.

(299)4.3 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Avionté is a leader in enterprise staffing and recruiting software solutions, offering a full suite of innovative end-to-end staffing solutions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Avionté provides a robust platform that includes CRM, ATS, recruiting, onboarding, payroll, billing and business intelligence for clerical, light industrial, IT and professional staffing firms. Over 25,000 users and 900 clients rely on Avionté to meet their goals via: * Single system of record across front and back office

(200)4.5 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

APS has a mission: to make payroll and HR easier. We provide our clients and partners with intuitive technology delivered with personalized service and support. Our unified solution is designed to simplify workforce management tasks. Process payroll in hours, not days. Automate HR workflows to be more strategic. Elevate the employee lifecycle with a single-system platform. We are APS, your workforce partner.

(65)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$0 up to 50 Active Users

Freshteam is the perfect HR software for growing business. With Freshteam, you can attract, hire and onboard new hires, offboard exiting employees, manage employee information and time off - all in one place. Freshteam helps attract top talent through various channels - a quickly creatable career site, integration with multiple free and premium job boards, and social media channels. The software also has the ability to listen to emails making it easy for you to recognize emails from job boards

(86)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Personio is the holistic HR software for small and medium-sized companies with up to 2,000 employees. The software provider, founded in 2015, based in Munich, London, Madrid and Dublin, has set itself the goal of making HR processes faster, clearer and more efficient. In turn, this allows HR managers to take the time to focus on the most valuable assets in any successful company: the employees. With this goal in mind, Personio is developing an all-in-one software solution for recruitment process

(155)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$85 user/month

PCRecruiter is a complete CRM/ATS, backed by 20 years’ experience, for recruiting, staffing, and HR sourcing pros to manage jobs, resumes, and clients. PCRecruiter offers unmatched configuration options, serving solo recruiters as well as large search agencies and the sourcing teams at Fortune 500s. PCR runs in the browser on Mac or PC, and includes a free mobile app as well as optional integrations with MS Outlook and a variety of third-party systems for SMS, VOIP, email and more. Main Seque

(151)4.5 out of 5

Crelate is a modern, fast, full-featured applicant tracking, recruiting CRM, and talent relationship management solution built specifically for retained search agencies, executive search firms & professional corporate recruiters. We offer the features busy recruiters want such as Outlook client integration, email tracking, flexible workflows, candidate portal, mobile access, client submittals and more; as well as the onboarding, training and service they would expect and we do all at a reaso

(98)4.6 out of 5

Comeet is a cloud-based collaborative hiring platform that provides structured, streamlined workflows to enable companies to make better hires, faster. The system is based on a team-centric approach that involves the entire hiring team, not just the recruiters. It offers an elegantly simple, user-friendly design that makes it easy for companies to deploy and customize for hiring teams to use, with little to no training required. Features and functionality cover every activity necessary to buil

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Check out the G2 Grid® for the top Applicant Tracking Systems products. G2 scores products and sellers based on reviews gathered from our user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. Together, these scores are mapped on our proprietary G2 Grid®, which you can use to compare products, streamline the buying process, and quickly identify the best products based on the experiences of your peers.
High Performers
Saba TalentSpace
IBM Kenexa Talent Acquisition Suite
SAP SuccessFactors
UKG Pro (formerly Ultimate Software UltiPro)
Workday HCM
Oracle PeopleSoft
Sage People
Bullhorn ATS & CRM
TrackerRMS Evolution
Paychex Flex
iCIMS Talent Cloud
UKG Ready (formerly Kronos Workforce Ready)
Ceridian Dayforce
People HR
APS for Core HR
Vibe HCM
Big Biller
Fingercheck Payroll
Crelate Talent
OnePoint HCM
Avionté Staffing and Recruiting Software
CEIPAL TalentHire
Oleeo - Intelligent Talent Acquisition Technology Platform
Loxo Recruitment Platform
GR8 People
SilkRoad Technology
The Applicant Manager
Oracle Talent Management Cloud (formerly Taleo)
TargetRecruit Applicant Tracking System
Saba Talentlink
Recruit CRM & ATS
Workday Recruiting
Cornerstone Recruiting
PeopleFluent Recruitment
LinkedIn Talent Hub
Market Presence

Learn More About Applicant Tracking Systems

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?

An effective recruiting process is a crucial component of any business, and at the center of that effort for many companies is a type of software known as an applicant tracking system, often abbreviated ATS. While these recruiting platforms do help recruiters monitor applicants at different stages of the process, a modern ATS does much more. They streamline all of the steps in the recruiting cycle from beginning to end. 

As the search begins, recruiters use powerful sourcing features in an ATS to seek out qualified talent. With a few clicks, recruiters can post a job opening to a variety of job boards, send out email blasts, or create a branded career site for applicants. As candidates submit resumes and applications, the ATS can automatically organize and score the applications based on how likely each candidate is to be a good fit for the role. Scheduling tools streamline the process of setting up interviews with shortlisted candidates and the scoring functionality enables multiple interviewers to have conversations about candidates after their interviews. Finally, many ATS products facilitate offer letters and a seamless transition to onboarding once a candidate has accepted. Overall, an ATS aims to improve a company’s ability to find strong candidates for their open roles while making the process as efficient as possible. 

What Does ATS Stand For?

ATS stands for applicant tracking system. As the name suggests, these products track applicants throughout the recruiting process, but a modern ATS also has a number of other powerful features for increasing the efficiency and success of recruiting efforts.

What Types of Applicant Tracking Systems Exist?

Standalone ATS

For companies that want to keep their existing human resources (HR) software but need an ATS, standalone ATS products are a good solution. These platforms often contain other functions in addition to the core features of an ATS, including onboarding and recruitment marketing. These point solutions typically integrate with other HR software to provide for seamless transfer of data. Businesses that don’t want to overhaul their entire software stack but need a better recruiting solution may pursue a standalone ATS. 

HR management suite with integrated ATS

All-in-one HR suites typically include integrated modules that perform a range of HR functions, including document management, payroll, performance management, and learning management. Most of these multifaceted suites also include an ATS as either a core part of the platform’s offering or as an add-on. Companies that already use an HR management suite and are also looking to replace their ATS might consider if the HR suite seller offers an ATS, or whether the company should look at replacing the entire HR suite. 

What are the Common Features of Applicant Tracking Systems?

The following are some core features within an ATS that can help users with candidate sourcing and application management:

Automated job posting: Job posting functionality built into many ATS products enable recruiters to post to a number of different job boards simultaneously. Users compose job descriptions within the ATS tool and then select which job boards they want the posting to be distributed to, saving recruiters time compared to posting directly to individual job boards.

Email automation: In addition to job posting tools, email marketing functions give recruiters the ability to send out branded emails to potential candidates encouraging them to apply for open positions. A candidate who has filled out a partial application could get an email nudge to complete the submission and send it in. Once candidates have applied, an ATS can be configured to send out automated messages to update candidates on their application status, whether they are chosen to move forward in the process or not. 

Customized career pages: Promoting a strong company brand is an important part of recruiting. Career site creators in an ATS provide recruiters with a way to design landing pages for applicants that reflect their company’s mission, values, and culture in a way that differentiates the company from more generic posts on job board sites. 

Custom applications: Companies can use application tools in an ATS to set up their own job applications with different fields depending on the needs of a specific position. Autofill functionality can simplify the process for applicants and having candidate information formatted according to the company’s requirements helps to streamline the submission of applicant data directly into the ATS. 

Employee referral tools: A company’s existing employees can be a great resource for recruiters as they search for highly qualified candidates. Employee referral portals offer a clear way for employees to recommend candidates and enable recruiters to track those referred candidates throughout the recruitment process. Automating referrals ensures employees can get updates on the status of their recommended applicants and streamlines the distribution of any referral bonuses.

Resume management: To help recruiters deal with large volumes of resumes submitted by candidates, resume management tools automatically analyze and organize resumes as applications are submitted to an ATS. Parsing functionality looks for keywords and extracts a variety of data from resumes to identify qualified candidates. Those processed resumes are saved into an organized database so that users can view the status of each application and transfer data to other parts of the ATS.

Applicant tracking: At the heart of every ATS is the ability to track the progress of candidate applications as they move through the recruitment process. Users often have dashboards where they can view key information about any candidate and where they currently are in the process. This could include basic demographic information, salary requirements, employment history, career aspirations, or notes on their performance in initial interviews. One important aspect of this functionality is the ability for companies to set up custom workflows determining what happens to applications at different stages and automate sending alerts to various stakeholders. 

Interview scheduling: While there are software products specifically designed for interview scheduling, having that functionality built into an ATS streamlines the management of candidate applications. Recruiters can designate times for candidate interviews and send them to chosen applicants, helping to reduce the back-and-forth of finding an interview time that works for all the parties involved. 

Candidate scoring: Most application processes involve multiple evaluators charged with deciding whether a candidate is a good fit for an open position and providing justifications for their decisions. An ATS helps organize that workflow by creating a central place for interviewers to leave notes or provide scores for candidates. Some platforms have tools for creating custom scoring templates so that interviewers have consistent metrics by which to judge candidates. Creating those scorecards can help align hiring teams around the desired skills, qualifications, or traits they are looking for while also helping to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process.

Analytics reports: A major benefit of an integrated ATS is being able to harness the many data points generated during the recruiting process and produce actionable insights that can help recruiters with optimization of their process. Analytics tools can identify which job boards or marketing campaigns were most successful in producing qualified applicants. They can also evaluate the efficiency of hiring efforts, such as tracking time to hire based on each position or department. Analytics can also be helpful in displaying demographic characteristics of candidate pools to help companies meet their goals for hiring diverse teams.

Candidate relationship management: The vast majority of ATSs provide some sort of communication functionality for getting in touch with candidates. Some tools include an email plugin, while others work more like a fully developed CRM with profiles and engagement tracking tools all built into the software.

What are the Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems?

Improve recruiting process efficiency: With an application tracking service software, enterprise, small, and medium-sized business can accomplish so much more, regardless of the size of their recruiting team. ATS tools help recruiters and HR personnel do all the tasks involved with recruiting more efficiently—advertise open positions, manage communication, promote the company brand, collect data, perform analytics, and manage employee referrals. Automation is the key to this efficiency, as an ATS can perform many functions that a recruiter would otherwise have to complete manually. With more free time, recruiters can focus on more strategic initiatives and longer-term projects to improve their hiring processes. An ATS can help companies find best-fit candidates more quickly and reduce the costs involved with hiring. 

Personalize the candidate experience: A poor candidate experience can have damaging effects on a business, especially if the discouraged candidate shares their experience online. These negative experiences could potentially discourage qualified candidates from applying for positions at the same company. In addition, a generic job posting might not sell a candidate on a company, but a branded, customized career site might get them engaged. Personalized outreach from recruiters using an ATS can also encourage highly qualified applicants to apply. Recruiters need to sell the “why" of the company by providing a positive experience that will keep qualified candidates interested in the position. 

Continuously enhance processes: In addition to determining which applicants are qualified for a particular job listing, ATS solutions provide analytics tools that measure the all-around success of the job hiring efforts. An ATS helps recruiters evaluate the effectiveness of their recruiting strategies with real-time data, analytics, and assessments. Some products provide analytics that measure the success of the sourcing initiative, while others offer tools to measure the success of a company’s hires by evaluating factors such as the time it takes for a new hire to become productive. Using data proactively can help HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers determine that their hiring workflow is running smoothly and that the candidates are a well-qualified fit for the role and company culture.

Who Uses Applicant Tracking Systems?

Depending on the company’s size—small business, mid-sized company, or enterprise—the following roles may play an essential part: hiring manager, internal recruiter, recruitment agency, interview team, recruiting coordinator, external recruiter or talent sourcer, and other employees.

Hiring managers: The hiring manager is the employee who identifies the need, and requests staffing, for a new position. They then collaborate closely with the HR department throughout the entire hiring process. The hiring manager is likely to be involved in writing the job description that will be posted using the ATS, interviewing candidates, and providing feedback on candidates’ performance. The ATS manages each of these steps and enables the hiring manager to collaborate with other members of the recruiting team.

Internal recruiters: Internal recruiters are the main point of contact during the talent acquisition process, from creating new job listings to onboarding, all while aiming to provide a positive candidate experience. They often collaborate with the hiring managers to coordinate job posts and interviews. Recruiters attract and source new candidates via recruitment marketing, hiring external recruiters, or outsourcing recruitment efforts to recruitment agencies. They may also handle employee referrals for open positions and manage background checks, which are often integrated with ATS solutions.

External recruiters: Staffing firms, recruitment agencies, and talent sourcing firms manage the process of finding qualified candidates for open positions at companies that either don’t have their own internal recruiting staff or need additional support in finding the right people for their open roles. An agent from a recruitment agency submits resumes and application profiles of candidates that they think might be a fit for an open role in a company’s ATS. Staffing firms also use sourcing, screening, and management functionality in an ATS to organize the pipeline of candidates who might be a good fit for open roles at the firm’s client companies.  

Interview team: The size, role, and structure of the interview team varies depending on the size and type of company, size of the department, type of job, and company culture. The interview team might be composed of recruitment coordinators, hiring managers, supervisors or team leaders, stakeholders, and even peer interviewers.

Recruitment coordinators: Recruitment coordinators work closely with candidates, external recruiters, headhunters, HR personnel, hiring managers, and anyone else involved in the hiring process. They often manage the hiring process from recruitment through onboarding. They might manage any testing and preliminary screening via ATS, as well as interviews. If companies advertise open positions at job fairs and recruiting events, recruitment coordinators use branded career portals and marketing features in the ATS to engage with candidates and manage potential applicants.

Employees: Employees are often encouraged to share job listings and referrals on their personal social media accounts. ATS solutions simplify this process by providing access to a database of all current job openings, enabling employees to set up accounts that automate job listings throughout their social accounts. Most companies provide some kind of monetary incentive or reward for employees when their referrals become new employees. Employees might also be involved in providing feedback on candidate interviews via an ATS. 

What are the Alternatives to Applicant Tracking Systems?

Alternatives to an ATS can replace this type of software, either partially or completely:

Recruitment marketing software: For companies that are mostly looking for more effective ways to expand their talent pool, a recruitment marketing solution might be a viable alternative to an ATS. These platforms offer a range of features designed to source and attract candidates for open positions, such as social recruiting tools, job posting features, and candidate relationship management functionality. However, they might lack the more robust workflow management functions of a fully-featured ATS. Many ATS products now have integrated recruitment marketing capabilities, including automated job posting.

Recruiting automation software: Rather than manage candidate sourcing using an ATS, companies may look to recruiting automation software to automate the work of finding qualified applicants. Recruiting automation solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze candidate profiles and recommend best-fit candidates for particular positions. 

Staffing software: Recruiting agencies and staffing firms may prefer platforms designed specifically for the staffing industry. These solutions facilitate the relationship between candidates looking for work, companies that need to fill positions, and staffing firms that act as mediators during the process. While these products are often similar to an ATS, platforms designed for recruiting agencies typically offer specialized features like managing job posts for different clients and tracking client position needs.

Software Related to Applicant Tracking Systems

Related solutions that can be used together with an ATS include:

Job boards: Job boards, also known as job marketplaces, provide job listing databases for companies to advertise their open positions to job seekers. Companies can use their ATS solution to share job postings on multiple different job sites with a few clicks. Recruiters can then add associated filters to their company page to help interested and qualified candidates seek out the appropriate positions.

Video interviewing software: Video interviewing software helps HR teams and recruiters simplify and streamline the hiring process by enabling interviews to take place at any time, at any location. These platforms give candidates the ability to either record video of themselves answering questions the recruiter has selected or join a live session with an interviewer. Most video interviewing platforms integrate with an ATS to facilitate the seamless transfer of applicant data.

Pre-employment testing software: Pre-employment testing software are data-driven recruiting software that helps streamline the hiring process by managing and filtering large applicant pools through the use of candidate assessments. These solutions help HR departments and personnel make informed hiring decisions. These tests—including aptitude, personality, and skills—are an objective and standardized method of collecting data on candidates during the hiring process. 

Background check software: Organizations use background check software for pre-employment screening solutions, including work, criminal, and driving history screening. Background check software usually integrates with an applicant tracking software and is often used with core HR software. HR personnel typically integrate background check solutions with their ATS to streamline the job application process by syncing all pertinent candidate information including background screening through one portal.

Reference check software: Reference check software helps HR personnel, recruiters, and hiring managers reach their potential hires’ professional references. These tools send out surveys or other kinds of automated messages to solicit information from people designated as references for prospective employees, saving recruiters the time it would take to contact references manually by phone or email. Reference check software often integrates with recruiting platforms like an ATS to provide for the seamless transfer of applicant data between the systems.

Onboarding software: Onboarding software streamlines the onboarding process of new employees. Hiring managers implement onboarding software to help efficiently transition new hires into their roles and the company while also simplifying the administrative work necessary. Onboarding software that integrates with a company’s ATS or HRMS facilitates a seamless transition for new hires into their new role by transferring data from their time as a candidate directly into the onboarding system. These solutions provide HR personnel, hiring managers, and employees with a way to make the onboarding process streamlined, transparent, and organized.

Challenges with Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking solutions can come with their own set of challenges. 

Ruling out quality candidates: One of the risks companies undertake when they use an ATS to analyze candidate submissions—like applications, cover letters, and resumes—is the possibility that the system will err in how it rates candidates on their fit for a potential role. On the one extreme, a system could let candidates who truly aren’t qualified for a role through an initial screening because they happened to have the right keywords in their resume or application. Alternatively, an ATS resume parsing tool might exclude qualified candidates because their resume was missing the phrases that the ATS was looking for. An ATS scanner also might misinterpret data in an applicant’s resume because of the way the resume is formatted, a particular font choice, or an unusual spelling. The resume analysis capabilities of ATS products are now incorporating sophisticated AI that can scan resumes more effectively, but pitfalls still exist. Recruiters can address these potential shortcomings by maintaining some human quality control in the process. Recruiters should use analytics data to evaluate their current process if they aren’t getting the qualified candidates they are looking for. A periodic audit to examine applicants that the ATS deemed less qualified could also be helpful in determining if candidates with high potential are being improperly screened out. 

Lack of personal touch: Automation is great for saving recruiters time, but taking the human element out of a recruitment process could also negatively affect the candidate experience. An ATS provides employers with a variety of ways to automate their recruiting processes, including posting jobs, scheduling interviews, updating candidates with their application status, and contacting references. If a candidate feels that they are being treated as just another application, however, they may be less compelled to engage with that company or accept an offer if one is extended. The solution for many companies is leveraging personalization tools that are increasingly becoming an important part of an ATS. That includes branded career portals, candidate dashboards for tracking the status of applications, CRM tools to track interactions with candidates, and surveys that ask candidates about the experience. A personal touch could be the difference between landing a great employee or losing that person to a competitor. 

Lack of integration or customizability: If multiple products need to be used for the entire hiring process, some tasks might be short changed and the recruiter may need to increase their time allotted on specific operations. Some companies might still be using one product for talent mining, one for recruitment marketing, and one for job distribution. If a company or hiring manager is using multiple tools for each step, integration might be tricky; this can result in reduced transparency and a convoluted job hiring process. These disparate tools may not effectively share information, resulting in more manual data entry and greater potential for errors. In addition, certain ATS solutions might not be agile enough to alter workflows to fit a company’s specific process. When purchasing recruiting software, businesses must be certain that these tools can integrate with their existing systems and are adaptable enough to accommodate the company’s processes. 

Which Companies Should Buy Applicant Tracking Systems?

Almost any company can benefit from having a centralized system like an ATS for managing, hiring, and tracking the status of candidate applications. However, a few business types, in particular, would especially benefit from upgrading to a modern ATS: 

Staffing agencies: Since recruiting is an essential function of any successful staffing business, having a capable ATS to organize that process is a must. Staffing firms that need to field requests from client companies for filling specific kinds of roles should verify that any ATS they are considering has that kind of external recruiter functionality.

Small to mid-sized businesses: While legacy ATSs came with higher upfront costs and were oriented more toward enterprise businesses, the advent of smaller vendors selling cloud-based ATS products on a more affordable monthly subscription model has made it more realistic for smaller companies to use these systems. In addition, increasingly advanced automation functions means a company doesn’t need a large recruiting team in order to extend their hiring reach—they need an ATS that can do that for them.

How to Buy Applicant Tracking Systems

Requirements Gathering (RFI/RFP) for Applicant Tracking Systems

Before starting a search for an ATS, buyers should consider which common features of ATS products they need the most. Most applicant tracking software will have similar core features, such as resume parsing and application management. However, products differ in their capabilities in other areas of recruiting.  

For example, if the company is having a hard time generating a significant number of applications, it would make sense to look for an ATS with strong recruitment marketing capabilities, such as job board distribution, social recruiting, and email marketing. If a company is struggling with managing large numbers of candidates applying to open roles, tools with more advanced AI-assisted resume scoring and interview scheduling functions could help handle the volume of applications.  

Once these must-have features have been identified, companies can turn to making a list of possible solutions.

Compare Applicant Tracking Systems Products

Create a long list

An initial list of ATS candidates should include any products that meet the company’s essential feature requirements. At this point, buyers should just be aiming to get a sense of the options that at least meet the basic requirements. 

Create a short list

After a long list has been created, it’s time to look at each product in more detail to determine if it sounds like it will meet the needs of the company’s recruiters. This should include evaluating additional features of each product beyond the ones identified as essential to determine if that additional functionality would enhance the company’s recruiting process in a way they hadn’t anticipated. 

Conduct demos

When the time comes to contact sellers for a demo, buyers should have certain questions in mind to ask the vendor. For example, what automated sourcing capabilities does the product have? How customizable are the workflows within the ATS? How user friendly is the interface? What tools for enhancing the candidate experience are included? How is the pricing of the product structured? 

Selection of Applicant Tracking Systems

Choose a selection team

The selection team should include any stakeholders who are typically involved in the hiring process and are likely to be the primary users of the ATS. This means that recruiters and HR managers should be involved, as well as at least some hiring managers representing different departments.


Once the buyers have found a product that appears to meet the company’s needs, it’s time to negotiate an agreement. When negotiating, they should consider the different pricing packages for an ATS and whether the company truly needs a package at the higher level, or if they can negotiate to find a middle ground between two pricing packages. Buyers might also consider negotiating a discount in exchange for signing a multi-year contract. 

Final decision

The final decision on an ATS purchase should rest with a company’s recruiting team since they are the most likely users of the software. Of course, they should solicit and consider input from other areas of the business as well. 

What Do Applicant Tracking Systems Cost?

ATS vendors offer several different kinds of pricing structures that buyers should be aware of: 

Pay per user: This is one of the most popular models, in which companies pay a monthly fee that varies based on how many ATS users the company has. A company that has five recruiters using the ATS will pay more than a company that is using two. While this offers buyers some flexibility, it also means companies need to pay more if they have a lot of different individuals involved in the recruitment process.

Pay per job opening: In this model, companies pay a fee for each vacant position they list. This might make sense for companies with low hiring volume, but the costs can add up for companies that have frequent hiring needs. 

Pay per module: This is a more common pricing structure for ATS products that are part of a larger HRMS suite. These all-in-one suites tend to include a variety of modules that manage HR functions, including payroll, time and attendance, performance management, and training. Companies pay a certain price to have the ATS module included in their package. 

Flat fee: Companies pay a flat monthly or annual fee for the ATS, regardless of how many ATS users or job listings they have.

ATS sellers frequently offer multiple packages of features, with a starter package including basic sourcing and candidate management tools and higher-level packages adding on more advanced screening and management capabilities. For buyers considering buying a larger HRMS suite that includes an ATS, part of the cost of a new ATS might need to include fees for implementation consultants to transition a company from one system to another.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The key factor in realizing a solid ROI for an ATS is in making the recruitment process faster and more efficient. By automating sourcing and many of the tasks recruiters would otherwise be completing manually, an ATS can reduce time to hire and help companies realize lower costs for marketing, job board posting, external recruiter fees, and other expenses associated with hiring a new employee. Buyers should judge the ongoing cost of their ATS against the money saved by improving the efficiency of the recruitment process. 

Implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems

How are Applicant Tracking Systems Implemented?

Implementation of applicant tracking software often depends on how the system will integrate with other products. Companies that are replacing an entire HRMS suite with multiple modules—including an ATS—often hire implementation consultants to assist with that transition. Such consultants might not be necessary for a company adding a standalone ATS product that is designed to integrate with the company’s existing software tools. In that case, the ATS seller’s onboarding team might be sufficient to ensure the ATS integrates effectively with the company’s other HR software. 

Who is Responsible for Applicant Tracking Systems Implementation?

The implementation team often includes team members who will be responsible for administering the ATS, such as recruiters and hiring managers, as well as representatives from the ATS seller who specialize in implementation. For more complex implementations, external consultants may also assist with setting up the ATS. 

What Does the Implementation Process Look Like for Applicant Tracking Systems?

Implementing an ATS involves evaluating the current state of the recruiting processes, considering what a successful future state would look like, deploying and configuring the new system, migrating data, and training users. 

First, companies should analyze their existing recruitment processes and the pain points involved. What systems are currently in place that aren’t working well? Once an honest appraisal of the recruiting process is complete, the next step is to think about the future state of the company’s recruiting process, including workflows that the buyer wants to design differently and other products that the ATS will need to integrate with. 

Once the team is ready for deployment, key stakeholders will work with the ATS seller to determine how to integrate the ATS with other systems and migrate legacy data over to the new system. The new system also needs to be set up with workflows that fit the company’s process, which could require some customization on the part of the seller. 

After these initial implementation phases are complete, the company will need to test the software to ensure the system works as designed for all users who need to access the ATS. Training to help users understand the capabilities of the new ATS is also an essential part of ensuring maximum ROI from the implementation.

When Should You Implement Applicant Tracking Systems?

Determining an implementation timeline is an important part of an ATS implementation. Especially at high-growth companies, ATS buyers should consider whether they are in the midst of a recruiting push and whether it would make sense to wait on an ATS implementation. Buyers should also work with the ATS seller to develop a realistic timeline for completing all of the steps in an implementation, since configuring systems, conducting user testing, managing integrations, and migrating data can take months to fully complete for complex systems.