Top Free Applicant Tracking Systems

Check out our list of free Applicant Tracking Systems. Products featured on this list are the ones that offer a free trial version. As with most free versions, there are limitations, typically time or features.

If you'd like to see more products and to evaluate additional feature options, compare all Applicant Tracking Systems to ensure you get the right product.

Results: 73
(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.

The cost, the add-ons such as Link Match. Read review
Araceli  G.
You can create and modify the modules you require without being a technology expert Read review
(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

Ease of reviewing applications. Ability to contact applicants via email. Read review
Ability to customize applications and set knock out requirements Read review
(415)4.3 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

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

Marco A.
- Dashboard how boards, remind me CRM's how Hubspot; - Trigger automatic emails; - Work with tags in each applicant; Read review
Xavi R.
Excellent free platform Place to concentrate all the info regarding headhunting projects: CV, notes, valuations, interviews... Excellent app Read review
(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

Value - Price was reasonable and it appears to do everything the much more $$$ offerings do Read review
Ease of integration with LinkedIn and email communications, organization of candidates, analytics to monitor performance Read review
(372)4.6 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
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 &

Prabhu J.
- Affordable tool that means small and medium enterprises - Excellent Customer Service - Easy to use - Job Boards Integration (Dice,... Read review
How it separates the jobs and that you can go into each job and make changes to the candidate status. Read review
(654)4.3 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

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

Lots of features and easy to use/navigate - the onboarding functionality was extremely helpful Read review
It is quite easy to handle and customization features are also easily handled by anyone .All data are easy to is just good place to... Read review
(248)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

You can't beat the price! Great product for smaller businesses just looking to track their candidates. Read review
- affordable price - captures the basic workflow and insights needed - easily integrated Read review
(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

- The ease of searching within the system - Ability to automate processes and set reminders to keep up candidate engagement - Easy to use... Read review
Artur W.
It is a single place for managing end-to-end recruitment process. It allows to easily create multiple job description. Switching them on and... Read review
(165)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

Elitsa G.
Workable is extremely user friendly platform. Designed very intuitively to be used by recruiters and hiring managers. Provides candidate search... Read review
A good balance of solid out of the box features and easily customisable features The built messaging and scheduling tools would have been hugely... Read review
(121)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$49 per user/month

CATS is a web-based applicant tracking system that helps recruiters and direct employers work more efficiently by automating the hiring process.

Erin C.
The ease of use in the system it is robost without being over engineered! It allows loading from LinkedIn which few tools do! Read review
It's relatively simple to use. It's efficient since it automatically posts to popular job boards. It also allows candidates to apply straight for... Read review
(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

Nicholas L.
Free job posting and user friendly interface Read review
Automation of all paid and free job postings, resume parsing and user friendly Read review
(79)4.3 out of 5

ApplicantPro is an all-inclusive hiring software made for small and mid-sized companies. ApplicantPro offers more than just an applicant tracking system - we integrate every piece of your hiring process into one easy-to-use system! Available hiring solutions include applicant tracking, background checks, pre-employment assessments, video interviewing, and employee onboarding. We're proud to offer features that promote a candidate-focused hiring process while relieving stress on HR's side. APPL

Easy user interface Customizable Lots of integration options Read review
Xavier C.
The features and functionality are best in class. Their APIs make it an easy Read review

Manatal is the next generation of recruitment software. Easy to implement and built with the latest technologies, the platform was designed to streamline and simplify recruitment processes from sourcing to onboarding and beyond. Hire better and faster by funneling your recruitment channels into one intuitive platform. Leverage AI tools and social media enrichment features, manage your team remotely and improve collaboration, take advantage of a full reporting suite, and much more. Transform t

Super handy to use: before starting the free trial I had never used an ATS, I expected the whole thing to be complicated but actually the learning... Read review
1. Easy to use 2. Lots of features that make my life easier (free job board posting, resume parser, database management and search tools,... Read review
(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

Easy and intuitive: The product makes sense and allows for quick training/onboarding for my team Standardization: It has helped us create a... Read review
Román O.
It is the perfect software for recruiting staff. With its set of tools and automated search channels it is possible to evaluate, study and hire the... Read review
(61)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$70 user/month

At Tracker, our mission is to help recruitment and staffing firms build better relationships, workflows, and revenue with our integrated Recruitment ATS and CRM. Work Fast, Not Hard Manage the entire recruitment workflow from candidate sourcing to submittal to placement and beyond with Tracker. Eliminate time consuming manual data entry and let your team move quickly through each step of the recruitment process. Manage All Relationships One platform to manage your candidates, client contacts a

David R.
- knowledgeable, patient, responsive and engaged client support team is definitely a strength. - development team that is open to and, for the... Read review
I have experience knowledgeable, patient, responsive and engaged client support team also its have very good price and stable system. Addition... Read review
(66)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$59.50/user per month

Big Biller recruiting software has combined powerful applicant tracking (ATS) and client relationship (CRM) features into one recruitment solution designed to streamline the placement process for contingency, retained, contact staffing, and executive search firms starting at $59.50/user per month. Big Biller automates many of the applicant tracking features such as resume parsing, email parsing, bulk resume uploads, custom fields, custom workflows, import/export spreadsheets, duplicate checking

Raul B.
We like that your ATS system is so good to save us time. It has a good stream system, which rarely makes mistakes. We like to be able to... Read review
Rosario M.
Its user interface is very intuitive. Something that we like a lot about big Biller is that it allows us to follow up the publications of job... Read review
(56)4.8 out of 5

RecruitBPM is artificial intelligence (AI) enabled all-in-one recruitment software for staffing firms & recruiting professionals. Its most cost effective cloud-based talent acquisition and customer relationship management (CRM) platform that helps staffing firms and corporate recruiters optimize their hiring process and make recruiting easy. Key features include: Job Posting, Career Portal , Client Portal, Applicant Portal, Applicant Sourcing Screening & Selection, Time and Expense mana

The people at Recruit BPM are pleasant to work with, they're always looking to enhance their product, they're willing to customize to tailor our... Read review
Ease of use, robust ability to see all needed info in one place. Read review
(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

All in one system HRMS & ATS - It makes so much sense. Read review
Personio helps us to map our HR requirements and workflows in a very smart way and to adapt them ourselves even in an agile environment. In other... Read review
(41)4.6 out of 5

Loxo is the #1 Talent Intelligence Platform and global leader in Artificial Intelligence Recruitment Automation Software. Over 1200 of the world's leading Retained Executive Search, Executive Search, Recruiting Agencies, RPO, High Growth and Enterprise Talent Acquisition teams use Loxo's innovative AI recruiting solutions to make 500% more hires per recruiter, faster and easier than ever. Loxo will be used in over 75% of recruiting agencies and the world's best recruiting organizations by 2022

Adam S.
Great software to track candidate flow and to implement new candidates in to the pipeline Very user friendly and the support staff is great and... Read review
Lee Ann C.
The ability to send SMS messages from the platform and also leave a voicemail for a candidate without ever having rung their phone. Read review
(183)4.2 out of 5

Everything you need to win with talent: Cloud-based solutions, best-practice resources, proven expert services and a vibrant customer community. Saba Software, offers an organically built cloud-based talent management suite — Saba TalentSpace™ — that reinforces and drives higher employee performance across all talent programs — whether that’s performance management, learning and development, succession and leadership, compensation or recruiting. The suite of applications are designed from th

JoAnne S.
Halogen's customer service is second to none. It is nice to call and talk to a friendly person who is committed to solving a problem. I like the... Read review
Halogen’s customer support team is available 24/7 so I can always get someone no matter what time of day I’m working. They’ve also added a live... Read review
(35)4.5 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Alongside is a hiring software designed to improve the way people and companies discover each other. By leveraging big data insights, job advertising, employer branding, and social recruiting, you can attract more qualified candidates into their talent pipeline. With Alongside, employers can improve candidate engagement and fully optimize their recruiting process. Alongside works with amazing customers across North America, in a vast array of industries and company sizes. Brands like Property

Kolton G.
I love how simple Alongside makes the process of creating a job posting, generating application questions and posting it on job boards! This makes... Read review
(146)4.6 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$8 per employee/monthly

Fingercheck is the modern workforce solution that transforms the way small businesses work through automation of everyday HR tasks. Charging only a fraction of what others do, we let small business owners easily process payroll while also manage hiring, employee onboarding, time tracking, and benefits and insurance policies. We allow small businesses to think big by empowering owners and employees to better communicate, connect, and work more efficiently.

Fingercheck has been nothing short of efficient and in doing so with the most superb customer service! Fingercheck has truly been a cut above all... Read review
This system makes it easy to keep track of your employees. The free app that employees can install is very user friendly and makes it convenient if... Read review
(86)4.2 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$190.90 per month

Everyone's Favorite - All-in-One - Social HR Software for everything from Hire to Retire. Take care of your most important asset - your Human Resource. Ranked as #1 Global HR Software, WebHR is the first true Social HR Software to connect & engage your employees. First HR Software to introduce AI into HR. Payroll / Benefits / ATS / Time & Attendance / PTO / Employees Self Service / Performance / Goals / ... you name it, WebHR has it.

The best part of the WebHR platform is the customizability. There are a number of modules available and you get a lot of flexibility in adding... Read review
Prahlad P.
WebHr is web based application. We dont required any kind of hardware applicances to manager the resources which we will save in the tool. We just... Read review
(115)4.8 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$0 Free Forever

Founded in 2015 and based in Mountain View, California, Hiretual is an AI-powered recruiting platform that aims to help you find and engage the right people 10x faster. Customers use Hiretual to source across 40+ platforms (i.e. LinkedIn, Github, Stack Overflow, Twitter) and 750M+ professional profiles, screen over 200,000 candidates in a matter of seconds, quickly gather contact information and hire efficiently with team collaboration, manage talent pool, customize candidate engagement, and re

The direct contact information is great. Instead of just using info from LinkedIn you can reach out directly to candidates. Talent Insights are... Read review
Having started in recruiting over 18 years ago, the dark ages, it is wonderful that someone (Hiretual) has worked on a system that conveniently as... Read review
(25)4.1 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$0.00

MightyRecruiter is a cutting edge, intuitive recruiting solution that helps you recruit better. Post to job boards, source passive candidates, manage applicants and hire the most relevant candidates to your jobs — at no cost to you. Get a Free Account here:

Its hard to get the best employees and business partners in today's world. Screening is a strenous job and MightyRecruter saves you the hard work.... Read review
This site has a pop up that asks you to rate Might Recruiter immediately after creating an account. If they don't let you explore the site and work... Read review
(21)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:From €299/Month

skeeled helps companies hire the right people faster with predictive talent acquisition software. We offer an all-in-one online solution that digitalises and automates the first steps of the recruitment process, saving recruiters a great amount of time and allowing them to focus on the best talent. Today, skeeled positions itself as a comprehensive talent acquisition suite offering you a set of recruitment marketing and recruitment software features that are essential for hiring success: - jo

the design is really good. The classement of the candidate Read review
Luc R.
...the handling of the requests and the distribution of the requests.The classification of the different CVs, as well as the follow up .The... Read review
(50)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:£3 per employee / per mth

Designed for small to mid-sized businesses, PeopleHR provides a platform for all key HR functions, including applicant tracking, personnel tracking, performance review, and more. The system includes an employee-tracking database, that allows users to create new employee records, fill in key contact information, and store documents. PeopleHR includes unlimited document storage, so users can attach as much paperwork as necessary to each employee profile. Within the applicant tracking module of Pe

Ian L.
The systems is so easy to set up and use. It's really intuitive and even some of the quirky features we need for our business have been easy to set... Read review
The simplicity offered in managing staff and one to one reviews. The cost model is efficient and its really easy for employees to use without lots... Read review

Recruit CRM Builds Software For Small & Growing Executive Search Firms, Headhunting Firms & Recruitment Agencies. Do Everything from Managing Applicants to Generating Invoices in One Place. Recruit CRM allows you to work together without juggling between email client, CRM & ATS. See what your teammates are emailing to candidates & contacts, assign different roles to your teammates within an organization.

It fells that the CRM is tailored made for my placement company (the ability to customise every process to my needs). Linkedin extension makes... Read review
(17)4.8 out of 5

As a staffing agent, you need to leverage every technology advantage to increase your leads by shortening time to placement while allowing you the time to focus on improving relationships with both Clients and Candidates. iSmartRecruit is a highly scalable & customizable ATS platform, specially developed for HR and staffing business needs. It is an easy-to-use online recruitment solution that strengthens your end to end business process. Is highly secure, integrable and multilingual solution

Mohammed R.
The simple integration with social media and various job postings. Auto generated mails to the candidates & client about interview schedules. The... Read review
Amey J.
It's a Very User Friendly and Cost effective, Features are very good compared to other. Read review
(16)4.9 out of 5

Simplicant is the preferred choice for fast-growing companies around the globe. We offer a comprehensive applicant tracking system with a smart and modern approach to talent sourcing, screening, interview management, job offers, analytics and all the tools you need for quick decision-making. As a customer driven company, we listen to and cater to your recruitment needs. You can now manage your end-to-end recruitment processes including sourcing, tracking, onboarding and employee referral process

Simplicant has a simple and clutter free UI that helped with user adoption in our company. The platform is robust enough to meet all our needs. One... Read review
Muhammad A.
Simplicant is user friendly, easy to use recruitment software providing the best services. It helps us bringing quality applicants for our hiring... Read review

Top 10 Free Applicant Tracking Systems in 2021

  • Zoho Recruit
  • ApplicantStack
  • SmartRecruiters
  • BreezyHR
  • CEIPAL TalentHire

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.