With so many different applicant tracking systems tailored to the needs of small businesses, finding the right system for you can be challenging. You want cost-effective software to help you analyze your candidate applications quickly, but you need to figure out which software is best. In this post, I'll help you make this choice simpler by sharing my insights on the best applicant tracking systems for small businesses based on my personal recruiting experience with a small company that experienced rapid growth.
What is an Applicant Tracking System?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a digital tool that simplifies the recruiting and hiring process by organizing candidate applications, parsing resumes, and matching candidate skills with job descriptions. Other key features include tools for posting jobs, candidate sourcing, applicant management, candidate screening, offer letters, and onboarding. They're used by recruiters and collaborative hiring teams and they can be a standalone platform or an individual module within a larger HR software suite.
ATS software improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your key recruitment touchpoints, making it easier to surface promising candidates and keep them engaged. By saving time and reducing costs, small businesses can optimize their hiring strategies and compete for top talent effectively.
Greenhouse is a recruiting software that offers an 'essential' plan that's well-suited to the needs of small businesses. The platform helps you reach, classify, and nurture talent, and build a robust candidate pipeline and find the best candidates for each available position.
When you're ready to advertise a job opening, you can post on over 1,000 job boards through the software. This includes both niche sites and major job marketplaces, and the software makes recommendations of where you should post based on historical and industry performance. By casting a wider net, you're more likely to find the best people for the role.
A contact database is included in the system, making it easier to keep track of applicant contact information and send personalized follow ups and communications. You can also automate your messaging to reduce your manual workload.
The software allows you to screen candidates anonymously using scorecards you can set up. This helps you both mitigate unconscious bias and ensure you're evaluating people fairly and consistently.
You can connect the platform to other tools including Broadbean, Canditech, Cord, Docusign, Dropbox, FlexJobs, Google Meet, Indeed, Microsoft Teams, Paradox, and Seek. A free demo is available, and pricing information is available upon request.
Recruit CRM is a web-based applicant tracking system that simplifies and automates the recruitment process for small businesses. You can create job postings and track applicants through a centralized dashboard and easily filter through resumes and CVs to find the perfect candidate for each position.
The platform offers automated emails, comprehensive analytics, customizable questionnaires, and personalized messages to ensure applicants feel valued. Additionally, its onboarding feature automates document gathering and processing tasks so you can focus on other tasks.
Recruit CRM’s integrated job board feature makes it easy to post jobs on popular job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn with just one click. Users can customize these postings with company logos, colors, and other branding elements to attract qualified applicants. The resume parser quickly scans incoming resumes and automatically imports relevant information. Then, all the candidate data is stored ina. central location, thanks to its candidate database management feature.
Finally, you can use the performance tracking feature to evaluate employee performance over time by tracking key metrics such as attendance rates or customer satisfaction surveys. This helps employers identify areas where employees could improve or when additional training or resources may be needed to achieve specific goals set by management teams.
A 30-day free trial is available.
Pinpoint’s modern applicant tracking software has sophisticated features to help human resource departments reduce administrative tasks and focus more on finding qualified candidates for each job opening. HR teams can identify top talent using intelligent filtering, then add them to a shortlist and automatically schedule an interview. Their system is also great for small businesses as it cuts down on time spent advertising positions with its programmatic recruitment advertising and connections to 1,450+ job boards.
To help reduce bias and improve your DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) during the applicant screening process, Pinpoint has a very interesting blind screening feature that ensures initial assessments are focused exclusively on a potential candidate’s skills and experience. Their blind recruitment tool works by removing personal details such as candidate names, contact information, how they heard about the position, and other details that could contribute to unconscious biases. Those details are then replaced with combinations of neutral fruits and vegetables. This is done on a job-by-job basis for the candidate selection process. Once the top candidates have been scheduled for an interview, the data is no longer anonymized.
Pinpoint boasts integrations with 100+ common software applications including candidate skill assessment platforms like Bryq, Coderbyte, CodeSumbit, TestDome, as well as many common HRIS platforms, messaging tools, video interviewing platforms, and others.
Pricing for pinpoint starts at $600 USD/month. A free personalized demo can also be requested through their website.
Manatal’s applicant tracking system simplifies the hiring process, helping hiring teams of any size manage their talent pools and strengthen their team collaboration. Their system creates individual talent pipelines for each vacant position, making it easy to track and share progress with other hiring managers. To boost the number of candidate applications, Manatal feeds job postings to thousands of free and premium job posting boards following the parameters of your job ad campaigns.
Recruiters dealing with high-volume hiring will appreciate Manatal’s built-in artificial intelligence, which includes AI-driven recommendations for which candidates are the best fit based on extensive candidate scorecards and comparisons of their direct skills against your detailed job descriptions. Rich candidate profiles also capture a candidate’s entire digital presence including their LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts, all within their profile, making social media recruitment simple.
Manatal’s cloud-based SaaS software is fully accessible from their mobile app as well, making it easy to stay on top of activity when you’re away from your desk too. The system also includes integrations with LinkedIn, Gmail, Outlook, Mailchimp and other platforms. Access to their API and Zapier integration are available for customized system configurations too.
Pricing for Manatal starts at $15 USD/user/month. A free demo and a 14-day free trial can also be requested via their website.
TalentReef is a recruiting and talent management software designed for companies who hire hourly workers. It has complete applicant tracking tools as well as compliance and offer management features. Plus, it has performance management tools you can use for managing your existing workforce.
The software lets you screen and assess applicants, then track them through the hiring process. You can parse through resumes and schedule interviews with candidates who meet your requirements. There's also a workflow builder so you can automate some of the hiring process, and manage how candidates move through the recruitment stages in a way that makes sense for your business.
To ensure compliance, the software integrates with background checking systems. When you're ready to make an offer, customized offers can also be sent through the platform. Employee onboarding is also facilitated, ensuring new hires receive the necessary training and support to start off on the right foot.
You can manage performance check-ins, set goals, and manage position changes and pay changes in the software. It's a complete solution that combines staffing and workforce management in a single space.
TalentReef offers pricing and a free demo upon request.
As a small business, hiring is a labor-intensive activity that sometimes takes too much time. Trakstar Hire has an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that can help you with the heavy lifting so you can focus on creating impactful tasks for your company.
Trakstar Hire’s ATS enables recruiting teams to receive résumés through customizable application forms, and use bulk upload to import multiple résumés simultaneously. Once the résumés are imported and stored in the system, the software’s résumé parser automatically extracts all the pertinent details from the candidate résumés to create accurate applicant profiles.
In addition to applicant tracking and candidate sourcing, Trakstar Hire allows you to schedule candidate interviews on the same platform. It features shared calendars, automated responses and reminders, email templates, as well as Outlook and Google calendar integrations. Career site management and offer management are also available, making it an end-to-end ATS and hiring solution.
Integrations include other Trakstar products and several third-party solutions, such as Checkr, Slack, Namely, and BambooHR, as well as Google and Outlook calendar applications.
Teamtailor is an all-in-one hiring platform that helps small businesses with recruitment and employer branding. The software is user-friendly, cloud-based, and accessible from any device. Plus, their career pages are easy to customize with your own employer brand and optimized for search engines to help you advertise your open positions and find the best candidates quickly.
Core features within their ATS include dynamic application forms, bulk candidate management actions, custom candidate stages, and action triggers. All these features work in tandem to reduce your admin load, helping you do more in less time. This includes their advanced search and filtering tools that'll help you quickly uncover top candidates using simple keyword searches or complex Boolean queries based on specific skills or qualifications needed for a job.
You can also filter your candidate data by location, salary, education, and years of experience, depending on the type of candidate you're looking for. Their candidate relationship management tools help you build relationships with new potential candidates and stay in touch with past applicants. You can also request references and add notes and tags to all your relevant candidate interactions too.
In addition, Teamtailor offers comprehensive reporting and analytics that measure key recruitment metrics like time-to-hire and cost-per-hire. Or you can create custom reports and dashboards to gain further insight into your hiring funnel, applicant sources, and candidate quality.
Teamtailor's integration with social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram allows you to find and engage with potential candidates where they spend their time online. You can directly source candidates from social media profiles and easily share job postings across social networks.
Integrations are available with BambooHR, Checkr, JobMatch, LinkedIn, and Workday.
Pricing details for Teamtailor are available upon request. You can also request a free demo or a 14-day free trial through their website.
VIVAHR is an all-in-one applicant tracking system that's designed to help small businesses streamline their recruitment process. You can use it to help you manage your job postings, track applicants, and make the hiring process a whole lot easier.
I included VIVAHR in this list because it's got all the features you need without being overly complicated or expensive. You can use automations to post to 50+ job boards at once, share job openings over social media, create custom hiring pipelines, and communicate with candidates through text messages. You can also create custom questionnaires to gather information from candidates and monitor for unconscious bias.
Other standout features include resume parsing, detailed candidate scoring, tools for collecting employee referrals, and the ability to send digital offers to top-tier candidates, which can be signed with e-signatures. VIVAHR also supports bulk actions and numerous automations, which can save a ton of time and make the whole recruitment process a lot smoother.
Integrations are available with over 860 apps, including CRM systems like Twilio, Salesforce, HubSpot and Pipedrive, and with work operating systems like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365. It also integrates with numerous job boards, including LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, which allows you to post jobs to multiple platforms with just a few clicks.
Zoho Recruit is an applicant tracking system (ATS) that offers valuable features for small businesses in managing their recruitment processes. Zoho Recruit provides a user-friendly platform for small businesses to streamline their applicant tracking. The software allows small businesses to create customized career webpages, post job listings, and track candidate applications. It offers tools for managing candidate profiles, scheduling interviews, and collaborating with team members.
Zoho Recruit incorporates a feature called Blueprint, which is designed to automate and streamline the recruitment workflow. It provides recruiters with a visual representation of their hiring processes, guiding them step-by-step through pre-defined workflows. This ensures that each stage of recruitment, from sourcing candidates to onboarding, is consistent and adheres to best practices. The drag-and-drop interface and customization capabilities of Blueprint allow businesses to tailor the recruitment journey to their unique needs, ensuring both efficiency and compliance.
Zoho Recruit offers a specialized feature known as the Resume Inbox which, when paired with the software's built-in Resume Parser, enables recruiters to effortlessly manage bulk applications. By simply forwarding all received resumes to a designated email address, the Resume Inbox collects them and, with the Parser, automatically extracts relevant details like skills, experience, and education to create structured candidate profiles. This not only saves time from manual data entry but also ensures that candidate data is uniformly presented and easily searchable within the system.
Zoho Recruit has a free plan is available for small teams and allows limited access to features. Paid plans start from $7/user/month and up.
Recruitee’s is a robust, affordable and scalable ATS software supports the entire recruitment process and helps to decrease time-to-hire, beginning with their CareersHub page, which can be customized to match your company brand with no coding skills or fancy IT requirements. You can create custom landing pages for different career campaigns and use their smart campaigns feature to post to multiple job boards at once. To help you source the most qualified candidates, the system is linked with 1,450+ free and paid job boards. They even have a ReferralsHub module to help you source talent through an employee referral program too.
Helpful, timesaving features for the screening and evaluation process include screening questionnaires, unbiased hiring evaluation tools, an event scheduler, automated candidate reminders, video interviewing integrations with Google Meet, Teams or Zoom, and meeting room booking tools. Hiring managers can send successful candidates job offers directly within the system, which also has a full-feature mobile app and e-signature capabilities. For remaining candidates who still show future potential, you can add them to a talent pool for future vacancies.
Recruitee has 60 integrations with common HR software platforms, including BambooHR, Checkr, DocuSign, Gusto, Outlook, Sympa and many others.
Pricing for Recruitee starts at $91 USD/month for 5 job postings per month. An 18-day free trial and free demo can also be arranged via their website.
Best for reaching a broader range of candidates
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best ATS for recruitment agencies
14-day free trial
Modern ATS platform with innovative tools to improve DEI during candidate screening and remove unconscious biases
Free demo available
|From $600/month (paid annually)||Website|
Intuitive applicant tracking system with AI-driven recommendations and social media recruitment tools
14-day free trial
Best applicant tracking system for hiring hourly workers
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best for teams looking for an end-to-end solution
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best ATS for managing candidate data using bulk actions and detailed search filters
14-day free trial + free demo
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees
7-day free trial
Comprehensive HR software that streamlines the recruitment process, from sourcing candidates to advanced analytics
15-day free trial + free plan available
Straightforward recruiting platform with smart campaigns and custom landing pages
18-day free trial
|From $269/month (10 jobs)||Website|
- Unnanu Hire
Best for AI/ML powered resume scoring feature
- Breezy HR
Comprehensive recruiting platform with collaborative hiring tools and time-saving workflow automations
Full-feature applicant tracking system with enhanced candidate experience functions
Collaborative candidate tracking tools within a core HR framework
Easy-to-use ATS tool, available in multiple languages
- Circa Diversity Recruiting
Best for more inclusive recruiting and sourcing more diverse candidates
ATS system with industry-specific customizations to help businesses scale
Best for streamlining the recruitment process with automated tracking features
Flexible workflow visualization tool with pre-built applicant tracker template
Efficient ATS with auto-populated offer letters and insightful applicant analytics
Selection Criteria For Applicant Tracking Systems For SMBs
Wondering how I selected the best applicant tracking software for small businesses? First, I used my previous experience dealing with large volumes of candidate data to add more expertise to my assessment. In the past, I spent a lot of time organizing resumes into different file folders for each individual hiring manager and job posting. Way too much time, in fact!
Here’s a summary of the ATS evaluation criteria I used to prepare this list:
Some applicant tracking systems are standalone pieces of software, while others are distinct modules, embedded in larger human resources information systems (HRIS) or human resource management systems (HRMS). Regardless of how an ATS is packaged, these are the core features I assessed during my quest for the best applicant tracking system for small businesses:
- Talent pools: The ability to build up a roster of potential candidates to draw from for future job openings. As job applicants come in, you can sort them thematically based on their skills and qualifications.
- Talent pipelines: These are visualization tools that allow recruiters to expertly track where each candidate is within the recruiting process. The best talent pipeline tools are organized visually with columns for each key step in the process (i.e., screening, interview, background check, references, offer, etc.) and have user-friendly features like drag-and-drop changes or one-click advancements.
- Workflow automation: Recruiting can become tedious, so the best systems must include automations to take care of the menial tasks like sending out interview reminders or following up on incomplete references. Other helpful automation tools are features like sending out bulk yet customized rejection emails and auto-scheduling interviews.
- Candidate screening tools: Built-in features like screening questionnaires, scorecards, skill assessments and ranking features help hiring teams quickly compare candidates before advancing them to the next stage.
- Direct links with job posting sites: The exact number of sites will vary with each platform, but the best ATS tools automatically submit new postings to popular job boards as soon as they’re published.
A Solid UI and UX
When you're juggling large volumes of candidate information, you don't have time to waste using software that feels awkward to use. That's why I selected systems that offered a clean and uncluttered user interface (UI) that organizes each step of the recruiting process for you. UI features I looked for include visual recruiting pipelines or colour-coding tools. I also appreciate any other features that eliminate the need to click into records for more details.
Having a user-friendly system will create a good user experience (UX) for all types of users, from your dedicated recruiters to your hiring managers, and even your candidates on the other end.
Mobile App Accessibility
Mobile accessibility is an important feature to consider, especially if your industry revolves around candidates who are often mobile or deskless. After all, 89% of job seekers use their mobile devices to search for open positions, so it's crucial to make your application process mobile-friendly for potential job seekers. This helps to elicit faster candidate responses, and allows your recruiters to stay on top of updates in real time from anywhere. Mobile-friendly features include the ability to communicate with candidates via text message right from within the platform, and job descriptions that display properly on mobile devices.
I looked for systems that integrate with other commonly used applications such as email programs, social networking sites and, of course, direct integrations with popular job posting sites. By linking these systems together, you'll be able to improve your productivity and increase transparency within your recruiting team. I also noted any integrations with HR management systems, since these connections make it possible to develop onboarding workflows for new hires too.
I always try to pick software with transparent pricing models and clear explanations for the features you will or won’t receive at each level. This is especially important for small businesses with tight budgets. I also recommend signing up for a free trial or booking a free demo too. That way, you'll get a first-hand feel for how the software would work for your unique business needs and preferences.
What are the benefits of using an applicant tracking system?
What is resume parsing?
As a small business owner, what other types of HR software should I know about?
Other ATS and Recruiting Software Reviews
Looking for another type of recruiting or ATS solution? Here's a collection of the other recruiting tools I've already assessed to save you hours of sleuthing:
- Applicant Tracking Systems
- Candidate Sourcing Software
- Diversity Recruiting Software
- Candidate Sourcing Software
- Cloud Recruitment Software for Hiring Teams
- Interview Scheduling Software for Hiring Teams
- Recruiting Software
- Recruiting CRM Software for Engaging Talent
- Recruitment Automating Software for Hiring
- Recruiting Database Software for Hiring Teams
- Recruitment Marketing Software
- Recruitment Software for Small Businesses
- Staffing Software for Recruiting & Staffing
- Talent Acquisition Software for Recruitment Pros
- Talent Management Software
- Video Interviewing Software for Virtual Interviews
More Resources for Hiring Teams
We also have loads of other resources to help you dive deeper into this topic, beyond just software. Here's a selection of our articles covering hiring best practices, written by industry experts:
- How to Approach Hiring & Recruitment When You Don't Have HR, a podcast with Joel Peterson, from Arbutus Search Group
- Recruitment Budgeting: Everything You Need to Know + Example
- Recruitment Marketing: What it is and 10 Effective Tactics
- 10 Key Recruiting Metrics to Focus On (and 12 Advanced)
- The Key to Focused, Engaging Interviews (+ Template)
- Candidate Sourcing Tips To Help You Find The Best Talent
Now that you’ve taken a deeper look at these top-ranking applicant tracking systems, how will you take action? Which system looked like the best fit for you?
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