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With so many different applicant tracking systems (ATS) available, figuring out which is the right fit for you is tough. You want software to help you source, track, and organize your candidates, plus automation to help you hire faster, but you need to figure out which tool is best. In this article, I'll help you make your choice easier by sharing my insights on the top applicant tracking systems based on my personal recruiting experience dealing with hundreds of candidate applications.

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How to Choose an Applicant Tracking System

Applicant tracking systems can solve many different challenges and improve numerous workflows. To help you figure out which applicant tracking system best fits your needs, you need to pinpoint your key users and document their specific challenges first.

As you work through your own unique ATS software selection process, keep the following points in mind:

  • What problem are you trying to solve - Start by identifying the ATS feature gap you're trying to fill to clarify the features and functionality the recruiting software needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who'll be using the software and how many licenses you'll need. You'll need to evaluate if it'll just be your talent acquisition specialists, or your entire HR department that will require access. Once that's clear, it's also useful to rank the needs of your different users to identify your key priorities for your ATS power users, managers, and future candidates, to ensure they're all met.
  • What other tools it needs to work with - Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as HR management systems or onboarding software. You'll need to decide if the tools should integrate together, or alternatively, if you can replace multiple tools with one consolidated recruiting platform.
  • What outcomes are important - Consider the result that the software needs to deliver to be considered a success. Consider what capability you want to gain, or what you want to improve, and how you will be measuring success. For example, an outcome could be the ability to automate repetitive parts of your recruiting process or screen candidates faster. You could compare ATS features until you’re blue in the face but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to drive, you could be wasting a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization - Consider the software selection alongside your workflows and delivery methodology. Evaluate what's working well, and the areas that are causing issues that need to be addressed.

Remember every business is different — don’t assume that because an ATS is popular that it's automatically the best fit for your organization.

Best Applicant Tracking System Reviews

Here’s a brief description of each applicant tracking system that made it into my top 10 list, including their noteworthy features, pros and cons, screenshots, and pricing details. Plus, I’ve included 20 more noteworthy ATS systems below, in case you need more options to consider.

1

Greenhouse

Best ATS for sourcing and evaluating large numbers of qualified candidates

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
909 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Greenhouse is a recruitment management software that helps you reach, classify, and nurture talent. You can use it to build a robust candidate pipeline and find the best candidates for each available position.

Why I picked Greenhouse: You can easily post on over 1,000 job boards through the software, including both niche sites and major job marketplaces. This helps you reach a large pool of candidates from the outset. You can be confident in where you decide to post because the platform makes recommendations based on historical and industry performance.  

The software stores contact information for all of your candidates, and you can use that data to automate personalized outreach and engagement messages at scale. You can screen and evaluate candidates anonymously and with pre-defined scorecards. This helps you reduce unconscious bias in your hiring process and ensures a fair shot for all applicants.

Greenhouse Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature that really sets Greenhouse apart is its structured hiring capabilities. Their structured hiring workflow is designed to create a consistent and equitable interviewing experience by determining the requirements, experience, and attributes a successful candidate must have for an open role before the job is posted. By setting these parameters up in advance, Greenhouse creates a scoring rubric you can use to assess all your candidates fairly. This process also ensures role requirements are linked to business decisions, and that hiring decisions are based firmly on data and not other potentially biased candidate details.

Other key features in Greenhouse's applicant tracking system include team collaboration tools, an internal job board to promote internal mobility, multichannel candidate sourcing, onboarding features to create a positive candidate experience, automated task management, core reports, and a mobile app.

Integrations include over 400+ applications, including Broadbean, Canditech, Calendly, Checkr, Cord, DocuSign, Dropbox, FlexJobs, GoodTime, Google Meet, Indeed, Microsoft Teams, Namely, Paradox, Seek, and many others. Greenhouse also has a Harvest API to support additional custom integrations as well.

Pros

  • "Essential" (basic) plan offers good value for small businesses
  • Tools to mitigate unconscious bias
  • Ability to cast a wide net for all roles

Cons

  • Pricing details are not transparent
  • BI tools only included in top-tier paid plan
2

Pinpoint

Best applicant tracking system for in-house talent acquisition and people teams

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
45 reviews

Free demo available

From $600/month (paid annually)

Pinpoint's ATS software is designed for internal talent acquisition and people teams rather than recruitment agencies.

Why I picked Pinpoint: Pinpoint is extremely powerful yet easy-to-use with an intuitive design and straightforward user experience. Recruiters and hiring managers can be onboarded and get up and running quickly, with additional customer support always available from their customer success team.

Pinpoint has core ATS and talent CRM features such as job board multiposting and social media advertising, unlimited customizable workflows, automation, interview scheduling, and employee onboarding. Data protection and security features include single sign-on, two-factor authentication, and tools to help manage compliance with local regulations like the GDPR/CCPA.

Pinpoint Standout Features & Integrations:

Standout features that make Pinpoint unique include blind screening to help reduce unconscious bias, candidate scorecards for gathering fast and objective hiring manager feedback, and a suite of reporting tools including a custom report builder. They also offer access for an unlimited number of users, since their software isn't priced per user, leading to a greater ROI for large-scale in-house recruiting teams.

Integrations are available natively with hundreds of other platforms, including ADP, BambooHR, Canditech, Certn, CodeSubmit, DocuSign, JotForm, Google Meet, Gusto, Microsoft Teams, Namely, Rippling, Sage People, SAP, UKG Pro, Workday, Zoom, and many others. In addition, their Zapier integration supports integration with over 3,000 other tools.

Pros

  • Exceptional customer success and support
  • Focus on employer brand and candidate experience
  • Powerful automation and careful design for ease-of-use

Cons

  • Not suitable for most recruitment agencies due to lack of client management features
  • Some features only available in the Enterprise tier
3

Rippling

Best for its automation features

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.8
1133 reviews

Free demo available

From $8/user/month (EOR pricing upon request)

Rippling is a SaaS product that offers a comprehensive suite of HR and IT solutions, including an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). It's a tool that's designed to streamline the hiring process, making it easier for businesses to find, track, and hire top talent.

Why I picked Rippling: I chose Rippling as one of the best Applicant Tracking Systems for Recruiting because of its functionality and user-friendly interface. It's a complete HR platform that integrates with your existing tools and systems. This means you can manage everything from job postings and applicant tracking to onboarding and employee management, all in one place.

What sets Rippling apart from other tools in the market is its ability to automate a lot of the tedious tasks involved in recruiting. For example, it can automatically post job listings to multiple job boards, screen resumes for keywords, and schedule interviews. This can save recruiters time and effort, allowing them to focus on more important tasks.

Rippling Standout Features & Integrations:

Features include payroll, time and attendance, learning management, benefits, talent management, PEO, pulse surveys, and workforce analytics.

Integrations are available with 1Password, Asana, Atlassian, BrightHire, Checkr, Databricks, DocuSign, Dropbox, GitHub, Google Workspace, LinkedIn, Microsoft 365, Netsuite, Sage Intacct, Slack, Typeform, QuickBooks, Upwork, Zendesk, Zoom, and hundreds more.

Pros

  • Plenty of automation features
  • Lots of native integrations
  • Unique IT management features make it standout

Cons

  • Bit of a learning curve
  • No free trial available
4

TalentReef

Best ATS for recruiting, hiring, and onboarding candidates

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

TalentReef's ATS and recruiting software specifically caters to companies hiring hourly workers. In addition to its staffing tools, it also has talent management features like performance, pay, and position management.

Why I picked TalentReef: You can track applicants through the hiring process and manage the candidate experience using this software. As potential new hires apply to your open roles, you'll be able to parse through their resumes and conduct assessments for better screening. You can also craft flexible workflows to move candidates through the stages in a way that makes sense for your business, and easily schedule interviews through the platform.

The software also has compliance tools to help ensure you cover all your bases when hiring new workers. It integrates with background-checking systems so you can rest assured new hires are ready and able to work before you make an offer. Speaking of which, customized offers can also be managed through the software. It also has onboarding and performance management tools to ensure new hires start off on the right foot and succeed.

TalentReef Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature that I really appreciate in their platform is their automated interview scheduling capability. This feature gives your in-house recruiting staff the ability to sync their calendar with those of hiring managers, giving them access to their availability to cut down on rescheduling. You can also send a self-service scheduling link to your applicants to provide a better candidate experience, allowing them to book an interview at a time that works best for them. This module also includes configurable invitation templates, as well as booking notifications for the applicant and manager once interview times are confirmed.

Other key features within their applicant tracking system include chat applications, SMS management, branded career pages, job board management, a talent community, campaign communications, onboarding tools, compliance monitoring, performance management, and reporting & analytics tools.

Integrations include various job boards and social media platforms, payroll and HRIS systems, training and LMS software, POS systems, and background check services.

Pros

  • Recruiting and talent management in one place
  • Specifically designed for the needs of hourly workers
  • Customizable workflows and templates

Cons

  • Pricing is not transparent
  • May not be suited to salaried workers
5

Tracker

Best ATS + CRM + automation platform for recruitment and staffing agencies

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
99 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Tracker is a recruitment and staffing software that acts as a combined ATS and CRM (candidate and/or client relationship management) system. The tool is designed to help staffing and recruiting firms manage and optimize their candidate, client, marketing, and operational processes.

Why I picked Tracker: I selected Tracker because of its dual purpose as an ATS and CRM system, plus several unique features that make it a great choice for any organization with a heavy customer relations focus. This includes their back office functions that help with client onboarding, assignment management, and accounting, as well as their integrated vendor management system (VMS) that helps teams proactively source talent 24/7 thanks to their rules-based parsing engine and auto-match technology.

Tracker Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature that can save a lot of time is their AI-based candidate ranking feature. This feature uses machine learning to monitor candidate engagement and combines these details with existing candidate data already in Tracker from previous applications. By combining these data sources, their AI agent helps to rank candidates and present the best fits for your open positions using this proprietary ranking methodology.

Other key features worth noting include tools for sourcing candidates, nurturing and matching applicants, 1-way and 2-way video interviewing, a built-in team TrackerChat app, and a full-featured mobile app, plus tools for marketing vacant positions. You can also set up custom candidate portals, dashboards, workflows, and reports easily thanks to their user-friendly interface. Plus, Tracker also offers tools like resume parsing to remove resume formatting and help eliminate manual data entry.

Integrations include a wide variety of job boards, as well as third-party tools like Outlook, Gmail, Google Chrome, LinkedIn, Office 365, and QuickBooks through their RESTFul API. You can also connect Tracker to 30+ other software solutions using their Zapier API integration.

Pros

  • Intuitive, easy-to-use interface
  • Ability to customize views, fields, workflows, and more
  • Highly regarded local support and success team

Cons

  • No background check integration
  • No built-in payroll, but integration with QuickBooks and others
6

Trakstar

Best applicant tracking system for collaborative hiring tools

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
188 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Trakstar Hire, formerly RecruiterBox, is one of the main products of Trakstar, which also includes Perform, Learn, and Trakstar Insights. It's a comprehensive HR hiring software with an applicant tracking system tailored to small and midsize businesses. Trakstar Hire is a best-of-breed solution that is purpose-built for streamlining timelines, improving candidate experiences, and identifying top talent.

Why I picked Trakstar: Their ATS solution allows HR teams to create and publish multiple job postings on different social media platforms, job boards, and talent recruitment services. They also give you the option to sponsor your listings to maximize visibility and receive applicant CVs through customizable application forms.

Their bulk upload feature gives the ATS more scalability, allowing users to import multiple resumes simultaneously. Once the resumes are imported, the platform’s resume parser automatically extracts all the candidates’ vital information to create their profiles.

Trakstar Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature of Trakstar Hire is its recruiting workflows, which can be easily customized to reflect the various stages of your organization’s hiring process from end-to-end. Recruiting specialists can use the software to view workflows and keep track of the status of the top job applicants as they progress through the recruitment process.

Recruiters can also collaborate with other members of the team by sharing candidate profiles, interview schedules, and other tasks, all without ever leaving the platform.

Other key features include interview scheduling tools using a shared calendar, plus Outlook and Google calendar integrations, automated responses, email templates, and reminders to make team collaboration that much easier. Career site management tools are also available with Trakstar Hire, along with candidate sourcing, offer management, and the core recruiting ATS.

Integrations include ADP Workforce Now, BambooHR, Checkr, Google Workspace, Intuit Quickbooks, Namely, Office265, PandaDoc, Slack, and Zoom.

Pros

  • Résumé parser supports high volume recruiting
  • Strong team collaboration features
  • Integrates with other Trakstar modules for easy onboarding workflows

Cons

  • Pricing details and plan features are not transparent
  • Small list of pre-built integrations
7

ClearCompany

Best ATS for time-saving automations and mobile recruiting

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
247 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

ClearCompany is an easy-to-use applicant tracking system (ATS) that has empowered thousands of companies to attract, screen, and hire better talent. You'll also unlock tools to engage your team and use strategic insights to keep recruiting competitive.

Why I picked ClearCompany: I appreciate the many time-saving automations their platform includes, such as interview scheduling workflows, and the ability to expedite the candidate communications process via automated emails or pre-built text recruiting campaigns. When combined, these features can help hiring teams accelerate their hiring process and identify top talent faster.

ClearCompany is best for companies based in the U.S. and Canada.

ClearCompany Standout Features & Integrations:

Standout features for ClearCompany include their mobile-friendly interview packages, and their Advanced ClearText suite that meets candidates where their are (on their mobile devices) by offering ClearText and Text-to-Apply features for candidates, as well as bulk texting and text recruiting templates for your talent acquisition specialists. Plus, their pre-built recruiting report templates track all the key data points you'd expect (candidate demographics, pipeline sources, time to hire, etc.), saving you from having to set your reports up from scratch.

Other key features include candidate sourcing, automated screening, candidate grading, text & video interview scheduling, EEO/OFCCP compliance reporting, numerous integrations to help you post jobs, AI-assisted job descriptions, and an additional full-service background-checking option that's available as an add-on.

Integrations are available natively with 100+ programs for assessment tests, background checks, calendars, job postings, payroll and benefits, and SSO.

Pros

  • Lots of integrations to help with skill testing
  • Recruiting tools link to other modules to support easy employee onboarding
  • Automatic candidate screening and grading saves lots of time

Cons

  • Information on plan features and prices is not readily available
  • No free trial available
8

Manatal

Best applicant tracking system for social media recruitment & AI tools

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.9
169 reviews

14-day free trial

From $15/user/month

Manatal is a leading applicant tracking and recruitment software solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other unique and innovative features. The software helps in streamlining all recruitment operations from sourcing to onboarding, and is currently used by organizations in over 90 countries worldwide.

Why I picked Manatal: Their interface is both practical and intuitive, and as a result, little to no training is required and teams can quickly start leveraging its tools. Manatal also includes a complete CRM (customer relationship management) system and an easy-to-use, customizable career page builder so users can start showcasing openings.

Manatal Standout Features & Integrations:

The platform includes all the standard ATS features you'd expect, such as daily recruitment processing, drag-and-drop pipelines, compliance tools (i.e., GDPR, CCPA, & PDPA), a full analytics suite, a skill bank, candidate and job history, activities management, collaboration tools, a placement management system, and all main functions that relate to applicant information and employee records.

More innovative features include things like powerful search functions, AI-based recommendations, candidate scoring, and social media recruitment (LinkedIn, Facebook, GitHub, and more). These features have proven extremely valuable in streamlining activities like candidate sourcing and screening, as well as in helping leverage large existing candidate databases.

Integrations are available through Manatal's open API and include platforms like LinkedIn, Gmail, Outlook, Mailchimp, and more.

Pros

  • Intuitive user interface
  • AI-based recommendation of candidates and social media recruitment
  • Built-in CRM tools

Cons

  • No free plan available
  • No payroll management system
9

Teamtailor

Best for end-to-end recruitment management

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
14 reviews

14-day free trial + free demo

Pricing upon request

Teamtailor is an all-in-one hiring platform that helps companies with their recruitment processes, including applicant tracking. The software is user-friendly, cloud-based, and accessible from any device.

Why I picked Teamtailor: The software can be used to track applicants all the way through your recruitment process. You can craft dynamic applicant forms to suit the unique needs of your open roles, and take bulk candidate management actions to streamline your process. The software's integrations allow you to source candidates directly from social media profiles and easily share job postings across social networks.

Advanced search and filtering tools help you quickly uncover top candidates based on specific skills or qualifications needed for a job. Candidate data can also be filtered by location, salary, education, and years of experience, and you can add notes and tags to candidate interactions. The software's relationship management tools help you manage your communications with potential candidates and stay in touch with past applicants.

Teamtailor Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature for Teamtailor is its comprehensive reporting and analytics, which measure key recruitment metrics like time-to-hire and cost-per-hire. You can also create custom reports and dashboards to gain further insight into your hiring funnel, applicant sources, and candidate quality. 

Other key features include custom candidate stages, action triggers, dynamic applicant forms, bulk candidate actions, custom reports, communication tools, automated talent pools, employer branding, and customizable career pages.

Integrations include BambooHR, Checkr, JobMatch, LinkedIn, and Workday, plus social media integrations with Facebook and Instagram that help can help you find and engage with potential candidates where they spend their time online.

Pros

  • Comprehensive analytics suite
  • Automated funnels help streamline your hiring process
  • Friendly and clean user interface

Cons

  • Limited native integrations (though they do have an API)
  • Some advanced features are only available on more expensive pricing plans
10

VIVAHR

Best ATS for small businesses

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.8
34 reviews

7-day free trial

From $89/month

VIVAHR is an all-in-one applicant tracking system that's designed to make the whole recruitment process a lot easier. You can use it to help you manage your job postings, sift through resumes, and keep track of applicants.

Why I picked VIVAHR: I included VIVAHR in this list because it's got all the features you need without being overly complicated or expensive. It's also very flexible, so you can adapt it to different hiring workflows as needed. You can use automations to post to 50+ job boards at once, share job openings over social media, create custom pipelines, and communicate with candidates through text messages.

VIVAHR Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature I really love about VIVAHR is its collaborative hiring tools. You can involve your whole team in the hiring process, which can really help to ensure you're making the right decisions. It also has a great candidate ranking system, which makes it easy to see at a glance who your top applicants are, while also eliminating any unconscious biases.

Other key features include resume parsing, 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, which can save high-volume hiring teams even more time.

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.

Pros

  • Suitable for small businesses or enterprise organizations with multiple locations
  • Numerous software integrations available
  • Well-suited for hiring trade services, hospitality, and healthcare workers

Cons

  • Could use more job board integrations compared to other systems
  • Starter package has limited features

Other Applicant Tracking Systems

Here are a few more recruitment ATS tools that didn’t make the top applicant tracking systems list:

  1. Recruitee

    Best applicant tracking system for automated notifications

  2. PCRecruiter

    Best applicant tracking system for detailed recruitment analytics

  3. Zoho Recruit

    Best applicant tracking system for staffing agencies

  4. VidCruiter

    Best applicant tracking system for high-volume recruiting and candidate screening

  5. Freshteam

    Best applicant tracking system for growing businesses

  6. Breezy HR

    Best ATS for diversity & inclusion recruitment

  7. SmartRecruiters

    Best ATS for enterprise-level talent acquisition

  8. Eddy

    Best applicant tracking system for small, local businesses

  9. Lever

    Best ATS with integrated recruitment CRM capabilities

  10. Recooty

    Best ATS software for ease of use

  11. Workday

    Best applicant tracking system for software integrations

  12. Bullhorn

    Best applicant tracking system for time-saving automations and integrations

  13. SAP SuccessFactors

    Best applicant tracking system for data analytics and reporting

  14. GoHire

    Best for industry-specific customizations to help businesses scale

  15. iCIMS Talent Cloud

    Best for advertising job postings

  16. Avionté

    Best ATS for staffing agencies, including payroll & billing

  17. JobAdder

    Best for 3rd party integration options

  18. Oracle Taleo

    Best for large enterprises

  19. Recruit CRM

    Best applicant tracking system + CRM solution for professional recruiting firms

  20. BambooHR

    Best for auto-populated offer letters and insightful applicant analytics

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these other tools that are related to payroll software, that we've tested and evaluated.

Selection Criteria for Applicant Tracking Systems

Selecting the right applicant tracking system involves carefully evaluating how well the software will meet your specific needs to help you improve your candidate selection process. My approach to choosing the best applicant tracking system is based on my personal experience managing candidate applications and extensive research into how these software systems address the needs, pain points, and goals of recruiters and hiring teams in real, day-to-day scenarios.

Core ATS Functionalities (25% of final score): For an applicant tracking system to land a place in my initial list, it needed to fulfill the following basic functionalities:

  • Job posting tools to help you advertise positions across multiple platforms
  • A customizable dashboard where you can track job applications for each open position
  • Tools to streamline communication with candidates through automated emails and notifications
  • Candidate screening tools, including side-by-side comparisons, skill-based comparisons, and resume screening to speed up candidate selection
  • Interview scheduling tools to automate the booking process
  • Collaboration tools to make it easier for internal teams to discuss hiring decisions as a group

Additional Standout Features (25% of total score): To help me hone in on the best applicant tracking systems on the market, I also took note of any unique features, including:

  • AI-driven analytics tools that offer deeper insights into the recruitment process
  • Innovative candidate engagement tools like video interviewing or AI-driven chatbots for pre-screening
  • Enhanced mobile applications that provide a full range of ATS functionalities for recruiters communicating with candidates on the go
  • Advanced integration capabilities with social media for a broader reach in sourcing candidates

Usability (10% of total score): To evaluate the usability of each applicant tracking system, I considered the following:

  • An intuitive user interface that minimizes the learning curve
  • Clear and logical menu structures that lend quick access to essential features
  • Visual recruiting pipelines, color-coding, or visual status flags that make it easy to digest information at a glance
  • Drag-and-drop functionalities for ease of scheduling interviews and organizing candidate profiles
  • Role-based access controls that are straightforward to configure

Customer Onboarding (10% of total score): To get a sense of each software provider's customer onboarding process, I considered the following factors:

  • Quick setup processes with clear guidelines for new users
  • Comprehensive training materials such as videos, templates, and interactive product tours
  • Data migration support for transferring existing candidate information into the new system
  • Availability of customer support during the onboarding phase to address any issues

Customer Support (10% of total score): To evaluate the level of customer support each vendor offered, I considered the following:

  • The availability of multiple support channels, including email, phone, and chat
  • The existence of a self-service knowledge base or other self-help resources to speed up troubleshooting
  • The overall quality, responsiveness, and helpfulness of the support team during customer onboarding and post-purchase, as inferred from customer reviews
  • Regular updates regarding new features of system-wide changes

Value for Price (10% of final score): To gauge the value of each software, I considered the following factors:

  • The availability of free trials or demos to test the software before purchasing
  • Transparent pricing models that clearly explain which features are included at each level, without hidden fees
  • Tiered pricing plans that cater to different business sizes, from small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) up to enterprise-level organizations

Customer Reviews (10% of final score): Evaluating customer reviews is the final element of my selection process, which helps me understand how well a product performs in the hands of real users. Here are the factors I considered:

  • Whether a product has consistently high ratings across multiple review platforms, indicating a broad level of user satisfaction
  • Specific praises, criticisms, or trends in customer feedback that indicate the software's strengths or areas for improvement
  • Whether customer feedback specifically mentions issues with ease of use, customer support responsiveness, or lacking features
  • Testimonials that highlight specific features that users found beneficial for their recruitment needs

By using this assessment framework, I was able to identify applicant tracking systems that go beyond basic requirements to offer additional value through unique features, intuitive usability, smooth onboarding, effective support, and overall value for price.

In the never-ending race to snag top talent, the world of recruiting moves quickly. This is true for both recruiters, as well as the software they rely on. Here are some trends that are developing in the recruiting and ATS software space to help address the core needs of recruitment professionals.

Most Important Evolving Features

  • AI-driven Screening & Skill Matching: One of the biggest challenges for recruiters is managing large volumes of candidate applications and data quickly. The integration of AI capabilities has revolutionized ATS systems by using machine learning algorithms to quickly scan resumes to uncover the applicants with the most skills that match your job requirements. This helps to significantly speed up the candidate screening process while also taking a skills-first approach to eliminate any potential hiring biases.

    If this sounds like the type of software you need, I recommend reviewing this list of the best AI recruiting software for some cherry-picked options.
  • Hiring Bias Reduction Tools: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has grown in importance in recent years, and one of the best ways to build a more diverse workforce is by using technology that helps you eliminate unconscious bias naturally. Many applicant tracking systems now include tools to anonymize applications by removing identifying details like candidate names, gender, age, and ethnicity. Doing so allows recruiters to evaluate candidates on their skills, experience, and qualifications only, creating a more equitable hiring process for all candidates.

    Interested in digging a bit deeper? Here are some tips for identifying bias in hiring and how to tackle it.
  • Mobile Accessibility & Optimization: With both recruiters and candidates spending more time on their mobile devices than ever, it's only natural that ATS software has become more mobile-friendly over time. (According to Appcast's 2022 Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report, 67% of job applications are now completed on mobile devices.) Popular mobile optimizations include:
    • mobile-friendly job applications
    • career pages that support SMS alerts or notifications for new postings
    • applications via text
    • the ability to text candidates directly from your ATS

Unique and Unusual Functionality

  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Integrations: Some ATS are experimenting with VR and AR for immersive job previews and interviews, offering a novel way to engage candidates and provide a realistic job preview.
  • Blockchain for Candidate Verification: The use of blockchain technology for verifying candidate credentials and work history is emerging as a novel application, ensuring authenticity and transparency in the recruitment process.

To ensure your recruitment efforts stay comparable to those of your competitors, it's important to invest in a modern applicant tracking system that incorporates these trends. By leveraging AI tools to help you surface the most talented applications, ensuring your team focuses on unbiased skill-based hiring, and optimizing your hiring funnel for mobile friendliness, you'll be sure to improve your time-to-hire and provide a better candidate experience for your future new hires.

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?

Applicant tracking systems are a type of HR software that helps you organize all aspects of your recruiting process, from sourcing candidates to comparing their skill sets side-by-side and advancing them through the hiring process. They're designed for professional recruiters and in-house talent acquisition specialists.

Applicant tracking systems can optimize your hiring process, making it more efficient by automating key tasks such as resume parsing, skill matching, and interview scheduling. These features will make your hiring team more efficient by reducing manual work and improving your time-to-hire. Applicant tracking systems can also improve the quality of your hires and support better data-driven decision-making due to their advanced filtering and screening capabilities.

Features of Applicant Tracking Systems

Finding the right candidate for each role is a complex process that involves multiple stages from posting job openings to scheduling interviews. An applicant tracking system can help you efficiently track, screen, and engage with candidates throughout the hiring process and automate your workflows to save you time.

To help you find the best applicant tracking system for you, here are the most important features to look for:

  • Resume Parsing: This feature automatically extracts information from resumes, saving time, ensuring candidate information is entered into your ATS accurately, and allowing for quicker candidate assessments.
  • Talent Pools & Pipelines: A talent pool is a feature that lets you build a roster of potential candidates for each position, or future positions. The related talent pipeline is a visualization feature that shows you where each candidate is within the recruitment process. Key phases include screening, interview, background check, references, offer, etc.
  • Customizable Automations & Workflows: The best ATS allow you to set up workflow automations to take care of menial tasks like sending out interview reminders, following up on references, or sending bulk rejection emails.
  • Candidate Screening Tools: This refers to incorporated tools to assess candidates on specific skills using exams, questionnaires, skill assessments, or other ranking tools. This helps to compare qualified candidates side-by-side before deciding who should advance.
  • Job Posting & Distribution: This refers to tools that automatically post job openings to multiple job boards and social media platforms, increasing the visibility of your job postings, and attracting a larger and more diverse candidate pool.
  • Analytics & Reporting Tools: Built-in data analytics can help you gain deeper insights into your hiring process so you can make better data-driven decisions to improve hiring strategies, understand where the best candidates are coming from, and identify bottlenecks in your recruitment process.
  • Mobile Accessibility: This is an important feature because 89% of job seekers use their mobile devices to apply for jobs. ATS systems that offer mobile accessibility through a mobile-friendly interface or a dedicated mobile app increase the speed and convenience of communications, ensuring that the recruitment process keeps moving forward, even on the go.
  • Candidate Relationship Management: CRM features ensure a positive candidate experience by keeping candidates consistently engaged and updated on their progress, which is crucial for attracting top talent and enhancing your employer brand.
  • Collaboration Tools: To make team-based hiring easier, applicant tracking systems include collaboration tools such as comments, tags, and feedback tools. This fosters a collaborative hiring environment, ensuring that multiple perspectives are considered during the decision-making process.
  • Software Integrations: The best ATS software should offer integrations with human resources information systems (HRIS), email providers, and digital calendars, improving productivity and transparency for team-based hiring.

Selecting an ATS with these features can dramatically improve your recruitment process, making it more efficient, effective, and candidate-friendly. By focusing on these key aspects, you can ensure that your ATS not only helps manage candidate data efficiently but also uncovers the best talent fit for each role, ultimately contributing to the success and growth of your organization.

Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems

Depending on the size of your hiring volume, you're likely dealing with a handful of positions that you’re scouting for simultaneously, all with distinct candidate skills and requirements. On top of that, you have candidates submitting their applications around the clock, vying for your attention and time.

Without the right tools, juggling all that information can be overwhelming. By investing in a robust applicant tracking system, you can expect to gain the following benefits:

  • Improved Recruitment Efficiency: Since an ATS automates the screening and sorting of resumes, it significantly reduces the time HR staff need to spend on manual tasks. This allows recruiters to focus more on engaging with qualified candidates, thereby speeding up the hiring process.
  • Enhanced Candidate Experience: By streamlining the application process and providing timely communication, an ATS helps create a positive experience for applicants and a favorable brand perception among potential new employees.
  • Increased Quality of Hires: With advanced filtering and matching algorithms, an ATS can help identify the most suitable candidates based on the job requirements and organizational fit. This leads to a higher quality of hires, directly impacting your company's success.
  • Improved Scalability: An ATS allows organizations to easily scale their recruitment efforts up or down based on their current needs without compromising the quality of the hiring process. This adaptability is crucial for businesses experiencing rapid growth or seasonal fluctuations in hiring.
  • Data-Driven Insights: By offering detailed analytics on various aspects of the recruitment process, an ATS enables organizations to make better data-driven decisions. Insights on performance metrics and hiring trends can help in refining recruitment strategies and improving future outcomes.

By automating routine tasks, improving candidate engagement, ensuring scalability, and providing valuable insights, ATS platforms not only save time and resources but also empower more informed hiring decisions.

Costs & Pricing for Applicant Tracking Systems

ATS platforms typically offer a range of plans to suit different organizational sizes and hiring needs, from free versions designed for small businesses or startups to more comprehensive, feature-rich packages for large enterprises. Understanding these options will help you select a plan that aligns with your recruitment goals, budget, and the scale of your hiring operations.

In general, applicant tracking systems tend to cost between $10 to $100 per user, per month, though some systems do operate on a flat fee model instead. Some systems do include a one-time set-up fee too. However, most recruiting software providers are happy to offer you a free demo or free trial so you can get a first-hand feel for their system before signing up.

Pricing & Plan Comparison Table for Applicant Tracking Systems

Plan TypeAverage Per User FeeAverage Flat FeeCommon Features
Free$0$0Basic job posting, limited candidate tracking, email notifications, and simple reporting
Basic$10 to $20 per user, per month$50 - $100/monthEnhanced job posting on multiple platforms, resume parsing, basic CRM, email integration, and basic analytics
Professional$50 to $100 per user, per month$200 - $500/monthAdvanced CRM features, bulk email sending, advanced analytics, integration with HR systems, and customizable workflows
EnterpriseCustom PricingCustom PricingFull suite of features including AI-driven analytics, dedicated support, enhanced security, and unlimited job postings
A breakdown of ATS plans and pricing details depending on the level of features required.

Note that the free option typically offers a taste of the system's capabilities, making it ideal for very small businesses or those in the initial stages of scaling their operations.

When considering an ATS, it's important to assess not just the current size of your recruitment team but also anticipate future growth. This approach ensures that the selected plan not only meets your current needs but is also scalable to adapt to your organization's evolving requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Applicant Tracking Systems

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions you may have about applicant tracking software and how it works:

How do applicant tracking systems work?

Applicant tracking systems manage the process of filling a job opening by aggregating job seeker data from third-party sources (like LinkedIn, Indeed, or Yello). They also incorporate advanced tools to help you categorize candidate information to uncover the best candidates in the mix.

Simply put, an ATS system works by fulfilling relevant recruiting process needs. It might include features such as a recruitment CRM, talent acquisition, human resource management, talent management, metric-based recruiting, candidate experience, and predictive analytics. This type of software is often described more generically as recruiting software or talent acquisition software.

Once your candidates are in your system, the ATS will include tools to advance candidates through each phase of the recruiting process for every vacant position. These phases often include:

Applicant tracking software may encompass all or just a few of the following processes: job posting, resume parsing and collection, qualification analysis, employee referral programs, interview scheduling, and CRM (candidate relationship management). More advanced systems can even link your new hires directly into your orientation and onboarding software too. Either way, the main goal of an ATS is to give you an intelligent framework to keep your candidate data tracked and organized.

Are there different types of recruitment ATS software I should consider?

Yes, there are! And luckily for you, we’ve already done a lot of the research for you. To help you find the best applicant tracking system for you, here are some link that cover other types of ATS and recruiting software you should also consider, and why:

  • Applicant tracking systems for small businesses might be a better fit for you if you’re recruiting on a smaller scale or working within a tight budget. The top applicant tracking systems in this were specially selected with SMBs (small to medium businesses) in mind.
  • Diversity recruiting software is another type of recruiting tool that helps you source job applicants from a more diverse pool of candidates. This type of recruiting software is an excellent choice if you’re looking to develop more inclusive hiring practices and improve your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) metrics.
  • Recruitment marketing software is another subset to consider if you’re hiring for open positions in a very competitive industry. These recruiting platforms include robust tools to help you promote your open jobs far and wide, including through social media, popular talent networks, and career sites. These systems include extra bells and whistles to help you entice candidates to apply, including rich job descriptions and tools to highlight your company culture.
  • Staffing software for staffing & recruiting is also a good list to browse over if you’re looking for software suggestions for a recruitment agency or hiring firm. These user-friendly systems are purpose-built to handle high-volume recruiting and staffing at the enterprise-level scale.

Why use an applicant tracking system?

Beyond the benefits listed above, one of the main reasons why you can consider using an ATS is to create consistency in your process. You can establish clear workflows for how candidates will move through the recruitment and hiring process, and track each one in the same way. This helps reduce human error and unconscious bias in your recruiting process.

Additionally, creating those clear workflows helps alleviate your recruiting team’s workload. Everyone will be following the same process, and the software’s automation features will reduce the manual work needed. For example, the software may be able to scan applications and notify recruiters when qualified candidates enter the pipeline. It can also handle your interview scheduling, and send consistent, automated communications out to candidates as they move through the process.

Other Software Reviews

As you can see, there are a lot of options to consider when it comes to ATS systems and sourcing the best candidates for your open positions. And the fact that 98.9% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS is also a strong indication of just how important these software systems are.

However, your journey doesn't have to stop here. If you're looking for a different type of applicant tracking or recruiting software, please take a look at my other specialty lists too:

Other Resources

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:

Before you go, make sure to subscribe to our People Managing People newsletter too. You'll stay up-to-date on all our latest articles, podcasts, tool recommendations, and best practices related to talent acquisition and management.

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.