As organizations grow bigger and more complex in structure, the need for applicant tracking systems (ATS) has become more pertinent than ever. It is said that today about 99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS for automating and streamlining their hiring needs.
An applicant tracking system or ATS is a suite of software applications companies use to automate and streamline the hiring process from end to end. An ATS solution can handle job postings, manage candidate profiles and information, and channel communications via a single unified platform. It helps in saving time, effort, and resources used in acquiring talent.
94% of recruiters using applicant tracking software say its capabilities have positively impacted the hiring process. ATS can help improve the efficiency of the hiring process and quality of hire, and its additional capabilities, tools, and functionalities help streamline and integrate the hiring functions into one unified process.
A good applicant tracking system should have a few essential features, including:
- Customizable to suit company profile
- Includes functionalities such as:
- Career page hostings
- Job distribution
- Resume database
- Onboarding tools
- Message and interview scheduling
- Social sharing
- Receives and sorts job applications
- Capable of integrating with existing internal HR tech stack and external job sites and HR portals
- User-friendly and has a positive return on investment (ROI).
How to choose the best ATS?
The process of selecting the best applicant tracking system can be broken down into four steps.
Let’s explore the stages to understand how organizations decide on their ATS choice:
#1 Estimating and planning for hiring needs
This is the most crucial step for any organization looking to transition and opt for an ATS solution. Recruiters must assess the unique hiring needs of their organization, including the learning curve involved in implementation and training, estimated budget, and resources.
There is also the need to list the capabilities recruiters are looking for in an ATS to streamline and automate their hiring process. This could involve task automation, customizable workflows, real-time feedback and analytics, software integration into external sources, branding during the hiring process, etc.
Lastly, organizations should thoroughly research different platforms and shortlist the names that fulfill the identified hiring requirements.
#2 Research and evaluate a list of choices
While researching the best ATS solution for any business, keeping a checklist to evaluate the available ATS software and shortlist the ones that suit the organizational needs is worthwhile. A few of the pointers in the checklist may include capabilities like:
- better sourcing of candidates from external sources like HR platforms and job portals,
- automated and extensive tracking and engagement of candidates,
- workflow and candidate communication management, and
- collaboration within the team
Since the ATS solutions available today are mostly AI-based, look for solutions that provide analytics and reports on the hiring process.
#3 Considering and comparing the shortlisted solutions
Once the HR has shortlisted the ATS solutions that meet their criteria of needs, capabilities, and functionalities, they need to analyze and compare them against one another to narrow down the choices. Next, compare the set budget and the timeline for implementation for each vendor software and select the one that meets the maximum of listed requirements.
While doing this, the HR managers must check for peer reviews and verify them with the reviewer. They should also consider good customer support as a plus point and request consultation and discuss the requirements and gauge their response. This should be followed by a demo or trial period to assess the performance of the software solution in action.
#4 The final selection
After the consultation calls and demo trials, little is left to be decided to make the final selection. As the last step, look for independent research and online reviews on trusted portals and personal reviews from users in the organization’s network as a last and final check on the claims of usability and functionality of the applicant tracking system available in the software market.
What are the Selection Criteria for choosing the best ATS solution?
- While choosing an ATS solution, it is best to look for one that can be scaled up and down to meet organizational requirements in the present and future.
- Look for an optimum solution that offers a suite of products rather than looking for multiple software products and integrating them separately.
- Always match the recruiting needs with the system’s capabilities to save on costs and complexities.
- An ATS with a high learning curve will be hard to implement and operate, so it is better to seek simple, intuitive, and easy-to-navigate solutions.
- Always look for client and customer reviews before zeroing in on an ATS solution.
- Opt for solutions that offer a trial period to let the organization take the feel of the workflow and processes before settling in with the selection.
- Consider deciding on a budget before scouting ATS choices and see if the pricing fits your budget.
- If the organization already uses a tool to manage other functions of HR such as payroll, employment records, etc., it’s better to check whether the software integrates well into the tech stack of the organization.
- Look for secure and compliant ATS software that protects the candidate database against hacks and is compliant with the law.
- Check for the frequency of updates and bug fixes so that the workflow remains unhindered and processes are streamlined.
Top 5 Applicant Tracking System Software
There are hundreds of software solutions in the market catering to the hiring and recruiting needs of businesses. As such, choosing the best applicant tracking software requires planning and thought.
Here is a list of the 5 best applicant tracking system solutions that have fared well consistently and offer multiple capabilities to serve multiple hiring needs.
#1 iCIMS Talent Cloud
The AI-powered cloud-based software comes in a three-product suit recruitment suit which can be integrated with an organization’s existing ATS or recruitment software. The ATS software has been designed to streamline and accelerate the recruitment processes of medium to large organizations – from screening candidates to onboarding new employees.
Gartner recognized iCIMS ATS as a talent solution preferred by Inc. 500 for 12 consecutive years. iCIMS solutions bring in an ecosystem of 700-plus HR partners helping organizations to improve their core talent acquisition capabilities.
- Easy-to-navigate and user-friendly interface available as a desktop and mobile application
- Tracks metrics such as hiring source, cost per hire, and time required to fill a position, among others.
- Customizable templates for consistent branding
- Friendly customer support
- Automates and streamlines the recruitment marketing and candidate engagement process
- Digital reference checking for automating candidate verification
- Other ancillaries include text messaging via candidate-preferred messaging apps, talent assessments, video interviews, and opportunity marketplace.
|1||Leverages data and metrics to improve recruiting||Implementation of the software can get complex as the software has a learning curve|
|2||Allows documenting and sharing of candidate information for collaborative review||Resume management software suffers from frequent issues|
|3||Organizations target their recruitment efforts to platforms that yield the best results|
|4||Scalable and a great long-term hiring option|
The price is available on request.
#2 Greenhouse Recruiting
Greenhouse Recruiting software is said to be the leading ATS solution that provides a structured, automated, and robust hiring software suite for all organizations, from startups to enterprises. It has over 325 technology partners.
It offers a user-friendly and intuitive candidate experience, facilitates workflow management, and serves as a collaboration tool to screen the best candidate profiles.
- Structured and bias-free approach for positive candidate experience
- Tracks hiring process via reports and surveys
- Suitable for all levels of organizations
- Advanced data configuration and integration with existing systems
- Customizable career pages, feedback surveys, job boards, and candidate scorecards for a seamless hiring experience
- CRM module to onboard new employees
- Localized experience for candidates via multi-language support
- Other features include a candidate pipeline, alerts, and notifications, Google Sheets integration, predictive analysis, etc.
|1||Better candidate experience through organized and professional interviews and transparent rejection emails||Lacks advanced reporting capabilities|
|2||Easier to navigate and implement||Inefficient customer support|
|3||Dashboards for a 360-degree view of a candidate’s profile||Expensive for small and mid-size businesses|
|4||Seamless integration capabilities with external sources and HR platforms|
|5||Great collaboration tool for better recruiting decisions|
|6||Interview Scheduling and scorecards for well-planned and structured interviews|
Price is available on request on the company website.
Freshteam by Freshworks is an award-winning cloud-based software to streamline and manage all HR needs, including screening, hiring, onboarding, and even offboarding. The ATS software offers multiple capabilities, modules, and tools that recruiters can use to track applicants and recruit a qualified candidate. It is suitable for small, medium, and large organizations.
- Integration with multiple job portals, social media, and HR sites
- Customizable and composable career site
- Collaborative screening and recruiting via modules
- Assists in the creation of onboarding task lists
- Talent pool with a database of employee profiles
- Management of employee time-offs and quick overview of the leaves and absenteeism trends
- Excellent communication and candidate engagement tools to text, mail, notify and engage with candidate profiles
- Mobile app to access and manage candidate hiring on the go
- Other features include organizational charts, feedback forms, centralized hiring dashboards, etc.
|1||Simplifies vacancy posting on job portals via smooth integrations and customizable templates||Offers limited customizations and module updations|
|2||Offers several collaborative tools for hiring teams||Delayed customer support|
|3||Allows personalization and automation of the recruitment process||Inefficient live chat function|
|4||The API permits value-added integrations to amplify capabilities and better manage workflow||Expensive for small and medium size businesses|
|5||User-friendly mobile app to source, screen, and finalize candidates anytime, anywhere|
|6||Secure and intuitive UI for smooth workflows|
|7||Efficient tracking of candidates during the hiring process and the provision of metrics to analyze the hiring process|
|8||Efficient vendor management.|
The website states four plans suitable for organizations operating at different levels and scales:
- Basic plan is free forever
- Growth plan at $1 plus a $59.99 platform fee per month
- Pro plan at $2 plus a platform fee of $99 per month
- Enterprise plan at $4 plus a platform fee of $169.99 per month.
Workable is a popular recruiting software with a user base of 27,000 companies and a database of 70 million candidates. The software is a suite of AI-powered tools and processes for all your recruitment needs, including sourcing and selecting candidates, simplifying decision-making, and streamlining the hiring process.
It received a VC funding of $50 million in a Series C round, making it one of the most prominent ATS software firms.
- AI-powered intelligent automation and a vast database allow for quality vetting and faster decisions
- Helps in centralizing resumes and interview-related information on a single timeline
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- One-click job posting and other talent acquisition and recruitment functionalities
- Suitable for small and medium-sized businesses
- Accommodates GDPR, EEOC, and OFCCP standards as laws to offer greater compliance to the users
- Available as an iOS and Android app
- Integrates with social media apps, recruiting tools, calendars, HR tech, and related software for seamless working
- Auto-generated reports
|1||Fault-tolerant infrastructure with a guaranteed uptime of 99.8% for consistent performance.||Issues with files attaching to candidate profiles|
|2||Reduction in time used for sourcing candidates via centralized resumes and bringing interview information and interaction of candidates on a single timeline.||Lacking enough customization options|
|3||Great customer support||Difficult in centralizing documents other than resumes|
|4||Real-time tracking of information||Limited for larger firms looking to onboard candidates via an automated solution|
|5||Simple to learn and use|
|6||Interview scheduling option for potential candidates|
|7||Faster hiring from a database of 400 million candidates|
|8||Ability to create job descriptions with branding across 200 plus sites and easily integrates with 40 plus suites and HR tech for a seamless hiring experience|
Its flexible Monthly plan is available at a monthly fee of $129. Access the services when they are needed. If the organization wants to hire the entire suite of functionalities, they need to get in touch with the company to get a quote.
Paycor is a cloud-based HR system that serves the hiring needs of medium and small enterprises. The software can be customized for various industries and comes with core features to assist in hiring, payroll, learning and development, and time tracking.
The company has been active in HR for over 30 years and serves 28,000 plus clients today. It can serve organizations of varying sizes having 1-1000 employees.
- Automates recruiting and onboarding with multiple branded career sites
- Centralized HR to put employee information in one place
- Employee referral rewards
- Real-time analytics
- Tracks the hiring process and helps in leveraging analytics to gain insights into and maximize employee benefit packages
- Streamlines payroll processes
|1||Automates and streamlines all core HR tasks, including hiring, payroll, and time data, for a centralized system to manage employees via a unified platform.||Issues in payroll and time data integration|
|2||Helps employees to choose and access various learning tools and train effectively||Slow reporting and frequent bugs|
|3||Automatic uploading of applicant data and modifications to eliminate duplicate entries|
|4||Provides useful insights into future hiring costs and current employee needs by combining HR, payroll, and time data|
|5||Accessible via any internet-connected device|
|6||Reduced employee turnover and increased morale|
|7||It helps employees to get a clear understanding of their career motives and goals|
The pricing is available on request based on the industry and company size.
ATS vs. Recruiting software
While an ATS solution optimizes and structures the hiring process, a CRM or recruiting software helps to strengthen the relationship between recruiters and potential candidates. A hiring team would employ CRM capabilities after ATS has done its job of selecting a qualified candidate.
Recruiting software is a part of recruitment marketing and would assist the talent acquisition team in engaging with passive candidates or the selected profiles. ATS, on the other hand, automates administrative and hiring tasks to improve and quicken the hiring process.
Today, companies are evolving from goal-oriented units into employee-centric organizations and a full-fledged work economy. As such, organizations must meticulously search for talent that turns into productive employees and contributes to its success and growth.
A good ATS solution is critical for any organization looking to hire great talent and enhance the candidate experience successfully. With 70% to 80% of the recruitment happening during the pre-applicant phase, a robust and efficient ATS solution can help recruiters to simplify, structure, and customize their hiring process to attract, source, and hire the best candidates.
FAQs on Applicant Tracking Software
What is an ATS?
An ATS or applicant tracking software is a software solution that helps to automate and streamline crucial HR functions like applicant sourcing and hiring, tracking, interview scheduling, candidate engagement and communication, and other related HR functions. A good ATS software can help save a lot of time, effort, and resources for the talent acquisition team, which can be put into more core functions.
For what is Applicant Tracking Software suitable?
Applicant tracking systems use deep parsing and AI-enabled tools to filter the best candidates from a database of millions and create a hiring funnel to select the qualified candidates faster and more efficiently.
An ATS solution is also suitable for tracking the hiring progress, scheduling and managing interviews and related candidate communication, sourcing talent from multiple sources, providing a unified platform for all hiring needs, and providing insightful analytics to improve the hiring process.
How does an ATS software screen resume?
An ATS solution screens the resume based on the minimum qualification and keywords to eliminate the unsuitable candidate profile. It then parses resumes based on the preferred qualifications using AI-enabled contextual screening tools to spot better suitable candidates. From amongst the shortlisted candidates, the ATS imports data and collects them as candidate profiles to be viewed and selected for the interview phase.
Is ATS the same as HRMS?
Though both software solutions are employed to assist the hiring process, there’s one fundamental difference between the two. An ATS solution compiles the applicant information, while an HR Information System (HRIS) stores, tracks, and utilizes employee data.
What ATS do recruiters use?
Recruiters deploy ATS functionalities that fit their hiring needs. However, certain best-performing ATS solutions include iCIMS, Greenhouse, Paycor, workable, Freshteam, etc.