Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

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Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) Overview

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is used to manage recruiting operations. It is generally available as a cloud or web-based service. Applicant tracking systems’ core functionality is to house and serve a database of candidates. ATS products connect the database to job listings on job boards and the company website to centralize applications and candidates for recruiters. Recruiters can post and manage job listings from within the ATS. Recruiters can also communicate with candidates from within the platform via email or social networks like LinkedIn.


However, since it’s often associated with old-school passive recruitment methods, the term "ATS" has become interchangeable with much "recruiting software." The shift in language indicates a market trend towards software allowing recruiters to better manage the recruitment process, from recruitment marketing to job applications and hiring. It typically has four major functions:


  1. Facilitating sourcing of job candidates

  2. Collecting and managing resumes

  3. Managing interaction with job candidates

  4. Candidate Relationship Management


Today, ‘ATS’ may refer to the whole recruiting platform, or just the database that stores submitted applications.

Applicant Tracking System Features & Capabilities

ATS and recruiting platforms assist with each stage of finding and hiring new employees. Basic ATS platforms aggregate and manage resumes. Today, it’s typical for recruiting software to include features around:

  • Job requisition management

  • Company website posting

  • Social media publishing

  • Job search site posting

  • Customizable applications forms

  • Resume management

  • Duplicate candidate prevention

  • Candidate search

  • Applicant tracking

  • Collaboration

  • Task creation and delegation

  • Email templates for communication with candidates

  • User permissions

  • Notifications and alerts (particularly for interviews

  • Standard reports on key recruiting metrics

More advanced appl may include additional features, such as:

  • Integrated background checks

  • Experience/education verification

  • Candidate screening tools

  • Video interview capabilities

  • Integration with onboarding/talent management software

  • EOE compliance checking

  • White-labeled career sites

  • Personalized candidate outreach and advertising

Recruiting is a core component of talent management. Most of the products listed in the talent management category offer recruiting capabilities as part of a broader suite that includes onboarding, performance management, compensation, learning, etc.

Recruitment Management

This is the core functionality that allows users to manage the recruitment process. Common capabilities include:


  • Email and resume parsing

  • Scheduling and calendars

  • Analytics and reporting (to assess which approaches work)

  • Mobile accessibility/mobile apps

  • Referral programs

  • CRM-type features for storing candidate information

Recruitment Marketing

As competition for top talent increases, applicant tracking systems’ candidate outreach methods are increasingly reflecting traditional marketing approaches. For instance, recruiting software is now starting to provide capabilities for creating and managing career sites and running personalized ad campaigns targeting talent leads for companies’ positions. Like traditional marketing tools, these recruiting functions are also becoming increasingly automated as well. Recruitment marketing capabilities can be found within larger ATS or recruiting platforms and as point solutions.


Recruitment marketing can enable businesses to target their recruiting efforts both by the job segment they’re looking to fill and by specific candidates. The latter function is enhanced by integrations with organizations’ ATS or CRM databases that support hyper-personalized and granular ad campaigns.


Tools designed for an active recruitment strategy focus on searching for and communicating with candidates who might not have applied yet, or even be actively seeking a new job yet. Software solutions like SmashFly act as a kind of recruiting CRM platform, to store candidates’ contact information and a history of past communications. LinkedIn Talent is another major player in this arena. Some vendors specialize in aggregating this information to make it easily searchable, including:



Diversity in Recruiting Software

In recent years, organizations have begun including diversity metrics and goals in their recruiting processes. Recruitment software vendors have responded by offering a range of tools and features to assist this growing emphasis on diversity in the workplace. While not all diverse recruiting tools have core ATS functions, they often overlap substantially or integrate easily with applicant tracking systems. However, some applicant tracking systems identify diversity in recruiting as a core value proposition, such as Greenhouse.


There are generally two complementary goals that applicant tracking software can assist recruiters with when improving diversity. Products will usually remove instances or influences of unconscious bias on recruiters’ processes, or they will enable recruiters to actively seek out and improve diversity rates in their candidate pools. In many cases, recruitment processes will need to leverage features in both areas.


Applicant tracking and recruiting software can help recruiters achieve these goals in a variety of ways. The most common features include:


  • Native prebuilt pools for tracking diverse candidates- this overlaps heavily with recruitment marketing

  • Resume parsing tools- some parsers will scrub all demographic or bias-triggering information from application materials

  • Diversity recruitment metric tracking- how are current recruiting efforts performing against diversity goals?

Resume Parsing Software

Resume Parsing is a specific activity that falls under the umbrella of application tracking and recruiting operations. Tools designed for resume parsing automate the process of gathering, analyzing and storing resume data. There are three common types of resume parsing tools: Keywork-based for simple keyword and phrase recognition, grammar-based for deciphering each sentence, and statistical for leveraging numerical models of text in the entire resume.

Some vendors offer recruitment software or ATS suites that include some resume parsing or functionality. However, there are a few resume parsing point solutions available as well.


These include:



Applicant Tracking Systems Comparison

To compare different ATS products, you likely want to consider evaluating these aspects of the software:

  1. Recruiting agency vs. In-house recruiting focus: Some applicant tracking systems focus on servicing recruiting agencies and firms, with scaling for high volume and white labelling for recruiting clients. Other ATS products are designed more for in-house recruiting, including more personalization and automated processes. While most ATS offer capabilities for both groups, trends in which user groups prefer a given product are usually identifiable in reviewer demographic information.

  2. Support for Candidate Relationship Management: With an increasing focus on attracting talent that isn’t actively job-seeking, Candidate Relationship Management features are an essential component of inbound recruiting. CRM capabilities enable long-term candidate tracking to build out your talent pool, as well as recruiting campaign management. Determine how you want to go about establishing relationships with passive candidates, and what specific CRM features support that kind of relationship, be it email communications, advertising/job marketing content, social media content, etc.

  3. Core applicant tracking vs. full recruiting cycle support: There are still some ATS products that focus solely on tracking candidates’ application materials, but most have expanded to support other aspects of the recruiting process, up to the full recruiting lifecycle. Common differentiation points in feature lists include support for interviews, note taking, document signing and management, scheduling, and integration with onboarding systems.

Start an ATS comparison

Pricing Information

Pricing for ATS and recruitment software varies depending on the focus of the vendor and the size of the company/candidate pool. Specific pricing is available by a custom quote from most vendors. Costs can range from thousands of dollars per year to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, depending on the number of features, integrations, recruiting users, and applicants you need in the system.


Applicant Tracking Products

(1-25 of 207) Sorted by Most Reviews

Ceridian Dayforce

Ceridian Dayforce HCM

Customer Verified
Top Rated
TRUE

Ceridian Dayforce HCM is a cloud-based platform encompassing HR, payroll, benefits, and talent and workforce management. It provides companies with a scalable framework and real-time data, such as continual pay calculations, to enable efficient decision-making.

Paycor

Paycor

Customer Verified

Paycor provides core HR functions scaled towards small and mid-sized businesses. Paycor offers an integrated benefits platform for interfacing directly with insurance carriers and an adaptable time management platform.

Ascentis

Ascentis

Customer Verified

Ascentis HR uses web-based management programs to help automate complex HR processes. It's fully integrated with Ascentis’ other services including customizable payroll, time and attendance and recruiting modules.

iCIMS Talent Cloud

iCIMS

Customer Verified
TRUE

iCIMS is a web-based applicant tracking system (ATS). The tool's talent recruiting and management functions include features like social recruiting, talent sourcing, offer management, and onboarding. The programs are centralized on iCIMS’s UNIFi platform and are scaled for mid-sized…

SmartRecruiters

SmartRecruiters’ Talent Acquisition Suite is a cloud-based recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring platform. It features an open marketplace for third party recruitment services. SmartRecruiters also offers talent sourcing and screening as add-on features.

JobDiva

JobDiva

Customer Verified
Top Rated

JobDiva is a global applicant tracking system (ATS) and front-to-back talent management solution. JobDiva combines a CRM, synchronization with all major job boards and VMS providers, BI analytics, a mobile app, and a resume database. JobDiva also advertises unique search filters…

Jobvite

Jobvite

Customer Verified
Top Rated

Jobvite is a full recruiting platform. It provides features across the recruiting funnel - from sourcing and managing candidates via CRM and managing workflows to communicating with hiring managers and reporting through custom dashboards and reports.

Workday Human Capital Management

Workday Human Capital Management is built as a cloud-based system with global consistency in user experience. Workday HCM is part of a broader system with other Workday products.

Bullhorn ATS & CRM

Bullhorn Recruitment CRM is a SaaS based solution that offers a suite of features typical of applicant tracking systems: a mobile app, batch or mass communication with potential candidates via multiple channels, instantaneous posting to multiple job boards, resume parsing, and data…

Greenhouse

Greenhouse is an applicant tracking and hiring tool. Greenhouse features automated workflow, recruitment analytics, CRM, and onboarding. It is scaled for mid-sized to large companies and enterprises.

LinkedIn Talent Hub

LinkedIn Talent is a recruiting solution. It offers core ATS capabilities, as well as proactive recruitment outreach tailored to LinkedIn’s site. LinkedIn Talent also enables competitive insights and recruitment marketing.

SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors is a suite of HR/HCM products covering these capability areas: core HR and payroll, recruiting and onboarding, learning and development, performance and compensation management, workforce analytics and planning, and employee experience management.

isolved

isolved

Customer Verified

isolved is a SaaS-based, cloud-resident Human Capital Management (HCM) solution that provides Payroll, HR, Benefits Administration, Time & Attendance, Talent Management and Compliance. Employers have the ability to schedule an upcoming shift, view overtime levels, run a customized…

BambooHR

BambooHR

Top Rated
Starting Price $59

BambooHR is an on-line human resources solution that provides onboarding, payroll, and benefits management. It also offers automated time-off management and employee self-service.

ZipRecruiter

ZipRecruiter is a cloud-based ATS platform. It offers a basic set of features typical of ATS, including job board posting, a mobile format, candidate screening, integration with social networking sites, white labelling, and unlimited users. Ziprecruiter is targeted at SMBs.

JazzHR

JazzHR is an ATS and recruiting software. JazzHR aims to replace antiquated hiring processes like email and spreadsheets with an intuitive applicant tracking system that helps recruiters and hiring managers build a scalable and effective recruiting process.

PCRecruiter

PCRecruiter is a web-based recruiting platform. It supports candidate sourcing and placement via candidate tracking, job advertising, CRM, applicant tracking, and salesforce automation.

SmartSearch

SmartSearch is a web-based talent acquisition and staffing management software. Features include job posting to job boards and social media outlets, resume parsing, and automated workflow. SmartSearch advertises robust customer service and implementation assistance.

PeopleFluent Mirror Suite for Talent Management

PeopleFluent Mirror Suite for Talent Management includes modules for recruiting, performance management, compensation, learning, succession, and vendor management, as well as workforce planning and diversity. These modules can be purchased separately or bundled, and integrate with…

SilkRoad Recruiting

SilkRoad offers OpenHire, a recruiting and ATS system. It offers recruiting access through social media channels, data security, and EEO compliance for mid-sized to large businesses. It is a component of SilkRoad’s Lifesuite product line.

CATS Applicant Tracking System

CATS ATS

Starting Price $69

CATS is a web-based recruiting software. Users can manage the entire recruiting process including custom job applications, posting jobs, resume parsing, custom recruitment workflows, and generating customized reports. Pricing is tiered per user, per month.

IBM Kenexa Talent Acquisition Suite

IBM Kenexa Talent Acquisition Suite is an enterprise grade ATS and onboarding solution. It allows companies to find the right talent, track and manage candidates, and use candidate data to spot trends within the applicant pool.

Workable

Workable

Starting Price $19

Workable is a recruiting software with HR integrations and AI-powered candidate sourcing. It has SEO-optimized job descriptions and one-click advertising across popular job boards. Workable also features communication tracking, real-time syncing, reporting, and mobile accessibility…

Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit is a cloud-based ATS. Zoho offers a full suite of features typical of applicant tracking systems, including social recruiting and resume parsing. Its custom automatable reports enable analyses of processing and information sharing. It is available in Free, Standard, and…

CEIPAL TalentHire

CEIPAL TalentHire is a recruiting software solution offered by CEIPAL TalentHire.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software that allows a business to track the records of candidates for positions in their business. ATS’s at their core should store and organize candidates’ application materials, such as resumes and references, but frequently support other aspects of the application process, such as skills assessments and interview notes.

What’s the difference between inbound and outbound recruiting?

Outbound recruiting is a method of recruiting conducted in response to specific, immediate hiring needs, including posting the opening on job boards and other job marketplaces. In contrast, inbound recruiting is a more long-term strategy that emphasizes building your company’s brand and image among candidates. The target audience in inbound recruiting also includes potential candidates who are not currently job-seeking but would still be a desirable hire.

How do ATS’s read resumes?

Applicant Tracking Systems use variations of Resume Parsing technology to read resumes. The sophistication of this technology can range from simply scanning resumes and application materials for various keywords, to employing Natural Language Processing to measure the quality of a candidate’s application and how close a match a candidate is to the job description.

What’s the difference between Applicant Tracking Software and Recruiting software?

Applicant Tracking Software is a subset of Recruiting software. While historically, ATS’s were clearly distinct from other recruiting software, such as video interview, background checking, and resume parsing products, these functions have been consolidating into unified products for managing the full applicant lifecycle, with ATS as the foundation for the rest of the processes.

How much do ATS’s cost?

ATS’s prices are impacted primarily by whether it is a standalone product or part of a larger HR suite, which would increase the overall cost but could be more efficient for your broader HR functions. Standalone ATS’s rarely advertising exact pricing on the front end, but the price frequently scales by the range of processes supported, the number of candidates’ data are stored, or the number of job postings being managed.