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Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Best 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 a type of software used to manage recruiting operations. It is generally available as a cloud or web-based service. The hub of the software is a database of candidates. Connected to the hub are job listings on job boards and the company website, which feed candidates’ applications into the hub. Recruiters can post and manage job listings from within the hub. Recruiters can also communicate with candidates from within the hub via email or social networks like LinkedIn.

However, since it’s often associated with old-school passive recruitment methods, the term "ATS" has been phasing out in favor of "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 piece that stores submitted applications.

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 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 recruiting tools 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

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


ATS vs. Active Recruitment

Taking a candidate relationship management approach to recruiting changes the paradigm of hiring. It holds that candidates should be treated much the same way as customers, and emphasizes providing a good experience for candidates. It’s the job of recruiters to actively market to prospective employees, to get them interested in the company and job opening, and make sure they have a smooth experience with the company.

Most traditional applicant tracking systems (ATS) simplify the hiring process for the employer. At the same time, some make it more difficult for the applicant. This is where the candidate experience and engagement strategies of modern recruiting software come in.

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:

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.

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.

More Resources

Applicant Tracking Products

Listings (176-191 of 191)

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Klimb is a recruiting software that offers automation and AI capabilities to distinguish it from other applicant tracking systems. It was Founded by Prashanth Thiruvaipati, an ISB alumni and former product head of Naukri.com, to address unresolved problems in recruiting and provide a user-friendly …

We don't have enough ratings and reviews to provide an overall score.

LiveHire headquartered in Melbourne offers a Talent Acquisition & Engagement Platform, which is designed to dramatically accelerates end-to-end recruitment processes and improve the candidate experience.

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OnBlick in Irving offers ATS and onboarding solutions with an emphasis on HR analytics and corporate compliance in immigrant hiring.

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WizeHire is designed to help the user create quality job ads using job ad templates and hiring coaches to attract more quality candidates. WizeHire posts job ads to 60+ job boards and helps assess candidates in one online dashboard with resumes and personality fit reports to find the right fit to gr…

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Invenias by Bullhorn is a software platform for senior-level & strategic executive search firms, designed to enable search firms to win the business, deliver the business, and manage the business from a single tool - Invenias.

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OpenCATS is a Free and Open Source Candidate/Applicant Tracking System designed for Recruiters to manage recruiting process from job posting, candidate application, through to candidate selection and submission.

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Burning Glass is a recruitment solution with features such as real-time analytics, workflow automation, and customization to different recruiting needs.

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Beetween is a digital recruitment and CV management platform from the French company of the same name.

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Keka HR is an HR & Payroll Management System. The vendor states that Keka's architecture has reshaped employee experience and adaptability in India, and further state that with all HR functionality under 1 umbrella, Keka has made a huge dent in the HRMS ecosystem. Key Features: Payroll manageme…

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QPage is a SaaS, AI-powered end-to-end recruitment and On-boarding automation software. The vendor describes its features as: Offering auto JD,Auto shortlisting,Semi crowd-sourced interviews,Assessment kits,Dynamic vacancy pipeline,Auto generated org. chart,Advanced reporting modulesTribesOn-boardi…

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vsource is an on-demand talent sourcing platform designed to help recruitment teams become more efficient, improve throughput with talent searches, and gain insights relative to the talent pool. The vendor states that vsource can save each recruiter up to 20h per week with the latest in AI, talent a…

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HaQen is an applicant tracking and recruiting software solution offered by HarQen, Inc.

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Doximity Talent Finder is a recruiting tool based on the Doximity medical network, which has over 950,000 verified members and a directory of every MD, DO, NP & PA in the U.S. Doximity Talent Finder allows users to search for candidates with advanced filters, post job listings, reach out to cand…

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Drafted is a network recruiting platform. Whether it's proactive referrals, social sourcing, continuous employee engagement, or outreach at scale, Drafted promises to enable teams to 2x their talent pipeline within 90 days.

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CRM-Recruitment is a customized and tuned Applicant Tracking System based on SugarCRM. It is compatible with any version of SugarCRM and can run on top of SugarCRM 7.5 – Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate, as well as free editions – SugarCRM Community or SuiteCRM.The functionality includes both orig…

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3sourcing is a recruiting software built around providing clients with a search engine built through indexing and aggregating social sites.

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2019

2019 Top Rated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

There are plenty of options out there, but here's our shortlist of the best Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. To qualify, a product must have 10 or more recent reviews and a trScore of 7.5 or higher, indicating above-average satisfaction for business technology. The products with the highest trScores appear first on the list. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 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.