Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Best Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) include:

Greenhouse, Jobvite, LinkedIn Talent Hub, JobDiva, and SmartRecruiters.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) TrustMap

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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

(1-3 of 203) Sorted by Most Reviews

Drafted
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.
Recruit CRM
Recruit CRM is an Applicant Tracking System which is designed to help recruitment agencies, executive search firms, headhunters, and independent recruiters perform better. Recruit CRM helps you manage candidates, clients, contacts, resumes, and emails in one place. Source candidates, clients, and …
WizeHire
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…

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.