Picking the best Applicant Tracking System



This is a report of a demo consulting project I worked on with the aim to build a background that can assist a business to pick an Applicant Tracking System based on their needs. In the following sections we will build a theoretical background and move on the details on how to pick the best one.


An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software system that improves the hiring and interviewing process of a business. It does this by integrating all communication between the HR and the Candidates under a single platform. This can be done by managing job postings, sourcing candidates, managing the scheduling of interviews and reviewing candidates in a single front-end.

Who uses ATS

A JobScan research found that over 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS while a Kelly OCG survey estimated that 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations rely on
recruitment software. And these numbers continue to grow. [src]

Some of the features that are provided through an ATS platform are:

Limitations of ATS

  • Bad parsing
    Bad parsing can lead the ATS to neglect capable candidates
  • No perfect matching
    While ATS systems recommend candidates, the recommended candidates might not be the perfect match
  • Single point of failure / security issues
    If the system gets hacked lots of sensitive information will be leaked to the web
  • Fraud applications
    Applicants can game the system by containing hidden text in their CV
  • Language / local job boards integration
    Custom code must be implemented to achieve interoperability with local job boards

Misconceptions about ATS

  1. ATS will NOT solve sourcing problems
    This is based on how popular the business is
  2. ATS will NOT solve applicants quality problems
    This is affected by the local job market conditions
  3. ATS will NOT find and match the perfect candidate
    The HR team needs to review all candidates thoroughly
  4. The setup of an ATS system is NOT time consuming
    In some cases it is just a few clicks away
  5. You DO NOT need other platforms like Candidate Relationship Management
    Some ATS systems provide similar functionality

Key factors to evaluate an ATS

In order to choose which ATS system to purchase you need to have a good idea of what you want of the following three key factors.

  • Features
  • Pricing
  • Infrastructure

Common ATS features

The ATS provide many features, choose the ones that matter most to your business model.

  • Manage company career page
  • Manage open job positions
  • Publish job positions to many platforms
  • Collect applications to a single place
  • Rank applicants based on criteria
  • Filter based on other criteria
  • Perform search on previous collected data
  • Analytics
  • Collaboration tools
  • Interview pipelines (steps)
  • Applicants steps tracking
  • Automatic status update emails
  • Manage meetings / interviews schedules
  • API updates (webhooks)
  • Plugin support for 3rd parties
  • Resume parsing
  • Law compliance
  • Integration with other tools

Pricing Models

Different ATS provide different pricing models, choose one that suits most your business.

  • Pay per job post
  • Pay per applicant
  • Pay per employee
  • Flat fee

Infrastructure of ATS

Where your ATS is located places an important role on your decision. Its a tradeoff between security and pricing in most cases.

  • Cloud / SaaS
  • On Site
  • Integration (modular)

Some other criteria to consider

Here are some other criteria to consider before choosing an ATS that might be important.

  • Security
  • User friendly interface
  • Provides an API
  • Plugin interface
  • Mobile access
  • AI capabilities

Plan to choose an ATS

Below is a 7 step plan I designed in order to pick the perfect ATS system for your business.

  1. Identify business requirements
    (budget, features, goals)
  2. Research ATS options
  3. Evaluate features
  4. Check integrations
  5. Compare pricing
  6. Demo 2-3 of the best choices
  7. Pick the best fit or work an in house solution

Some ATS Recommendations

  • Workable
  • BambooHR
  • JazzHR
  • Recruitee
  • Zoho
  • Lever
  • SmartRecruiters
  • Rippling
  • GreenHouse
  • Freshteam
  • Jobville
  • Breezy HR
  • RecruiterBox


Reading the provided information above I believe that one can build a strong background on how to evaluate and pick the perfect ATS for their business needs.

If you or your business needs consulting or assistance with other software solutions feel fee to contact me on LinkedIn to discuss the details.


On the date I wrote this Article I am not affiliated with any ATS system, nor I receive any payment to promote any of the recommended ATS systems.