Best ATS Software Buyer’s Guide 2022

What Is ATS Software?

ATS stands for applicant tracking system. This software is an HR tool that helps with recruiting and hiring as well as collecting and sorting thousands of resumes.

How Do ATS Systems Work?

ATS systems work by collecting and storing resumes in a cloud-based database. These resumes are only accessible by hiring professionals and can be stored for years at a time. ATS software focuses on streamlining the hiring process in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Creating job postings
  • Publishing jobs to company websites and job boards
  • Screening applicants
  • Tracking applicant statuses
  • Storing applicant information
  • Simplifying the job offering process 

ATS software offers numerous features, such as: 

  • Candidate sourcing 
  • Resume storage
  • Resume parsing 
  • Filters
  • Keyword search
  • Applicant communication 
  • Job posting distribution
  • Automated email customizations

Do Small Companies Use ATS?

Some small companies use an applicant tracking system for hiring purposes, but most haven’t yet made the change to this digital software. However, as ATS systems continue to rise in popularity and functionality, smaller businesses may be more likely to implement this software into their company. 

What Are the Different Types of Applicant Tracking Systems? 

Applicant tracking systems are available in two different operations: stand-alone and integrated. Which one you choose will depend on your company’s needs, the operating costs, and if you want a system that can easily work with other software. 

Stand-Alone ATS 

Stand-alone applicant tracking systems usually focus on one aspect of HR services. This type of ATS is better suited for companies that have very unique applicant tracking needs. 

HR Management Suite With Integrated ATS

This type of applicant tracking system is seen as an all-in-one solution that combines HRIS systems with ATS software. Having these two systems together streamlines HR and hiring processes and makes it easier to manage HR administration. 

What Is the Difference Between ATS and HRIS? 

The main difference between ATS and HRIS software is when they are used. ATS systems are used during the pre-employment phase to organize and keep track of applicants. Once an employee is hired, the HRIS system tracks their employment, training, compensations, and more. 

Additionally, HRIS and ATS systems offer different features and supporting functions, meaning companies need to integrate both software options for maximum efficiency. 

ATS Software vs Recruiting Software

ATS and recruiting software seem to offer similar features. However, ATS systems filter, manage, and analyze potential candidates for open positions. On the other hand, recruiting software is better suited for recruiting companies and enterprise businesses as it focuses on task management, public relations, social recruiting, and billing solutions. 


An ATS system optimizes the hiring process while a CRM is designed to build relationships between potential candidates and company recruiters. Unless your company is a staffing agency, an ATS will be more efficient for most businesses. 

What Are the Benefits of an Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant tracking systems offer a variety of benefits that enable companies to attract top talent, sort through resumes and applicants faster, and streamline the entire hiring process. Below are additional benefits that can help you make a decision about ATS systems. 

Customized Recruitment Process 

When your company is preparing to hire for new positions, you can create a customized recruitment process that completely fits your needs. Choose how and where you want to advertise your job and develop a hiring process that matches current company workflows. 

ATS systems allow you to add template job descriptions into the software, which makes posting open positions easier. Select which platforms you want to share your job posting on and the ATS system automatically uploads them to each site. 

Data Management 

With all applicant resumes and information gathered into one system, it makes data management easier and more efficient. Additionally, ATS systems can accommodate all new-hire paperwork into the online system, allowing new employees to quickly sign important documents at one time. 

Applicant Scoring and Ranking 

You can add specific filters, job skills, and keyword searches to the ATS software to help sort, score, and rank applicants as quickly as possible. Once the applicants are ranked, you can start interviewing the best candidates for the job based on their score and rank. 

Recruiting Analytics and Reporting 

ATS systems can compile hiring data that create enhanced reports. These reports help you see your hiring stats so you can improve your hiring strategy, making the entire process more effective. 

Boosting HR Efficiency 

With ATS software, HR administrators can hire faster, find better candidates, improve communication, and more. This saves your company time and money since the hiring process is quicker and easier. 

How to Choose the Best ATS Software for Your Business

Choosing the best ATS software for your business comes down to internal considerations, including: 

  • Your company size 
  • Your business needs 
  • Important features 
  • Software costs 
  • Other considerations 

ATS Software for Different Business Sizes 

An ATS system that is ideal for a Fortune 500 company may be too extensive for smaller or midsize businesses. Find an ATS system that is best suited for your company size. 


Enterprises and large companies need ATS software that offers specific functions, including: 

  • System intuitiveness
  • Multi-language support 
  • Supported industries 
  • Multicountry compliance 

Examples of enterprise vendors: Oracle Taleo and iCIMS 

Midsize Business 

Midsize businesses may struggle to find ATS software that fits their needs. This is because most ATS systems are built for larger or small companies; however, it is not impossible to get software that is the perfect fit. 

Midsize companies need specific ATS functions, including: 

  • Speedy hire times 
  • Growth flexibility 
  • Offering scalability 

Examples of midsize vendors: Jobvite and Workable 

Small Business 

A small business needs ATS software that is specifically optimized for smaller companies. What works for a large or midsize company may be too much for small businesses, meaning these companies need specialized functions, including customizable software and affordability. 

Examples of small vendors: ApplicantStack and JazzHR

What Are the Most Important Features of an ATS Software? 

ATS systems offer various features and benefits that make finding and hiring new employees easier. However, the features you need depend on your company processes, business size, and how you want the system to help you. Some important ATS features can include: 

  • Job board integration — Easily add your job postings to job boards that are linked to your software.  
  • Application tracking — You can track how many applicants have applied for the job and monitor their progress through the hiring process.  
  • Resume parsing — Turn submitted documents into a digital format that works within your software. Then, scan them and sort them based on different factors.  
  • Interview tools — Interview tools can include video interviews, predetermined interview questions, company culture information, and more that make the interview process easier for both your company and applicants.  
  • Candidate messaging — You can message potential candidates within the ATS system to keep communication clear and all messages in one place.  
  • Chatbots — When a potential employee is applying for a job in your company, a chatbot can be added to the site to help answer any questions they have while submitting their information.  
  • Company profile — You can include a company profile along with your job posting to help candidates determine if the job is a good fit on both sides.  
  • Reporting and analytics — Get detailed reports and analysis of your recruitment processes to help identify inefficiencies and areas that need improvement.  
  • Cloud storage — Cloud-based ATS systems help you easily save applicant information and resumes in an external storage space until you need them again.  
  • Internal candidate portal — Job openings aren’t only for new employees. You can add an internal candidate portal to your ATS software to open up positions to your current team.  
  • Employee referral tool — Sometimes, your employees are the best resource for finding new talent. Adding an employee referral tool to your ATS software makes it simple for employees to submit new candidates to the company.  

You may not need all of these features in your ATS system, but each of them has the potential to make hiring new employees much easier. 

How Much Does ATS Software Cost? 

The cost of ATS software plays a big role in which system a company chooses. ATS systems are offered on two platforms: cloud-based and on-premise. A cloud-based ATS system is supported on eternal servers and the company pays — usually monthly — to access the remote server. On-premise ATS software works from a server stored at your facility and incurs additional costs, since your company is responsible for every aspect of the server. 

ATS software costs also vary based on the features you add to your system and which pricing model you use. ATS prices can range anywhere from $25 per user up to around $400 for monthly plans, based on the options you choose.  

What Are the Different Pricing Models?

ATS pricing models are broken up into three categories: pay per user, pay per job opening, and a flat fee option. The pricing model you choose will depend on your company’s needs and how often you need to use the ATS system. 

Pay Per User 

The pay-per-user pricing model is based on how many employees you have using the ATS software. Smaller companies may only have one or two HR employees accessing the system while larger businesses and corporations might have a dozen or so employees operating in the software. This pricing option is typically charged monthly and, depending on the vendor, prices can range from $60 to $100 per user. 

Pay Per Job Opening 

Some companies only use an ATS system when they want to post a new job, meaning they only pay when they have a new position to post. This service is usually priced between $5 and $20 per job posting, depending on which ATS vendor you choose. 

Flat Fee 

Some ATS vendors offer a flat monthly fee for their services, but this option is not standard for ATS systems. In addition to the monthly fee, there is usually a one-time installation fee to get started with the software. Flat-fee pricing models are mostly used for small and midsize companies, and prices typically run around $350 a month. 

Considerations When Purchasing Applicant Tracking Software 

System costs and company needs aren’t the only factors to consider when purchasing applicant tracking software. You want a system that is easy to use, simple to implement, and can integrate with your current software

Ease of Use 

If a system is hard to understand and implement, people aren’t going to want to use it. As you are researching ATS vendor options, look for software that is easy to use, simple to set up, and intuitive. Additionally, when an ATS system can be used easily with only minimal training, it saves you time and money since you don’t have to set up more training courses. 


A lot of HRIS vendors offer different pricing options. Some vendors offer different packages with more features in the higher-priced options. Other vendors offer subscription services with a cost per month based on the number of employees. You will need to decide not just on an overall budget for the HRIS but also whether that budget is for one lump sum paid up-front or whether it can be put instead towards a monthly cost.

ATS systems usually need to be integrated into software a company already uses. With this in mind, search for ATS software that can easily pair with the systems you already have in place, such as billing, payroll, and more. 


Adding ATS software to existing systems takes time and dedicated resources. When you are looking to buy an applicant tracking system for your company, ensure that you have enough time to properly implement the software. 

What Are the Best ATS Systems? 

The best ATS system is the one that fits your company’s needs and makes the hiring process easier. Here are some recommendations of the best ATS systems available.


  • Intuitive user interface 
  • Marketing-led recruiting
  • Detailed reporting and analytics
  • Built-in CRM tools 


  • Effectively scan candidates to reduces turnover rates
  • Provides continuous candidate engagement
  • Offers recruitment automation capabilities 
  • Enhances job opening visibility by posting to 4,000+ job boards

Oracle Taleo

  • Best for large enterprises
  • Built-in Fortune 500 interface
  • Mobile-first approach 

Smart Recruiters

  • Easy to use 
  • Intuitive user interface 
  • Delivered as a SaaS 


  • Candidate sourcing 
  • Create beautifully branded career sites
  • Works easily for candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers 


  • Easy customization 
  • Posts jobs to 200+ job sites
  • Built-in interview scheduling 

ATS systems are quickly becoming an integral part of business hiring practices. As more companies adopt this software, it is important to look ahead to future trends to see how processes may evolve. 

Social Recruiting 

Social recruiting is when companies take advantage of social media sites to advertise open positions within their corporation. An ATS system can make social recruiting easier by creating a workflow process, allowing companies to on social sites faster and more efficiently, determining which social media sites are most effective for recruiting, and connecting your hiring team with potential applicants. 

Considering the prevalence, reach and traction of social media sites, companies should take advantage of social recruiting to help them find new employees. 

Remote Recruiting 

Remote companies have the unique benefit of being able to hire employees from anywhere in the world. However, that can make finding the right candidates even more difficult. As more companies move to a remote workforce, ATS software makes remote recruiting easier. 

Video Interviews

Video interviewing is a great option for remote recruiting as well as general hiring practices. With these video options, you can quickly connect with applicants located anywhere without leaving your office. Additionally, you can choose between one-way and two-way interviews, meaning the applicant can record themselves answering pre-determined questions or you can meet with them across the screen. 


Artificial intelligence can be used to handle mundane and repetitive tasks associated with the hiring process. Currently, AI software can be used to sort and evaluate applicants and resumes, helping you find the best candidates faster. AI can also track and analyze your recruitment system to find pain points and inefficiencies, allowing you to continually improve your recruitment process. 

Web-Based and Mobile-First Platforms 

You’re unlikely to encounter a person who isn’t digitally connected through their phone. Most of your applicants will apply for the job through a mobile app or a web-based phone browser, so having these platforms in place making applying for jobs easier while also reducing the time it takes you to find new candidates. 

Additional Tips and Information 

As you move forward in deciding which ATS system is right for your business, there is additional information you may want to consider. 

What Is a Candidate Management System? 

A candidate management system is just another name for ATS software. It helps you source and attract candidates, review resumes, compile an applicant database, manage communications, interview candidates, and onboard new employees. 

Is Open-Source Recruitment Software Right for Your Company?

With open-source recruitment software, you receive a source code that allows you to develop your software manually. This option isn’t right for every company since you skilled developers to make it work, but the software can save businesses more money in the long run. 

Open-source recruitment software has a variety of features to consider, including: 

  • Freedom to make small changes to the system 
  • Needing development experts to implement, update, and maintain the software 
  • Possible lack of customer support since you run the system yourself
  • Getting comprehensive services with the higher costs of other software options

Evaluate all these options to determine if open-source recruitment software is right for your company. 

How to Evaluate and Select a Cloud-Based ATS 

Cloud-based ATS systems are becoming more popular than on-premise solutions and many companies are switching over to these digital platforms. When you are looking to implement cloud-based ATS software, consider the following features:

  • Style and intuitiveness — Choose a dashboard style that adequately represents your company while being easy to use and intuitive to learn.  
  • Sourcing model — Some cloud-based ATS options can easily integrate with certain job boards, social media sites, and career pages, helping you source more job applicants.  
  • System security — Cloud-based ATS systems decrease the risk of internal breaches, but you will want to use stricter encryption and cybersecurity measures to protect your software. 
  • Language and cultural support — Consider a cloud-based ATS system that supports multiple language and culture options if you plan to operate in different areas.  
  • System costs — A cloud-based ATS system is usually billed as SaaS software, meaning you’ll pay for services monthly which may make system costs more affordable.  

What You Should Know About Resume Parsing 

Resume parsing is when AI systems convert resumes, CVs, and other candidate documentation into a digital format that works within an ATS system. Once the documents are converted, the system quickly scans for experience, education, and specific job-related skills. This scan filters out unqualified candidates and compiles the best-suited applicants for the job, speeding up the hiring process by putting top talent at the top of the list. 

Need Help Choosing the Right ATS Software for Your Business? 

Finding and hiring top talent for your company can be a daunting task. ATS systems make this process easier and more efficient, saving companies time and money in the long run. However, choosing the right ATS system for your company may be difficult without guidance. The Matchr team offers hand-picked ATS recommendations based on your company’s unique needs, taking the hassle out of finding a system by yourself. 

Tools & services for the human resources manager and management in your company to find the right candidate for the job. With the right tool, you’ll get the right app! When you need ATS software for your company, we’re here to match you with the right one.

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