Pros & Cons of Submittable: Analysis of a Leading Applicant Tracking Software

What are the pros and cons of Submittable?
The pros and cons of Submittable as a submissions management and applicant tracking software are best observed in terms of flexibility. Thanks to its easy-to-use interface and the availability of various customization and branding options, any type of organization can leverage the program. Some features like submission tagging and sorting can be better, but not a deal-breaker in general.

For organizations that deal with hundreds of applications and submissions, using an applicant tracking software (ATS) is a must. But using one brings with it new issues if you pick the wrong solution. An ATS can be a bit technical to create smart forms or applicant portals, for instance. Or, it is inflexible to your unique workflows or lacks a mobile app that lets you target mobile-native Generation Z applicants. You may be looking for integration with key systems like HR, finance, and marketing, or a better way to collaborate inside the ATS. 

These problems are easily addressed by Submittable. Nevertheless, it is only prudent to take a closer look at the software for potential mismatched expectations. Hence, we prepared this guide on the pros and cons of Submittable. That way, you can quickly shortlist it among the top applicant tracking software and jumpstart your applicant processing sooner than later.

submittable pros and cons

Every company, big or small, needs to fill positions every once in a while. It’s estimated that large companies receive at least 250 applications per listing.

It’s not only companies hiring new talent that face the challenge of managing hundreds of applications or submissions. For instance, literary agents get around 150 submissions weekly. Meanwhile, grantmakers receive as many as 1,000 proposals per year.

As most, if not all, invitations, listings, and applications now happen online, it has become a necessity for organizations to utilize online tools for efficient collection and management of applications and submissions. With so many documents and so much information to sort, review, and respond to, you want a program that will help your team do everything faster.

Submissions management and applicant tracking solutions such as Submittable helps you do that and more. These programs not only support simplified submissions management but also facilitate team collaboration. With the help of such tools, your entire team can easily work together and maintain a streamlined workflow.

Source: Jobscan

Programs like Submittable let organizations create online submission forms for various purposes, including grants, job listings, online contests, and calls for entries. Applications and submissions are then collected and organized based on the user’s specified criteria or categories. Furthermore, one of the common features of ATS and submissions management systems is applicant tracking, which gives you an instant look at which stage of the application process a certain submission is currently at.

Now, you may have a number of submission management requirements, and you are probably wondering if Submittable has what it takes to meet them. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. This in-depth review of the pros and cons of Submittable should help you gauge whether it can bring value to you and your team.

What is Submittable?

Submittable dashboard

Submittable is a cloud-based submissions management solution designed for different types of entities, from commercial enterprises to nonprofit and educational institutions. It comes with an easy-to-use interface that lets users create and customize online forms and campaigns to collect applications or submissions. The rich customization options also allow administrators to create their own Submittable portal that adheres to their brand. 

Submittable also supports application tracking. This feature helps team members monitor the movement of an application. Furthermore, because Submittable supports team collaboration, updates, and reviews are reflected in real-time. 


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To make collaboration even more effective, Submittable can be integrated with other business tools as well. Some of the platforms you can link with Submittable include QuickBooks, Zapier, and Salesforce. The program can also be accessed using Android and iOS devices so your team can view and review submissions on the go.

All in all, Submittable is not just online storage for applications. It is an all-in-one system designed to facilitate streamlined workflows for teams that deal with various kinds of submissions on the regular.

Detailed Submittable Review

Submittable List of Key Features

  • Automated submissions tracking
  • Comprehensive dashboard reports
  • Team collaboration and communication
  • Branded portals
  • Customizable online forms
  • Comprehensive dashboard reports
  • Integrations
  • Payment processing
  • Various file type support
  • Search and archive
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • Simple and advanced reviews

Submittable Advantages and Disadvantages

Easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface

One of the ways to choose an ATS or submission management software is to look at a program’s ability to make forms and campaigns creation a breeze. Submittable’s drag-and-drop interface specifically meets that requirement. When creating your form, you can simply drag and drop options and specifications so you can get the exact information that you need from applicants. 

You can add dropdown lists, single or multiple response checkboxes, as well as radio buttons. You can also specify the required fields and set a word limit for responses. Submittable also makes it easy to reorder, duplicate, and trash form fields. You can also set your Submittable form to accept a variety of file types and duplicate it for future use. 

submittable drag-and-drop forms

Submittable’s drag-and-drop interface makes creating forms a breeze.

Smart review options and process

What good is a submissions management platform if it doesn’t provide you with outstanding review functionalities? Submittable lets you customize a review process that best meets your team’s needs. 

You can start by creating multiple review stages to manage your team’s workflow more effectively. You can specify the kind of review needed for each stage. Moreover, you can also simplify the review process by letting reviewers vote yes, no, or maybe.

If you want more in-depth reviews, you can also create custom forms and checklists that will guide your reviewers as to what kind of feedback you need. You can add fields for numeric scoring or qualitative feedback. 

Furthermore, the submissions are readily available on Submittable, so your reviewers no longer have to waste time and bandwidth on downloading files.

submittable review options

With Submittable, you can choose to simplify the review process by allowing viewers to vote yes, no, or maybe.

Dynamic customization and branding options

Submittable comes with various customization options that let you get creative in personalizing your team’s portal. By using CSS codes and white labeling, you can make your Submittable dashboard represent your organization. These customizations can also be applied to your forms and submission pages. Additionally, you can also activate language translation to ensure that your campaigns are always accessible to your diverse audience.

Streamlined collaboration

Submittable serves as a platform where you can access all submissions and communication from both your team members and applicants. You can communicate with reviewers and submitters en masse through templated messages. Of course, you can also pen unique responses to accept or decline applications.

Submittable also lets you manually or automatically assign submissions to your team of reviewers. You can also set up and send reminders and notifications to prevent reviewers and submitters from missing deadlines.

Take note, however, that the number of team members you can register will vary depending on what Submittable pricing plan you choose.

Submittable manual assignment

Submittable lets you set up assignments manually or automatically.

Efficient payment processing

Need to collect submission or subscription fees to generate revenue, solicit donations, or cover program costs? Submittable supports secure and efficient payment collection methods to make it easier for your applicants, donors, or customers to complete their payment and submission.

Mobile compatibility

As a cloud-based platform, Submittable makes your forms accessible to submitters using any device. Your registered team members can also log onto the platform using their Android or iOS devices. This way, they can take care of assignments and get updates even while on the go.

Advanced reporting and tracking

Submittable produces various types of reports that allow you to monitor the progress of campaigns from start to finish. Submittable’s robust reporting tools help you track campaign and submissions data so you can assess the impact of your program. 

The reports dashboard shows key data points throughout your campaigns. You can also take advantage of advanced data reporting tools by merging data from multiple forms. The funds reporting feature, on the other hand, specifically lets you keep track of funding received or paid through Submittable.

submittable advanced reporting

Submittable helps you assess the success and impact of your campaigns with comprehensive reports and analytics.

Seamless integrations

Submittable also supports integration with other business applications. This facilitates better collaboration with other departments, such as HR, finance, and marketing. Integrations also help your team function more efficiently as most, if not all, of the tools they need to do their job can already be found in one platform. The programs you can integrate with Submittable include Salesforce, Zapier, Slack, and Mailchimp.

Secure Single Sign-On

More commonly known as SSO, Single Sign-On allows users to sign in to most of the applications they use using a single set of credentials. With SSO, you can access your Submittable account without having to manage and remember another set of login details.

Unique permission levels

With the team permission levels feature, you have full control as to which information your reviewers can access. This lets you hide sensitive and confidential information about certain submissions. As a result, anonymity is preserved, and bias is prevented. Submittable features five unique permission levels.

Keep in mind, however, that the permission levels may limit a user’s ability to tag other team members if they want to. Users may also be restricted from viewing information that they think is crucial to their work process.

submittable permission levels

By assigning permission levels to your reviewers, you can control which information they can access to ensure anonymity and eliminate bias.

Is Submittable Right for You?

If you’re looking for the best ATS and submissions management software on the market, then Submittable should definitely be on your radar. It does a great job doing what you’d expect from such software, from collection to review of submissions. However, what sets it apart from the competition is how it provides a good set of customization options. These options not only make forms and campaigns more personalized but more comprehensive and effective as well. You must take note that there are certain features not available in the lower-priced Submittable plans, though.

Of course, the decision of whether to choose Submittable for your organization will still depend on your unique requirements. It will be in your best interest to look at alternative applicant tracking software to make sure that you’re not missing out on other worthy solutions.

Emily Watson

By Emily Watson

Emily Watson is a human resource management expert specializing in workforce planning and HR development. Throughout her years in the industry, she has also dabbled in career path development, employee training, and workforce management. In her four years as a contributor for FinancesOnline, she has reviewed over a thousand HR tools ranging from recruitment platforms to unified human capital management suites. She has also created in-depth analyses of emerging HR technologies and trends to provide companies worldwide with the data they need to keep up with industry shifts.

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