How to Choose the Best Applicant Tracking System: Tips and Tools

According to a report provided by the Aberdeen Group, over 80% of best-in-class organizations invest or plan to invest in top-ranked applicant tracking systems. They choose these systems rather than solutions that the traditional human resources management system provides. What do these organizations understand better than others? Applicant tracking system enable them to improve the experience of the candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers, while enabling them to handle the complex needs of the recruiting process.

Applicant tracking system have dramatically evolved into systems that encompass all links of the hiring chain, including job postings, search capabilities candidate acquisition, requisition management, communications, interviews, and reporting.

The applicant tracking system (ATS) is software that helps organizations to track the progress of a candidate from sourcing to hiring. It contributes towards more successful recruitment of employees, as well as effective automation of tasks. As a result, it saves both time and money. In addition to being an internal organization tool, the ATS is also a communication point between the company and the candidates.

Choosing the Best Applicant Tracking System

Before you decide to get the first ATS you run into, there is something you should know: the choices are varied. There are plenty of options in this industry, so all those features and prices may confuse you. There are intriguing features that cost money, but you probably don’t need. It’s important to recognize the needs of your organization before choosing the system that perfectly meets them. These are the important things to focus on:

The right system for the organization’s size

A large, international corporation with thousands of employees needs different features in the ATS when compared to a small one with less than 50 people in a single building. The hiring managers from a writing service, for example, say they need a mid-range ATS because their organization has writers located in different countries, but their number is not too great so they don’t need a corporate-scale system.

When you’re looking at different applicant tracking system, make sure to see which companies use them. A highly popular ATS for large corporation is not the right option for a small or mid-sized start-up company.


The ATS should be very easy to use not only for the recruiters and hiring managers, but for the applicants as well. All of them should be able to easily access the system through different devices. When you’re looking at all those attractive features, don’t forget that responsiveness is the most important standard your ATS should meet.

Proper reporting tools

Most ATSs do well with the applicant submission tasks. Reporting is where many fail. You need to have detailed, but comprehensive reports that help you identify the source of hire, number of candidates in process, and everything else you need.

Adding new functionalities

If your company needs upgrades, you should be able to get new features from your ATS. Check the plans to see if they offer progress. Maybe you don’t need all tools now and you’ll opt for a more affordable version of the system. But, you always need the chance to upgrade.


With the growth of your organization, you’ll probably need to make changes in the ATS you use. Don’t forget to check if the system you choose can export all notes, records, resumes, and other data. If you cancel the contract, you should be able to preserve the records. Then, you’ll need to find a new ATS that supports data migration into its system.

Top Applicant Tracking Systems to Check Out

Now that you know what qualities you need in an ATS, you can check out what the best applicant tracking systems have to offer. Here are a few options for you to consider:

1. Oracle Taleo Cloud Service

According to the report provided by Ongig, Oracle Taleo is the ATS that holds the highest share on this market. It is a talent management platform that makes it easy for recruiters and managers to attract employees. It is aimed towards small and mid-sized organizations.

Its greatest benefit is the ability to access recruiting information anytime, anywhere. The platform incorporates social media sourcing tools, such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition, it integrates with iGoogle, MyYahoo, Microsoft outlook, and other desktop productivity tools.

Taleo incorporates an Onboarding Cloud Service, which prepares the new hires to be ready for work from day one. It is a customized hire portal that stores information for the new employee. In addition, it gives the hiring manager all tools they need to track the status and progress of the new hire.

The tool is suitable for organizations in various industries, including education, marketing, finance, construction, and government.

2. SmartRecruiters

This tool is one of the best applicant tracking systems available as it aims to triple the organization’s candidate flow, helping the hiring managers to collaborate with their team and communicate with talent, and manage the hiring process through an open and flexible cloud platform.

The start plan costs $395 per month, so it’s a reasonable option for organizations that don’t have a large budget for an applicant tracking system. Its strength is the easy-to-use activity log. The team members can review the applications and post jobs to the boards for free. SmartRecruiters is great for companies with more than 50 employees.

It works perfectly well on all platforms. It’s easy for the users to navigate through the interface, and the recruiters and hiring managers can post jobs with a single clicks. They can also review the candidates through the software and remove applicants from consideration. The solution also includes a mobile hiring app.

The biggest strength of SmartRecruiter is collaboration. The entire hiring process is collaborative – the HR team can discuss the candidates through the platform and hire the ones that meet the organization’s standards.

3. Kronos SaaShr

This human resources management suite is suitable for small to midsize organizations, but it works and looks like a system made for much larger corporations. It helps HR teams to recruit, retain, manage, and grow their workforce. Its strength is in the configurability features. You can adapt the basic templates and workflows as your company grows.

The human resources application supports job board integration, skills testing, online background screening, video resume posting, retirement planning, compensation reviews, and many other features.

The system also has a payroll application, which makes SaaShr useful not only for managing and tracking applicants, but for monitoring their growth in the organization as well. The payroll application provides payroll calculations, deductions, and tax withholdings. The migration of data is as easy as it gets.

5. Jobvite

According to Ongig’s report, Jobvite is the third applicant tracking system on the top list created in accordance with the market share different systems have. The tool supports employee referral, recruitment CRM, video interviews, applicant tracking, employer branding, and employee onboarding. All these features are provided across different tools that are available at the official website.

The Jobvite Hire tool helps recruiters to manage the entire process of hiring candidate in the most intuitive manner. You get automated and configurable hiring workflows with a searchable database of candidates. In addition, you get tools for email-based requisition and resume parsing. The platform supports a native social connectivity tool that lets the HR team automatically share job ads to all social platforms.

The HR team can collaborate through the platform, so they can make sure they are getting the right candidate on board.

It’s not easy to decide what applicant tracking system you are going to use. You will make a significant investment in the tool, so it’s important to choose the right one for your organization’s needs. Hopefully, the tips and tools above will lead you in the right direction.

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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