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Our applicant tracking system picks for 2023

By: DAN KENITZ | Fact Checked By: JAMIE OSTROE | Updated: January 27, 2023

If hiring someone was easy, everyone would do it. But anyone who’s worked as a hiring manager, or in HR, or simply had a hand in the hiring process knows: it can be a slog. From tracking applications to filtering through all of the massive amounts of experience, skills, and interviews you come across, it feels nearly impossible to find good help without feeling like you’ve left no stone unturned. Applicant tracking systems help you manage all of those incoming resumes, rank the candidates, and organize your thoughts without creating more paperwork for yourself. The results? You not only get organized when you hire an applicant, but the decision-making process itself improves. That means better hires, better employees on your team, and a better business.

Our Top Picks

  1. BambooHR – Best for Applicant Tracking System for Small Businesses
  2. Rippling – Best Applicant Tracking System for Large Businesses
  3. Freshteam by Freshworks – Best for New Hirers
  4. Greenhouse – Best Workday Applicant Tracking System
  5. Avature – Best for Enterprise-Level Recruiters

Applicant Tracking Systems Reviews

There’s just one question left. What are the best applicant tracking systems?

To figure that out, we’ve pulled together a review of some of the best applicant tracking system software around. And what we found is there aren’t too many universal answers—there’s a lot of good software out there. However, we can recommend some specific solutions for different categories, whether you’re a small business, a large business, or making your first hire.

From the best free applicant tracking systems to the most expensive, we’ve evaluated them all. Read our full methodology to learn about the research that went into making our picks.

bamboohr logo

BambooHR – Best for Applicant Tracking System for Small Businesses

While advertising itself as HR for companies at every stage of growth, we found BambooHR a particularly nice fit for growing businesses. It helps handle onboarding, hiring, and payroll requirements to turn what was once a smaller business into a mid-range company. You can get started for free.

  • Solid list of features for sharing open roles
  • Easy onboarding to bring in new employees
  • Employee records and analytics help track success
  • Pricing only available by quote

Start Free Trial Link: Visit BambooHR’s website for a free trial

BambooHR features

  • Onboarding
  • Job posting
  • E-Verify/I-9 forms
  • HIPAA compliant
  • Payroll management

What markets does BambooHR serve?

There is nothing about BambooHR aimed specifically at small businesses—in fact, it’s aimed at businesses of every size. If you’re hiring for the first time, you’ll find it useful. If you’re a large business trying to streamline your hiring process—ditto. But we put it here because it’s particularly great at helping small businesses scale up their hiring.

Read our full BambooHR review

rippling logo

Rippling – Best Applicant Tracking System for Large Businesses

Rippling is a full-service applicant tracking system that, like BambooHR, goes above and beyond its status as “applicant tracking” software. Payroll, benefits, onboarding—Rippling has it all, along with an affordable, scaling price for companies that want to onboard entire HR departments so they can all use the same software.

  • Most comprehensive list of features in our list of applicant tracking finalists
  • Also offers employee benefits
  • Simplifying for IT as well
  • Pay-per-user can quickly add up for larger business

Rippling features

  • Onboarding
  • Job posting
  • E-Verify/I-9 forms
  • HIPAA compliant
  • Resume parsing
  • Payroll management
  • Benefits management

What markets does Rippling serve?

There’s no reason you can’t use Rippling if you’re a smaller business, but we think the comprehensive list of features here is too good for big businesses to pass up. It may be the best for medium-tier businesses, too—those businesses who can afford employee benefits but may wonder how to best manage them.

freshteam logo

Freshteam by Freshworks – Best for New Hirers

Freshworks’ HR Software is part of a suite of software you can use for accounting, HR, and general business administration. What we particularly like about Freshworks is that it’s simple to onboard, which means it can work well if it’s the “first” HR software you ever use.

  • Free version for trying out, especially useful for new hirers
  • Includes onboarding and syncing with other HR systems
  • Straightforward pricing system grows with your company
  • May not be appropriate for medical and health-related fields

Freshteam features

  • Onboarding
  • Job posting
  • E-Verify/I-9 forms
  • Payroll management
  • Integrate with other Freshworks software

What markets does Freshteam serve?

Freshworks is ostensibly for any business that needs to get its books—and its job hiring process—straightened out. However, we find that it works great for first-time hirers and small companies. Their customer support received a full rating on our list, which also helps people with less experience using ATS tools for recruitment. If you’re looking for an applicant tracking system free download, Freshworks might be the best place to start.

Read our full FreshTeam review

greenhouse logo

Greenhouse – Best Workday Applicant Tracking System

Greenhouse is an excellent ATS that can work as part of an ongoing system to replace talent, hire new talent, and generally grow or maintain an active company.

  • Effective onboarding system helps you get the ball rolling
  • “Structured” hiring approach gives you recommendations for the interview process
  • Emphasis on creating a great candidate experience
  • Lack of pricing transparency makes it difficult to predict how it will scale with your business

Greenhouse features

  • Onboarding
  • Job posting
  • E-Verify/I-9 forms
  • Structured interview process

What markets does Greenhouse serve?

With offerings for both enterprise and small- and mid-sized businesses, there isn’t much of a gap here. Where Greenhouse succeeds is in helping your company build an effective hiring process that won’t embarrass you when it’s time to bring in talent for an interview. This makes it a great piece of software for getting the daily work of hiring done.

avature logo

Avature – Best for Enterprise-Level Recruiters

Avature emphasizes sourcing and attracting talent, making it a cutting-edge tool for enterprise-level recruiters who need to focus on applicant tracking, but less so on the sustainable HR side of things.

  • Effective promotion of job listings, helping you attract top-quality talent
  • Resume parsing helps organize and filter specific recruits
  • Plenty of diversity & inclusion features for equal opportunity engagement
  • Lack of pricing transparency makes it difficult to estimate how it will stake up with your specific needs

Avature features

  • Onboarding
  • Job posting
  • E-Verify/I-9 forms
  • Resume parsing
  • Employee referrals

What markets does Avature serve?

It’s a bit of a toss-up between Rippling and Avature for large-scale businesses, so we wanted to mention Avature’s success on the recruiting side of things. Rippling does more for in-house recruiting and aiding employees in transitioning into working at your company. Avature, on the other hand, does serve large companies—but really shines for large HR operators who need to focus on acquiring talent.

Compare the best applicant tracking systems options side-by-side

Software name Why we picked It Starting price for cheapest plan Highlights
BambooHR Best for Applicant Tracking System for Small Businesses Available by quote Easy to incorporate in a business and stick with as you grow
Rippling Best Applicant Tracking System for Large Businesses $8/month/user Most comprehensive features on our list
Freshteam Best for New Hirers Free / $1.20/user/month Inexpensive, easy to scale
Greenhouse Best Workday Applicant Tracking System Available by quote Handy organization and resume parsing
Avature Best for Enterprise-Level Recruiters Available by quote Great for recruiting, less emphasis on HR

What are applicant tracking systems?

Consider the position of HR any time they place an ad for a new job. The company can be inundated with resumes, job histories, and an overall field of applicants that seems nearly impossible to parse into a list of final candidates.

Applicant tracking systems help parse them out, while also assisting with the transition to onboarding and getting a new hire hooked up with human resources. A good applicant tracking system is more than a tracker—it’s a way to manage the hiring process from start to finish.

Who are applicant tracking systems for?

  • Large businesses. This may be the audience who gets the most value out of applicant tracking systems. Large businesses have the highest volume of applicants to sort through. And large organizations may sometimes have the slowest reaction time to a bad hire—not knowing what went wrong in the process.
  • Small businesses. Gauging the best applicant tracking systems for small businesses is still important, as even small businesses can have a lot of applicants to sort through.
  • First-time hirers. Maybe you’ve been a one-person business and you’re making your first hire. Or maybe you’re a new HR professional, and you need to bring an applicant tracking system into the fold. Which are the best introductory tracking systems for you?

What do applicant tracking systems do?

  • Onboarding. This helps introduce a lot of new hires to the business. A scalable onboarding system can make it possible to add a lot of qualified candidates.
  • Resume parsing. The flood of resumes a large business can receive can be overwhelming. Resume parsing helps organize and prioritize them according to the job description.
  • Job posting. Not all applicant tracking systems offer job posting features, but for small businesses, it can be a key way to get the word out without the resources of a larger business.
  • E-verify and HIPAA compliance. When you’re making a hire for the first time, you can sometimes forget the important line items to check off for each candidate. Good applicant tracking systems can help fill that void.

Benefits of using an applicant tracking system

Making things easier on HR is the most obvious benefit. But let’s get more specific. What kinds of benefits do applicant tracking systems offer?

  • Organizing resumes. What if you have 102 resumes to review? Organizing them becomes paramount. Look for the “resume parsing” feature in this review to see which tracking software offers that.
  • Onboarding new hires. Once you make a decision, what happens next? The best applicant tracking systems will have an answer to that question.
  • Promoting your job post. If you have a big-time ad budget with a large company, this isn’t as big a concern. But for small companies, you can also use ATS tools for recruitment to help get the word out.

How much do applicant tracking systems cost?

Typically, business software with specific goals in mind will tend to run at predictable prices. That wasn’t the case here. We found prices all over the place—from free applicant tracking systems you could sign up for today to completely non-transparent enterprise-level solutions. If you’re searching for “applicant tracking system free,” you’ll find some options. You’ll also find some very expensive options. So, unfortunately, the answer to this one is: we dunno.

What we can tell you, however, are some of the specific prices and how to think about them. Rippling’s $8/month/user tier is a pretty straightforward approach that scales up with the size of your business. Another option, like Workable for example, is a more static $129/month per job you use, which means that it doesn’t even measure its pricing on the same system. We recommend evaluating pricing on a case-by-case basis, especially with applicant tracking systems.

Who should use applicant tracking systems, and what are the different types?

According to a Columbia study on applicant tracking systems, 90% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS. Anyone making a hire should at least consider applicant tracking systems for their business. But applicant tracking systems for recruiters are especially important to use. Recruiters have a lot on their plate with any given hire. They have to make sure their job postings are visible, they have to find where the talent is, and when the talent does apply, recruiters have to sift that down into a manageable interviewing process.

We found there were a few different types of applicant tracking systems to consider. Some are solely built for promoting a job posting, while others are more comprehensive, HR-type offerings that can also handle onboarding, employee benefits, and even payroll. Which you choose will depend on your business needs. Generally speaking, if you’re making the first hires for your business, you should choose the robust options that can help manage employment concerns after your hire.

Applicant tracking systems FAQs

What is the most popular applicant tracking system?
On our list, we found stellar reputations for BambooHR, Rippling, and Greenhouse. We don’t award a “5/5” score for reputation unless there are both high scores and large sample sizes to draw from, and all three of those application tracking systems were able to resonate with users on both counts.

What is an applicant tracking system in HR?
The Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, is software to help manage potential recruits for hiring into a company. It can include parsing and organizing resumes, streamlining the interviewing process, and onboarding new potential employees into a company’s existing system.

What makes a good applicant tracking system?
A good applicant tracking system should make your life simpler and easier to manage anytime you need to make a new hire. For some companies, that might mean software that plays well with other features, such as employee onboarding. For others, it might mean a focus on getting the word out about the job that’s being filled. Either way, it will help you facilitate a good hire without having to perform every step of the process manually.

Do recruiters really use ATS?
Yes—in fact, many swear by it. You’ll find there is some difference of opinion as to which ATS to use, but that’s what we’re here to resolve today.

How we chose the best applicant tracking systems

There are some major factors we incorporate into what you see today, including:

  • Customer service. We rated customer service and support for the top-performing ATS on our list, and while this didn’t form a final opinion, it helped us to rate the quality of the programs you see here.
  • Onboarding and organization. One of the key elements for determining how good an ATS will be at helping a specific company? How well it handles onboarding and organization within a lengthy and complex recruiting process. Chances are, big companies need extensive organizational features to isolate the best candidates out of lists of hundreds.
  • Hiring processing. The ability to turn a recruitment effort into a hiring process is one of the key aspects of HR software, which is why it played an important role as we evaluated the features available with each software offering.
  • Brand reputation. One of the key factors in our approach was to discern which of the finalists had the best reputations. This reputation—along with the list of features available—was one of the elements that helped point us to the best ATS, especially rating them for specific audiences, like small or large businesses.

From a list of over 80 software solutions, down to a list of 15 final candidates, we whittled down the best applicant tracking system software available. Constructing a side-by-side table of features, pricing, and offerings, as well as customer support, we could then conduct a review of which software worked best for which audience.

As for the next step—hiring—well, that one’s up to you. Once you choose your ATS, you won’t be far removed from choosing the best candidate for your open position.

We collect information about vendors and verify it through:

  • Interviews
  • Video and live demos
  • Vendor and parent company websites

The B2B Reviews editorial team consists of researchers, writers and editors who cover all aspects of business-to-business software and services across a wide variety of industries. Our research takes hours, days and weeks to compile and analyze the data that backs our recommendations. Our goal is to make this painstaking process our job so you can get back to doing yours.