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Applicant Tracking Systems

Exploring the Best Applicant Tracking Systems of 2024: Features, Pricing, and Expert Insights

Hiring the right people into the right roles at the right time has always been challenging. But in years, we’ve witnessed trends that have made hiring harder than ever, particularly as the Great Resignation has slid into “quiet quitting.” Mass budget cuts and layoffs in response to economic pressures have also made prospective employees skittish. Moreover, there is a massive labor shortage in the U.S., with only 73 workers for every 100 open jobs. It’s no wonder 75% of employers are struggling to fill roles. 

When competing fiercely for talent, hiring managers must leverage cutting-edge HR software. While no technology tool can fully combat the challenges of today’s labor market, an organized and systematic approach to applicant tracking makes it far simpler to secure the best talent for your organization. 

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have become indispensable tools for modern hiring managers and HR departments, streamlining the hiring process from start to finish. In this guide, we will delve into the world of ATS to cover:

Table of contents

What is an applicant tracking system? 

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are the backbone of modern recruitment strategies. They are HR software applications that enable organizations to manage and automate much of the recruitment process, from job posting to candidate selection and beyond.

By centralizing candidate data and streamlining workflows, an ATS empowers HR teams to enhance efficiency, improve candidate experience, and make data-driven hiring decisions. These tools also make applicant data searchable and provide a necessary layer of organization for complex modern recruitment processes.

Most Purchased Applicant Tracking System

According to Vendr's internal transaction data, Greenhouse asserts its dominance as the most purchased software in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) category, boasting an average contract value of $60.07K. Greenhouse's position at the top highlights its comprehensive offerings and significant impact on streamlining recruitment processes for businesses.

Rippling secures the second spot with an average contract value of $107.02K, reflecting its critical role in integrating ATS capabilities with broader HR functions, making it a versatile choice for companies.

Gem comes in third, presenting a competitive platform valued at $55.51K on average per contract, which speaks to its effectiveness in sourcing and nurturing top talent.

Lever ranks fourth with an average contract value of $20.03K, showcasing its strong focus on improving the recruitment experience through collaborative hiring features.

Ashby rounds out the top five with an average contract value of $33.24K, highlighting its emerging presence in the market as a valuable tool for optimizing recruitment workflows.

Vendr Verified
Greenhouse
Discover in-depth insights about Greenhouse pricing, compare alternatives, leverage community insights, and learn result-driven negotiation strategies.
Median Savings
$7200
SKU
Insights
2
0
Community Insights
51
0
Discount Levers
8
0
Competitors
6
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Rippling
Discover in-depth details on Rippling pricing, comprehend alternatives, leverage community insights, and learn effective negotiation strategies.
Median Savings
$11100
SKU
Insights
10
0
Community Insights
8
0
Discount Levers
9
0
Competitors
6
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Gem
Discover comprehensive insights about Gem pricing, explore alternatives, tap into community insights, and master negotiation tactics for better deals.
Median Savings
$9400
SKU
Insights
3
0
Community Insights
8
0
Discount Levers
10
0
Competitors
3
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Lever
Get a deep understanding of Lever pricing, navigate alternatives, engage with community insights, and learn negotiation techniques for the best deals.
Median Savings
$3000
SKU
Insights
7
0
Community Insights
19
0
Discount Levers
9
0
Competitors
5
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Ashby
Explore Ashby pricing insights, learn negotiation tactics, understand alternatives, and tap into community insights. The best guide for SaaS users.
Median Savings
$5300
SKU
Insights
0
Community Insights
5
0
Discount Levers
0
Competitors
2
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE

Most Renewed Applicant Tracking System

Based on Vendr's internal purchasing and transaction data, Greenhouse emerges as the most renewed software in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) category, with an impressive average renewal value of $61.03K. This top position underscores Greenhouse's consistent value delivery and the strong loyalty it garners from its users.

Lever follows closely in the second spot, with an average renewal value of $18.85K. Lever's ability to maintain high renewal rates highlights its effectiveness in enhancing the recruitment process and fostering collaborative hiring practices.

Gem secures the third position with an average renewal value of $62.22K, reflecting the platform's robust capabilities in sourcing and engaging top talent, which continue to resonate well with its user base.

Rippling comes in fourth, showcasing an average renewal value of $113.44K. The high renewal value indicates the significant satisfaction users derive from Rippling’s integrated ATS and HR functionalities.

Making its debut in the top five, BambooHR rounds out the list with an average renewal value of $23.17K. BambooHR's entry into the top ranks is a testament to its growing user satisfaction and the value it provides in streamlining the hiring process for small and medium-sized businesses.

Vendr Verified
Greenhouse
Discover in-depth insights about Greenhouse pricing, compare alternatives, leverage community insights, and learn result-driven negotiation strategies.
Median Savings
$7200
SKU
Insights
2
0
Community Insights
51
0
Discount Levers
8
0
Competitors
6
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Lever
Get a deep understanding of Lever pricing, navigate alternatives, engage with community insights, and learn negotiation techniques for the best deals.
Median Savings
$3000
SKU
Insights
7
0
Community Insights
19
0
Discount Levers
9
0
Competitors
5
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Gem
Discover comprehensive insights about Gem pricing, explore alternatives, tap into community insights, and master negotiation tactics for better deals.
Median Savings
$9400
SKU
Insights
3
0
Community Insights
8
0
Discount Levers
10
0
Competitors
3
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Rippling
Discover in-depth details on Rippling pricing, comprehend alternatives, leverage community insights, and learn effective negotiation strategies.
Median Savings
$11100
SKU
Insights
10
0
Community Insights
8
0
Discount Levers
9
0
Competitors
6
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
BambooHR
Unlock the best value with BambooHR pricing insights. Learn cost-saving tactics, explore alternatives and tap into user reviews for strategic advantage.
Median Savings
$1200
SKU
Insights
0
Community Insights
6
0
Discount Levers
4
0
Competitors
7
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE

Most Recently Purchased Applicant Tracking System

Based on Vendr's internal purchasing and transaction data, Rippling has risen to the top as the most recently purchased software in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) category. With an average new purchase value of $95.78K, Rippling's ascent to the number one spot highlights the increasing demand for its comprehensive and integrated HR solutions, signaling strong market confidence in their product.

Greenhouse follows closely in second place, with an average new purchase value of $44.11K. This continued interest underscores Greenhouse's robust capabilities in optimizing recruitment processes, making it a preferred choice for many businesses.

BambooHR secures the third rank, demonstrating its appeal to new customers with an average new purchase value of $3.97K. BambooHR's presence in the top three highlights its effectiveness in providing accessible and efficient hiring solutions for small to medium-sized enterprises.

Ashby comes in fourth with an average new purchase value of $28.13K. Ashby's growing popularity indicates its success in delivering innovative features that enhance the recruitment experience.

Gem rounds out the top five, with an average new purchase value of $17.43K. Gem's inclusion in the list reflects its continued relevance and appeal to businesses looking to improve their talent acquisition strategies through advanced sourcing and engagement tools.

Vendr Verified
Rippling
Discover in-depth details on Rippling pricing, comprehend alternatives, leverage community insights, and learn effective negotiation strategies.
Median Savings
$11100
SKU
Insights
10
0
Community Insights
8
0
Discount Levers
9
0
Competitors
6
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Greenhouse
Discover in-depth insights about Greenhouse pricing, compare alternatives, leverage community insights, and learn result-driven negotiation strategies.
Median Savings
$7200
SKU
Insights
2
0
Community Insights
51
0
Discount Levers
8
0
Competitors
6
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
BambooHR
Unlock the best value with BambooHR pricing insights. Learn cost-saving tactics, explore alternatives and tap into user reviews for strategic advantage.
Median Savings
$1200
SKU
Insights
0
Community Insights
6
0
Discount Levers
4
0
Competitors
7
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Ashby
Explore Ashby pricing insights, learn negotiation tactics, understand alternatives, and tap into community insights. The best guide for SaaS users.
Median Savings
$5300
SKU
Insights
0
Community Insights
5
0
Discount Levers
0
Competitors
2
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE
Vendr Verified
Gem
Discover comprehensive insights about Gem pricing, explore alternatives, tap into community insights, and master negotiation tactics for better deals.
Median Savings
$9400
SKU
Insights
3
0
Community Insights
8
0
Discount Levers
10
0
Competitors
3
0
SEE THE BUYER GUIDE

Essential features of the best applicant tracking systems

To maximize the benefits of an ATS, businesses must prioritize platforms that offer these indispensable features. 

Automation

Automation is essential. The ability to handle many tasks such as resume screening, interview scheduling, and candidate communication with software saves valuable time and resources. Templates can also be very helpful in automating workflows.

Integrations 

Integration capabilities are also critical, ensuring seamless connectivity with existing HR systems, job boards, and communication tools. 

User-friendliness

Additionally, a user-friendly design can foster adoption across the organization, empowering users with varying technical expertise to leverage the software effectively.

Other features

Beyond these vital features, consider what else your ATS needs to be able to do. This may include:

  • Job distribution (i.e., posting to job boards). 
  • Candidate sourcing.
  • Interview scheduling and tracking.
  • Data import and export.
  • Tagging and categorization.
  • Workflow customization.
  • Communication with candidates.
  • Security and compliance.
  • Reporting and analytics.

We recommend assessing which ATS features are most important to your organization and keeping a list of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” features handy while comparing and contrasting ATS options. 

Common misconceptions about ATS 

Despite their widespread use and adoption, ATS and their inner workings can sometimes seem opaque to both hiring organizations and candidates, leading to misunderstandings. 

One common misconception is that applicant tracking systems unintentionally prioritize keywords over candidate qualifications, leading organizations to overlook qualified candidates. However, modern ATS utilize sophisticated algorithms that consider various factors beyond keywords, ensuring fair evaluation of candidates. While keywords are essential for matching resumes to job descriptions, today’s systems also analyze context, skills, and job history to assess candidate suitability.

Another misconception is that an ATS is only suitable for large enterprises. In reality, all businesses can take advantage of the efficiency and organization that ATS offer when it comes to staffing. The key is to find an ATS that balances budgetary requirements with feature preferences and needs.

Finally, some worry that, as with any technology, ATS will make human recruiters obsolete. However, while ATS systems automate certain aspects of recruitment, human recruiters are still essential (and always will be, in our view) for tasks like candidate engagement, cultural fit assessment, and strategic hiring decisions. 

Choosing the right ATS for your organization 

Selecting the right ATS is a critical decision that requires careful consideration of various business needs. Factors such as company size, industry, and budget should inform your choice. Here are nine criteria to consider before choosing an ATS for your organization:

  1. Features and functionality: As discussed above, assess ATS features first and foremost. Prioritize features that streamline your recruitment process and enhance the candidate experience.
  2. User experience (UX): A user-friendly interface is crucial for both recruiters and candidates. Ensure that the ATS is intuitive and easy to use, with clear instructions and a minimal learning curve.
  3. Customization and flexibility: Look for an ATS that can be customized to accommodate your organization's unique recruitment workflows, branding requirements, and specific hiring needs. Flexibility in configuration and scalability as your organization grows are also important considerations.
  4. Integration capabilities: Consider how the ATS integrates with other HR software systems you currently use or plan to use in the future, such as an all-in-one HRIS (Human Resources Information System), payroll, onboarding, or performance management systems. Seamless integration can improve data accuracy and efficiency.
  5. Compliance and data security: Ensure that the ATS complies with the latest data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR and CCPA) and industry standards for data security. Look for ATS features such as role-based access control, data encryption, and compliance tools to protect sensitive candidate information.
  6. Candidate experience: Evaluate the ATS from the candidate's perspective to ensure a positive experience throughout the application process. ATS features like mobile optimization, easy application submission, and personalized communication can enhance candidate engagement and reflect positively on your employer brand.
  7. Customer support and training: Consider the level of customer support provided by the ATS supplier, including availability, responsiveness, and expertise. Training resources and ongoing support can help your team maximize the value of the ATS and troubleshoot any issues effectively.
  8. Cost and ROI: Assess the ATS's pricing structure, including upfront costs, subscription fees, implementation costs, plus markups for extra ATS features or support. Evaluate the ROI based on the benefits the ATS provides in terms of time savings, improved hiring outcomes, and better talent acquisition.
  9. Supplier reputation and reliability: Research the ATS supplier's reputation and track record, including customer reviews, case studies, and industry awards. Choose a well-reputed supplier with a strong track record of reliability, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Vendr can help with this research.

Latest trends in ATS technology 

Now, let’s take a step back and examine ATS from a broader perspective. Here are some of the top trends shaping the evolution of ATS technology. 

AI and machine learning  

AI and machine learning algorithms are woven into many ATS platforms today to automate repetitive tasks, improve candidate matching, and enhance predictive analytics. These technologies can help recruiters find top candidates more efficiently and reduce bias in the hiring process.

Candidate relationship management (CRM) 

The best applicant tracking systems incorporate CRM functionalities to manage relationships with candidates throughout the recruitment lifecycle. CRM features enable recruiters to nurture talent pools, engage with passive candidates, and provide personalized communication, improving candidate experience and retention.

Mobile optimization 

With the rise of mobile recruiting, the best ATS platforms offer mobile optimization to ensure a seamless experience for candidates applying via smartphones and tablets. Mobile-friendly interfaces, responsive design, and mobile applications enhance accessibility and engagement, especially among younger generations.

Social recruiting integration 

Many ATS systems integrate with social media platforms and professional networks like LinkedIn to facilitate social media recruiting strategies. Hiring managers can leverage social media channels for sourcing, employer branding, and candidate engagement, expanding their talent reach and enhancing community-based hiring approaches.

Data analytics and insights 

Some ATS platforms provide advanced analytics and reporting capabilities to uncover actionable insights into recruitment metrics, hiring trends, and candidate performance. Data-driven decision-making enables recruiters to optimize their strategies, improve ROI, and demonstrate the value of recruitment efforts to stakeholders.

Video interviewing and assessment 

Integrating video interviewing and assessment tools within ATS platforms enables recruiters to conduct remote interviews, assessments, and screenings more efficiently. Video capabilities enhance candidate evaluation, reduce time-to-hire, and support flexible hiring processes, particularly in distributed or remote work environments.

Data privacy compliance 

With proliferating data privacy regulations such as GDPR affecting data management best practices, the best ATS suppliers offer security features and compliance measures to protect candidate information. Encryption, consent management, and data access controls ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and mitigate data breaches.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) 

Modern ATS platforms support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in recruitment. Tools for anonymizing candidate information, detecting bias in job descriptions, and tracking diversity metrics can help organizations promote fairness and inclusivity in hiring practices.

By embracing these trends, organizations can leverage the latest ATS technologies to optimize recruitment processes, attract top talent, and stay competitive in today's dynamic labor market.

Applicant tracking system FAQs 

Here are some of the most common questions about applicant tracking systems. 

How does an ATS work?

An ATS collects, organizes, and manages job applications electronically. It automates various stages of the recruitment process, including resume parsing, candidate screening, interview scheduling, and communication with applicants. 

What types of organizations can benefit from using an ATS?

Organizations of all sizes and industries can benefit from using an ATS, from small businesses to large enterprises, and across various sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, and retail.

How can an ATS benefit our recruitment process?

An ATS can benefit your recruitment process by streamlining workflows, reducing manual tasks, improving candidate sourcing and selection, and providing data-driven insights.

How do candidates interact with an ATS?

Candidates interact with an ATS by submitting their resumes and applications online through the organization's careers page or job postings and by receiving automated communications regarding their application status.

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