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April 15, 2024
XX min read

How to Choose The Best ATS Software: What to Look for in 2024

You want to give people an awesome job-candidate experience. But you can’t decide yet on the best applicant tracking system (ATS) software for your business. Don’t worry, though — with this guide, you’ll make the right choice faster. 

With 70% of the global workforce being passive talent (while the rest actively seek job opportunities) it’s more important than ever to bring people out of their shells. 

Which means you have to step up your hiring game by creating compelling job descriptions, posting more often on job boards or social media channels, and actively working to retain top talent. 

But you can’t do all that without an ATS. 

With this solution, you can automate the recruitment and hiring process in a single platform and ensure candidates choose you

Yet there’s no one-size-fits-all tool. That’s why we’ve made this buyer’s guide to help you choose the right ATS out of hundreds of options. So get ready to discover the steps you need to take when evaluating ATSs and the 10 best ATS software solutions currently available. 

What is Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software?

ATS software is a tool that helps businesses and their human resource departments with the recruitment process. 

How exactly does it help? Well, ATS software manages the huge number of resumes you receive for a job opening and tracks their status throughout the hiring workflow. 

For example, let’s say you want to hire a new designer. 

Instead of manually going through all applications, the ATS automates this time-consuming task by screening candidates and filtering the resumes based on certain keywords. 

As a result, it rejects unsuitable applicants. And sends approved resumes to the hiring managers. 

But an ATS can also store candidate data (cover letters, references, etc.) for later. Maybe you found a candidate who might fit another potential job opening better. 

So, how exactly does an ATS work? Let’s find out. 

How Do Applicant Tracking Systems Work?

An ATS is easy to understand. 

Your hiring managers enter a job requisition into the ATS. 

That’s a document or a formal request that you use to create a new job position. This requisition should contain information about the open position, such as level of experience, required qualifications, desired skills, etc. 

Based on the job requisition you feed into the ATS, the system will create the ideal candidate’s profile.

Why is this important? 

Because it helps the ATS match applications with this profile by sorting, ranking, and parsing through the resumes. As a result, your hiring team can clearly see who the top applicants are. And move them forward in the pipeline. 

But do ATSs have any benefits? Can’t I do all this manually?

Yes, you can. However, it’s easier to handle candidate sourcing and talent acquisition with an ATS.

Let’s explore the advantages. 

What Are the Benefits of Using ATS Software?

According to Deloitte, 88% of employees believe that a distinct company culture is important for business success. 

In other words, you can’t hire just anyone

A good ATS not only saves you time and makes your life easier but it also helps you recruit the right people — those who match your company culture well. These are the new hires who’ll bring you success.

So, let’s see the other benefits of ATS software: 

  • Saves time through automation: ATS automates many repetitive tasks you probably hate, such as sourcing, resume parsing, video interview scheduling, job posting, etc. Instead of sending hundreds of emails every day, you focus on more productive tasks. 
  • Improves the candidate experience: Put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes. They apply for a position, but they receive no response from the company, not even a rejection letter. What impression does that give? An ATS closes communication gaps and maintains a consistent relationship with your candidates. 
  • Accesses a broader range of talent pools: With just a few clicks, you can post new job openings on multiple channels. The ATS can post on the platforms you like, such as LinkedIn, and help you target the niche you want. 

  • Streamlines onboarding: An ATS is more than just recruiting software. It also helps with onboarding new team members, from automating paperwork to creating personalized roadmaps. 
  • Nurtures collaboration: An ATS fosters better collaboration between your teams or stakeholders by allowing them to make notes or leave ratings on candidates. Many ATS tools have scorecards or rating systems that make leaving feedback easier. 

So, what do you think? Is applicant tracking software worth a shot? 

If the answer is ‘Yes,’ then you’re ready for the next step. 

How to Choose the Best ATS Software For Your Needs

Now that you have the ATS theory down to a T, let’s get more practical. And go through the seven steps you need to take to make the tool assessment and selection process easier to handle.

1. Consider your organization’s size

The first step in your ATS selection process is to consider your hiring needs and company size. It might sound a bit odd, but the size of your organization plays a huge role in choosing the right ATS solution. 

That’s because your recruitment needs differ depending on whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a large enterprise.

For instance, if you have a small team, you don’t need much out of your ATS solution since you have limited needs. Simple, user-friendly, and intuitive ATS software is all you need to help you with staffing. 

Plus, think of your budget. Unlike a large corporation, you don’t have money to spare (unless you do, which is great!). 

Speaking of large corporations, they need to recruit people in high volumes. And they do have the budget for it. Moreover, they need more advanced features and customization options to make the hiring process smoother. 

So, what kind of business are you? 

2. Think who is going to use the software

Chances are several people will use it, like your HR team, recruiters, and hiring managers. Some more than others and in different ways.

For example, HR managers might create the job requisition. Recruiters take care of interviewing applicants. And hiring managers send offer emails after a successful interview. 

Some may use an ATS tool less often, so they might not be as familiar with its features as the recruiters, for instance. It’s therefore critical to look for an easy-to-use solution with a user-friendly interface that anyone can learn. 

Or test the tool’s workflows and see how it fits different people. 

3. Consider candidate volume

Similar to the first step about organization size, think about your recruitment volume. How many new hires do you need? Is your volume usually low since you’re a small business? Or do you want to hire many people at once?

Think about these aspects when selecting your ATS. 

A large corporation might need an ATS with advanced functionalities that are highly customizable and able to handle large amounts of candidate information.

Meanwhile, small businesses don’t need enterprise-level solutions that cost a lot. An ATS that fits any budget is enough to make hiring easy. 

4. Ensure the ATS integrates with the tools you use

This one is super important. Find a solution that has third-party integrations with your existing tools. 

You surely use benefits administration tools or payroll solutions to manage certain HR tasks. If the new ATS software doesn’t integrate with your current workflows, you’ll spend hours manually adding data into different systems. 

And think of the errors!  What if you make a typo or the separate systems display different information? It’ll only lead to misinformation and more time wasted checking data for accuracy. 

For example, Guru is an AI-powered knowledge platform that gathers your company knowledge in a single reliable source. And offers instant access to it right within your workflows. 

5. Request a demo first

At this point, you might’ve made a list of the recruiting tools that seem good after scouring the Internet. That’s all fine and dandy but don’t make your choice simply based on what you read. 

Make a selection based on what you know is right. In other words, get hands-on experience with the tool of your choice before you buy. 

A demo or a free trial lets you see if the ATS software meets your needs and is friendly enough for your team members. Plus, you can experiment with its features and compare them with other ATSs on your list. 

Evaluating your options through demos also gives you an idea of the vendor’s customer support. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask the support team for clarification. It’ll let you see if the provider can offer the answers you need, when you need them. 

In conclusion, take advantage of demos because they provide valuable insight into the capabilities of an ATS. And ensure the evaluation process is more streamlined. 

6. Research reviews

Maybe you’re stuck choosing between two ATS software solutions. You had tons of fun with the demos, both fit your set budget, and they have all the features you need. 

To help you, read customer reviews, which might offer precious nuggets of information about the ATS software. Go on trusted review websites like G2 or Capterra to see what people have to say about your options. Maybe one will point out something that you overlooked. 

Why are customer reviews so important? Because they offer valuable insight into the software’s strengths and weaknesses, its ease of use, and how well it meets a company’s hiring needs. 

Plus, you can see the tool’s reputation and rating. User reviews should play a significant role in finding the right solution for your business. 

7. Pay attention to security

An ATS manages and stores sensitive personal info about your candidates, such as cover letters, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Unfortunately, it can fall prey to cyberattacks if left unprotected, leading to all kinds of severe consequences like identity theft, fraud, and reputation loss. 

Your ATS should have data-privacy and security measures in place, like multi-factor authentication or data encryption, to prevent unwanted incidents. And have regular scheduled backups. 

Moreover, select an ATS that complies with industry and regional standards, such as GDPR, to avoid hefty fines. 


Following these seven steps will ensure you choose an ATS that will make the hiring process smoother. And foster better candidate relationships. 

Yet one more question remains: what features should you look for in ATS software? 

Let’s find the answer together. 

What Features Should You Look for in ATS Software?

Many organizations use applicant tracking systems to streamline their hiring process. In fact, over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS, split into 35% of SMBs and 70% of large companies. 

But it doesn’t help make the selection process easier for you. With so many tools around, each with its own features, it’s hard to choose one over the other.

We can help you out. Here are the top ATS features to look for: 

  • Email templates — Writing emails from scratch every time you want to notify a candidate is time-consuming. Most ATS have templates that make sure you keep communications consistent. 
  • Resume parsing — The ATS of your choice should have the ability to extract data from job applications, such as skills, contact information, or work history. 
  • Candidate sourcing — You should be able to actively search and reach out to potential candidates easily. Moreover, try to look for an ATS that lets you search on multiple channels, including employee referrals or social media. 
  • Integrations — Your ATS must integrate with the software that you already use. Also, look for tools that have customer relationship management (CRM) features as they help you strengthen bonds with customers. 

  • Real-time collaboration — People from different departments should be involved in the recruitment process, from sourcing to decision-making. 
  • Advanced search — The best applicant tracking systems should have advanced search features that let you find specific info and keywords. 
  • Analytics and reporting — The ability to analyze data will give you an advantage over your rivals. With these features, the ATS can generate accurate reports about hiring trends, candidate preferences, etc. 
  • Interview scheduling options — It’s very helpful for your ATS tool to automate this task because you stop wasting resources and time sending out reminders, coordinating meetings, etc. 

Have you made your list of must-have features? If not, take some time to write them down. 

Then, you’re ready to meet the best ATSs on the market. 

10 ATS Software Tools to Consider

In the sea of ATS solutions, only a few truly stand out. In our search for the best one, we’ve found 10 to keep in mind when evaluating your options.  

Grab some snacks — and let’s look at them. 

1. BambooHR

BambooHR is HR software that automates most HR tasks, such as hiring, payroll, onboarding, and benefits administration. 

Source: G2

With this recruiting software, you can hire the best people for the job, before someone else takes them. BambooHR organizes your applicant data, no matter where your hire is in the pipeline. And puts an emphasis on creating excellent candidate experiences. 

BambooHR has transformed our hiring process, providing seamless workflows from application to hire and beyond.” 

Moreover, this tool keeps you in touch with all candidates, at every stage of the hiring process. As a result, you experience a boost in reputation and make people feel seen and appreciated. 

But are you tired of opening yet another app to search for the candidate info you need? Guru can solve that problem by integrating with BambooHR and bringing instant answers without you switching contexts. 

2. Greenhouse

Greenhouse gives you all the tools you need to streamline your hiring process end to end. 

Source: G2

What makes Greenhouse different from other tools is its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) tools. Which means it helps you build a stronger work culture with people from diverse backgrounds. Besides, you eliminate bias, resulting in a fairer hiring process. 

Greenhouse also has talent management capabilities, allowing you to build a talent-sourcing strategy that meets your business goals. Since you have a single source of truth for your talent pool, you can make collaboration easier and build stronger relationships over time. 

[...] I also like the data dashboard that gives us insight on diversity metrics as well as other important recruiting metrics (e.g., avg. time to fill and avg. time to hire).

What if you could access Greenhouse’s data from anywhere? Guru can make that dream a reality and connect this new ATS with all your other existing apps. 

3. JazzHR

JazzHR does not just have a jazzy name but also offers an affordable and user-friendly recruiting platform suitable for small businesses. 

Source: G2

I love that JazzHR is scalable depending on a client’s needs. A small, tiny company can have an entry-level ATS and 3 aggregate job postings for such a low monthly rate.” 

JazzHR works hard to streamline recruiting by replacing time-consuming HR tasks with automation. Plus, it strives to improve your hiring outcomes so you get only the best recruits. 

You get immediate access to the tool after implementation. With just a few clicks, you can start reviewing resumes and meet your hiring needs. 

Do you also want to get instant access to the info JazzHR has? Use Guru to easily perform searches no matter which tool you use. 

4. Manatal

Manatal is online AI recruitment software that helps you source and hire top talent faster, and is favored by many recruiting agencies. 

Source: G2

It’s a tool that uses artificial intelligence to find your perfect match through its recommendation engine. In seconds, Manatal can find the best talent for the open position by scanning and parsing candidates’ information. 

Moreover, Manatal has relevancy ranking, which means it can rate candidate profiles and job requirements according to how well they fit the job.

Manatal has some great features, such as a Chrome extension that can help teams identify profiles that have already been added to the ATS. They also have a career page that can be personalized.” 

And guess what? You don’t have to waste time switching between software when you want to check customer profiles. Simply use Guru to get the knowledge you need from Manatal. 

5. Rippling

Rippling offers a workforce management platform that streamlines any HR task, from recruiting to expenses to payroll. 

Source: G2

This platform allows you to hire more efficiently, without manual data entry. Moreover, since it keeps all candidate information in one place, it eliminates repetitive tasks and improves collaboration.

 “I really like the ease of use and setup. Everything is clear and sets up quickly. Additionally, the pricing is reasonable as well and I feel like I’m getting a lot for my monthly investment.” 

Rippling also prides itself on its powerful custom reports. It’s super easy to pull useful information out of your data. And see how well your hiring efforts are impacting your bottom line. 

You don’t have to constantly switch apps to get the right information from Rippling. Guru integrates with this tool and puts the data you need at your fingertips. 

6. Gusto

Gusto is an online payroll and HR solution that makes sure you recruit, hire, and onboard only the best employees. 

Source: G2

Moreover, Gusto makes them feel welcome right from the start. It saves you time through its onboarding checklists, which help you set tasks such as sending an offer letter or enrolling a new hire in health insurance. 

This platform is great for small businesses: “Its interface is clean and easy to navigate, and we appreciate its knowledge base of resources to help us stay compliant across state lines and international borders.” 

You can send, sign, and store documents in your Gusto account. In addition, you can request electronic signatures from anywhere to make the signing process easier. 

And you can get the information you want from Gusto easily. You only have to use Guru. And say ‘Goodbye’ to constantly switching between apps in an attempt to find the right document. 

7. Breezy HR

Breezy HR is a modern recruiting product that streamlines your hiring process by creating simple career sites, leaving repetitive tasks behind, and giving real-time insights. 

Breezy automates manual tasks such as interview scheduling, posting job advertisements on top websites, and sending follow-ups. Moreover, you can do all this from its mobile app, which comes in handy if you want to check candidates on the go. 

Source: G2

I love that it is incredibly easy to create templates, which makes it very easy for us to communicate directly with applicants in a timely fashion. It is incredible!” 

Do you also want to streamline the way you access your data? 

Then get Guru! You’ll forget about traditional searching and welcome a new, responsive way to get instant answers right in your workflow. 

8. Workable

Workable is recruiting and hiring software that helps teams of any kind find the perfect candidates, through job descriptions or evaluating applications. 

If you don’t know where to start, this tool offers in-house recruiters, hiring teams, and HR professionals to help you find qualified candidates. Moreover, it uses AI-powered tools to suggest talent, which makes it easier to make the right decision. 

Source: G2

I like how easy it is to move candidates through the stages of the hiring pipeline efficiently, and also customizing pipelines according to specific hiring needs.” 

Workable also expands your reach with localized candidate experiences. You can recruit people from abroad and tap into a wider talent pool by speaking the candidate’s language. It offers six languages: English, French, German, Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish.

To keep tabs on all your company knowledge without interrupting your work, use Guru. It’s the perfect solution for finding all the answers you need directly in the tool you already work with. 

9. Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit provides an all-in-one talent acquisition solution with both ATS and CRM capabilities. 

With this solution, you can source, track, and hire the best applicants and automate everyday tasks like updating status, sending emails, and more. Plus, Zoho Recruit also has detailed reports and analytics that help you plan better hiring strategies in the future. 

Source: G2

One of the most impressive features has been the customization capability. Zoho Recruit allows me to tailor the recruitment process to fit the unique needs of my agency.” 

Another of Zoho’s features is employee referrals. It helps you create the best referral programs that turn every employee into a recruiter and make sure everyone shares your company’s values. 

Plus, you know what integrates very well with Zoho Recruit? Guru, allowing you to find every answer you require without spending your whole day looking for that document you need right now. 

10. Recruitee

Recruitee is a cloud-based ATS and collaborative recruitment software with an easy-to-use interface that makes it easy to recruit top talent. 

You know what else is faster? Getting information about your candidates without context switching. You can do so with Guru, as it easily integrates with Recruitee. 

Source: G2

Over to You

Maybe you’ll find the best ATS software for you on our list. Congrats! But maybe you need some more time to evaluate your options till you find the perfect one. That’s totally fine! 

Make sure the ATS solution you choose aligns with your business goals and optimizes your hiring and recruitment process from start to finish. 

But you know what goes well with your ATS software? Guru!

It’s an enterprise AI search and knowledge platform that gets you instant answers from anywhere. Without switching tabs or apps! That’s why it’s highly helpful in searching for a candidate’s contact info whenever you need it.

Get hands-on experience with Guru by signing up for free.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

How much does ATS software cost?

The pricing of ATS software depends highly on your hiring needs and the number of candidates you’re trying to recruit. It can vary from $19–$199 per month for small and medium-sized companies (or $5–$9 per employee). For large enterprises, it can get as high as $530. 

Most tools, though, have custom pricing, meaning that the vendor will calculate the price based on the features you want, your needs, etc.

Is there free ATS software?

There are a few tools that have free-forever plans with limited capabilities, such as: 

  • Breezy HR
  • Recooty
  • VanHack
  • Zoho Recruit
  • MightyRecruiter
  • OpenCATS

How can I compare different ATS solutions?

Here are some tips for comparing different ATS solutions: 

  • Clearly define your business goals and objectives and choose a tool that matches them. 
  • Look at each tool’s features to see what they offer.
  • See if there are integrations and add-ons with the tools you already use. 
  • Check reviews and ratings to get insight into how people feel about the ATS. 
  • Try it yourself by requesting a demo or trial. 

Written by
Becca Dierolf
Search everything, get answers anywhere with Guru.

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