The Best Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Being able to find the right applicants in a timely manner and provide a smooth candidate experience is key to the success of your business, especially if you need to scale quickly. Choosing the best applicant tracking system is crucial in ensuring you have a smooth recruitment process that saves you time and money. Find out what you need to look for in an applicant tracking system, as well as our top picks.

Top Rated

Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit combines a robust feature set with an intuitive user interface and affordable pricing to speed up and simplify the recruitment process.

Best for New Users


Workable is an easy-to-use, intuitive applicant tracking system that streamlines the recruitment process, meaning you can quickly start hiring candidates.

Best Support

Bullhorn ATS

Bullhorn ATS is a relationship-focused applicant tracking system aimed at helping recruitment agencies better manage their processes and quickly source and hire candidates.


ApplicantPro is a recruiting solution that adapts to your business, allowing you to customize and build candidate pipelines and hiring experiences that attract and retain the best candidates. However,


ApplicantStack is a basic applicant tracking system that lacks advanced features, but it’s easy to use and quick to get up and running.

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Choosing the right applicant tracking system (ATS) is crucial because it affects all areas of your business. If you implement a system that doesn’t focus on candidate experience, then you won’t be able to hire the best people, as they will drop out during the process.

If you pick a system that is way too complex for your needs, you’ll slow down your hiring process and fail to meet the recruitment needs of your company.

If you pick a system that doesn’t let you effectively source candidates, you’ll end up hiring someone who isn’t right for the role or company just so you can close the job requirement.

We’ve put together a list of our top ATS to help you narrow down your options and make the right decision.

Our top picks for the best Applicant Tracking Software:

Top Rated

1. Zoho Recruit

Best for New Users

2. Workable

Best Support

3. Bullhorn ATS


4. ApplicantPro


5. ApplicantStack


6. The Applicant Manager


What The Blueprint looks for in a great applicant tracking system

There are basic features that you need to look for when choosing an applicant tracking system if you want to be able to make a real difference in the way you recruit.

Intelligent sourcing capabilities

When recruiting, you shouldn’t be taking what is unpleasantly known as the spray-and-pray approach — reaching out to as many candidates as you can and hoping that at least one of them is a good fit. Instead, you need to choose your channels wisely and filter your candidates before they even reach your inbox.

With an ATS, you can choose where to post your job — whether that be on social media or jobs boards such as Indeed and Monster — and specify key criteria such as years of experience or location. That way you’ll get a smaller volume of more relevant candidates.

Customizable pipeline management

Companies recruit in different ways for different roles. For example, if you're hiring a developer, you’ll need a stage in the hiring process for a skills-based assessment. If you’re hiring a senior-level manager, you might require more in-person interviews. Or maybe you'd like to always have a screening call as a first step in the process.

You need an applicant tracking system that you can adapt to your way of working rather than you having to adapt to a set workflow.

Recruitment analytics

It’s important to measure the performance of your recruitment efforts, but doing this manually is time-consuming and leaves you prone to errors. You need applicant tracking software that can centralize all the data from the hiring process and produce reports on key metrics. Some of the reports you will want to look for include:

  • Time to hire
  • Candidates by source
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Time in each stage

How your business can benefit from using applicant tracking systems

Applicant tracking systems can automate many manual processes and help you implement a more coherent recruitment strategy. Here are the benefits that will bring for your business.

Attract better candidates

Quality is key. That means attracting people who have the right skills for the role and would be a good fit for your company. An applicant tracking tool helps you attract those candidates by placing your job ad in the right place with the right language and design.

Some ATSs also let you create marketing campaigns to target the kind of people you are trying to hire either through social media or Google Ads.

Improve the candidate experience

Creating a good first impression of your business is key. If you forget to reply to a candidate, keep rescheduling interviews, or add unnecessary hoops to jump through, that person is more likely to drop out during the recruitment process.

An ATS ensures you keep on top of communication, move candidates through the pipeline quickly, and present a good image of your company.

Hire candidates more quickly

Sifting through all the candidates who have applied for your job takes a lot of time, as does trying to manually keep track of where they are in the pipeline. An ATS can take care of all of that, letting you automatically disqualify candidates who don’t have the right skill set and keep track of where all candidates are in the hiring process.

Applicant Tracking System Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an applicant tracking system cost?

There are a few applicant tracking systems — such as Zoho Recruit — that are free, but most start at around $90 per user, per month. Some ATSes provide a pay-per-job plan, but most require monthly subscriptions, while some software includes onboarding functionality.

Who uses applicant tracking systems?

Corporate recruiters and third-party recruiters for staffing agencies both use applicant tracking software, but they sometimes require different functionality.

For example, third-party recruiters often need functionality that lets them manage client relationships and create external portals with limited features for their clients to access.

What are the best applicant tracking systems?

We’ve put together a list of our picks of the top applicant tracking systems above, but the answer depends on your circumstances, the features you need, and your budget. If you’ve never used applicant tracking software before, you’ll want to prioritize ease of use.

If you’re on a limited budget, you’ll want to look for free software or solutions that provide fewer features but are less expensive.

The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.