Best Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) - July 2019

The page includes: A list of the best ATS vendors, ATS pricing guidelines, ATS ROI calculator, questions for ATS vendors, and a full ATS email course

Looking to buy a new applicant tracking system to help with your recruiting and talent acquisition efforts? We’ve researched hundreds of different vendors to understand which are the best ATS’s, along with everything else you need to know in order to buy an applicant tracking system.

In this guide you’ll find: Listing of top ATS vendors, an ROI calculator, vendor organizer, free email course, ATS pricing models, and more!

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best B2B software so you don’t have to. We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software. More than 90% of the vendors featured on our site have no commercial relationship with us. Read more


Top Applicant Tracking Systems

We track thousands of HRTech solutions, these are the best ATS’s per our research and expert council as of July 2019

Workable’s applicant tracking system is a great fit for small and large companies alike, so it’s no wonder they have over 20,000 customers worldwide. The most interesting aspect to Workable’s solution is their AI powered sourcing capability which they have integrated with the rest of the ATS, and that gives you access to over 400 million candidate records!

In addition, a modern UI is paired with powerful features like automated scheduling which drastically cut down on the amount of work recruiters have to do in order to engage and hire top talent. This solution seems to constantly evolve, and now boasts the ability to target high value candidates on social networks.


Google is great at building software, and Google Hire has quickly gained thousands of customers with their ATS. We’ve heard a lot of great things about Google Hire, especially for companies using g-suite.


Greenhouse has arguably the best ATS for the mid market, and is aggressively going after enterprise accounts. Their partner ecosystem, bolstered by best in category APIs, allow their customers to take advantage of third party applications with no upcharge. Nearly every HRTech vendor that integrates with the ATS starts with Greenhouse. Greenhouse is not cheap, and can seem expensive relative to more nascent, or outdated systems. But, this is a case of getting what you pay for.


We’ve heard from quite a few practitioners that SmartRecruiters is great at taking feedback from their customers, and rapidly integrating that into the product. SmartRecruiters is a modern ATS that can be affordable even for companies with a smaller budget. It’s also a company thinking about more than ATS as they have a full talent attraction suite.


Lever was started with a product mindset, which put design first from its inception. It’s a modern ATS that also has a unique suite of tools such as Lever Nurture, which can make recruiters much more efficient when engaging candidates (similar to how sales automation tech has made Sales Development Reps 10x more efficient in recent years).


ClearCompany has flown under the radar for a long time despite their 99% customer retention rate (no other ATS seems to come close), and also offers a robust HCM suite that is fully integrated with the goal of offering insights across the full employee lifecycle. That’s a cool vision! The majority of customers are smaller organizations in industries where the fight for talent isn’t as vicious as tech and professional services. They also lack in their employer branding offerings.


iCIMS was one of the original SaaS companies. They have a feature set that is great for SMB all the way up to the largest companies and are always in the conversation about best ATS. Despite age, they continue to innovate with the acquisition of TextRecruit in 2018 and a constantly evolving product roadmap.


BreezyHR is a simple ATS that has over 5,000 customers. Some key features include video interviewing, automated candidate workflows, and talent pools for future hiring needs. It’s hard to understate how simple and intuitive their interface is, which makes this a great solution for companies looking to adopt their first ATS. Despite a focus on smaller companies, they also have larger customers including L’Oreal Canada, and T Mobile.


Other vendors we considered in our research: JazzHR, Jobvite, Taleo, Kenexa, Workday, SAP, Breezy, Workpop, ApplicantStack, Newton, Zoho, Bamboo

Recruiting Experts Who Contribute To This Guide:

Employer Branding and Recruiting

HR, Talent Acquisition

Employer Branding, Talent Acquisition


ATS ROI Calculator

If you’re looking to buy a new ATS, it’s important to build a business case for your new purchase. Our spreadsheet will allow you to build a robust ROI case to get the budget you need.

It contemplates:

  • Costs from subscription fees and one off costs

  • Increases in recruiter productivity

  • Changes in the hiring funnel

  • Decreases in time to fill

We highly suggest your use the video to the right in order to best understand how to use this spreadsheet!

Download ATS ROI Calculator


ATS Pricing Models

Here are the different pricing models you can expect to see from various Applicant Tracking Systems. As most companies charge for value given to customers, it’s interesting to note how each vendor thinks their solution adds value.

  • Hires/Job Postings/Applicants: We like charging based on how much you’re hiring because the value you get from an ATS is clearly more when you hire more (hiring 2 people next year? You don’t need an ATS. Quite the opposite for hiring 1,000).

  • Employees: Some ATS’s will charge based on the number of employees you have. We like this as it implies your employees will be more a part of your hiring practice (via referrals, social shares, etc).

  • Seats: Some ATS’s charge based on the number of logins you need, which can make it a bit tricky when figuring out who needs admin access and how that will change over time.

  • Features: Several ATS’s have launched modules which they believe are above and beyond the typical ATS, and so charge more for these. This is usually a CRM, a more robust analytics package, onboarding, etc.

Pro Tip: Be aware that some ATS’s charge for integrations with solutions you may already use (recruitment marketing system, HRIS, etc) which can drastically increase your annual spend.

Here’s another pro tip: All of the prices you are originally quoted from a vendor are negotiable, especially if you are looking to sign a multi year contract.

ATS Pricing

If you’re looking to buy a new applicant tracking system, here are some broad guidelines on pricing so that you’ll know the rough range you can expect to pay based on the size of your organization. It’s worth noting that these ranges are rough estimates. There are free applicant tracking systems, and there are premium offerings. Nonetheless, it’s helpful to understand the 30,000 foot view of ATS Pricing:

Employee Count Estimated Annual Cost
0-100 $3,500
100-250 $10,000
250-500 $15,000
500-1,000 $22,500
1,000-5,000 $50,000
>5,000 >$125,000

4 Pieces of Advice for Buying the Best ATS

  • Think Long Term: This is a solution you’re going to have for the next several years, minimum. Your organization will change, and you need a solution that will be adequate now and in the future.

  • Understand the Roadmap: It’s important to understand a company’s product roadmap, how impactful those features will be, and the company’s track record of delivering on that roadmap.

  • Feature Focus: ATS’s have an amazing amount of features. It’s easy to get bogged down comparing the 50 different things that each has which may be useful to your team. Our advice is to pick 3-5 must haves, and use them to determine whether or not you want to go with a given vendor. Chances are, there is no perfect ATS for you.

  • Look at ROI: A lot of HR teams look at an ATS as a must have piece of software which is essentially a workflow tool with some compliance features built in. But, modern applicant tracking systems drive ROI through sourcing and recruitment marketing capabilities, better integrations with other HRTech, and the ability to drive more value from the entire employee lifecycle.

Despite higher cost than you may be paying now, a modern ATS is a great investment for companies where talent is a competitive advantage for their business, and those companies competing in tight labor markets.

Questions to ask ATS Vendors on Demos

Below is a spreadsheet complete with over 300 questions you can ask vendors while looking at a new ATS. We also wanted to share some of the questions we think every recruiting team should be asking vendors while on demos:

  • Is there a bi-directional API to share information between this system and my HRIS?

  • How does this ATS help my recruiting efforts beyond capturing candidate information? For example, will it allow me to pipeline candidates, source, boost referrals, etc?

  • How does this system improve the candidate experience?

  • What is your partner strategy, and do I have to pay to integrate my other recruiting tools?

  • What metrics do you focus on to prove the effectiveness of this solution, and where can I see these in my analytics dashboard?

  • How do employees outside of HR interact with this ATS?

  • Can I speak to my future customer service rep about implementation, and how exactly your organization will be involved?

Download ATS Organizer Spreadsheet Complete with over 300 Questions to ask Vendors

If you’re buying a new ATS, there is way too much information to keep track of. You can use this organizer to keep track of your notes on the various vendors, etc during your process.

Btw, are we missing something on this page? Let us know and we’ll research it for you!


Checkout our Free ATS Buying Course - All Done Via Email

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For the next two weeks, you’ll get easy to digest emails related to:

  • Staying organized when looking at applicant tracking systems

  • Budgeting and ROI

  • Key features of the best ATS’s

  • Questions to ask on demos

  • Security concerns

  • Negotiating price