Ashby’s core differentiation is housing the full recruiting tech stack under one roof: ATS, CRM/Sourcing, Scheduling, and Analytics. While not a fit for super-size companies (3,000+ employees), this is a great tool for small and mid-sized teams that either need their first ATS, or are looking to consolidate their HR and TA tech stacks.
Founded in 2018, Ashby is a fairly new entrant to the crowded field of ATS platforms. Despite this, they’ve generated a lot of buzz in HR Tech circles, and they boast a genuinely impressive list of current customers. Add to this the number of people in the community telling me I need to see this tool, and it’s clear why we decided to go straight to the source to find out more.
Late in 2022, we met with Ashby’s VP of Marketing and Solutions Engineer to take a virtual tour of the platform. Our front-row seats came with the invitation to interrupt with a lot of questions, and a chance to experience Ashby from a user’s perspective. We covered standard operational flows, wacky edge cases, and in-depth analytics scenarios. In addition to SSR founder and CEO Phil Strazzulla, HR tech expert and staff editor o provide the most thorough coverage possible, we invited Hallie Bregman, renowned authority on data-driven people strategy and founder/CEO of The Bergman Group, to contribute to this review. An ATS is, as you’ll read, a deceptively complex tool.
Because it’s influenced by both technological advances and market forces, the TA tech landscape is constantly shifting. It follows that the ATS is one of the most dynamic software types we cover, and we have to keep this history in mind when we’re reviewing new software.
The 2010s were categorized by low unemployment and a perpetual tournament for talent. This led to a proliferation of ATS platforms. Each building products to meet the moment, this surplus of ATSs constantly stepped on each other’s toes by offering the same set of features. Rising to the top, the standout feature that defines that time in HR tech (and tech of the time more broadly) was, ironically, the lack of features. Note the “s” at the end of that noun: countless teams built tech with an extremely narrow focus on functionality.
Sometimes, a quick fix is a good fix. If you need a hammer, a hammer is exactly what you need. Though solid, this logic created an era of point solutions in ATS platforms that have not aged well. Though products that offer stand-alone sourcing only, or exclusively scheduling can drastically increase the efficiency of recruiting organizations, the trend toward single-point solutions left tremendous complexity and a high cost of ownership in its wake. Ashby is among the ATS platforms that recognize a need to consolidate this technical debt.
Ashby’s key differentiator is its best-in-class ATS, CRM, and analytics in one system. The major benefits here relate to reducing dreaded context switching, using as few tools as possible, ensuring a positive candidate experience, seamless workflows, and analytics. Anyone who knows the life of a recruiter knows that these features are key to success and sustainability.
If you are a recruiter, an ATS dashboard is probably a big part of your workday. With any luck, your daily dashboard is one that makes order out of the borderline chaos that defines the recruiter experience. In one word, Bregman defines the unifying element of a good ATS: “Consolidation!” Recruiters, she says, need a one-stop shop.
The dashboard is a recruiter's central hub from which all tasks are launched and tracked, so it has to be sufficiently elemental so as to not induce panic on sight, but sophisticated enough to simultaneously keep track of time, processes, and people. Ashby’s dashboard (shown) delivers on this execution. You can see upcoming interviews and to-dos with a gentle indication of priority. You can create events and track your tasks hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and so on.
From your dashboard, you can see the entire pipeline: candidate status, candidate sources, and interview schedules. You can customize what you need to, like the hiring stages of an atypical role, or use templates for more standard processes. And you can easily share all of this data with colleagues and with their calendars. But the best part of this dashboard can only be seen if you view all these elements as a whole: it is a single source of truth.
It may seem banal that all this information is simply there, but unless you’ve tried to juggle multiple vectors of information across time and space (literally) while maintaining a warm and welcoming demeanor, you may not truly appreciate the benefits of proximity and connectivity of each of these fragments. Focusing on one piece, we were particularly impressed with a feature that keeps your talent pool fresh.
Ashby makes it easy to re-engage with former applicants. This pool of talent, potentially wide and deep, often goes unattended because TA teams lack the tools to guide the process. With Ashby, you can create custom attributes to filter that pool by any cross-section of traits. The example above shows a hypothetical search for a Director Level engineer who meets six selected criteria. With Ashby, you can perform this search regardless of the candidate’s current location in the pipeline. Silver medalists? Please step to the front! In addition to identifying, the platform also makes it easy to get them on the radars and calendars of the right people.
Scheduling is such a monumental task that many recruiting teams devote an entire position to it. If you have a recruiting coordinator on staff, consider freeing them up for more meaningful work by letting the software do what software is made for: executing programmatic, repetitive tasks with unambiguous data. While Ashby’s solution is not as advanced as a dedicated interview scheduling point solution (so don’t let that recruiting coordinator get too far away!), it will definitely save your team time and cut down on errors.
One heads up: this is a feature that only G Suite users can take full advantage of. Using G Suite is a necessity (and a limitation) of Ashby’s platform.
Depending on how much you identify as a data nerd (for the record, we’re all Level Ten), we saved the best for last. Ashby’s analytics dashboard is so good, they have customers who use other ATSs but contract with Ashby just to use their analytics.
You can finally say goodbye to “elegant” Google Sheets, populated by exports from your ATS. Ashby allows you to create advanced dashboards relevant to roles from entry-level to C-suite.
Here’s a Level Ten Nerd favorite: you can calculate a projected number of hires based on your current pipeline and historical data. Likewise, you can model how many applicants will be needed in order to hit a specific number of hires. And yes, this can be done by role or department, each of which has different pass-through rates and interview processes.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that a good ATS is a powerful tool, but if you are struggling to decide when to invest in an ATS, take into account this advice from Bregman. When asked about the point at which a company should buy its first ATS, she replied, “Early! The more history you have, the better you can learn from and tailor future efforts.” Next, we’ll explore what the purchasing and implementation process looks like.
Ashby has done a great job of signing on fast-growing technology companies as their first cohort of customers. This includes Notion, Deel, Figma, and many more.
Offer management: Seamless passthrough. For example, high-level parameters (salary, equity, etc) are sent via slack for approval, with a post-approval offer letter one click away.
Surveys: Fluid communication via questionnaires and surveys throughout the interview process.
CRM: Includes email sequence to source and track candidates.
Alerts: Custom alerts sent to the right people at the right time for the right event – keep leadership in the loop.
Optimized talent pool search: Leverage existing database for candidates that are worth reconnecting with.
Chrome extension: Allows for sourcing across different social platforms like LinkedIn.
Integrations: open API connects with 70 other TA tools.
open API connects with 70 other TA tools.
If you’re thinking about buying different solutions for ATS, CRM, scheduling, and analytics, your total cost of ownership is most likely much lower with Ashby than buying these individually.
Pricing starts at $3,600/year for companies with up to 10 employees and goes up to $8,600/yr for 100-employee companies. Talk to them for quotes on 100+ employee organizations, and expect to find pricing in line with other premium ATS offerings such as Greenhouse and Lever.
Ashby is a good choice for a company’s first ATS. This is you if you’re currently hiring just a few people per year but foresee expansion beyond this close on your horizon (congrats!). However, this is a premium product relative to some other systems, so make sure you are going to continue growing in order to justify the cost (good luck!).
Companies who have been getting by with Google Sheets and Notion as an ATS stack will find value in upgrading to a dedicated ATS with all the bells and whistles. Ashby is also a favorite of companies who chose to consolidate their HR tech stacks. Lastly, Recruiting Ops teams in 1,000+ companies also like Ashby because of their analytics capabilities.
As mentioned, it’s important for your organization to be using Google Suite, otherwise, it will be hard to set up and get value from Ashby
Ashby has set up API connections to competitive ATSs that enable data migration from one system to another with a 24-hour, simple process.
In addition to support available through their site (customers can email the internal support team for a response within 24 hours, and security for a response within five days), they maintain a rich library of resources on Notion with Ashby University
For small teams, the time it takes to get a simple ATS configuration up and running is about a week. For larger teams, especially those who already have a CRM/ATS stack and are switching to Ashby, it can take up to six weeks.
A note on Notion. The choice to use Notion for their primary support library gives us pause. We love Notion and we use it extensively, but the platform is relatively new and may be unfamiliar to some users, both in concept and in practical terms. It is possible Ashby overshot the mark for what is currently most useful and landed on the best solution for the near future. This is a constant risk in emerging technologies and we’re not insinuating they made the wrong choice, but it’s worth considering how your team will react to Notion.
Their internal consulting team is comprised of (almost) exclusively folks with a recruiting or account management background. This is exactly the kind of person you want to help set up the bespoke aspects of your tool use, such as automation, interview flows, and analytics.