Top Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for 2023

applicant tracking system ats

Applicant Tracking Systems

Long gone are the days of HR specialists weeding through a mountain of paper resumes, trying to find the perfect candidate for their company’s open position.

Because recruitment and hiring so often placed a drain on a business’s resources, applicant tracking systems (ATS) turned out to be every HR manager’s dream come true.

If you are new to corporate lingo or the HR field, you may have wondered, “what does ATS stand for?” or perhaps you have been hesitant to ask a more experienced colleague “what is an ATS” for fear of looking naïve.

In this article, we will walk you through exactly what an ATS is and how they have provided an effective solution for businesses all across the world when it comes to finding the best candidates for any open position.

What Is an ATS?

An applicant tracking system or ATS is a sophisticated piece of software designed to assist companies in the management of the recruitment process.

The ATS software collects data on all candidates who apply for open positions within the organization. It allows the company to organize and utilize the data in smart and efficient ways.

Each time a business has a new vacancy, they should not need to reinvent the wheel.

Applicant tracking systems can help an HR manager quickly mine data to see if earlier applicants have the skills required for the new opening.

By using an ATS, the company creates a valuable resource over time, with a database of job seekers within easy reach.

Automated Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of what makes these systems so effective.

Imagine having to review the contents of an entire file cabinet to try and jog your memory about that one candidate who had both technical writing experience and a master’s degree? Or the applicant who was fluent in Mandarin and also had a background in web design?

These systems can help you locate this kind of information using AI, saving your business time and money in the process.

“The workplace of the future is almost here, according to Generation Z interview statistics. Currently, millennials encompass half of the American workforce, while the number of Gen Z and millennial employees is expected to increase in 2025 by 25%.” – Legal Jobs

How Do Applicant Tracking Systems Work?

The ATS is designed to track candidates from the time they apply for an open position through an interview process and (in some cases) the final job offer.

When positions are advertised online, the job seekers are prompted to apply with details that feed into the ATS.

That begins the process of data being collected and stored, and in the best ATS systems, it can also be parsed and evaluated.

The ATS can take data from the candidates’ resumes and applications and present it to hiring managers in easy-to-use formats; those managers can also use the ATS to track each step with a candidate, such as phone interviews and reference checks.

Before automated hiring processes, it was much easier to let promising candidates slip through the cracks.

Applicant tracking systems mean we do not lose a resume to an unwieldy stack of papers on a pack rat’s desk, and they serve as useful checkpoints to keep busy hiring managers up to speed on interviewing steps. 

Additionally, an ATS helps companies avoid the problem of managers working in silos.

The marketing manager may need to be invested in hiring the company’s new outside sales rep which she has access to the candidates thanks to this software. 

It creates a way for colleagues to view and share feedback about job candidates, and it also means a reservoir of potential candidates waiting when the next opportunity arises.

The value of an ATS is best seen in its storage of job applicant details, creating an easy way for managers to search the talent pool in a paperless, easy-to-navigate software application.

A robust applicant tracking system cuts down on time spent in the recruiting process, and this efficiency ultimately saves your business money in the long run.


What Makes A Good Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Not all ATSs are alike, and you want to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck when you purchase one for your organization.

Every good ATS will help you collect and store data, but the more robust programs will have advanced features for using that data to manage the hiring process more effectively.

Job Posting And Applications

When candidates apply for open positions within your company, the ATS will take their online data and funnel it into one system for consistent formatting and easy-to-search features. AI is used to scan resumes and applicants for certain keywords, making the hiring process easier.

In some cases, you may be able to automate postings with the software, placing them everywhere from your own website to job boards and social media.

Best of all, job postings funneled through ATS will ensure consistency in how your open positions are marketed to job seekers. 

Applicant tracking software also ensures the applicant has an easy time submitting her data for consideration.

This is the first impression your business is making on potential employees, so a savvy application system will impress upon these candidates that yours is an organized, strategic, and growth-minded operation.  

Resume Importing, Digitization, And Parsing

When shopping for an ATS, be sure to look at what the software is capable of when it comes to resumes. You want a program that can take virtually any format, from a PDF to Microsoft Word, and make sense of that data and store and save it. 

For example, a robust applicant tracking system could take a photograph of a paper resume, snapped on a smartphone, and turn that into a digital format compatible with other types of resumes. Parsing data (or translating it from one format to another) is one of the most valuable features of an ATS.

Additionally, the ability to search that data for keywords is also important, especially for larger businesses with a steady flow of open positions.

For example, a large financial organization might want to seek out candidates with some experience in cryptocurrency, which can be used as a keyword search to pull those applicants into a results list.

Customizable Email Templates

The recruitment process is just as much about the candidates assessing your business as it is about you assessing them.

Job applicants can be quickly turned off by inconsistent communication − or no communication at all. 

The applicant tracking system can help the hiring manager with customizable email templates, allowing you to send out responses quickly while also making them feel personalized.

Receiving a simple acknowledgment of an application can go a long way toward keeping an applicant engaged.

Additionally, you might have a formatted email for a group of candidates who did not make it to the in-person interview list, but you might want to consider again for future openings.

A warmly worded message to those candidates, personalized with their names, leaves them with a good impression of your business, despite any disappointment they may feel. 

These automated email processes are tremendous time savers and an incredibly useful feature of the best applicant tracking systems.

Tracking And Checklists

As the name implies, tracking is a core feature of an ATS. The ability to track a qualified candidate from the moment they apply through various stages of recruitment means important steps are not missed.

For example, the ATS might have checkpoints for such important steps as contacting the applicant’s references, running a background check, verifying past employment, and administering certain skills assessments

The tracking functionality can also be used to generate data that may be of interest to senior executives, such as; how many people have applied for a particular position, how many candidates have completed phone interviews, how many are advancing to in-person interviews

Notes on the candidates’ interviews may also prove useful for future openings.

“78% of recruiters say using an ATS helps recruit better candidates, faster.”

— Gartner


By now, you must be convinced your business could benefit from an ATS, and the next step is to shop for one. Bearing in mind the features outlined above, we would like to recommend a few of our favorites.

1. Breezy ATS

For a small business purchasing an ATS for the first time, Breezy is a fantastic choice. The name says it all: this software is a breeze to use, with a simple interface showing candidates, pipelines, and tasks.

What We Love about Breezy:

  • Career and referral portals
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Video tutorials and weekly webinars

Find out more about pricing here.

2. VidCruiter ATS

VidCruiter has a standalone ATS that can be combined with other tools; we love the option to start with the individual product and then add to it later if your business demands grow.

With more than 40,000 customers, this software provider is a trusted resource with a solid reputation.

What We Love about VidCruiter:

  • Dedicated account managers for customers
  • Multiple languages
  • Personalized branding for employers

Find out more about pricing here.


iCIMS is one of the leading enterprise recruiting platforms that looks to empower employers to attract, engage, hire, and advance today’s top talent.

With over 4,200 current customers, it’s easy to see why so many choose iCIMS. 

What We Love about iCIMS:

  • Onboarding to help new hires 
  • Text engagement using employees preferred messaging apps
  • Video interview software

Find out more about pricing here.

4. SmartRecruiters ATS

SmartRecruiters is the industry’s only modern and enterprise-grade talent acquisition suite that empowers businesses to hire talent on-demand – providing full source-to-hire capabilities for the modern workforce.

What We Love about SmartRecruiters:

  • Easy to use software
  • Ability to create jobs and gather information in one place. 
  • Ability to rate/review candidates

Find out more about pricing here.

What is the difference between ATS and HRIS?

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, which is a software application that helps companies manage their recruitment process. It allows companies to store and track job applications, resumes, and other hiring-related information in one place.

HRIS, on the other hand, stands for Human Resources Information System. It is a software application that allows companies to manage and track employee information, such as payroll, benefits, time and attendance, and performance reviews.

Essentially, ATS is focused on managing the recruitment process, while HRIS is focused on managing employee information and data.

Do ATS’s prefer Word or PDF?

It’s generally recommended to submit your resume in PDF format when applying for a job, since this will ensure that the formatting of your resume stays intact and looks the same on the employer’s end as it does on your end.

However, it is also important to make sure that the ATS being used by the company you are applying to is able to read PDF files. Some ATS systems may not be able to parse the text in a PDF file properly, which could cause your resume to be rejected or not properly considered for the position.

If you are unsure whether the ATS being used by a company is able to read PDFs, it might be a good idea to submit your resume in both PDF and Word format, to ensure that it will be properly read and considered.

Wrapping Up | Best Applicant Tracking Systems

An ATS is a great option for HR departments looking to boost efficiency throughout the hiring process. They help automate tasks like sourcing, interviewing and onboarding which frees up time for other HR related work that needs to be done (which we all know how busy HR departments have been).

Our four favorites we mentioned above only brush the surface of the Applicant Tracking Systems available for you today. Find out which option works best for your company and situation – then make a decision.

We hope this helps – best of luck choosing your next applicant tracking system!

Title: Top applicant tracking systems for 2022

Category: Employers

Tags: ATS, Applicant tracking system, applicant tracking system list, what makes a good applicant tracking system, most popular ats, most popular ATSm what is the best applicant tracking system, recruiting help, systems for recruitment agencies, top applicant tracking systems, what does ats stand for in recruitment, popular ats

Author/Contributor: Reid is a contributor for theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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