By Emily Heaslip
The use of applicant tracking systems is higher than ever. According to research from Jobscan, 98% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS), to filter resumes through before a hiring manager does their review.
On one hand, an ATS makes a recruiter’s job easier: when it works well, it can escalate the best candidates for an open position. But, when the tool fails, it only selects a candidate based on a list of qualifications and certifications rather than real-world skills and experience.
There are many great ATS’s out there, but these platforms got the top ratings based on our experience and other recruiter reviews.
Bullhorn gets high praise for its user interface, intuitive features, and integrations with Gmail and Outlook. Recruiters love Bullhorn’s capabilities both as an applicant tracking system and as a CRM.
According to one recruiter, “The Bullhorn software appears to function beautifully. The Bullhorn software or system catalogs candidate profiles, open search projects, communication with candidates and clients, interview schedules, status and feedback reports, etc. And it apparently can accomplish a housekeeping function that I didn’t expect.”
Bullhorn is at the cutting edge of applicant tracking systems. In February 2019, it was reported that the company was planning to add AI-based capabilities to their platform to enhance organizational performance.
Where Bullhorn wins: Comprehensive features, intuitive controls make it an easy tool to pick up with great customer support along the way.
Where Bullhorn falls short: the high price tag makes it better suited for enterprise users. Also, Bullhorn has yet to add iOS or Android mobile applications.
Greenhouse was the “fastest-growing ATS by market share in 2017,” according to one resource. Their platform is beloved by recruiters for its structured hiring and interviewing approach, which begins with finding candidates from a variety of sources – events, through agencies, referrals, and job boards like Glassdoor, SimplyHired, and Indeed – and concludes with automatic scheduling, messaging, and pipeline management suite of tools. One recruiter who has used Greenhouse for three years says, ‘It’s very customizable to your recruitment operation while providing clear guidance on how to best organize your operation. This improves your candidate/interviewer experience while maximizing your data/analytics and workflows.”
Where Greenhouse wins: Greenhouse Inclusion pairs with Greenhouse’s recruitment platform to mitigate chances for unconscious bias during the hiring process.
Where Greenhouse falls short: Some recruiters feel the reporting customization leaves something to be desired.
Taleo was acquired by Oracle for nearly $2 billion in 2012 and has since become the leading ATS software by market share, capturing 23% of the market.
Taleo stands out for its candidate management and employee onboarding, with the capacity to manage high volumes of employees, prospective candidates, and new hires. For recruiters seeking a tracking system that goes beyond the applicant phase, Taleo is a great option.
A hiring manager who has used Taleo for more than a year says, “It is very useful because it allows us to encompass the entire Human Resources process from the recruitment, selection, hiring and compensation of personnel as well as maintaining control over information on the profile, skills, training, experience, performance and career of human talent.”
Where Taleo wins: Taleo is truly a full-stack marketing tool, integrating recruitment marketing with internal referrals to automate recruitment from start to finish and streamline employee onboarding.
Where Taleo falls short: Depending on what your organization needs, Taleo may be a bit overwhelming. Some recruiters find it hard to navigate, with some features that need more training or tutorials.
After Taleo, iCIMS is the second most popular ATS by market share. It’s a platform that zeroes in on content generation to draw candidates into your pipeline. iCIMS focuses on Google search and social media to source new applicants.
They also added a nifty “text to apply” capability that makes it easy to grow your applicant pool rapidly. Beyond great employee marketing capabilities, the platform also manages the candidate experience automatically, freeing up your team to do more human-capital intensive tasks.
According to one recruiter, “iCIMS is highly customizable, which they will tell you themselves but they truly aren’t kidding. We have been able to automate many of our recruitment and onboarding processes, which in turn has given time back to not only our corporate group but operations staff as well.”
Where iCIMS wins: Customer support is responsive and helpful, consistently getting top ratings from recruiting teams.
Where iCIMS falls short: Hiring managers say the platform is clunky and not that intuitive to use.
Like Bullhorn, Jobvite also combines an ATS with CRM software in one streamlined platform. It’s a standard, solid option for recruiters who are seeking to improve their hiring metrics (hiring teams report seeing an increase in referral hiring and better measure of time to hire, as well as lower candidate acquisition costs).
A less expensive option than Greenhouse (depending on the size of your company), Jobvite is used by big-name companies like eHarmony, Spotify, Hulu, and Shutterfly.
What do the reviewers say? “Jobvite is the cleanest of what might be termed the ‘minimalist’ systems. It gets the job done without a lot of fuss. Very user-centric and intuitive, ramp-time is fairly short. Some of the bells (Campaigns, email “slams” etc.) have a steep learning curve; this is problematic for me since I am working specialist positions rather than commodity positions.
Where Jobvite wins: Companies can build and customize their own branded career site using Jobvite’s platform.
Where Jobvite falls short: This ATS is intended for use by in-house recruitment teams, rather than recruiting and staffing agencies. Recruiters say the platform can be buggy.
Hiring teams love BambooHR. It has a ton of useful features laid out in one easy-to-use interface. The dashboard offers a quick snapshot of open positions, as well as the recruiter in charge of each lead, the length of time a position has been open, and how many applications have been received. It’s easy to add a new listing, keep track of your funnel, and manage the recruiting process at the team-level.
And, if you’re new to HR tech in general, BambooHR’s customer support is unparalleled. “BambooHR’s customer support is second to none. How they find such cheerful, helpful people, I don’t know. They are happy to work with you to help you get the most out of the system,” writes one reviewer.
Where BambooHR wins: The platform is easy to get up and running, with an open API that works with tons of other HR tech vendors.
Where BambooHR falls short: The ATS lies within BambooHR’s HRIS (human resource information system), meaning if you’re looking for a pure ATS solution, this might not be the best choice for you.
Workable is extremely popular among small and mid-sized enterprises, and it’s easy to see why. Their ATS solutions combine machine learning and AI with more than 40 integrations in one extremely powerful hiring tool. Like Vervoe, Workable has a lot to offer beyond a simple sourcing tool: Workable includes access to “over 200 free and premium job boards, mobile-friendly application forms, more than 700 job description templates, and over 40 third-party integrations, including background checks and assessments.” Workable is able to give SMBs access to a larger pool of premium job boards, and include levels of customization that helps small hiring teams work efficiently.
One recruiter in the nonprofit industry reports, “My favorite feature is the ability to email candidates directly from the software. It’s a great way to keep yourself organized especially when you are emailing a dozen candidates. It also allows other hiring managers to see your emails that way they are aware of your progress with the candidate.”
Where Workable wins: It’s affordable for small and medium-sized enterprises, with access to free and premium job boards.
Where Workable falls short: Some hiring teams may find the functionality falls short, with limited integrations to other HR tech tools.
SmartRecruiters works with big companies like Visa, Skechers, and Equinox – and, as a web-based hiring platform, it’s great for companies working on Macs, PCs, mobile devices, and everything in between.
For Equinox, which requires a flexible solution that works in different locations, the results spoke for themselves.
The company saw a 45% increase in career site traffic by using SmartRecruiters, leading to a 9% increase in total hires. Even more telling: their candidate experience scores dramatically improved. According to Equinox, 80% of users who clicked to apply finished the entire application.
A better candidate experience is part of the package: “I like the ease of use for candidates and users alike. Social media integration, hiring team collaboration, and customizable applications enhance the candidate experience,” reports one review.
Where SmartRecruiters wins: Applicants love SmartRecruiters’ straightforward application process. If you’re seeking to improve the candidate experience, this is a proven option.
Where SmartRecruiters falls short: Some hiring teams at smaller companies find SmartRecruiters has too many features that aren’t useful.
Cezanne is another ATS that caters to SMBs. It can do a lot more than just candidate sourcing, including integrated benefits and payroll. It’s a global option – the company is based in the UK and offers global support in 10 languages. Because the company is UK-based, this is one of the few tools that boasts GDPR-compliance, so if you’re working overseas, it’s a safe bet. Cezanne allows recruiters to automatically post to Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor, Pinterest, Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, SimplyHired, and InfoJobs, casting a wide net on both social media and traditional job sites.
A recruiter who’s worked with Cezanne for more than two years says, “Customer service is excellent, very fast and detailed responses and there is always someone willing to have a call and talk you through the system. This is definitely the best thing about Cezanne.”
Where Cezanne HR wins: Cezanne HR’s ATS is solid and reliable at a good price point, catering to small and medium enterprises.
Where Cezanne HR falls short: There are a lot of features that might be complicated to navigate for newbies to ATS and HR Tech in general.
SAP America purchased SuccessFactors in 2011, and though the platform is technically a full HCM software, it’s an extremely popular candidate tracking system among Fortune500 companies. Where SAP SuccessFactors stands out is in its reporting features.
One review raves, “The amount of reports and data that this software holds is amazing. You are able to track an employee’s progress from the second they apply to the time that they leave and everything in between.” The platform also includes an internal talent search feature, which other ATS’s don’t offer.
Where SAP SuccessFactors wins: The performance tracking features are unparalleled, and set-up is intuitive with many assisting video tutorials.
Where SAP SuccessFactors falls short: The platform bills itself for small businesses, yet it costs far more than other HR software options for mom-and-pop shops.
The author Emily Heaslip is a content writer at Melbourne based Vervoe, a startup that provides solutions for companies to ‘audition’ candidates using technology and make that possible at speed, at scale and based on data.
(Published as part of a partnership with Vervoe.com)