Whats the best ATS software for small to mid size companies?

I am helping a client in their ATS selection so would like to have your recommendation on this. 

What are the best applicant tracking systems for small to mid size companies? Almost all of the ATS have basic tracking features and some differences, so it would be helpful to learn from your experiences.

Any recommendations?

Any suggestion, or some of the uncommon features we should be looking for?



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Anyone have any suggestions? 

HI Amy, if you run a search for ATS on this site as well as on RecruitingTools.com you will find a lot of recruiter feedback on the subject.  If you are still not finding any info let me know and I can help more.  

We use a program called CATS.  Works great.  Allows you to keep track of candidates, clients, job openings, etc.  Posts your jobs to different websites.  It will create a website for you or be integrated into your current website.  Great customer service as well.

Check it out at www.catsone.com

Hi Amy,

I design Intelligence Software and it is specifically for small and medium sized recruiters.

Is it the best software? Possibly, but that depends completely on what you are looking for. Firstly, is your client an agency or a corporate? What type of people do they recruit? What problems are they trying to solve with the implementation of an ATS?

There are many more questions to answer and even then I suspect that you will have plenty of different system to choose from.

Hope this helps


If your client is new to the ATS world and doesn't want to commit a bunch of money, I'd seriously consider taking a look at www.smartrecruiters.com. It's a pretty full-service ATS and it's completely free of charge. It includes all the basics, job posting, candidate tracking, sorting and communications, hosting a company career page, the works. You can add upgrades that you'd pay for, such as background screening, etc. but the ATS service itself is free.

It would give your client the opportunity to work with a system and see what they like and don't like. If they like the system, they can keep it. If they decide that they want other things, they'll be coming from a more educated place when/if they decide to make a change.

We use CATS (www.catsone.com) and find it to be flexible, robust, and cost effective.

You should look at www.ikrut.com  Amy.

Great range of functionality.

Ridiculously easy to use.

oh, and it's completely free.

Hi Amy, 

I can personally demonstrate TargetRecruit for you if you'd like. Its simple to use (designed for recruiters by recruiters) and has CRM functionality too. It can be customized (fields and pages) to suit your unique recruiting processes, approval processes and workflows.  www.targetrecruit.net.  Feel free to message me at reena.gupta@avankia.com

Bullhorn - The best

"The best".  Hrmm.  How to qualify what you mean.  Everyone has their own perception of what is the best because of their own strengths and weaknesses and goals of their business.  It depends on what you want.  

For instance, are you focused on temporary or perm staffing?  

Do you want all the bells and whistles (automated posting to job boards, crawlers that forward you resumes, mass email capabilities with outlook, reporting, etc. etc.) or are you happy with a lean and fast process?

Do you need mobile capabilities?  

Do you want to own the data, have automated backup or DIY?

How large is your organization?  What is your budget?

I've evaluated over two dozen different of the most popular corporate and staffing industry ATS.  Some are better than others, some are extremely expensive while others are free.  It all comes down to analyzing your needs and going from there.  I have a posting recently that talks about this.  Like I've said before, almost all ATS universally kind of suck actually.  They don't quite do what you need them to do.  The question is, what do you consider "must haves" and what are only "nice to haves" and what is "not necessary"?

You can read my other blogs or contact me if you want additional feedback.  Good luck



In terms of my personal experience with Bullhorn, I think there have to be better alternatives for Small to Mid-Size enterprises than Bullhorn. I have had a horrendous experience with Bullhorn in the 5 months since signing on and am still sitting with a half-implemented system - for the full details check out Seriously Frustrated Bullhorn customer.

What an SME really needs is a supplier that can seek to understand the challenges and requirements of smaller business and in that understanding to ensure that they help the small business as much as possible along the way to make it a happy and fruitful relationship where the company gets a great ROI and customer service experience. My experience has been totally the opposite.

The short and simple version is that we are expected to pay for the month of July, despite only receiving logins to the system in mid-August. The official party line is that all SAAS based systems operate in this manner - Ie. client expected to pay from sign on date. I need to research if this is the case, but even if it is, doesn't mean it's correct and maybe SAAS based systems need a shake up so that people aren't expected to pay for something they can't use. In addition to that, there has been a litany of lengthy, drawn-out and painful customer services interactions and the Activity Centre (one of the key bits of functionality that contributed to my eventual decision to choose Bullhorn) is still not working.

To say that the customer service experience has been horrendous, in terms of trying to get Bullhorn to understand the length and depth of my frustration is an understatement of massive proportions. So far, from the limited functionality I've seen, the system seems to work quite well. If only they had the service to back up a decent product offering.

Nobody likes to see Bullhorn screw up more than I do, but Justin, I'm afraid to say that I think you had a hand in creating the problems and that you responded disproportionately to those problems.

The quote for the conversion was high, but at least on the planet.  Conversions are craft-jobs that require extensive quality communications to achieve great results.   That’s costly no matter who does the work.

All vendors know that not every new customer can afford that service, and there are always smaller import/export jobs that need doing, so the good tools all have robust tools to help end-users with DIY projects.


In your case, you found a legit bug in the import tool, but a pro import analyst would have run test loads at the earliest stages of the project- the initial map- which would occur prior to massaging the bulk of the data for import.   So their bug and your inexperience led to an obstacle.   

Your expectation was that they would move heaven and earth to see you through the job, and when they failed to do that, you became angry.  Then, to their credit, they ended up doing the job at no charge anyway.   

So to fully understand customer centrism, we need to know that when pro services are out of reach financially for customers, vendors should then just step in and do the job anyway.  I guess I get it…..but how good do we want vendors to be to customers other than ourselves?   


Next up is a misunderstanding of the financial obligations.    You say that, sure, there is a contract, and yes, it does spell out the start and end dates of the payments.   I will guess that customer centrism means payments are only due when value is felt and contracts are for the other guy?      

With the former, I can agree 100%.   We would never try to sustain an account charge when a customer could not get value.  Contracts exist as tools of last resort in a business relationship.  When Bullhorn goes to the contract first, that’s a big mistake and something they will have to fix, but clearly, you signed it, and you are obligated to pay it and then recover for their breach.   


Withholding payments due is your breach, regardless of their breach.  That said, most people understand that the accounting functions and customer service functions of smaller businesses (and Bullhorn is still a small business) are often quite separated.   They ended up doing the right thing, again, as would be expected.   And here you are, filling search engines up with your one-sided, self-serving story, trying to hurt them because they would not bend as fast as you wanted them to. 

Sometimes firms screw up.  Lucky we are in a business where life and limb is not on the line.  Sometimes disputes take on personal or emotional baggage, and one side is clearly unhappy but for difficult to understand reasons.   Customers are the life of any business, but they are not always right, and they have ethical obligations which exceed the mere handing over of money.    

I took the time to pen this because people can learn from it.   The original sin was your acknowledgement that Bullhorn is expensive, yet not really accepting what that fact means.  Affordability is personal, of course, but when you buy something expensive, the purveyors expect you to be a person can happily afford the offering.   When that’s not operative, it’s not automatic trouble, but it takes some patience and accommodation on both sides to work out well. 

That seems absent here.  



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