Applicant Tracking Systems Alone Aren’t the Answer

Good ATSs, though, can prove valuable as part of a full-scale recruiting effort—especially for startups


In our most recent blog we addressed the fact that applicant tracking systems have failed to realize their potential from such auspicious beginnings many years ago. Yet if your company is conducting a search without a recruiting firm’s expertise, an ATS can be almost a necessity. And, budget permitting, the potential benefits are still there, especially as AI and machine learning are advancing ATSs beyond the basic automated functions many have come to expect.


So, if you’re the market, here’s a good site to learn more about what you should consider before purchasing an ATS, as well as a directory of many popular vendors. As for the crew here at HireLabs, we’ve come up with a list of our own favorite systems for startup companies. As is often the case in the industry, there’s no consensus. In fact, we all have our own recommendations for startup firms looking for affordable (and on occasion, free) options. They are:


Hire (Google): Hire is Google’s applicant tracking system (ATS) designed to help small to medium organizations distribute jobs, identify and attract candidates, build strong relationships, and efficiently manage the interview process—using the familiar Google solutions such as Google Search, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Hangouts. Pricing: Available to G-Suite users starting at $200/mo. for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Greenhouse: Greenhouse is a cloud-based applicant tracking system and recruiting software designed to optimize the entire recruiting process, and help companies find better candidates, conduct more focused interviews, and make data-driven hiring decisions. The application review tool automatically accepts or rejects a candidate’s application based on the selection criteria defined by the recruiter. Pricing: On a per quote basis, starting at $550/mo.

Lever: Lever Hire combines ATS and CRM functionality in a single platform to help users source, nurture, and manage candidates all in one place. The company’s “starter” plan provides smaller startups with an affordable end-to-end software solution that brings value throughout the recruiting process. Pricing: Available by quote, based on number of employees.

OpenCATS: This open-source ATS meets even the most bootstrapped startup’s budget (zilch). More good news, you can modify and customize it as much as you'd like. The catch is that you won’t ever find a support team should you run into trouble. Pricing: Free

JazzHR: JazzHR lets you optimize the recruiting process according to your feasibility. Its intuitive ATS helps recruiters and hiring managers build scalable and effective recruiting processes in seeking great hires. JazzHR is also the creator of HR's first integrated crowd-sourcing, big-data and predictive analytics initiative. Pricing: Starting at $89/mo.


Whether or not you choose to use an ATS, you should also consider working with a recruiting firm. Good firms are well connected and often already have relationships with types of candidates you want to win over. There are some things that a career professional can make happen that even the most advanced software fails to deliver.

For instance, only recruiters know how best to approach today’s in-demand tech candidates, who seek fulfillment beyond compensation in terms of challenges and opportunities in areas they’re passionate about. In our case, HireLabs has a vast recruiting network and decades of experience staffing growing tech companies from coast to coast, especially startups.  We staff administrative to C-level positions in sales, engineering, creative, product marketing, and more. We collaborate to build out the teams startups need to launch products and services and grow and sustain their businesses.

So, bonne chance in your latest recruiting efforts. If you’re a startup considering an ATS, we hope you’ll find our recommendations helpful. And if you’re interested in benefiting from the expertise of a tech savvy recruiting firm, let us know.


Tom ThompsonComment