How to Choose a Small Company Applicant Tracking System

Small Company Applicant Tracking SystemDon’t rush when it comes time to choose a small company applicant tracking system, also called an ATS. There are many things to consider, so you’ll want to educate yourself and thoroughly examine your options. A rushed choice might get you an ATS that you can’t use, is only partially helpful so you’ll have to use two, or that costs too much so you’ll have to stop using it. Avoid those scenarios by reading this post.

How to Choose a Small Company Applicant Tracking System

Things to consider about your business

To choose a small company applicant tracking system that will actually solve problems for you, you need to pinpoint the specific problems your company needs to address.

What are your primary goals? Saving time and costs? Improving hiring processes to reduce turnover and improve your business? Reaching more candidates? Strengthening your employer branding? There are so many problems you might want to address with small company applicant tracking system and being clear about your primary goals can help you decide between applicant tracking systems and their many features.

An applicant tracking system can do such things as automatically respond to candidates, streamline the hiring process through sourcing to interviewing to onboarding, and provide smarter and easier ways for candidates to apply. Using these three things as an example, which area will best address your company’s problems?

What suits your business? If you run a mom and pop shop and don’t intend for it to be anything else in the foreseeable future, then you don’t really need an ATS that allows a ton of users. If your business is highly mobile, meaning you are rarely in an office, then you can’t do without features that allow you to use the ATS anywhere.

Consider your budget. How much can you spend? Are you taking into consideration the long term benefits from saving time and improving your hiring processes in that budget? You may be able to afford more than you originally thought when you realize how broad-reaching the benefits of an ATS can be. When done correctly, it saves you time, which saves you money, which also helps you focus on more efficient hiring practices, which reduces turnover and improves productivity. It’s a powerful investment with real money savings and profit generation.

All that exciting stuff aside, you do have to consider cost. If you rush to get the most feature-packed ATS , you may pay for more than you need and have to stop using it. So definitely weigh out the features you need versus the ones that sound nice but aren’t crucial to your operations versus the cost of the ATS.

Also, most of the time a contract is probably not in the best interest of a small company. You’ll want the flexibility of a month-by-month payment plan with options to upgrade or downgrade a plan without penalty. If you do decide you should go with a contract, research it carefully to ensure it will best serve your interests.

Selecting An ATS

Do lots of research.

Plan to compare many applicant tracking systems so you can determine the best combination of features, price, and service for your needs.

Educate yourself on what to look for, such as:

  • The ability to use it anywhere
  • Responsiveness(meaning it can be used effectively and enjoyably on all types of devices)
  • The amount of resumes it can upload and handle
  • Resume parsing and formatting
  • Organizational capabilities and candidate associations
  • Candidate search features
  • Careers page features
  • Job board features
  • Customization
  • Deduplication features
  • Hiring process tracking and organizational functions
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Sourcing capabilities
  • ATS training and demos
  • Customer service policies
  • Security policies
  • Pricing plans
  • Versatility(you can change plans as you need to without penalty)

You can explore this list further in our previous blog post, “What Makes a Good Small Company Applicant Tracking System?

Search for best applicant tracking systems and small company applicant tracking systems and write down the names, features, and prices of each one. You may already feel able to weed out some of them at this point based on obvious differences between them and features missing from the list above.

Look at the features offered by each small company applicant tracking system on your list and prioritize which ones are most important to you and your small company’s unique needs.

Give particular weight to responsiveness, versatility, security, customization, and training. You can’t really do without these things. Even if you don’t need to use your ATS on a mobile device, your candidates almost certainly will. Versatility helps any business, but it is crucial to the changing needs of a small business. A hack or data loss could be devastating to a small business, so you can’t take any risks there. Without customization, features may not help you, or they may be frustrating. And training and customer service is crucial because the ATS can’t be a help to your business if you don’t know how to use it properly or something malfunctions.

Choose the ATS that offers the most resume functions, customization, unlimited capabilities, organization, candidate searching, sourcing, and reporting functions as possible within your budget. If the software is not within your budget, start whittling off the features that seem least necessary until you get to one that is affordable. It is very possible for an ATS to have more features than a small company really needs and cost them too much.

What you want to achieve is the sweet spot of features you need, the ability to get as many functions completed by the ATS as possible to keep you organized and save you time and headache, without having so many features that you don’t need that you get overwhelmed by cost or unnecessary features to learn.

A free trial helps you find that sweet spot, so look for ones with a free trial, particularly an unlimited free trial. It is invaluable to delve in and learn whether you will actually understand and want to use this particular applicant tracking system before purchasing it.

A free trial also helps you learn what all these fancy ATS these features actually do. It’s hard to comprehend what you’re reading when you’re looking at a massive list of new features you’ve never heard of before, let alone understand whether you need them or not. Try out any ATS you find with a free trial to get acquainted with the features.

Rather than a free trial, some companies offer demos. Some offer both. Demos allow you the same benefits as a free trial, in that you can learn what it will be like to use the product and you can ask questions to better understand what you’re using.

You probably won’t want to use an ATS with a contract because, well, people hate contracts. You get stuck having to pay a certain amount for a certain period whether it’s still advantageous for you to do so. So be aware that you can find ATS vendors who offer month-by-month plans. This is particularly important for a small business where your needs and budget may change quickly and frequently. With an ATS like Recruiteze, you can stop paying at any time or change your plan to one that is more fitting to your situation and go back and forth as often as you need to.

Also, look for an ATS vendor who clearly states their prices upfront. It isn’t necessary to ask for a quote, so avoid those who ask. The best vendor should tell you every penny you’ll be required to spend upfront. You can also find ones that give you various plans to choose from so you can pay for only what you need.

Learn about the vendor’s customer service policy. You don’t want to get invested using your ATS and then find you don’t understand something or something stops working and there be no one to help you. Business must go on, so your ATS vendor has to offer trusted customer service. Get acquainted with their policy and look for reviews from other places about their customer service. Also be aware that vendors who offer several plans may offer varying levels of customer service per plan. You don’t want to believe you have customer service options that you don’t actually have.


It takes some careful planning to choose a small company applicant tracking system. There are many of them available, but they are not all equal and they are not all right for your business. If you rush to buy the most popular ATS because it’s simple, you may find you have a monster full of features you don’t understand at a cost you can’t afford that ends up doing you no good at all. An ATS is supposed to save you time and improve your business. It can’t do that if it’s too burdensome, too costly, you don’t understand it, or it doesn’t have the features you most need. So, consider your business’ needs, plan to research many applicant tracking systems, compare and contrast the features, costs, training, and support, then use any demos and free trials available to you to learn more about the system you are planning to purchase before sealing the deal. Free trials are also helpful tools to help you learn about what features actually do to determine which ones you feel like you need.

Best Small Company Applicant Tracking System

Using the right online recruiting software for your business can save you lots of time and money! Thankfully, Recruiteze is here to help you!

Recruiteze is our free small company applicant tracking system that allows candidates to easily apply to be added to your database immediately. End-users can access candidate resumes online and make changes quickly. This is only the beginning and our cloud-based recruiting systems offer so much more. Give Recruiteze a try and start hiring smarter!

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