What Is a Small Business Applicant Tracking System?

Many people hear the term “applicant tracking system” and think of huge companies, not realizing that there is such a thing as a small business applicant tracking system made specifically for the unique hiring goals and financial considerations of small businesses. What does providing an applicant tracking system meant specifically for small businesses entail? What does that mean you will be receiving? Read this blog to find out.

Small Business Applicant Tracking System

What Is a Small Business Applicant Tracking System?

Difference Between Small Business Applicant Tracking System & Enterprise Applicant Tracking System

Some of the largest companies have special systems created for them. Other enterprise level companies use applicant tracking systems designed for large enterprises. Applicant tracking system vendors also make software for mid-size and small businesses. This variety helps them address everyone’s needs.

There will be a huge price difference and vendors will advertise who a specific applicant tracking system is designed for so you don’t have to worry about making a mistake.

What Can I Expect from a Small Business Applicant Tracking System?

A small business applicant tracking system will help you streamline your hiring process to save time and reduce hiring costs. It may also help you attract better candidates, make better candidate selections, improve retention rates, and increase productivity.

The most basic function of a small business applicant tracking system is to collect, parse, and organize incoming applications.

Collecting consists of either connecting to your existing online application portal or providing you one. This allows applicants to apply electronically through a website.

Parsing means the system reads the application and turns it into a format that fits into the system and can be searched. Once this is complete, you don’t have to read through applications to find each candidate with a particular skill or a name you remember, you can just use the search feature and those candidates will appear.

The system can also automatically pair candidates with the appropriate job openings and managers. Deduplication reads the candidate’s email address and considers this one person to ensure you won’t have multiple applications from one candidate scattered around separately as if they are more than one person.

A small business applicant tracking system will also often offer a careers page and help you build it, providing you a place to give candidates helpful information about your company and automatically populating the page with current job openings. A small business applicant tracking system can be an excellent way for a business to easily jump into the world of online job portals and careers pages, helping you offer more value for your candidates and keep up with your competition.


One primary aim with applicant tracking systems is to automate every hiring task that requires no thought and wastes valuable time.

Posting jobs to multiple job boards requires nothing of you but mindless clicking. You did the interesting and useful part when you wrote the job ad. Your talent, time, and energy are better spent on creative aspects such as this. The time you save with a small business applicant tracking system gives you more opportunity to strategize job ads, which will attract better candidates, weed out poorly-matched candidates, and improve diversity initiatives.

Pairing candidates to jobs and managers saves you the step of reading each application and matching them to the job yourself. If you are devoting the day to only one job, you can choose to see who the applicant tracking system matched to the job in question rather than going through all the applicants.

Automatic replies and rejections complete easy steps for you so you can devote your attention to more complicated tasks.

First, the small business applicant tracking system can instantly notify all candidates that their application has been received. This courteous gesture is a big help to your candidates, particularly if it also includes information on when to expect to receive a response. And it’s easy, requiring nothing of you except that you compose the message that will be sent.

Candidates that appear to the system, usually based on keywords, to be obviously poor matches for the job or whose resumes can’t be read will be automatically rejected. This keeps the candidate from waiting to hear back about an application and helps you spend more time on more promising applications. They can’t be 100% accurate though, so you do need to periodically, every six months to a year, check that the system is rejecting the right candidates. You also want to take the time saved to compose a thoughtful rejection letter to invite candidates to apply again in the future so that if they are a better match next year, you’ll have an invested candidate for job openings at that time.

Applications that appear to be obvious contenders based on keywords can be automatically moved to the next stage of your hiring process. If you want to ask for more information, schedule a phone or face-to-face interview, or ask the candidate to begin a trial project, the software can automatically relay that message for you.

When you have your system well-calibrated and maintained, an applicant tracking system should seem like the perfect personal assistant.


What a small business applicant tracking system can’t do for you, it can help you organize. We all know the more organized you are, the more efficiently you can work and the more money you save/make.

Candidate workflows show you where a candidate is in the stage of the hiring process. This way you don’t forget candidates, giving them a negative impression of your company, or potentially let a competitor steal them away from you. You also don’t have to spend time trying to refresh yourself on or manually track a candidate’s progress. A small business applicant tracking system may even include the candidate’s onboarding steps. Look for one that allows you to customize the workflow to fit your business’ unique hiring process.

Applicant tracking systems store candidate files so they can be easily searched by a wide variety of parameters. Rather than going through a stack of applications to eyeball a word or name you are looking for, you can type it into the search field and instantly receive results.

You can keep candidate notes in each candidate file so you can jot down impressions during a phone or face-to-face interview or save additional information the candidate gives you in email. That way you’ll have it right there available to see while you are calling or writing to the candidate later. This is also excellent for sharing information with other hiring managers or showing proof of compliance.

Different Sizes for Different Businesses

There are enterprise, mid-sized, and small business applicant tracking systems. Even for small businesses there are many packages to choose from to meet your needs. Not all small businesses are alike.

Recruiteze offers three plans.

The free version allows one user, you, the business owner or hiring manager, to compile candidate applications in one digital location for easy searching and reviewing and it provides you with analytics and reporting features. Several features are not included in the free plan and there is a 500 candidate limit, but it is great for offering businesses with a very tight budget some helpful features.

The $9.95 version offers all of the features Recruiteze boasts for one user to manage. It can also hold 1 GB worth of files and allow you to handle an unlimited number of candidates. This will be the best option for most small businesses who don’t need multiple user accounts.

If you do have multiple hiring managers and need separate accounts for them so the system can send you the appropriate candidates, the $39.95 option will be best for you. It handles five users and offers 5 GB of storage.

Make sure to get a plan you can cancel or upgrade so if your small business becomes a mid-size business, or more, you can easily transition to your new needs. If your business scales back, you also want to scale your applicant tracking system back as well.


Don’t fall for the myth that small businesses don’t need recruiting software. There is a small business applicant tracking system to meet the needs of any business, even if it’s really tiny. These systems offer features you need with smaller costs and more flexible plans. Just do your research to ensure you are purchasing a system you’ll really like. There are so many to choose from. You need one that fits your budget, you can upgrade or downgrade any time, has reliable customer service, and has an interface you will feel comfortable using. Make sure to use any free trials or demos a vendor offers to determine the best fit for your business.

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