Best Applicant Tracking Systems for Small Businesses

RMC ReporterBY RMC Reporter
October 25th, 2023 • 6 Minutes

Hiring top talent is critical for any small business, but sorting through a flood of applications to find the perfect candidates can overwhelm even the most organized entrepreneur. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) promise to make hiring easier by automatically organizing and screening applicants. But with so many options promising effortless recruiting, how do you know which are the best applicant tracking systems for small businesses?

This article cuts through the noise to highlight the top-rated ATSs purpose-built for SMBs. We’ll go beyond surface-level features to reveal the core strengths, potential limitations and value proposition of each platform. Whether you’re concerned about tight budgets, ease of use, customizability or collaboration, this guide has you covered. 

Arm yourself with the information needed to select an ATS that ticks all the boxes for your unique hiring needs. Streamline and scale recruiting the smart way by understanding which applicant tracking system can take your small business hiring to the next level.

What is an ATS?

An ATS is software that helps businesses manage their recruiting and hiring process. For small businesses, an ATS can be invaluable in streamlining the hiring workflow and improving efficiency.

The main functions include: 

  • Collecting and organizing job applications.
  • Screening candidates based on set criteria. 
  • Scheduling interviews.
  • Communicating with applicants via email.
  • Tracking each candidate’s progress.

Features like customizable career sites, automated resume parsing and hiring pipelines allow small businesses to scale their recruiting efforts as they grow.

From a candidate’s perspective, a quality ATS leads to a smoother application experience. Applications are less likely to get lost, and communication remains clear and organized. For the hiring team, dashboards and notifications help collaborate and stay on top of hiring tasks. Robust reporting also enables data-driven hiring decisions.

Overall, a thoughtfully designed ATS removes many manual hiring tasks that sap productivity. Small businesses can better focus on core business priorities while still recruiting top talent. In today’s competitive labor market, an ATS helps startups and small companies punch above their weight in attracting and hiring the best candidates.

Differences between ATS for Small and Large Businesses

While both require organizing, screening and communicating with applicants, the scale and resources differ vastly between small and large businesses—applicant volume and budget being the most obvious ones.

Large corporations often attract thousands of applicants per job opening and have expansive budgets to spend on talent acquisition technology. Their ATS requires robust automation and customization. Small businesses receive far fewer applicants per opening and have limited budgets. For them, simplicity and ease-of-use are bigger priorities in an ATS.

Large corporations also emphasize candidate experience to build their employment brand. For small businesses where one person may wear multiple hats, the priority is saving time. While large companies choose comprehensive HR suites, a standalone ATS specialized for small business needs is often a better fit.

Small Business ATS Requirements

Selecting an applicant tracking system tailored for small business needs requires focusing on key requirements:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Easy to navigate and use without extensive training.
  • Customizable Job Posts and Application Forms: Allows branding and flexibility without coding skills.
  • Centralized Hiring Dashboard: Visual overview of all candidates and hiring pipeline.
  • Smooth Communication and Collaboration Tools: Shared notes, email templates, notifications.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Job posts and apply forms optimized across devices.
  • Scheduling and Automation: Streamlined interview scheduling and confirmations.
  • Integration Capabilities: Connects with existing HR tools to reduce manual work.
  • Top-Level Data Security: Protects sensitive company and applicant information.
  • Affordable Pricing: Cost-effective plans fitting small business budgets.

The right ATS removes manual tasks that drain resources and enables SMBs to scale recruiting efforts. With hiring workflows tailored to their needs, small businesses can find and engage top talent more efficiently. The key is choosing a solution purpose-built for the unique requirements of SMBs.

Best ATS for Small Businesses

With so many options on the market, it can be tough to determine which platform is the best fit for your hiring workflow and budget. This article covers the key features and pricing of the top-rated ATS solutions for small businesses.


BambooHR offers a human resources information system (HRIS) specifically tailored for small to medium-sized businesses. Its strong suit is a comprehensive ATS which greatly simplifies the hiring process. The system also emphasizes employee wellness and benefits from its cloud-based setup, making it an optimal choice for businesses keen on refining their HR procedures.


  • Centralized employee data management
  • Time-off management
  • Comprehensive ATS features
  • Onboarding and offboarding capabilities
  • Employee wellness tools
  • Limited mobile app capabilities

Pricing: Varies based on the number of employees and plan chosen. Contact BambooHR for specific pricing details.


JazzHR is a user-friendly ATS ideal for HR teams and small businesses looking to optimize their recruitment process. It boasts unlimited user access, ease of use, and comprehensive job posting capabilities to major job boards. While it starts as an affordable option for minimal job listings, costs can escalate when tapping into its advanced features and unlimited postings.


  • Unlimited users
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Intuitive communication tools
  • Customizable recruiting workflows
  • Collaborative hiring features
  • Integration with LinkedIn Recruiter


  • Hero: $49/mo (billed annually), includes unlimited users, 3 open jobs.
  • Plus: $239/mo (annual plan), includes unlimited users and open jobs.
  • Pro: $359/mo (annual plan), includes comprehensive hiring software features.

Recruit CRM

Recruit CRM serves as a multifunctional recruitment software platform, aiming to simplify hiring for recruitment agencies and executive search entities. Its hallmark is the blend of applicant tracking, customer relationship management, and automation tools, presented in a user-friendly interface. With features like AI-powered resume parsing and expansive integrations, it’s a prime choice for businesses valuing efficiency and organization in recruitment.


  • Customizable workflows
  • Real-time collaboration tools
  • Automation capabilities
  • AI-powered resume parsing
  • Integrations with popular tools
  • User-friendly interface
  • Data security
  • Limited free trial features


  • Pro Plan: $100/user/month
  • Business Plan: $150/user/month
  • Enterprise Plan: $165/user/month (annual billing only)
  • Free Trial: Available with limited features

Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit stands as a robust ATS engineered to streamline recruitment tasks for businesses. It presents a comprehensive toolkit catering to diverse recruitment needs, from candidate sourcing to interview coordination. With a significant emphasis on customization, automation and collaboration, it’s a preferred pick for small businesses aiming for a more strategic recruitment approach.


  • Customizable workflows
  • Integration with premium job boards
  • AI-powered candidate matching
  • Recruitment automation
  • Collaborative hiring tools
  • Advanced analytics


Corporate Recruitment:

  • Free Edition: 1 Active Job
  • Standard Edition: $30/recruiter/month
  • Enterprise Edition: $30/recruiter/month

Staffing Recruiting Agency:

  • Free: 1 active job
  • Standard: $30/recruiter/month
  • Professional: $60/recruiter/month
  • Enterprise: $90/recruiter/month


Greenhouse emerges as a top-tier recruiting solution known for its ATS. It’s celebrated for its customizable nature, allowing businesses to shape their recruitment process as needed. Particularly suited for large recruitment teams, Greenhouse offers tools focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, but may come across as complex and pricier than some alternatives.


  • Highly customizable platform
  • Comprehensive recruiting and onboarding tools
  • Automated recruiting stages
  • Informative dashboard
  • Scorecard system for feedback
  • DE&I features for unbiased hiring

Pricing: Must request a demo

Breezy HR

Breezy HR is a complete applicant tracking system aimed at making the recruitment process more efficient. It encompasses a variety of features including AI-powered job description templates, email and text message templates, customizable pipeline stages, background screening integrations, real-time analytics and automated reference checking. Breezy HR ensures a collaborative, automated and flexible approach to recruitment, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.


  • Customizable workflows
  • AI-powered tools
  • Comprehensive Communication Tools
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Mobile Accessibility


  • Bootstrap (Free): Basic features for one position or pool, with access to recent candidates.
  • Startup ($189/mo): Enhanced hiring tools for growing businesses.
  • Growth ($329/mo): Collaborative tools for larger teams.
  • Business ($529/mo): Ultimate hiring control, with features like custom roles and permissions.
  • Yearly discounts available.


Freshteam consolidates various HR functions into a single platform, aiming to reduce HR workloads by automating tasks like candidate filtering, notifications and archiving. It offers smart candidate sourcing across various channels, job description templates and an automatic résumé parser. With its flexible pricing and free plan option, it caters to businesses of all sizes.


  • Automation Capabilities
  • Smart Candidate Sourcing
  • Integration with Major Job Boards
  • Résumé Parser
  • Flexible Pricing


  • Free Forever Plan: Up to three job postings and basic features.
  • Growth Plan: $71/month + $1.20/employee/month, with up to 20 job postings.
  • Pro Plan: $119/month + $2.40/employee/month, with advanced features like social recruiting.
  • Enterprise Plan: $203/month + $4.80/employee/month, with premium features and dedicated account manager.


Recruitee offers a collaborative recruitment management system with features like branded job posting, candidate tracking, and recruitment analytics. Used by renowned brands, the platform promotes team-based hiring and provides customizable pipelines, multi-posting options and integration with various job boards.


  • Collaborative Hiring
  • Customizable Workflows
  • Job Board Integration
  • Automated Processes
  • User-Friendly


  • Launch: $269 per month, with recruitment essentials.
  • Scale: $479 per month, includes automated actions and advanced analytics.
  • Lead: Custom pricing, a tailor-made plan with comprehensive features. No free tier, only demo available.


Rippling is a comprehensive HRIS that provides modular HR solutions, letting businesses choose and pay for only what they need. It offers essential payroll management tools, benefits administration, an ATS and PEO capabilities. The platform is user-friendly and emphasizes data security.


  • Modular Approach
  • Comprehensive Services
  • PEO Capabilities
  • User-Friendly
  • Security


  • Rippling Unity: $35 per month + $8 per employee/month for basic payroll management.
  • Modular Plan & Lead Plan: Custom pricing based on chosen features and services. Contact required for detailed pricing.

The key is determining your must-have features, preferred pricing model, and hiring volume to select the right ATS for your small business needs. The platforms above all cater to SMBs through ease of use, customizability, and affordability.

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