A Closer Look at Web-based Applicant Tracking Software

Posted by: on Aug 23, 2011 | 7 Comments

This Guest Post is from Kyle Lagunas who is an HR Market Analyst with Software Advice. Software Advice helps buyers find the right software for their business. Like the big consulting firms, Software Advice researches the market identifying the best solutions for each buyer.

When your organization announces, “We’re hiring again,” are you paralyzed with the fear of being buried under stacks of resumes? The process of reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, and hiring/on-boarding is time-consuming. When searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack, keeping organized should be easier. Thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Due largely in part to the emergence of web-based Software as a Service (SaaS), organizations of any size and budget can tap into feature-rich web-based applicant tracking software (ATS) and streamline their hiring process.

As an alternative to traditional on-premise systems are still popular, web-based software as a service (SaaS) put big-time functionality at hiring professionals’ disposal without the upfront expense of on-premise implementations. In fact, according to a report published by Advanced Market Research, SaaS users are part of the fastest growing market of consumers in HR software – contributing more than one-third of revenue for software companies.

So, if you think you may be ready to get rid of your Rolodex and clear that stack of resumes off of your desk, here’s what you should know…

A Closer Look at Web-based Applicant Tracking Software:
ATS automates the hiring process from end to end in the – from how candidates view openings and complete online applications to scheduling interviews and securely storing resumes. And central to the process is ensuring that this workflow is easily accessible to everyone from the HR specialist to the CEO.

Most applicant tracking systems include a portal where candidates can complete customizable online applications. Resumes are parsed at the click of a button and document templates (i.e. offer letters) are quickly generated as well. Multiple schedules can also easily be coordinated so you can focus on interviewing. The ultimate focus of applicant tracking systems is the successful management of candidates’ lifecycles in the hiring process.

There are many applicant tracking solutions, as there are various needs across the industries (i.e. high volume of applicants, various positions to be filled, etc). As such, we’ve put together this comparison of some of our favorite systems:

A Comparison in Functionality

iCIMSTalentPlatform: Hit the ground running in all of your recruiting initiatives with this robust talent acquisition package. Great for organizations of any size, with offerings far beyond ATS.

ApplicantStack: Ideal for HR managers that need to optimize hiring processes at an affordable price, ApplicantStack is a completely hosted, full-featured ATS designed for small and mid-sized organizations.

AcquireTM: Small to mid-sized business looking for a powerful, web-based ATS will love AcquireTM Talent Management’s user-friendly solutions for streamlining the hiring process.

Newton: In the cloud-based ATS market, Newton Software is widely known for its ease of use, easy implementation, first rate customer service and EEO/OFCCP compliance features.

How to Choose the Right Software for Your Organization

According to HR technology blogger Steve Boese, “There is almost no reason why even the smallest, least technically capable organizations and HR departments can’t take advantage of at least some level of automation to better manage the recruiting process.” Software developers understand that the hiring process varies from organization to organization, and there are more than 200 applicant tracking systems for you to choose from.

If you’re a small business owner, the first step in choosing the right applicant tracking software is identifying your needs and budget. If you’re new to applicant tracking, you’ll want to start with the basics in terms of functionality: online applications, interview status tracking, and document management. Or, if you’re ready for a complete package to deliver for years to come, go for the gold and invest in a top-of-the-line best of breed solution.

The next step is to know what the market has to offer. With the right due diligence, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your specific needs to ensure you can attract and hire the very best applicants to help take your small business to the next level.

This guide can be found in its entirety at: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/hr/web-based-applicant-tracking-systems-comparison-1070711/


  1. Bill Kutik
    August 24, 2011

    While I applaud Kyle for making Software Advice available for free, I am compelled to correct one mis-impression and at least one mistake in his post. Yes, I am that way.

    First, ATS’s were the pioneers in hosted software delivery, starting in 1995 with the pioneer i-Search. All the big players (now Taleo, Kenexa BrassRing, Peoplefluent, then Peopleclick, the former Vurv) starting in 1998 were at least hosted, now they may be truly SaaS but I won’t get into the argument.

    IDC’s Lisa Rowan pointed out that one reason is they spared their customers the bandwidth they’d have to devote to all the applicants banging away on an on-premise system, and I always point out that they didn’t care so much about security because it was only *applicant* data. So SaaS ain’t new in ATS.

    Second, by chance, I was recently on a WebEx with a co-founder of Newton, Joel Passan, competing to be part of the “Awesome New Technologies” session at HR Technology. He declared his sweet spot as 50-5,000 employees — not the 500 mentioned above — but that might be fanciful. Everybody always over-reaches. And Kyle might know better. But it is the cut-off for the segment leader — Taleo’s Business Edition, it’s SMB offering — now available for more than recruiting.

    Have Kyle post more. SMB is hungry for more information about systems tailored for them! And they are getting what they’re willing to pay for — which ain’t much.

  2. martin snyder
    August 24, 2011

    Bill knows more about this industry than almost anyone.

    My view is that document management, workflow, and web-publishing are three information functions in line to be deeply re-valued by Microsoft SharePoint, and as such, will likely be areas of value destruction for other vendors.

    In recruitment, the key value creation functions are matching, marketing, and relationship management, and systems that empower recruiters in those areas are going to provide much greater ROI in future years compared to those that excel at automating functions that the SQL Server/SharePoint/Outlook stack will be handling…….esp. in corporate computing.

    “Applicant Tracking” is an unfortunate term, because ” applicants” are a late stage recruiting product. It’s not difficult to track applicants with recruiting software, but it can be very difficult to recruit with applicant tracking software.

    The key question an SMB needs to ask is ” what kind of recruiting are we doing ?”

    There are basically just two answers to that question: active and reactive. Active recruiting means selling- prospecting, developing, persuading. Reactive means responding- to job posts or incoming inquiries and applications. If you lean more toward the former, you need recruiting software, more toward the latter, you can get by with applicant tracking software.

  3. Laurel Clay
    August 24, 2011

    Bill brings up some good points here as usual. But, let’s gets some things straight about Kyle’s post first.

    Software Advice is a paid service. That is, the vendors pay for placement here and Kyle is doing his part to promote these featured companies including my company, Newton Software. Transparency is important to everyone.

    Also, Newton Software serves and targets companies with between 50-5000 employees – the SMB market. We have several customers with thousands of employees.

    Finally, per the other comment, Sharepoint? Really? The only value destruction that Sharepoint and the MSFT stack is going to do is to the poor souls that are saddled using yesterday’s tools to solve today’s problems.


  4. martin snyder
    August 24, 2011


    The uptake curve for SharePoint says it’s tommrow’s tool, not yesterday’s. Added a few links below to data points that may support that notion.

    Peter Block says:

    “The stubborn limitations of current ECM realities won’t meet or exceed the great adoption curve intimated in the SharePoint hype cycle until the platform becomes invisible. That means the iterations, commentary, usage, and reusage (through tagging) will happen at the source. The source will no longer be isolated from the platform and distinctions like project management and document management will fall away.”

    The player with the best chance of making it invisible right now is MSFT. I stand by my prediction.







  5. Bill Kutik
    August 24, 2011

    Laurel, I hate not knowing when a vendor is paying for what seems like an editorial-driven listing. It’s like other conferences selling speaking slots to vendors, which we never do at HR Technology.

    Thanks for pointing it out and glad that I got Newton’s customer sweet spot right. I guess it explains why Taleo Business Edition, the segment leader until you have something to say about it, wasn’t on the short list.

  6. Applicant Tracking Software
    October 1, 2011

    Nice and comprehensive comparison.We are getting similar offering from nitman.co.in

  7. Jane Clements
    July 22, 2012

    Thanks for the write up Kyle –

    Most of our users are SMB’s, and while most of our them don’t require applicant tracking, they do require recruitment software.

    Horses for courses dependent upon the needs of the business I suppose.