An applicant tracking system is a human resources software application that acts as a database for job applicants. It helps HR and recruiting teams streamline the hiring process from end to end by automating tasks, managing communication and staying compliant.
ATSs are used by companies of all sizes to organize, search, and communicate with large groups of applicants. They are helpful to businesses because they can save time, money, and resources, improve the quality of hires and enhance the candidate experience.
- Top free applicant tracking systems for 2023
- Recruit CRM
- Freshteam by Freshworks
- Breezy HR
- Zoho Recruit
- Ceipal ATS
- How to choose the right applicant tracking system
- Review methodology
Top free applicant tracking systems for 2023
|Name||Mobile app||Native video interviewing||Resume parsing||Candidate scoring||Job board integration|
|Recruit CRM||Yes (Android and iOS)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Freshteam by Freshworks||Yes (Android and iOS)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|JazzHR||No||No||Yes||Yes for Plus plan and above||Yes|
|Breezy HR||Yes (Android and iOS)||Yes||Yes||Yes for Growth plan and above||Yes|
|Zoho Recruit||Yes (Android and iOS)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ceipal ATS||Yes (Android and iOS)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Recruit CRM: Best for recruitment agencies
Recruit CRM has consistently received high ratings from independent third-party software testers.
It offers a cloud-based ATS that integrates with email, job boards, social media and more. It also has a CRM module that helps recruiters manage relationships with clients and candidates.
Recruit CRM is the superior choice for agencies as it features a powerful AI resume parser that can parse resumes from emails. It also features an uncomplicated kanban view tailored to both sales and recruitment, email triggers and advanced Boolean search capabilities. Recruiters currently use the tool in over 80 countries around the world.
Recruit CRM has a fully-functional free plan.
- Email integration: Connect your email account with Recruit CRM and send and receive emails from within the software. Create email templates, track email opens and clicks, and schedule email campaigns.
- Job board integration: Post your jobs to multiple job boards such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter and CareerJet with one click. Track the performance of your job ads and see which sources bring you more candidates.
- Resume parsing: Extract relevant information from resumes, such as name, contact details, skills, education and work experience, and create candidate profiles automatically. Parse resumes directly from email or any website via a browser extension.
- Candidate sourcing: Use keywords or filters to find passive candidates on various platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Import candidates from other sources, such as referrals or events, via a web form or mobile app.
- Pipeline management: Manage your candidates through different stages of the recruitment process, including screening, interviewing and hiring. Create custom pipelines for different types of jobs or clients, and assign tasks and reminders to yourself or your team members.
- Reports and analytics: Measure and improve your recruitment performance using various metrics such as time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, source effectiveness and recruiter productivity. Customize reports and export them in different formats.
- Easy to use and customize.
- The free plan allows users to experience all features.
- Responsive customer support.
- Android and iOS mobile apps.
- Integration with 5000+ apps via Zapier.
- Multilingual support.
- It lacks some advanced features such as video interviewing or assessments.
The pricing model of Recruit CRM is based on the number of users and features. Users can sign up for a demo or free plan to test the platform and determine their needs.
The free plan includes 50 candidates, 50 contacts and companies, four open jobs, email templates and all the features published on the vendor’s website.
There are three paid plans, which vary by location. For US customers, they are as follows:
- Pro: $50 per user per month.
- Business: $79 per user per month.
- Enterprise: $90 per user per month (annual billing only).
Freshteam by Freshworks: Best for HR departments
Freshteam by Freshworks is a cloud-based HR software platform that helps you manage your hiring, onboarding, offboarding, employee data and time off in one place. It is part of the Freshworks suite of products that includes other SaaS platforms such as Freshdesk, Freshservice and Freshsales. Freshteam allows you to attract and source top talent through a customizable career site, integration with various job boards and social media channels, and a candidate relationship management system. It also enables you to collaborate with your hiring team, screen and interview candidates, share feedback and make offers.
Freshteam helps companies onboard new hires smoothly with paperless document collection, task assignment, and progress tracking. You can also offboard exiting employees quickly with automated workflows and exit surveys. Freshteam allows you to store and manage employee information in a centralized database accessible from multiple devices.
Best of all, Freshteam has a completely free tier.
- Applicant tracking: Manage your hiring process from posting jobs, sourcing candidates, screening resumes, scheduling interviews, collecting feedback, making offers and hiring talent. Integrates with various job boards and social media channels to attract more applicants. Customize your recruitment workflow and automate tasks such as resume screening and follow-up emails.
- Onboarding: Onboard new hires smoothly and efficiently with paperless document collection, task assignments, progress tracking and welcome emails. Create custom onboarding plans for different roles and departments and offboard exiting employees easily with automated workflows and exit surveys.
- Mobile app: Access your employee database, approve time-off requests, view reports and dashboards, and complete HR tasks from your Android or iOS device.
- Easy to use, with a user-friendly interface.
- Lots of features and integrations that cover the entire hiring lifecycle.
- A free plan for up to 50 employees and affordable pricing plans for larger teams.
- Responsive customer support team that provides helpful guidance.
- Android and iOS mobile apps.
- It lacks advanced features like video interviewing, resume parsing and candidate scoring.
- It has limited customization options for some aspects, such as email templates, reports and workflows.
Freshteam by Freshworks has four pricing plans:
- Free: $0 monthly for up to 50 employees, with essential features such as job posting, candidate management, interview scheduling and email integration.
- Growth: $1.20 per employee per month plus a $71 platform fee, with additional features such as career site branding, offer management and an employee referral portal.
- Pro: $2.40 per employee per month plus a $119 platform fee per month, with more advanced features such as hiring analytics, custom user roles, and custom pipelines and stages.
- Enterprise: $4.80 per employee per month plus a $203 platform fee per month, with premium features such as a dedicated account manager and premium support.
JazzHR: Best for collaborative hiring
JazzHR enables recruiters to collaborate with hiring managers and team members throughout the hiring process. It features a candidate scoring system, a customizable workflow and a mobile app.
JazzHR is one of the best ATSs for collaborative hiring because it allows you to:
- Involve your team in every step of the hiring process.
- Share candidate information easily across your organization.
- Source diverse perspectives and opinions on potential hires.
While JazzHR doesn’t have a completely free pricing plan, it does offer a 21-day free trial that is fully-functional. Users can access and test all of the platform’s features without requiring a credit card.
- Collaborative hiring: Invite your team members to review candidates’ profiles, leave feedback, rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, and vote on whether or not to move them forward.
- Customizable workflows: Create different stages and tasks for each job opening and track the progress of your candidates through them.
- Job syndication: Post your jobs to more than 15 free and premium job boards, such as Indeed, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter, with one click.
- Candidate sourcing: Use JazzHR’s Chrome extension to source candidates from LinkedIn, Indeed Resume Search and GitHub and import them into your database.
- Resume screening: With the resume parser you can extract relevant information from resumes, such as skills, education and experience, and filter candidates accordingly.
- Candidate communication: Send personalized emails and text messages to candidates from within JazzHR and sync your calendar with Google or Outlook to schedule interviews.
- Integrations: Expand functionality with dozens of integrations available via the JazzHR Marketplace.
- Easy to learn and use.
- Offers a free trial and a demo.
- Collaborative hiring features.
- Integrations with job boards and calendars.
- It lacks some advanced features like video interviewing.
Jazz HR has three pricing tiers:
- Hero: $49 per month (annual billing).
- Plus: $239 per month on an annual plan.
- Pro: $359 per month on an annual plan.
The vendor also offers high-volume and RBO pricing options as follows:
- Hero: $99 per month (annual billing).
- Plus: $239 per month on an annual plan.
- Pro: $359 per month on an annual plan.
All plans come with a 21-day free trial with unlimited users and no credit card required.
Breezy HR: Best free applicant tracking system overall
Breezy HR is a modern hiring and applicant tracking system that helps you attract, interview and hire talent. It has a free Bootstrap plan that supports up to one active job and one user. The free plan also includes unlimited candidates, multiple languages, customer support, a drag-and-drop interface, a video interviewing feature and a Chrome extension. The free plan is free forever, as long as you don’t exceed the limits of one active job and one user.
- Advertise positions on multiple job boards: Post your jobs to over 50 free and premium job boards, including Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter and more. Create your own custom career portal with your branding and logo.
- Analyze resumes with AI and keyword matching: Use AI to parse resumes and match them to your job requirements. Use keywords to filter candidates by skills, experience, education, location and more.
- Automate the interview process: Syncs with your calendar and lets you schedule interviews with candidates easily. Sends automated reminders to candidates and interviewers via email or SMS.
- Built-in video interviewing: Lets you conduct live or recorded interviews with candidates. Collect feedback from your team using customizable scorecards and ratings.
- Tools to evaluate candidates: Assess candidates’ suitability for the role using various tools. Use scorecards to rate candidates on different criteria and compare them side by side. Use assessments to test candidates’ skills, personality, cultural fit and more. Request reference checks from candidates’ previous employers or colleagues via email.
- Job offer management via templates, e-signatures and HRIS integrations: Breezy HR simplifies the process of extending offers to your best candidates. You can use templates to create offer letters that match your branding and legal requirements, and send offers via email and get e-signatures from candidates in minutes. Breezy HR also integrates with popular HR systems like BambooHR, ADP Workforce Now and Paylocity, so you can easily move new hires into your HR system of choice.
- A free plan and a reasonable pricing structure for small and medium businesses.
- User-friendly and intuitive interface.
- Powerful AI resume analysis feature.
- Lots of integrations with popular tools like LinkedIn, Slack and Gmail.
- Responsive customer support team.
- Some reported bugs and glitches that affect its performance and functionality.
- Compatibility issues reported with certain browsers and devices.
- Room for improvement in its reporting and analytics features.
Breezy HR offers four pricing plans:
- Bootstrap: Free forever (subject to T&Cs).
- Startup: $189 per month.
- Growth: $329 per month.
- Business: $529 per month.
You can also try any paid plan for free for 14 days.
Zoho Recruit: Best for customization
Zoho Recruit is an online applicant tracking system that helps you manage every aspect of your recruitment process. It allows you to create job requisitions, post jobs on multiple channels, parse resumes, track candidates, schedule interviews, send emails and generate reports.
Zoho Recruit has a free plan for one recruiter and one active job.
- Resume management: Upload resumes from various sources, such as email attachments, social media profiles and job boards. Use Zoho’s robust resume parser to automatically extract candidate information and create candidate records.
- Email templates: Create and customize email templates for different stages of your hiring process, such as confirmation, rejection and offer. Use merge fields to personalize your emails with candidate details.
- Interview scheduling: Schedule interviews with candidates using Zoho’s calendar integration with Google Calendar, Outlook and iCal. Send interview invitations and reminders to candidates and interviewers via email or SMS.
- Candidate feedback: Collect feedback from interviewers using Zoho’s online forms or mobile app. Rate candidates based on their skills and qualifications using a star rating system.
- Customizable workflows, forms, fields and templates.
- Integrates with various third-party tools.
- Supports an ecosystem of other products such as Zoho CRM, Zoho People and Zoho Mail for a seamless experience.
- The free plan has some limitations, such as no career site, assessments or social recruiting.
- Paid plans have a steep learning curve.
Zoho Recruit’s paid plans start from $25 per user per month.
Ceipal ATS: Best for automated recruiting
Ceipal ATS is a cloud-based applicant tracking system designed to help recruiters automate their workflow, close more placements faster and streamline their talent acquisition process.
While Ceipal ATS does not have a ‘free forever’ pricing plan, it does offer a fully-functional 14-day free trial with unlimited users, so you can test the software’s features before purchasing.
- AI-driven passive candidate sourcing: Find qualified candidates who are not actively looking for a job but may be interested in your opportunities. Use Ceipal’s AI engine to search across multiple sources, such as social media, job boards and resume databases.
- Managed resume harvesting: Collect and store resumes from various sources in a centralized database. Set up automated rules to filter, parse, enrich and rank resumes based on your criteria.
- One-click job postings: Post your jobs to multiple platforms with just one click. Track the performance of your postings and manage your responses from a single dashboard.
- AI-powered candidate analytics: Analyze your candidates’ skills, experience, preferences and behavior using Ceipal’s AI engine. Obtain insights into your candidates’ job fitness, engagement level and availability status, and make data-driven decisions.
- SMS and VoIP Integrations: Communicate with your candidates via text messages or voice calls using Ceipal’s integrations with various SMS and VoIP providers. You can also record, transcribe and analyze your conversations for quality assurance.
- Fetches resumes from different job boards that are integrated with Ceipal ATS.
- Tracks the daily activity and performance of your team.
- User-friendly interface and easy navigation.
- Good customer support and training documentation.
- Some bugs and glitches have been reported.
- Expensive for small businesses due to a minimum number of seats requirement.
Ceipal ATS’s paid plans start from $24 per user per month, with a requirement of a minimum of five users.
How to choose the right applicant tracking system
When choosing an ATS, you should consider the size of your business and its hiring needs. A free or low-cost ATS such as Breezy HR may be sufficient for small businesses. On the other hand, larger companies may opt for more comprehensive systems, such as JazzHR or Ceipal ATS, that offer advanced features and integrations. If you’re a recruitment agency, Recruit CRM and Freshteam by Freshworks could be your best options. Additionally, if you want lots of freedom to customize your workflows, then Zoho Recruit could be the one for you.
SEE: A Complete Guide to Payroll Software (TechRepublic)
When deciding, it’s essential to research each tool thoroughly to ensure it has all the features you need. You should also consider factors such as:
- Customer support: You want to ensure the ATS you choose offers reliable customer support so that you can get assistance when needed. The last thing you want is to have an issue you can’t solve on your own and be unable to reach the support team.
- Data security: When handling sensitive data, you need to know that your ATS is secure and compliant with industry regulations. Your vendor should employ the latest security protocols to protect your data.
- Scalability: If your business is growing rapidly, consider an ATS that can scale with you. You don’t want to end up stuck with an outdated system if your hiring needs change in the future.
- Pricing vs. features: You should do your due diligence to ensure you get the best value for money. Some vendors offer great features, but at too high a cost. Ensure you hit the sweet spot that gives you the features you need without breaking the bank.
- Integrations: Your ATS should integrate with other tools in your tech stack so that you can streamline your workflow and maximize efficiency. Failure to select a tool that integrates seamlessly with your existing technology may mean changing your tech stack and, in the process, increasing the total cost of ownership of your ATS.
- User experience: You want a system that is easy to use for both recruiters and applicants. Look for an ATS that features a carefully-crafted user experience. For starters, the user interface must be intuitive. Menu categorization and visual hierarchy must also be thoughtfully designed.
- Reviews and testimonials: Look for user reviews and testimonials to get a better idea of each ATS from people who have used it before.
Finally, ensure that whichever system you choose meets your company’s budget restrictions and allows for easy implementation into existing workflows.
This review was created using compiled literature researched from relevant databases. The information provided within this article is gathered from vendor websites or based on an aggregate of user feedback.
Read next: The best applicant tracking systems for 2023 (TechRepublic)