What are the different types of applicant tracking systems and how do they compare?

Different types of applicant tracking systems ranked based on features

Regardless of your company size, or industry, these systems can help you accelerate hiring efforts and reduce the time your team spends searching for your next hire.

With a market size expected to reach over USD 3 billion by 2030, there’s no limit to the different types of applicant tracking systems available. Different providers are best suited to certain industries and organizational needs, whether high-volume hiring or managing the end-to-end process with limited internal resources.

Applicant tracking systems for small businesses

The types of platforms best suited to small businesses and start-ups can help attract applicants, assist companies do more with fewer resources, and engage internal stakeholders effectively during high-growth and scaling strategies.

Benefits of ATS for small business needs

Common features like job board integration and posting, automated resume parsing/pre-screening, and timed candidate communications allow smaller teams to hire faster with fewer resources. These features also help teams manage the hiring process in place of a formal HR department.

The best platforms for start-ups facilitate:

Small business team reviewing an applicant profile

Strong team collaboration

A hiring manager holding a lightbulb to indicate small business decision-making

Centralized decision-making

An applicant tracking system user accessing the platform based on their assigned role

Role-based platform access

Some platforms serve as end-to-end hiring tools for small businesses, meaning that teams can reduce hiring costs by using fewer tools.

Different types of features around candidate sourcing and standardized hiring can also help reduce long-term costs by identifying best-fit candidates to reduce turnover.

A manager keeping an employee from leaving the office

Evaluating platforms for small business / for start-ups:

The best platforms for small businesses emphasize team collaboration and speeding up hiring time. Where these types of platforms tend to differ is in the implementation and automation.

Evaluation considerations

Implementation

Blue Check

Is this included in the cost and do they have a dedicated team to support you during onboarding?

Automation

Blue Check

Can workflows be customized?

Blue Check

Do they provide workflow training, advisory, and optimization support as you grow?

Some platforms for start-ups also offer a free trial to try out the software with your team for the first couple of weeks without commitment.

Types of ATS for high-volume hiring

For high-volume hiring and scalability, some options are best suited to achieving efficiencies while also ensuring interview compliance and an engaging candidate experience.

Benefits for enterprise hiring:

While the types of ATS best suited for enterprise hiring will differ based on individual platform features, they all have three things in common:

  • Faster hiring
  • Better quality of hires
  • Support for diversity and inclusion

The best systems for large companies offer advanced automation and search tools to quickly pre-screen thousands of applicants and create qualified candidate pools. Some enterprise platforms also help streamline the application-to-interview process so that candidates reach the interview stage faster.

Identifying the right hire within a crowd of applicants during high-volume hiring
Reviewing three applicant profiles in the system to come to a hiring decision

Finding the right system for high-volume hiring is particularly important when operating within a hybrid work environment. Complex work schedules can complicate enterprise hiring, making it important to find a platform that automates scheduling and helps teams collaborate when evaluating candidates and making decisions.

Sourcing:

Custom careers page and job board integrations allow organizations to advertise their brand and attract targeted candidates to improve brand alignment within their enterprise hiring process. The top enterprise providers also provide workflow customization to create hiring processes that support DEI initiatives.

Customization:

Look for platforms that allow you to tailor workflows to align with your ideal hiring program and existing internal standards. This includes aspects like streamlining the job requisition and approval process and incorporating accessibility features into careers pages and application forms.

Evaluating enterprise platforms:

The best applicant tracking systems for large companies emphasize efficiencies in candidate sourcing, screening, and engagement. While most enterprise platforms offer similar features, there are a few areas where they differ.

Evaluation considerations

Implementation and support

Blue Check

Do they have a dedicated in-house team to support and train your team?

Tailored workflows and platform customization

Blue Check

Can you easily incorporate existing standards and DEI frameworks into workflows?

Integration with your existing HR tech stack

Blue Check

How well does it integrate with existing tools and update candidate profiles?

Different types of ATS by industry

Each industry also tends to gravitate toward different platforms based on industry-specific requirements.

Applicant Tracking System for government

Government:

Finding the right system for government depends on whether the platform can meet internal hiring standards and ensure ongoing compliance.

The best public sector options help teams comply with diversity and inclusion standards by anonymizing candidates and prompting hiring managers to reduce bias. Some public sector systems also feature DEI reporting to measure progress.

Applicant Tracking System for Staffing

Staffing/Recruitment:

The top systems for staffing agencies streamline the hiring process to effectively manage high volumes of applicants. They also help to build strong candidate relationships at scale.

Providers best suited to staffing agencies let recruiters communicate with a number of candidates at the same time with timed, personalized SMS and emails.

Applicant Tracking System for Hospitality

Hotel/Hospitality:

The best systems for restaurants and hotels let you fill positions quickly and highlight your brand for better candidate alignment.

They do this by focusing on candidate sourcing through targeted advertising and custom career sites. Most systems for restaurants and hotels also integrate with all of the top job boards to promote open positions and measure effectiveness through detailed reporting.

Applicant Tracking System for Education

Education:

When looking for the right provider for higher education, consider looking for system features that support screening efficiencies and equal hiring practices. Systems for higher education offer advanced automation to screen thousands of candidates faster and standardize the processes to provide a fair experience for all candidates.

Applicant Tracking System for Hourly

Retail/hourly:

Using an applicant tracking system in retail recruitment can help speed up time-to-hire and provide candidates with a positive experience that helps drive more referrals. Systems suited to the retail industry feature a streamlined application process and a fully digitized hiring and onboarding process to remove paperwork altogether.

Applicant Tracking System for Manufacturing

Manufacturing:

The systems for manufacturing hiring offer a mobile-friendly experience to promote engagement, increase response times, and lower drop-off rates.

Applicant Tracking System for Nonprofits

Nonprofits:

The right system for nonprofits allows teams to do more with less and target candidates that align with the organization’s mission. The top platforms offer vast job board integrations and team collaboration tools.

Reach your goals with VidCruiter

VidCruiter creates hiring efficiencies to help organizations of all sizes and industries.

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Our Implementation and Client Success teams work with you to tailor our platform to meet your needs

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We have deep industry-specific knowledge of hiring challenges and best practices

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Our platform automation scales as your business grows – from start-up to enterprise or globally

Learn more about VidCruiter’s applicant tracking software

Frequently asked questions

How does an applicant tracking system work?

How does an ATS work? It automates key hiring tasks such as job board posting, applicant screening, candidate engagement, and onboarding. Most systems integrate seamlessly with HR tools so that hiring teams can interview candidates and evaluate skills tests from within the same platform.

When candidates apply for a role posted on a careers page or job board, the system transcribes things like skills and experience into a candidate profile.

Interconnectivity between an applicant’s profile, their work history, and communications
Comparing four applicant profiles based on how closely they align with the job description

Who uses these types of systems?

There are many companies that use an ATS, from start-ups to global enterprises. Workflow automation helps speed up time-to-hire and reduce resources. For smaller organizations, this means doing more with fewer resources and for larger organizations, it allows them to scale effectively.

Is an applicant tracking system the same as CRM?

Although many compare ATS vs CRM as separate systems, the top applicant tracking systems offer candidate relationship management features that can stand in place of an individual CRM system. Similarly, the top products also incorporate talent acquisition features into their platform to create an all-in-one solution.

A hiring manager sends an applicant an SMS message from within the platform
Multiple candidate profiles in an applicant tracking system

How many of these systems are there?

There are many different types of applicant tracking systems on the market, which vary by size and capabilities. While the market was valued at USD 1.4 billion in 2021, it’s expected to reach USD 3.10 billion by 2030 according to a report published by Spherical Insights & Consulting.