Talent Management
Applicant Tracking

How Much Does Applicant Tracking Software Cost?

Published by in Applicant Tracking

I hate cocktail menus at chain restaurants because they never tell you what the drinks actually cost.

They want to trick you into ordering some overpriced, colorful drink that’s more sugar than booze. I’m a sucker for drinks with tiny umbrellas, but I always have to ask what the price is before ordering one because I hate being surprised when the bill comes around.

Just like with drinks, you don’t want sticker shock when you go to purchase new applicant tracking software for your company. And unlike drinks, you actually need an ATS—the best job ads in the world won’t help you if you have nowhere for candidates to apply.

Unfortunately, there’s not a simple answer when it comes to ATS pricing. Software vendors use several different pricing models, and some vendors only offer price quotes by request, regardless of what pricing model they use. Your specific requirements for the software also play a big factor in how much you’ll pay.

However, we can break down the various pricing models and estimate the price range for each so you know what to expect when you ask for quotes.

Pricing model: Pay per recruiter

This is the most common pricing model. “PPR” means you pay a fee each month based on the number of recruiters and hiring managers you have using the system (sometimes the amount is different for each user type). There may also be a one-time setup or implementation fee with this model.

Typical price range: $60 to $100 per user, per month

Pricing model: Pay per employee

Many applicant tracking systems set prices based on the size of your organization, and use the number of employees as a measure to gauge that. This means, regardless of the number of users, you will be charged based on the total number of employees in your company.

Typical price range: $4 to $7 per month, per employee. However, costs go down significantly (to the $0.20 range) as employee numbers rise into the thousands.

Pricing model: Pay per job opening/applicant

Some ATSs will determine pricing based on how many jobs you have open at any particular time, or how many total applicants/resumes you have in the system. This is often used in conjunction with some other pricing model such as number of recruiters or employees, or a one-time setup fee. This typically doesn’t count archived job openings or inactive/dormant resumes.

Typical price range: $5 to $19 per job opening, per month and $0.01 to $0.20 per resume, per month

Pricing model: Flat fee

While often seen in conjunction with another pricing model, some applicant tracking software systems can be purchased for a one-time flat fee, after which you’re free to use the software as much as you like, however you need.

Typical price range: $200 at the absolute lowest. This plan usually has the highest price tag, as you only pay it once.

Pricing model: Free and open source

If your budget is roughly $0, you may be glad to know that some ATSs are totally free of charge.

Free and open source software can be downloaded and kept as long as you want, used however you please, and you never owe anyone a cent. The “cost” comes from the tech side of things: with no cost also comes no tech support, so this option is best if you have someone in-house with software programming experience to help you troubleshoot. Also, be aware that just because the software is free, that doesn’t mean you won’t end up paying money related to the program at some point.

Typical price range: Free!

Which pricing model works best for your business?

Have you seen any other applicant tracking pricing models that I missed? Any recommendations of colorful cocktails for me to drink? Add them in the comments below!

Make sure you check out Capterra’s awesome (and totally free!) list of the Top 20 Most Affordable Applicant Tracking Software. No matter what the pricing model, this list will help you find the most bang for your buck.

Looking for Applicant Tracking software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Applicant Tracking software solutions.

About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen is a former Capterra analyst.


Comment by Anmol Bhat on

Hi Halden,

Great article. I think you have covered every major aspect to help guide recruiters looking to find their perfect solution without getting into additional complexities. This is inline with my research when I was looking out for pricing on various ATS’.

We offer a forever free ATS with unlimited recruiters and unlimited job slots with limited functionality to help you take your recruitment to the next step at no cost.

Our paid product includes various automations from sourcing to post offer followups.

1-minute explainer video: https://www.klimb.io/what-is-klimb
Website: https://www.klimb.io

To anyone reading this section, pay heed to the fact that I do work for Klimb.io. Although feel free to visit our site and sign up / drop us a message.



Comment by Stuart Read on

https://JobAdder.com for details on our current pricing.

We offer a big discount for “not for profit” organisations.

North America * – $99 USD per user, per month
UK/Ireland * – ‎£49 per user, per month
Australia/New Zealand * – $99 AUD per user, per month.

All other international locations * – $99 USD per user per month.
*At the time of writing this post.

We offer a full Application Tracking System with full Recruitment Software functionality – we post to hundreds of international job boards and are adding more all the time.

Social media sourcing and tracking, plus a lot more – check us out for a free trial or ask us for a demo.

Comment by Teena McIntire on

NationJob.com has a new ATS that runs from $300-$500 a year depending on the number of current employees. We can bundle the ATS cost with creating an online application based on the company’s current application.

0-99 Employees – $300/ yr ($500 if we create an online application).
100 + Employees – $500/ yr ($700 if we create an online application).


Comment by JP Medved on

Hi Deborah, we haven’t yet done any research in this area, but you can see a general (not state-based) breakdown of the popularity of certain talent management solutions here: https://www.capterra.com/talent-management-software/#infographic

And we’re working on similar research for applicant tracking systems.

Comment by Deborah Walker on

JP this is a fantastic article and so are those drinks with the little umbrella’s.
JP I’m actually looking at this article from a different viewpoint. I’m not in the market, but rather trying to assess the frequency of potential use within my state. Why you might ask, so I can better assess what my clients might bump into when applying for jobs. ATS has certainly evolved over the last five years in the ability to read different format styles of resumes. Have you ever done any research on this issue? If so, could you guide me in that direction?

Comment by Jesse Ofner on

All good points but don’t forget to talk about support and post implementation costs such as changes to forms or workflows, data requests, etc. Questions like – if leadership makes an organizational change, will we be able to make those changes ourselves without vendor help or will we be charged for the changes? Their is cost and then their is the total cost of ownership which is a better number for comparison of different systems.

Comment by KCleary on

I-Applicants is extremely easy to set up, very professional, and the most cost-effective we’ve found yet. We’ve been using them for about 5 years and couldn’t be happier!

Comment by Katya Savenkova on

In this new ATS http://betterinterviews.com free version is limited with quantity of users (up to 10). The good news is that if you have more than 10 users, you don’t have to pay per user, price is fixed wether you have 11 or 150 users! Both free and paid versions provide all available features: postings to popular job boards, video-interview, customized career page, questionnaires, candidates comparison. iOS and Android applications etc.

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