3 Best Free and Open Source Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

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These three free and open source solutions can help you automate different steps of the recruitment process.

3 Best Free Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs)

Recruitment involves several tasks: posting jobs, managing job boards, scheduling and conducting interviews, handling communication, and rolling out offer letters to selected candidates. Recruiters have to scour hundreds of resumes to find the right candidate. They also have to coordinate with multiple stakeholders—including hiring managers, team managers, and senior leadership—during the hiring process.

Because juggling these tasks simultaneously isn’t easy, recruiters may sometimes miss out on potential candidates, which could be harmful for the business. For instance, if an offer letter is not sent on time, a selected candidate may accept another company’s offer.

To avoid such mishaps, businesses can use an applicant tracking system (ATS). This type of software automates recruitment-related operations to help organizations track an applicant’s status throughout the hiring cycle.

If you’re worried that an ATS solution is going to cost you a lot of money, we’ve got you covered. We’ve analyzed all free and open source ATS solutions featured on Capterra and shortlisted the three best* solutions for you (listed alphabetically).

*What does “best” mean? Each of the three products included in the above list has a minimum monthly Google search volume of 100 and is featured at least once on “top ATS solutions” articles. You can read our complete product selection methodology here.

3 best ATS solutions

3 Top Free and Open Source ATS Solutions

1. iKrut

iKrut is a cloud-based ATS for small and midsize businesses. It allows users to create job vacancies, track candidates, and communicate with applicants.

Candidate communication in iKrut
Candidate communication in iKrut (Source)

The software’s free version offers the following features: job management, candidate tracking, job posting on social media platforms, interview scheduling, career site building, and reporting. The free version allows users to manage only up to 10 active jobs but an unlimited number of applicants for each job.

Users can upgrade to Premium or Premium+ plans, which let them manage more than 10 job vacancies.

We’ve analyzed the features of iKrut to help you understand if its free version will suit your business requirements. Here’s what we found:



Users can manage 10 job vacancies at any given time; this should be sufficient for the needs of most SMBs.

Users can also manage multiple stages of the recruitment process, such as job posting, candidate tracking, and communication.

iKrut’s free version lacks some key recruitment features:

  • Job approval management
  • Employee referrals
  • Onboarding
How much does it cost? $210/month
Most suitable for: Small and midsize businesses that hire 20–250 employees per year.

2. OpenCATS

OpenCATS is an open source recruiting tool and ATS for small and midsize businesses. It allows users to track applicants, store resumes and contact details, tag skills to applicants, maintain a recruitment calendar, and communicate with candidates via email.

Recruitment dashboard in OpenCATS
Recruitment dashboard in OpenCATS (Source)

The software supports an unlimited number of job posts and applicants. Also, users can seek answers for any product-related queries on the OpenCATS forum.

Since OpenCATS is an open source solution, it doesn’t offer upgrade plans. However, users can select a paid cloud-based version of the solution from software vendor CATSOne.

We’ve analyzed the features of OpenCATS to help you understand if it’ll suit your business requirements. Here’s what we found:



Users can manage an unlimited number of jobs and candidates. This feature offers OpenCATS an upper hand over the other two featured products, which let recruiters manage only 10 active jobs at a time.

OpenCATS lacks certain bulk-recruiting features, which may render the product unsuitable for large or fast-expanding businesses with high-volume recruiting needs.

How much does it cost? Free
Most suitable for: Small and midsize businesses that have technical staff (for deployment and maintenance) and pre-existing on-premise software infrastructure.

3. SmartStart

SmartStart, a free version of the SmartRecruiters talent acquisition suite, is a cloud-based ATS for small businesses. It lets users create and manage job posts across job boards, design career pages on their business websites, and track applicants during different stages of the recruitment process.

Configuring roles for recruiters in SmartStart

Configuring roles for recruiters in SmartStart (Source)

SmartStart allows recruiters to manage up to 10 job vacancies at any given time. It also offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. Users can use this app to access applicant details even when they are away from their workplace.

SmartStart users have the option to upgrade to the SmartRecruit plan, which allows them to manage more than 10 jobs and offers add-on services, such as resume screening, recruiting CRM, and employee onboarding.

We’ve analyzed the features of SmartStart to help you understand if the free version will suit your business requirements. Here’s what we found:



SmartStart offers several recruitment-related features, such as job posting, career page development, candidate communication, and applicant tracking. These features, combined with 10 free job listings, make the product suitable for small businesses.

Once users upgrade to the paid version, they may have to purchase add-ons, such as onboarding and SmartCRM. This could make the product costly for some businesses.

How much does it cost? Available upon request.
Most suitable for: Small businesses—up to 250 employees—that want to automate different stages of the recruitment process.

Now that you’ve gone through our top three recommended products, the next step is to select one that best fits your business needs. We recommend using the following approach:

  • Compare free and open source solutions: Assess whether you need a free or open source solution. And keep in mind, for free products, you might need to pay an upgrade price, and for open source solutions you might have to hire technical staff or purchase servers.
  • Research product features: Compare the features of these products and select one that offers most, if not all, of the features you need. You can go through this features list to learn more about the features of applicant tracking software.

For more information on ATS solutions, you can also read the following resources:

Product selection methodology

To be considered for this article, products had to be free. We’ve classified a product as free if:

  • It offers a free, stand-alone version of the software.
  • It’s not a trial version of the software wherein a user must pay after the trial period.

Selection criteria

To be classified as ATS software, products had to offer these core features—Candidate Profiles, Candidate Tracking, and Job Posting—and at least half of these common features—Interview Scheduling, Assessments, Resume Search, Careers Page, Resume Parsing, Email Templates, Compliance Tracking, Workflow Management, and Social Media Integration.

Products that met this market definition also needed to support a minimum of 10 active job openings and be featured at least once on “top ATS solutions” articles. Thereafter, we ranked the software based on “Google search volume” to arrive at the top three options.

Note: Listed pros/cons are derived from features listed on product websites. They don’t represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Capterra or its affiliates.

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

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About the Author

Harshit Srivastava

Harshit Srivastava

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Senior Content Analyst @ Capterra, sharing insights about marketing and business operations. I hold a Bachelor in Engineering from BITS Pilani (India) and have created thought-leadership content and research reports that help businesses make better technology decisions. My work has been published in journals including HR Dive, CIO Dive, Small Business Trends Magazine, and HR Technologist. Outside work, I am an aspiring musician passionate about learning Spanish guitar, and love to jam with like-minded music enthusiasts in my free time.



I am looking for Recruiter Tracking System. Can anyone advice me best application.


Hey Halden,
Great informative article !
Thanks for sharing some free and open source applicant tracking software. I would like to suggest you to add iSmartRecruit in your list, It provide multiple features like Import and Parse Resumes, Organize All Candidate Information and Automatic Reminders & Alerts More Visit http://www.ismrtrecruit.com

Thanks !!


We use ViolaRS https://violars.com/en.html . It is free and very functional.


Thanks for this article. I couldn’t find the free version of SmartRecruiters. Is there anyone who recently downloaded it successfully? Thanks


Hi Halden
Very informative article here. When you next update, please consider adding Pipeline to your list. http://www.datahousesoftware.com/pipeline


Hi JP, Great list of Top free/open-source ATS’s.

We referenced your post in The Top Applicant Tracking Systems Annual Report (2017) (http://blog.ongig.com/applicant-tracking-system/the-top-applicant-tracking-systems-annual-report-2017)


When applying for a high-level position with a favorite nonprofit, I discovered that its “free” application management software — ApplicantPro — is actually a frontend for refer.io, a spam marketer. I was asked if I wanted to receive additional job offers. Thinking they meant from the nonprofit; of course, I clicked yes. And then…

Not only did refer.io capture all the personal information I entered (including a confidential cover letter), it also scraped my LinkedIn profile for additional data.

It wasn’t ten minutes after submitting my application that I started getting spam mail from refer.io (which fallaciously suggested they were coming from the nonprofit) and — coincidentally? — from another spammer with a familiar pitch. (The jobs they offered were really crummy, nothing to do with my interests or skills, e.g., Avon sales.)

Watch out for free application-management software! This isn’t any free lunch. I promised confidentiality, but if it got out that the nonprofit had been used by the spammer to capture applicants’ personal information, it would be very bad juju.

[…] tri manuel alors que le nombre de CV est élevé, d’autres privilégient un ATS gratuit qui offre moins de service. Mais attention, même avec la gratuité, il peut y avoir des coûts […]

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