Talent Management

3 Best Free Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

By | 6 min read | Published

Don’t drown in a sea of CVs. When you get an applicant tracking system, you uncover potential candidates with greater efficiency and increase your chances of hiring the right person for the job.

We empower businesses to accelerate their growth by helping them find the right software. We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic, this has no influence on our methodology.
We conducted this analysis based on reviews and ratings data as of July 22, 2021. In order to present the most up-to-date information, the product cards below show real-time ratings. Please note that this means the ratings value in the product card may not reflect the ratings value at the time of analysis.

As a recruiter, you have to go through hundreds of resumes to find the right candidate. You also need to manage job boards, schedule and conduct interviews, roll out offer letters, and collaborate with multiple stakeholders, including hiring managers, team managers, and senior leadership. 

If you handle these tasks manually or using spreadsheets, you may miss out on potential candidates. Also, the hiring process may get so delayed that a candidate accepts another offer.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) can streamline your recruitment process by tracking a job applicant’s status throughout the hiring cycle. It automates tasks such as screening resumes, contacting candidates, and following up after selection to help you save time.

If you think using ATS software will cost you a lot of money, we’ve got you covered. We analyzed Capterra’s 2021 Shortlist for ATS software and identified the three best free options for you. The products are listed alphabetically. Read the complete selection methodology here.

This article looks at three free ATS software options. See the full list of free ATS tools in Capterra’s software directory.

BerniePortal: Most affordable to upgrade

BerniePortal is a cloud-based HR solution that offers applicant tracking, performance management, benefits management, and compliance management.

The tool offers customizable screening questions to help you design assessment tests. Its communication portal allows you to send automated emails to candidates about interview timings, application status, and other information. You can integrate the software with Indeed to manage Indeed job postings in real time and reduce the effort involved in updating listings manually.

BerniePortal’s free plan offers customer support via a knowledge base.

Most Affordable Upgrade
View Profile

Key Features:

  • Applicant tracking
  • Benefits management
  • Candidate tracking
  • COBRA administration
  • Compensation management
  • Deduction management
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$19 per month (billed annually)

Device Compatibility:


<p>Hiring documentation in BerniePortal</p>

Hiring documentation in BerniePortal


Breezy: Provides the best functionality

Breezy is a cloud-based recruiting and applicant tracking software platform that allows you to source applicants, manage candidate pipelines, score candidates, and send automated interview updates via email.

Breezy’s free version, known as the Bootstrap plan, includes a career website builder, which you can use to create customizable mobile-responsive career and referral websites. It also lets you post job opportunities on 50+ job portals. Its resume parsing functionality interprets and records information from hundreds of resumes, helping you save time.

Breezy’s free plan offers customer support via email, a web portal, and an online knowledge base.

Best Functionality
Visit Website

Key Features:

  • Application management
  • Assessment management
  • Background screening
  • Billing & invoicing
  • Built-in ATS
  • Candidate tracking
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$143 per month

Device Compatibility:


<p>Recruitment analytics in Breezy</p>

Recruitment analytics in Breezy


Zoho Recruit: Automates interview scheduling

Zoho Recruit is a cloud-based recruiting software platform designed for corporate HR departments and staffing agencies. It lets you manage job postings and employee referrals, track applications, and automate recruiting workflows and approval processes.

The tool’s candidate management feature allows you to build and manage candidate pipelines and automate candidate communication via email. Its interview scheduling functionality helps you manage interview schedules for multiple candidates and capture stakeholder feedback after each round.

Zoho Recruit’s free plan offers customer support via phone, live chat, training resources, and a knowledge base.

Visit Website

Key Features:

  • Application Management
  • Assessment Management
  • Background Screening
  • Built-in ATS
  • Candidate Management
  • Candidate Tracking
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$25 per user, per month (billed annually)

Device Compatibility:


<p>Recruiting workflows in Zoho Recruit</p>

Recruiting workflows in Zoho Recruit

Read our ATS software buyers guide to understand the benefits and common features of these tools.

How to choose the right free ATS software for your business

These considerations can help make software selection a little easier for you:

  • Upgrade budget: After using the free version, you may want to upgrade to advanced features in the future. Set a budget for software upgrade, and eliminate products that exceed your budget.
  • Required ATS features: Refer to the features listed on Capterra’s ATS software buyers guide to determine the ones that are most relevant for your business. Use the features list to narrow down your shortlist further.
  • User reviews: Capterra features user reviews for a variety of ATS solutions. Reviews can help recruiters like you understand the advantages and disadvantages of products shortlisted by industry peers.

Common questions to ask while selecting free ATS software

Here are some key questions to ask vendors to assess whether an ATS platform will fit your business requirements:

Does your software integrate with the HR solutions I use?

With integration, you can automate the process of transferring data from one software to another, reducing manual effort and data entry errors. Since ATS is an essential part of the HR technology ecosystem, the software you select should integrate well with your existing HR stack, including HR software, onboarding software, and compliance management software.

What support options are available with the free plan?

Many technical complexities can arise when deploying or using a software solution. For this reason, proactively check the availability of tech support in the free version rather than having to opt for paid customer support later. Screen the free versions based on the availability of email, chat, or phone support options.

How much will it cost to upgrade in the future?

While you can obtain pricing details from product websites or by inquiring vendors directly, there are other added costs (e.g., the cost of servers, support, deployment, and migration) that you need to consider before upgrading a free plan. Therefore, inquire about the total cost of upgrade rather than just the price of the base paid plan.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did.

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust—so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.

To be considered for this list, products have to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher. We selected the 3 products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
  • Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software (not a trial version where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time)
  • Meet our market definition of application tracking system software: ”ATS software manages an organization’s hiring process from posting on job boards to interviewing and selecting candidates.”

Note: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

‘Most affordable’ tool is identified based on the lowest pricing a vendor offered on their website in terms of cost to upgrade on July, 29, 2021.

“Best functionality” tool is identified based on the highest user-ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews.

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

About the Author

Harshit Srivastava

Harshit Srivastava

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.

Related Reading


Comment by Nanda Kishore on

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

Comment by Daniel Mccartney on

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 !!

Comment by Alexander Tikhonov on

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

Comment by Paraj Sharma on

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

Comment by John Coote on

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

Comment by Nick Misa on

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)


Comment by Sol Saguaro on

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.

Pingback by 4 solutions pour mieux faire le tri des CV on

[…] 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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