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.
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.
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.
- Applicant tracking
- Benefits management
- Candidate tracking
- COBRA administration
- Compensation management
- Deduction management
$19 per month (billed annually)
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.
- Application management
- Assessment management
- Background screening
- Billing & invoicing
- Built-in ATS
- Candidate tracking
$143 per month
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.
- Application Management
- Assessment Management
- Background Screening
- Built-in ATS
- Candidate Management
- Candidate Tracking
$25 per user, per month (billed annually)
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.