Take a deep breath and put away the pen and paper. It's time to bring structure into your life and streamline the hiring process. Gone are the days when you had a business plan on a napkin and selected an awesome team just by crossing out names on the list in your notebook. Your business is growing, and you need an applicant tracking system a.k.a. ATS to get the most out of your candidate selection.
Today, a robust ATS streamlines the whole recruiting process, including job postings, receiving applications, screening, scheduling, hiring employees, and getting dozens of other awesome tasks done in between. The right recruitment software is a magic painkiller that not only allows you to manage a variety of endless tasks from a single platform but also helps to decrease candidates' dropout rate by improving their experience.
In a tight talent market, hiring a purple squirrel means having great technology. Are you already choosing an ATS? To help those starting to ramp up their hiring, we have compiled this article on free Applicant Tracking Systems. Don’t waste your time, scroll down to see seven budget-friendly tools that may help you simplify job listings, help sort applications, and improve your communication with candidates.
✔️ Designed for asynchronous hiring and video interviewing
asyncHR is a great option for reaching remote candidates as it is designed specifically for asynchronous hiring. You can create job listings, track applicants, communicate with them, schedule meetings, and assign technical tasks directly on the platform. The main value that asyncHR brings is asyncHRonous video interaction done through video-based job postings, video applications, and on-demand video messages, for example, recordings explaining a technical task to a candidate.
The whole process is managed on a web-based dashboard with regular features like (mass) follow-up and invitation emails included. You can create multiple job ads without paying a dime, as well as invite as many colleagues as you want to participate in the hiring process. Share links to job openings on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and video-based applications will automatically flow into asyncHR’s ATS.
Utilizing the expertise in tech recruitment and remote hiring, asyncHR made targeting candidates through professional online communities one of its main features. So-called social recruiting is paramount to catch elusive and hard-to-engage passive candidates. Don’t bother blasting out every job ad through relevant threads on Slack or Telegram, asyncHR does it automatically for you, and helps to collect and store candidate applications in one place. Even though social recruiting doesn’t come for free, if done wisely, it is still affordable on asyncHR. Now you can even get $100 in credit for every repost of your video job post to your social media accounts. Just spend it on promotion through professional online communities.
✔️ Free for businesses with less than 50 employees
Freshteam’s pricing is based on the size of your company, and a smaller-sized business can get a flavor of what the paid platform has to offer with a version called Sprout. The Sprout package is free and intended for companies with up to 50 employees. This includes only core features that can be just enough to fulfill the staffing needs of a startup. Sprout is also available through iOS and Android apps.
Without a monthly fee, you get a basic ATS with a simple ‘uncustomizable’ careers site, email integration, and a kanban board for applicant tracking. Candidates can apply by email. Freshteam’s Sprout also offers an employee directory and employee referrals that may help with sourcing great candidates and promoting even more referrals.
Keep in mind that the Sprout version allows you to manage no more than three active jobs at a time. You will have to invest to get interviews scheduled with Google calendar on the same platform and to make social recruiting available you are going to be charged even more.
✔️ Free background checks
To find the free version on that page, you will have to read carefully, as the link to the free option is in small pale letters just beneath the gorgeous plans starting from $99 per month. On the bright side, the link works, but unfortunately, the free plan only allows one active job post. At the same time without extra fees you get an unlimited number of candidates, applicants, tags, and notes. All applicant tracking basics are available in the free version, including a careers page, one-click job postings, and social recruiting.
The sweet thing about Jobscore is that it lets you run background checks from within your ATS. It might be beneficial for regulated industries, such as financial services or banking. The free version of Jobscore also offers job SEO and analytics reports that can be easily exported to Excel.
✔️ Designed for small and medium-sized enterprises
iKrut is self-described as a candidate attraction system made specifically for SMEs. It was designed in St. Andrews, the St. Andrews where went to university. iKrut’s free version looks a bit old-fashioned, just like royal palaces, but it does its job. You can add an unlimited number of both users, jobs, and applicants and enjoy basic recruiting functionality.
The obvious advantages include an opportunity to create a basic careers page with your logo and all your live jobs on it, an option to schedule online interviews and to post to social networks. Some bulk functions, i.e. a mass email rejection tool, are also up in the free version. Video interviews and online screening questions, as well as job distribution to other platforms such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn, are only available if you upgrade to paid plans of iKrut’s ATS.
One of the core functions iKrut’s free version lacks is internal job approval management and employee referrals. Even though free iKrut allows you to add as many team members as you want to participate in the hiring process, you can neither create an approval chain for new job openings nor let existing employees refer candidates.
✔️ An open-source applicant tracking system
Often described as not pretty and clunky, OpenCATS is an open-source ATS offering a full spectrum of recruitment functions, from job postings to finalizing placements. It is absolutely free, and there are no limitations installing or using it. Once you download OpenCATS, you become the one who controls all the data, instead of a third party.
Don’t expect an enhanced ATS experience from OpenCATS. It is a no-frills solution that combines all the core functions of a basic ATS, including resume management, candidate tracking, and reporting. The downloaded version seems to be fully functional, and some configurations will be needed to use fancier functions, like full-text resume search and integration with your email. Job listings can be sent to specific sites and job boards with a built-in XML feed.
There is good news and bad news about an open-source ATS. On one hand, you can enjoy the luxury of modifying the software to adapt it to your needs and taste. On the other hand, you may need to have a development background or invest in IT labor to fully enjoy OpenCATS, as you are going to be alone through this tough journey of installing, integrating, running, and customizing it without anyone to turn to for support (except for the development community).
SmartStart from SmartRecruiters
✔️ Free for businesses with less than 250 employees
SmartStart is a free version of SmartRecruiters designed specifically for smaller businesses with up to 250 employees. The good thing about the free offering is that it allows an unlimited number of users and candidates. It also allows you to do basic things, i.e. to post jobs, develop careers pages, communicate with candidates, and track applicants. The free package also includes one-click applications, sharing jobs via aggregators and social recruiting, as well as candidate database management and scheduling.
The main limitation of the free version is that it only allows you to manage ten active jobs maximum at a time. Moreover, it doesn’t give you access to a range of application and management features, such as job alerts, job approvals, customization of rejection reasons, and calendar integrations.
✔️ Supports 27 languages
Indian business software giant Zoho offers all kinds of professional solutions, from payroll services to marketing automation. The company’s solution for recruitment comes with a wide range of functions you would be happy to see in any ATS, including hosting a careers site, keeping records, and sharing jobs. It also supports 27 languages, extending your pool of applicants.
The free version offers only basic functionality and restrictions significant enough to derail your dreams of finding a unicorn. Don’t freak out, but free Zoho only allows no more than one recruiter and no more than one active job. Social posts, mass emails, and any type of customization are beyond the reach of those who don’t want to pay for an upgrade. If you are not paying a premium, you are still able to perform simple recruitment tasks, like candidate management, email management, and tracking of interviews.