If you are reading this, chances are you’re a small business entrepreneur or you work side by side with someone who is. Whether a Main Street business, an Industrial Loop shop, a County Road agricultural establishment, or a Market Street startup, you have become very accomplished at what you do, and you’ve got something to show for it. To keep your enterprise growing, you need good people to step into your shoes.
But the job market is tight, and finding good people is more difficult than ever. You need to cast a wider net, spend more time searching, and generally be more resourceful in reaching good candidates before anyone else does.
But all of that takes away from “the real work,” and so you put off hiring another few days. But the work just keeps piling up, and you are still weeks away from hiring the quality help you need so badly. For many like you, a free applicant tracking system is an attractive way to start doing the things you can’t do and to begin being in the places you can’t be.
What’s a free applicant tracking system?
A free applicant tracking system is much more lightweight than the large enterprise solutions with which many people may be familiar. Thanks to advances in cloud computing, free applicant tracking systems are able to deliver the essentials, including posting job openings, handling applications, centralizing notes and correspondence, and managing resumes, candidate profiles, and hiring status. For many small businesses, simply automating these processes provides enough relief so that they can pursue those essential hires that they hadn’t previously had time to pursue.
Many free applicant tracking systems are available on a freemium basis, which tends to suit small businesses quite well. That means that a reasonably fully functioning core product can be used at no cost, though sometimes with limits on the number of users, job openings, resume views, or candidate profiles. Yet as small businesses grow and staffing becomes a critical business operation, it’s possible to purchase higher tiers of service at various price points.
Those tiers typically include more sophisticated features (e.g., ranking, scoring, reporting), access to third-party services (e.g., recruiting marketing, targeted job board posting, social recruiting), dedicated support, and integration with other enterprise software. In any case, the aim of free applicant tracking systems vendors is to provide scalability to small businesses, right at the point of need, and in an area where managers are especially anxious about losing control.
8 free applicant tracking systems that should be on your shortlist
Applicant tracking systems have greatly improved in just the last five years, especially regarding clean user interfaces, reliability, and implementation ease. Yet the standard everyone should hold any applicant tracking system up to, free or paid, is a consumer-grade experience. Does it offer candidates the same kind of experience they’d expect from a better online retailer? Is it yet another offering designed to make the vendor look impressive, or is it designed to make you look impressive?
Here are 8 free applicant tracking systems we think you will like, and so will your candidates:
One of only a few free applicant tracking systems designed as a truly end-to-end recruiting solution for an unlimited number of users, MightyRecruiter is generating a lot of buzz as the next wave of recruiting software. The previously for-charge (now free!) recruiting tool makes it fast and easy for business owners to write, post, and distribute their job ads across the internet, manage and track candidates, and match best fit applicants with the job profile (thanks to a machine-learning algorithm). Not to mention, the people behind the software have rolled out MightySourcer, a free Chrome extension that makes it simple to find contact information for hard-to-reach candidates. Get started for free today!
A favorite among startups due to its reputation for scalability, iKrut customers typically have hit a prolonged and steady growth stride, hiring between 20 and 250 new employees a year. Offering two tiers of paid service that start at $210 per month, the free version allows for an unlimited number of users and applications, as well as integration with nearly two dozen top free job boards. iKrut’s free version also gets high marks for its careers microsite builder with employer branding capability, and its bulk-action functionality.
Designed for smaller businesses, JobScore is a well-appointed package that also offers some recruiting marketing functionality not always available with free applicant tracking systems. JobScore integrates very adeptly with Google Apps, which particularly appeals to a wide range of small businesses that favor using the G Suite as their online office. The free version allows for only one job posting, but there are paid plans ranging from $49 to $249 per month.
One of two completely open source solutions on our list, OpenCATS represents a free version of the venerable but somewhat pricey CATS. OpenCATS is easily downloaded and requires either a Windows or a Linux server to operate. Once installed, OpenCATS provides a fully functioning ATS environment on parity with CATS. While designed to appeal to HR professionals, a considerable amount of tech savvy and familiarity with open source communities of practice will likely be required. Nevertheless, those up to the challenge will be rewarded by robust software that can be configured precisely to their staffing needs.
The leaders in recruiting software tend to combine the best of the CRM and HCM worlds, and few do it better than Qandidate.com. Built within a well-designed and attractive user interface, Qandidate.com offers small businesses a free applicant tracking system that is fully functional out of the box. Rather than pay for additional functionality, businesses have the option to purchase additional services they might need from Qandidate.com partners, such as targeted job board posting, recruiting campaign management, social recruiting, or employer branding.
With a customer list that reads like both Market Street and Main Street, Recruiterbox is praised for its sharp focus on keeping resume management simple, making the applicant tracking system environment unobtrusive, and facilitating job posting across all channels. Designed more for small businesses that are rapidly morphing into medium-sized businesses, Recruiterbox offers a fairly limited free trial and only one tier of fixed pricing. But for companies eyeing that move into a fashionable Market Street or Main Street address, it provides an attractive way to fill those desks.
Zoho Recruit belongs to a comprehensive suite of business software, anchored by its CRM platform. This facilitates rapidly expanding businesses as well as busy staffing firms to undertake their own recruiting marketing and campaigns. Smaller businesses however may find Zoho Recruit excessively complex and weighty for their needs. And although the free version is somewhat light on functionality and allows for only one user, there are paid versions available, ranging from $25 – $50 per month over two tiers of service.
The second of two completely open source solutions on our list, Osclass was recently named Best Free Recruiting Software by Business News Daily. Though marketed as a solution for building a classifieds marketplace, Osclass nevertheless provides one of the most fully functional free applicant tracking systems available. Offered both as a download and as a fully hosted SaaS, Osclass is best suited for smaller businesses that only do a few hires at a time or tend not to post to a lot of job boards. As with OpenCATS, a considerable level of tech savvy will be needed in order to get the most from Osclass’ exceptionally rich development environment.