Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Top ATS for Startups | Applicant Tracking Systems for Startups

ATS for Startups: Choosing the Right Applicant Tracking System

by | Jan 16, 2023 | Recruitment Software

Recruiting and hiring is difficult enough for any company, large or small, no matter how many years they’ve been in business. However, it’s even more difficult for a startup business. That’s why choosing the right ATS for your startup is critically important.

ATS, of course, is short for applicant tracking system. And that’s exactly what it does: it tracks applicants throughout the hiring process. However, that is not all it does. The best applicant tracking systems for startups have an array of features and powerful functionality designed to help you save time. And when you’re running a startup business, you always need more time.

In order to maximize the benefits of an ATS for your startup, though, you must match the ATS to your needs. That’s because applicant tracking systems differ in size, scope, and purpose. You can choose one as simple or as complex as you would like. The key is to make sure that the package has the functionality you need to make your life easier—in other words, help you source, attract, recruit, and hire the job candidates you need to scale your operation.

So the first step is to assess your needs. Do you need a simple ATS database for your job applicants? Do you need a full-service recruiting and hiring suite decked out with all of the requisite “bells and whistles” that such a package contains? Or do you need something in between? Conducing an accurate assessment of your needs will help to ensure that you don’t pick an ATS that falls short of functionality or is jam-packed with features that you don’t really need. (But that you’re really paying for.)

Applicant tracking system considerations for startups

One quick note before we begin: not using a recruiting software or hiring software for your startup really isn’t an option in this day and age. That should go without saying, but we’re going to say it, anyway. Startups are associated with being on the cutting edge of technology, and in order to hire the talent you need to succeed, you’ll need to use that technology to recruit and engage those top-tier candidates.

With that in mind, below are eight applications tracking system considerations for startups (or for any company considering ATS solutions):

#1—Job posting

Successful recruiting and hiring starts with effective sourcing of candidates. In the Digital Age, this starts with advertising your jobs on the Internet, including with some of the biggest job boards. Among these are Indeed, SimplyHired, ZipRecruiter, Monster, and CareerBuilder.

In many cases, recruiting is a numbers game. The more applicants you receive, the better the chances of finding the person you want to hire. Many ATS packages have partnerships with the major job boards, meaning that as a user, you can instantly post to these boards with just a few clicks. (Provided you already have an account with them, that is.)

Consequently, you can scale your startup’s hiring efforts by using an ATS that allows you to post and track your jobs and then analyze the results.

#2—Branded careers page

Not only should you advertise your jobs on the Internet through the major job boards, but you should also advertise them on your company’s website. This is possible through the use of a branded careers page, which most ATS packages offer.

Once again, like the major job boards, you can manage the postings on your website through the ATS platform, saving you time and energy. You can be as elaborate as you want to be, adding descriptive text, photos, and other graphics. This is an opportunity to present your organization and its opportunities in a positive way to today’s candidates, who place a high premium on employer branding.

#4—Sharing to social media sites

So you’ve advertised your open positions on the major job boards and you’ve posted them on your company’s website. What’s left? Sharing them through the various social media channels, that’s what!

Nearly all ATS solutuions for startups include the ability to share job openings through social media. For many of them, the sharing process involves just a few clicks of the mouse, further streamlining the hiring process and saving time.

And with this functionality, keep in mind the growing number of people who are looking for jobs on their phone or mobile device. (And yes, the members of the younger generations are driving this trend.) These people are looking at social media on their mobile device and they’re looking for jobs on their mobile device.

So give them what they want!

#5—Resume and data storage

The ATS for your startup is the focal point of your operations. This means that all applications will go straight into the recruiting software, where you can store them in your database.

This is important for multiple reasons. First, “data is king” when it comes to recruiting and hiring. Having the right information at the right time is critical in making sound decisions regarding job seekers and candidates. Second, even if you don’t hire a particular candidate, you will still have that candidate’s information tucked away in your ATS database.

After all, chances are good that you will need to hire again, especially if you’re a startup business. The candidate you didn’t hire the first time could become the candidate you hire the second time. Or the third. Or the fourth. Or the . . .

#6—Applicant evaluation

Once the ATS for your startup has collected the applications and stored them in your database, you can then sort the resumes and other data through the use of the applicant tracking system’s features and tools. Every ATS is like a fingerprint. Or a snowflake. In other words, they’re all different in terms of their organization and evaluation methods. As a result, personal preference will play a role in which applicant tracking system you select.

Some ATS solutions utilize artificial intelligence (AI) as part of their screening and evaluation process. However, some studies have shown that using AI can hamper an organization’s efforts to hire a more diverse workforce. So while AI-powered tools can appear appealing on the surface, artificial intelligence does not represent the “be all, end all” in terms of applicant tracking system functionality. So choose wisely.

#7—Communication and organizational tools

Okay, you have the applications and resumes in the system. You’ve sorted through the data and evaluated the candidates. Now it’s time to take some action. Specifically, it’s time to contact the candidates you’d like to interview.

With your ATS, you’re able to communicate with candidates to ask questions and schedule interviews. You can send messages and emails, and some applicant tracking systems also provide you with SMS texting capabilities. (This, of course, is a valuable tool when communicating with the members of the younger generations.)

In addition, an ATS for startups can also send reminders regarding upcoming events, such as a phone screen, video interview, or face-to-face interview. It can even send a reminder to candidates, so that everybody is “on the same page.” You can’t hire great candidates if you don’t interview them, and you can’t interview them if they don’t show up for the interview.

#8—Collaboration features and functionality

One of the most important parts of the hiring process is being able to collaborate with others within the company who are involved in the process. Choosing the right candidate to fill an important position is a group effort, and the group must be able to compare notes and share feedback regarding the candidates who are being considered.

An applicant tracking system can help in this area. Through the use of an ATS, you can share candidate information with team members, even controlling who can see what depending upon the role that has been assigned to them. Once again, this serves to further streamline the hiring process, saving time and energy that can be applied to other tasks.

That’s a “win-win” for startup businesses that are filling multiple positions at once as they’re trying to scale as quickly as possible.

#9—Onboarding tools and features

Once you’ve selected your top candidate and they’ve accepted your offer of employment, it’s time to onboard them as a new employee. Speed and efficiency are critical during this phase of the hiring process, as well, because you want your new employee “up and running” quickly. The sooner they’re acclimated to their new position, the sooner they can begin providing value to the organization.

Alas, there is much paperwork involved with a new hire, and the employer and the employee are both involved in making sure it’s completed. An applicant tracking system can aid in the process, helping your company send important documents, including tax forms, explanations of employee benefits, and other onboarding-related tasks.

Remember: the onboarding process begins as soon as the candidate accepts your offer of employment. It does not start on their first official day of work.

The best ATS for startups

As of the writing of this blog post, the job market for talent is as competitive as it’s ever been. And when you think about it, top talent is always in demand, regardless of whether there’s a recession or not. Companies always want to hire the best candidates to help them solve problems and make a profit, and startup businesses are no different in that regard.

According to Jobscan, more than 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS. According to a Kelly OCG survey, 66% of larger companies and 35% of smaller organizations utilize an ATS software. And in this age of rampant technology, those numbers grow with each passing day.

The bigger your company, the more likely it is that you will need an ATS to help with recruiting, hiring, and talent management. And since you’re a startup business, you want to set yourself up for success. According to Investopedia, 20% of new businesses fail within the first year, 50% fail within five years, and 65% fail within 10 years. You need every advantage you can get, and the right applicant tracking system can provide you with that advantage.

Below are the top ATS packages for startups:


Greenhouse has been in business for a quite a while. As a result, it’s a well-known ATS package, both overall and in the realm of startups. It “hangs its hat” on an array of employee management features and functionality that appeal to companies of all sizes.

In addition, you can integrate many of its features into HR tools, allowing you to leverage and maximize its value. Providing a positive candidate experience is “all the rage” these days, and Greenhouse specializes in that facet of the hiring process.


Workable is another recognizable name in the ATS space. Its features focus on targeted candidate sourcing and more effective collaboration to not only streamline the hiring process, but ultimately make it more successful.

Automation and artificial intelligence are at the heart of the Workable, further serving to save time while also identifying the right candidates more quickly. It’s designed more for mid-sized companies, which could make it a better choice for startups looking for ATS solutions.

Breezy HR

Breezy HR represents a more comprehensive solution for startups. It offers a wide range of employee management features and functionality spanning the beginning of the hiring process to the very end. With the ATS software doing most of the “heavy lifting,” company officials can focus more on evaluation, and ultimately, candidate selection.

Like many of the ATS solutions on this list, Breezy HR makes the candidate the focal point. To that end, it has a video platform included within the ATS software for easier interviewing and also makes the candidate experience a top priority.

Bamboo HR

More and more, companies are option for a HRIS (Human Resources Information System) when considering and evaluating applicant tracking systems. ATS solutions for startups are no different.

That’s because Bamboo HR offers HRIS-level features and functionality. In addition to the applicant tracking system, this includes payroll processing and benefits administration, two important cogs in the startup workforce engine.

Bamboo HR strives to provide both a comprehensive solution and a user-friendly platform, resulting in more actionable data and overall better experience.


While many of the ATS software packages on this list cater to small and medium-sized companies, Lever is at the other end of the spectrum. It specializes in medium-sized and enterprise organizations, combining ATS and CRM (customer relationship management) capabilities in a single platform.

On the plus side, Lever offers an impressive list of features and powerful functionality. On the other hand, it may be too much for smaller startups or those that don’t expect to scale very quickly.


Simplicity and ease of use are the “name of the game” for Freshteam. After all, you can’t use your data and make decisions based on said data, unless you can access it quickly and easily.

From sourcing qualified candidates from multiple job boards and social media channels to providing collaboration tools for better decision making, Freshteam helps foster business growth and development. Not only that, but you can create a careers page in just one click. It doesn’t get much easier and simpler than that.


Speaking of a careers page, Recruitee also offers one as part of its range of ATS features for startups. Recruitte focuses on organization and scheduling during the hiring process, ensuring that everyone involved in the process can see all of the information pertinent to a particular search.

Unlike Lever, but like many of the other ATS software packages on this list, Recruitee caters to small and medium-sized businesses and startups. It’s also one of the more affordable packages on the list.


Want a heavy dose of automation, while still retaining the human touch? Then Jobvite could be the ATS solution for your startup.

With Jobvite, you can use automation tools for speeding up the hiring process. At the same time, the platform provides features and functionality that allow you to track candidates and effectively engage them at crucial junctures of the process.

While data is the driving force behind Jobvite, the creators of the ATS did not forget the importance of the human element in recruiting and hiring.

Top Echelon Software

While most of the ATS software packages on this list have been around for 10 to 15 years, Top Echelon as a company started in 1988. Over 20 years ago, it produced the first iteration of its ATS, which was designed for professional recruiters and search consultants. Since then, though, Top Echelon has evolved into a comprehensive ATS and recruiting solution for both agency recruiters and corporate HR.

Top Echelon offers features and tools designed to help streamline your startup’s applicant management, hiring, and onboarding. Catering to small and medium-sized companies, Top Echelon’s goal is to save users time so they can focus more on those tasks that make a difference.

With Top Echelon’s features and functionality, you can:

  • Source higher-quality candidates for your jobs with a branded careers page, job posting platforms, and social media sharing options.
  • Manage your talent more efficiently with an array of screening tools, including pre-screening questionnaires, custom workflows, and a rate and rank system.
  • Communicate more effectively with candidates during the hiring process with engagement tools such as SMS texting, automated emailing, appointment scheduling, and calendar syncing.
  • Customize your recruiting process to fit your needs with Top Echelon’s ever-expanding marketplace of recruiting and talent management integrations.

In addition, Top Echelon is competitively priced, an important factor when deciding which ATS software is right for your startup or company.

ATS for startups: it’s all about the hiring process

The focal point of any good ATS or applicant tracking system is the hiring process. First, that’s the process by which a company, including a startup business, obtains the talent it needs to succeed. Second, since there are other employers vying for the same job candidates, time is of the essence. The company that is able to source, engage, recruit, and hire these candidates the quickest gives itself an advantage over the competition.

Hiring managers wearing many hats

The founder of a startup business typically “wears many hats” or fills many roles, especially during the early stages of the business. One of these roles is that of the hiring manager. In addition to all of the other duties involved with getting the startup off the ground, they also have to hire for positions critical to the company’s success.

For this reason alone, it’s imperative to use not only an ATS, but to also use the right applicant tracking system for you. You want to choose a package that makes your life easier, not more difficult. You want one that focuses on simplicity and ease of use, and you also want one that offers a stellar U.S.-based support and success team. What you don’t want is an ATS that is cumbersome, difficult to use, and wastes your time instead of saving it.

Top Echelon Software, a leader in recruiting and hiring software, offers just such an ATS. However, you don’t have to take our word for it. You can try the software yourself. Specifically, you can get free recruitment software for 15 days as part of your trial of Top Echelon. In addition, you can request a recruiting software demo of Top Echelon’s applicant tracking system. We’ll show you everything that Top Echelon offers and how it can help you recruit and hire the best candidates in less time.

For a startup business, time is money. And for that very reason, make sure that you select an ATS that has all the features and functionality you need to help you scale your company without “breaking the bank” at the same time.

The plans you have for your startup should be big. The bill for your applicant tracking system should not be.

More Articles of Interest