November 7, 2023
January 22, 2024

Choosing the Right ATS: In-Depth Analysis by Acelr8

Hanna-Mirtel Paas

In an era defined by rapid technological advancement and shifting candidate expectations, the landscape of recruitment is undergoing a profound transformation. Traditional sourcing and hiring methods are giving way to innovative strategies that leverage the power of technology to unlock new realms of efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement. As organisations strive to connect with the best-suited talent in an increasingly competitive environment, the integration of cutting-edge tools and systems has become a cornerstone of success.

First of all, what is ATS?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that enables organisations to streamline and manage their recruitment and hiring processes. It serves as a centralised hub where employers can collect, store, and organise candidate information, job openings, and communication-related to the hiring process.

ATS platforms are designed to automate and optimise various aspects of recruitment, making it more efficient, organised, and effective.

Key features of an ATS typically include:

  1. Job Posting and Distribution: ATS allows employers to create and post job openings to various job boards, company websites, and social media platforms, reaching a wider pool of potential candidates.
  2. Resume Analysis: automatically extracts and categorises relevant information from resumes and applications, making it easier to review and screen candidates.
  3. Candidate Database: An ATS stores candidate profiles, including resumes, contact details, and notes, for easy access and reference throughout the recruitment process.
  4. Application Tracking: tracks the status of each candidate application, from submission to hiring or rejection, providing transparency and accountability.
  5. Collaborative Hiring: facilitates communication and collaboration among hiring team members, allowing them to share feedback, schedule interviews, and assess candidates collectively.
  6. Candidate Communication: enables personalised communication with candidates, including automated emails and updates on their application status.
  7. Interview Scheduling: Some ATS platforms offer tools to schedule interviews, allowing candidates to select suitable time slots, which reduces back-and-forth communication.
  8. Analytics and Reporting: ATS provides insights into recruitment metrics, such as time-to-fill, source of hire, and candidate pipeline, helping organisations make data-driven decisions.
  9. Compliance and Reporting: can assist in adhering to legal and regulatory requirements by maintaining records and documentation related to the hiring process.
  10. Integration: many ATS systems integrate with other HR and recruiting tools, such as background check services, onboarding platforms, and HRIS (Human Resources Information System) software.

ATS systems are widely used by businesses of all sizes and industries to manage their recruitment efforts more efficiently, save time, and improve the overall candidate experience. They play a crucial role in modernising and optimising the recruitment process, especially in today's competitive job market.

ATS Recommendations

Ashby: A Flexible ATS Platform

Ashby, the up-and-coming ATS platform, caters to businesses of all sizes, from small and medium-sized enterprises to large enterprises. It distinguishes itself with a strong emphasis on automation, garnering significant attention and positive feedback. Ashby excels in providing intricate reporting and analytics, empowering companies to make data-driven hiring decisions. Notably, it offers e-signature and scheduling features, reducing the need for additional tools.

Pros and Cons

However, Ashby does have its drawbacks. While it emphasises its sourcing extension, it cannot mass-select candidates, requiring manual entry into the ATS. Additionally, there are limitations on the number of emails that can be scraped unless you opt for additional paid services. Ashby's pricing, while competitive, may not be the most budget-friendly option, and its feature-rich platform can be overwhelming for new users. It's also worth noting that the servers are based in the US, which may raise concerns for some international users.

"It seems to have good potential, and good customer support!" - Aleksandra Południkiewicz

Flexible Pricing Options

In terms of pricing, Ashby offers three packages, including options for startups and enterprise-level businesses. You can choose between monthly or annual billing, with a 10% discount for annual contracts. For instance, the All-In-One for Startups package for companies with 26-50 employees is priced at $500 per month, inclusive of implementation and a dedicated Customer Success Manager. Some specifics about Ashby's pricing may continue to change, so check their website for the latest information.

Ashby places a strong emphasis on reporting, even offering Ashby Analytics for companies seeking enhanced reporting features while keeping their current ATS. Their reporting capabilities include customisable dashboards, diverse metrics tracking, and the ability to forecast future hires using existing hiring data. Ashby also boasts a dedicated recruitment operations consulting team, focused solely on helping organisations make the most of their data.

Technical Challenges and Sourcing

While Ashby shines in many areas, its technical nature may pose challenges for some users, particularly when it comes to setting up a custom careers page. Unlike some competitors, Ashby lacks ready-made templates and may require collaboration with a developer for integration. In the sourcing arena, Ashby stands out for its Chrome extension, which streamlines candidate data collection from LinkedIn. This includes the ability to nurture leads and extend email lookup capabilities for an additional fee.

Ashby's commitment to automation extends to the hiring process, offering features like the Direct Booking Link, customisable interview plans, scorecards, and candidate surveys. It also integrates with HelloSign for e-signatures, ensuring GDPR and data compliance, as well as a smooth candidate experience.

"Ashby has good potential! It is a lot of things that need to be set up in the first place, but once set up, I think it can save the recruiter a lot of time." - Hang Vu Thi Thu


While Ashby doesn't provide its own in-house onboarding, it partners with various HRIS systems for seamless candidate data transfer. As a relatively new player in the field, Ashby continues to expand its library of integrations, with communication tools like Slack, Google Meet, and Zoom, sourcing solutions like HireSweet and Fetcher, and people operations systems like BambooHR and Personio, among others.

"I haven't actually used Ashby but it looks like it'll get rid of extra tools like Calendly as it has its own internal scheduling tool. It also has pretty good data features!" - Paul Power

Resources: For those seeking to master Ashby's capabilities, Ashby University offers training.

Greenhouse: An ATS Platform for All Business Sizes

Greenhouse stands out as an exceptional ATS platform, offering a comprehensive range of features that cater to businesses of varying sizes, from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) to mid-sized companies and large enterprises. The platform has earned an impeccable reputation in the industry, with notable clients including Hotjar, Grover, and HubSpot, which speaks to its capability to meet the diverse needs of organisations across the spectrum.

Pros and Cons

One of Greenhouse's defining attributes is its unwavering commitment to providing an outstanding user experience. The platform boasts an intuitive and user-friendly interface, emphasising automation throughout the recruitment lifecycle. This automation-centric approach is a boon for HR and talent acquisition professionals, enabling them to streamline and optimise their processes, from sourcing and screening to interviewing and hiring.

"Greenhouse is scaleable, allows you to collect good data, and integrate with other HR tools!" - Paul Power

Greenhouse's strength shines through its robust reporting capabilities. It offers a robust library of 40 pre-built reports that serve as an excellent starting point for users. These reports can be further tailored and customised to suit the specific requirements of each organisation. The platform also features reporting dashboards that empower users to visualise data effortlessly, facilitating data-driven decision-making. This feature is particularly valuable for tracking key recruitment metrics, assessing pipeline health, and identifying areas for improvement in the hiring process.

Sourcing Automation

Greenhouse offers sourcing automation through the Sourcing Automation add-on. This feature allows users to scrape candidate data directly into the Greenhouse platform, streamlining the sourcing process. Users can also create and manage email campaigns to engage with talent pools, eliminating the need for external tools like Hiretual.

"I find Greenhouse quite efficient as it is automating various tasks, such as job posting, resume screening, and interview scheduling. Good data insights, but you can’t really get them when you want to customise the process. It’s easy to navigate, user-friendly and intuitive interface. Facilitates collaboration within hiring teams. Recruiters can easily share feedback, communicate, and collaborate on candidate evaluation. Really good customer support!" - Aleksandra Południkiewicz

Hiring and Candidate Experience

Greenhouse offers a robust set of tools to enhance hiring and improve candidate experiences. Users can create tailored scorecards, anonymise assessments, integrate scheduling tools, manage referrals, and access pre-prepared interview kits. The platform prioritises the candidate journey with branding, self-scheduling, automated reminders, and support for multilingual job boards. Users can gather diverse data through custom questions.

Greenhouse's exclusive onboarding add-on enhances the post-signing process, while integration support covers over 400 pre-built options, including reporting tools, job boards, sourcing solutions, communication platforms, and people operations systems. This broad integration ecosystem ensures seamless compatibility with essential recruitment and HR tools.

Pricing Structure

In terms of pricing, Greenhouse positions itself as a premium solution, which may not make it the most budget-friendly option for smaller startups. However, its pricing model, based on headcount, is designed to scale with the growth and evolving needs of organisations. While Greenhouse's costs are aligned with the value it provides, it's important to note that there is an additional implementation fee, the amount of which can vary depending on the size of your company. Additionally, invoices are typically issued in dollars, which may necessitate the request for a European contract to ensure GDPR compliance for European users.

Resources: For those seeking to master Greenhouse’s capabilities: Learn the Essentials.

Lever: A Versatile ATS Platform for Diverse Businesses

Lever, an ATS platform catering to SMBs, mid-size, and enterprise-level businesses, offers several notable advantages. Its interactive reporting feature allows users to gain valuable insights quickly. Lever is known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy to set up and navigate. It enjoys a good reputation in the market. However, there are some drawbacks, including a less responsive Support team and a lack of dedicated Account Managers. Task reminders are not currently available, and the reporting feature can be overwhelming for hiring managers. Additional integrations like e-signature and Slack come at an extra cost of $300.

Diverse Pricing Model

Lever's pricing models are diverse, with three tiers, and costs are based on headcount and tailored to your company's size and growth plans. For instance, a 60-person company might pay $6,200 annually for ATS and reporting, with an extra $300 for Slack integration and e-signature. Invoicing is in dollars, but European contracts can be requested for GDPR compliance.

Pros and Cons

The reporting feature is one of Lever's strengths, offering various dashboards for recruiters and hiring teams to visualise data. However, these dashboards can be complex for those not accustomed to Lever's interface. The dashboards cover areas like role overview, interviews, nurturing campaigns, offers, pipeline status, recruiter operations, sourcing, and performance. A focused demo with the sales team can help tailor the reporting to your business's specific hiring needs.

"In my opinion Lever doesn’t suit for small recruitment load. It’s good for agencies, or companies that base their decisions on data and constantly recruit. And it is quite expensive too. Implementing Lever can be complex, especially if you need extensive customisation and integration with existing software." - Aleksandra Południkiewicz

Lever allows for the creation of a personalised careers page, which can be hosted directly via the platform and customised with your company's branding.

"Lever is highly customisable, enabling organisations to tailor their hiring processes and workflows to their specific needs." - Aleksandra Południkiewicz

Sourcing and Hiring

Sourcing in Lever involves adding candidates through their Chrome extension, scraping candidate data, and creating email campaigns to engage talent pools. The platform integrates with other sourcing tools like Connectifier, entelo, and aevy.

Lever streamlines the hiring process with batch application reviews, mass candidate rejections and emails at specific stages, automated interview scheduling, and integration with various tools. It also offers interview prep kits for interviewers.

Regarding onboarding, Lever partners with various HRIS systems like Sapling, BambooHR, bob, Rippling, Enboarder, and Namely. While it doesn't have its own onboarding tool, it facilitates candidate information migration and employee profile creation for onboarding.

Great sourcing tool (chrome extension), integrates with various HR and recruitment tools and services making it easier to connect and centralise your hiring stack. Good for candidate communication, and automatisation (also through the process, so you can create the recruitment forms, and reject candidates based on the basic criteria).

"Automatic follow ups and reminders. Big data processes, data analitics. User-friendly interface." - Aleksandra Południkiewicz


Lever boasts integrations with various partners in categories like People Ops, Communication, Reporting, Sourcing, and Job boards, including Zoom, Outlook, G-suite, LinkedIn, and more, making it a flexible choice for recruitment and HR operations.

Resources: For those seeking to master Lever’s capabilities: Help Centre, Content Library.

Personio: HRIS Platform with Limited Recruitment Functionality

Personio, while primarily an HRIS platform, offers some recruitment functionality suitable for SMBs and mid-size businesses, particularly if they engage in light hiring and aren't yet focused on scaling their recruitment efforts. The platform's appeal lies in its HRIS product offerings, and it does provide a free trial for users to explore its capabilities. However, it is generally not recommended as an ATS in the talent acquisition industry due to its lack of user-friendliness and limited automation features. As businesses grow and require more advanced recruitment tools, they are likely to switch to a different ATS, possibly retaining Personio for its HRIS functions, although this migration process can be time-consuming.

Diverse Pricing Models and Recruitment Add-On

Personio offers three pricing models—Essential, Professional, and Enterprise—with monthly or annual payment options and invoices in EUR. The recruitment functionality is an add-on to the HRIS platform, offering features like application management, job posting, and career page customisation. For instance, the total cost for an Enterprise HRIS with 50-75 employees, the recruitment add-on with 25 job postings, and unlimited e-signatures would be €2,776, including a one-time implementation fee.

Pros and Cons

Reporting in Personio focuses on people analytics, but its talent acquisition reporting is limited. While it provides insights into time-to-hire and pipeline performance, it lacks the more detailed reports that hiring teams often require, leading them to rely on external tools or manual reporting.

Personio allows users to create a careers page, but customisation options are limited, making it challenging to align with your employer brand. Integration with your own careers page is possible but can be time-consuming and may require external support.

"Personio doesn’t seem to be designed for talent, it’s better as a HRIS. Data function isn't great, and it’s also hard to navigate through candidate profiles." - Paul Power

Sourcing and Hiring

In terms of sourcing, Personio offers a Chrome extension for LinkedIn that scrapes candidate data, although it may not work with 2-factor Authentication enabled.

Personio accommodates a basic hiring process with limited automation features. It provides predefined recruiting phases but lacks flexibility in customising them. While you can add email templates, tagging teammates is not straightforward, and visualising pipelines can be challenging. Additional features like scorecards come at an extra cost.

As an HRIS primarily, Personio provides its own onboarding service, allowing for the generation of offer letters through the platform, with candidates transitioning automatically to employees upon signing.

"Personio is highly manual and the recruiter experience is not great." - Hang Vu Thi Thu


Personio offers limited integrations for talent acquisition, including communication tools like Zoom, Outlook, Teams, and Slack, sourcing solutions such as HeyJobs, Honeypot, and talent.io, and job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Join.com. While it may suffice for basic recruitment needs, it may lack the depth of integrations required as businesses scale their hiring efforts.

Resources: For those seeking to master Personio’s capabilities: Help Centre.

Recruitee: A User-Friendly ATS

Recruitee is a versatile ATS that caters to a diverse range of businesses, including SMBs, mid-size companies, and enterprises. One of its notable strengths lies in its user-friendly interface, making it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise.

Pros and Cons

One standout feature is its exceptional capability to create engaging career pages, which can be customised with elements like company logos, videos, headers, values, and integration with social media channels. Notably, the platform offers great customer support, ensuring that users receive assistance whenever they need it. It also facilitates video chat interactions with candidates, enhancing the recruitment experience. With the ability to effortlessly post job listings to over 1,000 job boards and a convenient sourcing Chrome extension, Recruitee streamlines and simplifies the recruitment process.

"User-friendly and scalable!" - Paul Power

However, Recruitee is not without its drawbacks. It lacks a variety of templates for career page creation, which may require users to invest more time in design and customisation. Some of the platform's advanced automation features come with additional charges, potentially impacting its overall cost-effectiveness. Users have reported that text formatting when creating job listings can be somewhat challenging to navigate. Additionally, Recruitee imposes limits on the number of job slots available, requiring users to pay for additional slots if needed.

Pricing and Free Trial

When it comes to pricing, Recruitee offers a range of flexible models, allowing users to select from three different pricing tiers: Launch, Scale, and Lead, with options to pay in EUR, GBP, or USD. Those who opt for annual payments can enjoy a 16% discount. For instance, the basic "Launch" plan is priced at €333 per month for 20 job slots. The intermediate "Scale" plan costs €583 per month for the same number of job slots, while pricing for the enterprise-level "Lead" plan is available upon request via a demo. Prospective users can take full advantage of an 18-day free trial, allowing them to thoroughly explore the platform's features.

Recruitee's reporting capabilities, while decent, may not be as robust as those of some competitors like Greenhouse. The level of access to candidate data varies among plans, with the basic "Launch" plan offering only a basic candidate overview. More detailed reports and analytics are available in the "Scale" and "Lead" plans, with additional insights provided for careers pages. However, users may occasionally need to manually manage source tags, as the platform's automated tagging may not always be accurate.

Careers Page

One of Recruitee's standout features is its ability to create engaging careers pages, a feature that has been utilised by companies like Hotjar in the past. These customisable pages can incorporate elements such as company logos, videos, headers, values, and social media channels. The platform also provides analytics to measure the performance of careers pages, particularly in the "Scale" and "Lead" packages. Users can edit metadata and incorporate SEO strategies to optimise their careers pages, which support ten different languages, including English, German, and French.

Sourcing and Hiring

Recruitee also offers a sourcing extension that allows users to scrape candidate data from various social profiles and seamlessly import it into the platform. While it supports sourcing candidates from platforms like AngelList, Behance, Dribbble, Facebook, Github, Stackexchange, Stackoverflow, Twitter, and Xing, it does not scrape data from LinkedIn directly. Users can still add candidates from LinkedIn by downloading their profiles as PDFs and uploading them to Recruitee, which then marks them as sourced.

In terms of the hiring process, Recruitee offers a range of services designed to help companies scale quickly. These services include the option to mass-reject candidates, although users may need to manually disqualify candidates for accurate data. The platform supports features like tagging hiring teams, facilitating quick feedback on candidate profiles, and manually moving candidates across different hiring stages. Users can also incorporate video screening instead of traditional phone screens, and there are features such as knockout questions and automation options for certain stages, which can trigger automatic emails.


While Recruitee does not have its own dedicated onboarding service, it has established partnerships with various HRIS providers. These partnerships allow users to seamlessly migrate candidate information and create employee profiles for onboarding and retention purposes. Partners include BambooHR, Personio, Hibob, Nmbrs, and SAP, among others.

"Intergrations can be challenging with Recruitee. It’s really complex, so adopting and optimising is a challenge." - Aleksandra Południkiewicz

Lastly, Recruitee integrates with a wide range of third-party applications and services, with over 60 partners in its ecosystem. This includes popular communication tools like Zoom, Outlook, G-suite, and Slack, as well as e-signature solutions like DocuSign, Dropbox Sign, and SignRequest. It also offers integrations with sourcing tools such as hireEZ, Gem, Diversely, and HireSweet, as well as job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, Join.com, and Talent.com.

Resources: For those seeking to master Recruitee’s capabilities: Recruitee Classrooms, Help Centre.

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