Almost every business, whatever niche they operate in, tends to face the same ongoing challenge; how to hire the best people. In recent years many have turned to an applicant tracking system software to help them do that.

However, for a small business, many of the free applicant tracking system options available are just a little too feature rich for their needs. However, as the concept has grown in popularity a number of free applicant tracking software options have hit the market. For many companies recruiting on a budget, free applicant tracking software is obviously an attractive option. But can a free system effectively meet your organization’s needs?

What Features Do These Free Applicant Tracking Software Systems Offer?

Most of the popular free ATS options do offer the bare essentials needed to conduct a successful small hiring campaign. A resume database is available, as are job posting capabilities. Many also include email templates to facilitate better communication between recruiters and potential hires and their dashboards tend to be very similar to those found in paid ATS systems.

However, when it comes to advertising open positions, analyzing recruiting metrics and other bells and whistles, chances are you’ll have to pay. The question is, do you really need them anyway?

The Market for Free Applicant Tracking Software

The fact is that free applicant tracking software is really only suitable for a certain subset of businesses. These tend to be small businesses that do not have a dedicated HR recruiting department. They usually hire staff only occasionally and when they do an office manager or supervisor takes sole charge of the process.

Take, for example, a small local restaurant. They may do quite a lot of hiring, as this is an industry that often sees a higher staff turnover than most. But when they do hire it is rarely the job of an HR manager as such a person rarely exists. Instead, the task falls to a floor manager, or even to the owner. And in this case, as free applicant tracking software may indeed be a big help to them.

How a Free Applicant Tracking Software Can Help a Small Business

While they might not need the sophisticated reporting and analysis reports that one normally only finds in a paid ATS solution, there are aspects of any ATS that can benefit even the smallest business. Going back to the restaurant example, often, when hiring staff without a formal process in place resumes and applications are misplaced and never even make it in front of the person tasked with hiring. Having a system that collects and collates such things is far more efficient.

The same is true of contacting possible hires. A single database makes it easy to keep track of candidate emails and phone numbers and all free ATS software options do help keep track of these things as well as interview dates and times, interviewer notes and more. Very few allow for internal communication, but in a small business environment that may not be needed anyway.

How Do Free ATS Companies Make Their Money?

If a free applicant tracking software is more than adequate for use by a small business then you might be wondering how the companies that offer such a software make their money. The answer to that question is fairly simple; via in interface advertising and/or via paid upgrades. In addition, many of the best known free ATS softwares are actually offered by paid providers, the advantage for them is that once a small business is onboarded into its software they are far more likely to upgrade to a paid version when their company grows and needs to make use of the more sophisticated functions only a paid ATS system can offer.