Picture this: your desk is swamped with piles of printed resumes separating promising candidates from the ones who haven’t hit the mark.
Your inbox is constantly pinging with the sound of yet more applications arriving, and you need to create a shortlist of quality candidates to present to your hiring team by the end of the day.
Then the phone rings. Another employee has resigned, and their manager asks you to post a new job ad to fill yet another vacant position.
If this chaos sounds achingly familiar, you're likely in desperate need of applicant tracking software to streamline your hiring process and keep everything manageable and accessible from a central digital location.
But if you need to present a business case for ATS to your senior decision-makers, the cost of your preferred applicant tracking software will be an enormous factor.
This guide breaks down everything you need to know about ATS system pricing so you can decide which model is the right fit for your hiring requirements. We even throw in 10 vendor pricing examples to kick off the selection process.
Cloud vs. on-premise applicant tracking software pricing
Most applicant tracking software runs in the cloud, hosted by the vendor company. When you sign up with an ATS vendor, you’ll usually pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to gain access to your applicant tracking data, which you can work with 24/7 and from any location.
Alternatively, some vendors offer on-premise licensing where you’ll host the ATS software on your own servers. You'll pay a license fee for the pleasure of doing so, known as perpetual licensing.
What are the different ATS pricing models?
ATS vendors usually offer their software as part of a package. There's a huge variation in how they price these, from entirely free up to six figures.
Consider the most appropriate fit based on how often you hire, your headcount, your preferred maximum cost per hire, and the list of features you need to make recruitment a raging success. The most common pricing models are:
Pay per recruiter
Pay per recruiter, or PPR, involves paying a monthly fee based on the number of recruiters and hiring managers that use your applicant tracking system. Your hiring teams will receive full administrative access, allowing them to view candidate data and post job ads as required. It's common to see a one-time setup or implementation fee associated with a per user per month system like this.
Great for: companies with an established hiring process and recruitment team, so it’s easy to forecast the cost of using this model.
Pay per employee
Some vendors base your ATS price point on your business size, specifically your employee headcount. Costs reduce significantly with enterprise plans—you'll likely pay just a few cents or pennies per employee per month when the company headcount rises into the thousands.
Great for: small to midsize businesses or larger companies with a niche hiring team.
Pay per applicant
With this model, ATS software vendors price packages based on how many open vacancies you have or the total number of applicants or resumes you store in your system. This doesn't usually include any archived vacancies or dormant resumes.
Expect the plan to include unlimited users and unlimited applications for each job.
Great for: companies who hire consistently, so it’s easy to budget your monthly costs accurately.
Pay per module
Vendors who offer other HR software solutions, such as an HRMS suite, may charge an additional fee to run an ATS module. This isn’t usually compatible with a third-party HRMS system.
Great for: companies satisfied with their existing HR software vendor looking to enhance their recruitment process.
Internal recruiters can purchase some types of recruiting software for a one-time fee, allowing you to use the software at will. There's no cap on how many people can access the system, or how many applications you can accept. Expect to pay a high price tag as it's a one-time platform fee.
Great for: companies that are confident a specific ATS will meet their long-term needs and that are happy to invest upfront to help with ongoing budgeting.
Free open source
It won't cost you anything to download the ATS software but be prepared for some time investment to customise it to suit your needs.
Great for: companies stacked with in-house experience in software programming.
What additional costs are involved in an ATS purchase?
Beware of extra costs during the purchasing process. Vendors may charge you for any or all of the following:
Depending on your pricing model, you can purchase a small pack of roles if you're slightly over the cap on your existing package but not enough to warrant paying for the next pricing tier.
The price and level of an implementation package will vary but could include the following:
- Access to a dedicated implementation specialist
- Software customisation to suit your recruitment strategy
- Data migration
- Integration with existing HR software.
Expect to pay extra for bells and whistles like onboarding tools, psychometric testing, or background screening. This allows hiring teams to only pay for the specific tools they need.
It's worth understanding training costs to ensure your team is quickly up to speed with the ATS system. Many vendors offer complimentary training, but additional help may be chargeable. The cost of training will also rise if it needs to take place on company premises.
Basic customer support is often free if you need email support or the vendor knowledge base. Premium services such as priority support or access to a dedicated customer success team may incur a fee.
10 Examples of ATS Vendor Pricing
Below, we've dug up all the details and crunched the numbers to give you a headstart on choosing the right applicant tracking system for your hiring team. Check out our comprehensive list of ATS vendor pricing here.
At Applied, we offer 1-3 year subscriptions. Unlike some of the other platforms further down this list, our pricing is based on hiring volume, so if you're a small start-up making one or two hires or a large business making hundreds, you only pay for hires that your organisation needs.
- Hiring essentials: Prices start from £6,230 per year (for 10 roles), up to £11,424 per year (for 35 roles).
- Premium Add-ons: Optional extras to help give you more support include branded careers pages, global job board sourcing reports and 1000+ job board integrations via Broadbean.
Workable offers a pay-as-you-go plan for occasional hiring and a monthly or annual subscription based on employee headcount. The packages are:
- Paygo: this pay-per-job package costs a $129 fee per month. It includes job posting to 200+ boards globally, 200 AI-sourced profile views per month, and self-guided onboarding.
- Standard: the headcount package starts with a basic tier of 1-20 employees. Pay $299 per month or $3,588 per year to save $732. It includes unlimited jobs, 10,000 AI-sourced profile views per month and assisted onboarding. The price rises as headcount increases.
- Premier: the top-tier service starts at $599 for companies with 1-20 employees. Expect everything from the standard plan, plus custom onboarding, 20,000 AI-sourced profile views per month, and a dedicated account manager.
Greenhouse offers three tiers of functionality: Essential, Advanced, and Expert.
The vendor prices are based on headcount, providing everyone in the organisation with access to the applicant tracking system. There’s no extra charge for integrations or the number of vacancies.
The starter tier is a 0-50 employee headcount bracket priced at approximately $7,000 to $10,000 for the year. Pricing is fixed throughout a 12-month period regardless of usage or growth.
Pinpoint offers either the Growth or Enterprise packages as follows:
- Growth: from £600 per month when paid annually, depending on headcount. This includes unlimited team members and active positions, standard integrations, concierge onboarding tool, standard data migration, and live support (chat, telephone, and email.)
- Enterprise: from £1,200 per month when paid annually, depending on headcount. The package includes everything from Growth, plus additional features like bespoke integrations, custom data migration, unlimited complexity of org chart hierarchy, and custom contract terms.
Startups with fewer than 50 people who can demonstrate that this is their first rodeo with applicant software products can apply to join Pinpoint's startup program. This offers 50% off either the Growth or Enterprise tier for 12 months.
5. Zoho Recruit
Zoho Recruit offers entry-level ATS packages for corporate HR professionals based on per recruiter pricing. There are three options: Free, Standard, and Enterprise.
- Free: provides access to 1 active job, free job boards, interview scheduling, 24/5 support, and candidate management.
- Standard: priced from £24 per recruiter per month for 10 active jobs. This includes everything from the free tier plus candidate sourcing, resume management, premium job boards, employee referrals, social recruiting, candidate assessments, reporting, department hierarchy, and 50+ integrations.
- Enterprise: priced from £48 per user per month for 20 active jobs. This includes everything from the standard tier plus AI candidate matching, candidate & staffing portals, territory management, recruitment automation, advanced analytics, custom reports, and more.
6. Bamboo HR
Bamboo HR offers a wide range of products for Human Resources departments. But applicant tracking is only available within their upper-tier Advantage plan, starting at $8.75 per employee per month. However, if your headcount is less than 20 employees, they'll charge a monthly flat rate and apply a bulk discount as your headcount rises.
Within the Advantage plan, you’ll receive advanced features like:
- employee wellbeing surveys
- training tracking
- customisable reports
- support (phone and chat)
- open API.
Add-ons for payroll, performance management, and time tracking are also available for an extra fee.
CEIPAL uses a $24 per user per month model, with a 5-user minimum. You'll receive the following within your package:
- unlimited resume parsing
- comprehensive job requisition
- easy job posting
- applicant acquisition
- integrated CRM
- recruitment lifecycle automation
- 24/5 support
- free training
- free data migration
- dedicated support rep
Recruitee offers three pricing plans, Launch, Scale, and Lead which are available to pay monthly or annually.
- Launch: starts from £209 per month for 10 job slots. It includes user-friendly talent pipelines, 1,450+ free and paid job boards, jobs widgets, video chat, candidate reminders and tracking information, GDPR compliance features, live chat and support, social media connections, reporting, API access and team notes.
- Scale: starts from £359 per month for 10 job slots. It includes everything in Launch plus advanced automation, email scheduling, knockout questions, calendar meeting rooms, workflow templates, role-based access, and fair evaluations.
- Lead: custom quotes are available from the vendor. This plan includes everything in Scale plus external data imports, tailored onboarding tool, dedicated customer success manager, testing sandbox, regular team consultations and API support.
9. Jazz HR
Jazz HR targets small businesses with headcounts beneath 500 employees. It offers three pricing plans:
- Hero: priced from $49 per month when billed annually. The package is designed for unlimited users and 3 active job positions, with extra jobs priced at $9 per job per month. The plan includes premium job listings, new candidate email alerts, a searchable talent pool database, custom job workflow stages, LinkedIn Recruiter integration, and role management.
- Plus: priced from $239 per month on an annual plan for unlimited users and unlimited open jobs. It includes everything from the Hero package, plus background checking tools, recruiting calendar, interview guides, candidate evaluation templates, skills & coding test integrations, and video screening integrations.
- Pro: priced from $359 per month on an annual plan for unlimited users and unlimited open jobs. It includes everything from the Plus package, but also eSignatures integration, template management, offer letter generator, compliance tools, and free data imports.
10. Breezy HR
Breezy HR offers four price packages: Bootstrap, Startup, Growth, and Business. All paid plans are designed for unlimited users and candidates.
- Bootstrap: this free package includes a branded career site, distribution to 50+ job boards, multi-language support, and GDPR compliance.
- Startup: priced from $171 per month, this plan includes everything from Bootstrap plus integrations for background screening, Slack, email and calendars, candidate questionnaires, automation, live video meetings, and assessments.
- Growth: priced from $299 per month, it includes everything from Startup plus automated reference checking, customizable interview guides and candidate scorecards, external recruiter support, and more.
- Business: priced from $479 per month, it includes everything from Growth, plus multi-path questionnaires, assessment integrations, candidate nurture campaigns, offer management, and more.
Which applicant tracking software model is right for you?
So, we've cracked the code to ATS pricing, and it's over to you to select the right package and recruitment software vendor for your hiring process.
Consider your current hiring needs, but also look into your crystal ball to predict future growth within the next 1 to 5 years. Always choose an ATS supplier that provides flexibility to grow or scale back in line with your company org chart and your HR department's bandwidth.
Want to achieve a fantastic candidate experience and source diverse and highly-skilled applicants?
Remember: budget will always be a consideration, but it shouldn't overshadow the value that a quality applicant tracking system provides. The best recruitment tools incorporate the following advanced features:
- powerful bias-removing software
- anonymised applications and reviewing
- inclusive job descriptions with built-in gender decoding
- skills-based testing
- centralised client communication dashboard
- predictive shortlisting
- data-driven analytics.
Applied is the all-in-one recruitment software purpose-built to reduce bias and reliably predict quality talent.
Start transforming your hiring now: book in a demo.