How much does an Applicant Tracking System cost?

On average, about $6 per employee in your organization, every month.

But read the fine print.

We’ve all been there: you know you need an ATS tool to tame the thousand-legged monster of your talent acquisition process. But when it comes to figuring out the cost, every vendor seems to hide it behind a forest of stipulations, add-ons, and pricing tiers. You’ve got nine million other HR tasks to complete, and your head hurts from looking at a dozen websites.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is an immensely powerful hiring tool, but one sticking point that stops many SMBs from using one is the confusion around cost. Unfortunately, too many SaaS hiring companies don’t understand that a simple, clear pricing model makes it easier for their customers to subscribe.

Meet with our hiring coaches today to see how AI can slash 90% of the time from your hiring process. Start filling jobs faster right away, with 10x higher quality people.

How Much Does An Applicant Tracking System Cost?

The average cost of an applicant tracking system is about $250 per month for many small business plans, or about $5 to $7 per employee. Surprisingly, some of the more robust, full-featured Applicant Tracking System cost even less, especially as you scale, with some coming in at less than $2 per employee.

Different ATS Pricing Models

The easiest way to estimate your applicant tracking system cost is to understand the differences in ATS pricing models. Here are four different models that hiring SaaS companies use:

1. Pay-Per-Recruiter

ATS tools with a pay-per-recruiter model charge based on the number of software users. This model is a popular choice for companies with a small recruiting team that handles all hiring needs. On average, pay-per-recruiter models cost $70 to $100 per recruiter.

2. Pay-Per-Employee

The pay-per-employee model charges based on your company’s employee headcount. This ATS pricing model scales with your headcounts, and your cost only increases when your company grows. Pay-per-employee models typically range from $2 to $8 per employee.

Pro Tip: Discovered is a leading ATS platform trusted by recruiters and hiring managers alike. Small business plans max out at just $5 per employee per month, with larger firms paying less than $2 per employee per month.

3. Pay-Per-Job

The pay-per-job model uses either a per-role or a per-candidate cost. With per-role, you’ll pay a few hundred dollars up front for unlimited candidates. With per-candidate, you’ll pay more frequently, but in smaller increments. Either way, your costs can quickly snowball with this pricing model if you’re doing a lot of hiring. Pay-per-job models tend to charge $200 to $500 per open position, or $0.02 to $0.05 per candidate.

4. Flat Fee (or Free)

Perhaps the most straightforward ATS pricing is the flat-free model. You’ll pay either a subscription fee, or a one-time license fee for full access to an ATS feature set. While it can be attractive, this model typically lacks personalization options. Flat fee models charge anywhere from $50 to $500 per month.

Some ATS platforms also offer a free tier that provides a limited set of features initially. As you might expect, these free ATS platforms come with restrictions. This no-cost applicant tracking system model can be a good option for small companies who can afford to pay more as they grow.

Can an ATS actually check references for you? See our article: 15 Applicant Tracking System Features to Look For

How To Create A Budget For Your ATS

When weighing different applicant tracking system costs, start with your budget to help narrow down your options. Here’s how to choose the right ATS pricing model based on your available funds.

  • Pay-Per-Recruiter: Align with your hiring team on the number of recruiters who’d need access to your ATS tool. Then multiply that number by the “pay-per-recruiter” figure. For example, if you have 10 recruiters who each need access, and the software costs $95 per recruiter per month, your expected budget is $950 per month.
  • Pay-Per-Employee: Work with your HR or finance team to get an accurate headcount for your organization. Then multiply it by the “pay-per-employee” figure. If your current headcount is 300 and the ATS charges $2 per employee per month, your expected budget is $600 per month.
  • Pay-Per-Job: Budgeting for pay-per-job ATS tools is tricky, as your applicant tracking system cost hinges on your projected hiring activity. How many new roles do you expect each month? What’s your churn rate? If you hire three roles a month (two new, one backfilled) at $350 per job, your budget is $1050 per month.
  • Flat Fee: A flat-fee ATS model requires the least heavy budgeting lift. What you see is what you pay. That said, these models are rare, and often contain hidden fees for features that are typically included with the price of the other Applicant Tracking System cost models.

94% of hiring managers say using an ATS has improved their hiring process. See our article: 15 Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems

Additional Costs

Before locking in your applicant tracking system cost, read the fine print. Some ATS platforms layer additional costs on top of the base software.

  • Add-Ons: Paid add-ons give users the flexibility to purchase specific features a la carte. These add-ons range from pre-screening tools to onboarding and offboarding software. For example, you might pay an additional $120 a month for an add-on that includes 360 performance reviews.
  • Integrations: Powerful ATS tools will embed within your existing suite of tools. For instance, a Google integration will sync your ATS so upcoming candidate interviews show up on your Google calendar. While these integrations typically come with your ATS platform, some vendors will charge anything from $30 to $100 extra a month for them, so be sure to read the fine print. 
  • Implementation: If you’re an enterprise company seeking a highly personalized ATS solution, vendors may charge a separate implementation fee to build it for you. For example, you might pay one provider an $800 fee to build you a custom dashboard, while another will include it in the price.
  • Support: Great ATS platforms offer high-quality support. Many vendors offer free 24/7 chat or phone support, while others may require a special subscription tier for top-level service.

How To Compare ATS Prices And Features

To find the right ATS, start by reading up on applicant tracking system features. Then:

  • Determine which features are must-haves for your company.
  • Find the top 10 ATS platforms by looking at online reviews and TrustPilot scores. (Discovered has a 4.6 TrustPilot score, making it one of the top applicant tracking systems on the market.)
  • Find the cost for your desired features list on each platform. This step is essential, since some vendors will charge more for the same list of features.
  • Compare the real cost of your must-have features, then select the best ATS for your organization.

For more information on ATS features and benefits, see our article: What Is an Applicant Tracking System?

Discovered: Best ATS For The Cost

A Discovered subscription gives you everything you need to attract and hire great talent, including:

  • Customized career page: Improve your employer brand and attract high-quality candidates with a fully personalized career page.
  • Behavioral and ability tests: Avoid bad candidates by screening for behavioral fit, critical thinking, and other predictors of job success.
  • Integrity tests: Assess candidate integrity, and ensure your new hires will help your business and brand — not harm them.
  • Workflow management: Automate the menial aspects of recruiting using our powerful software interface. Save time on admin work, and focus on making a great hire.
  • Candidate scorecards: Create custom scorecards based on key traits or characteristics, and get your entire interview team on the same page.
  • Automated reference checking: Gather candid feedback from candidate references without needing to chase them down.
  • One-way video interviews: Don’t have time for interviews? Have candidates record their answers, so you can review them on your own time.
  • Interview guides: Learn exactly what to say and ask during interviews to pinpoint candidate red flags.
  • Performance management: Continue to develop new hires using powerful employee feedback software.

Plans start at $249 per month for small businesses, with pricing scaling only when you do. Already experiencing tremendous growth? Call us for a custom price quote.

Applicant Tracking System Cost FAQ

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about applicant tracking system cost.

Is an ATS Worth the Cost?

Per Capterra, 94% of ATS users say using an ATS has significantly improved their hiring performance, justifying the cost of an ATS. Even the best ATS, such as Discovered, starts at less than $300 per month, delivering a full suite of pre-employment tests, candidate scorecards, and interview tools.

Which ATS Pricing Model Works Best?

The most cost-effective applicant tracking systems are pay-per-employee and pay-per-recruiter. These Applicant Tracking System cost models typically deliver the most robust features list with the least restrictions. They also offer the most easily scalable ATS platform, in a simple, predictable pricing setup.

Almost 99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS. See our Complete Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems.

Meet with our hiring coaches today to see how AI can slash 90% of the time from your hiring process. Start filling jobs faster right away, with 10x higher quality people.