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Top 3 Applicant Tracking Software: Comparison of BambooHR, Submittable and Freshteam

Category: B2B News
What is the top applicant tracking software?
The top applicant tracking software is BambooHR. This desktop- and mobile-ready application helps you find, evaluate, and hire the right people as fast as possible. After hiring, it provides all the essential onboarding tools you need to make new hires integrate successfully with your organization.

Any enterprise that wants to grow should always hire the best talent they can find. After all, human resource is the best resource of any company, and for an organization to grow, it needs the best and brightest in their field.

One of the best ways to do this is to use an applicant tracking software (ATS), also called a candidate management system. Much like HR software, this type of application allows businesses to manage applicants, which involves things like posting job openings on your website or sending interview requests by email.

In this article, we compare the top three applicant tracking software: BambooHR, Submittable, and Freshteam. We will present their similarities and discuss how they differ from each other — all of these to give you a better idea of the software that is right for your organization.

Comparison of 3 Leading Applicant Tracking Software

Top 3 Applicant Tracking Software

Applicant tracking is what companies need if they want total control over their talent acquisition. Nowadays, it means looking over what’s in the offing among SaaS solutions for business purposes, including CRM tools. It’s clear that organizations need some form of automated and intelligent database that allows them to sort through candidates to find the “right one.”

Optimizing such a process is a great way to save money. In one study, researchers found that it costs an average of $4,000 to fill a vacant job position. An ATS can simplify the process by automating some of the more tedious tasks that can consume precious manpower hours or making filtering criteria possible. This would significantly cut the time needed to zero in on the candidate that the position requires.

Cost of vacant position

Plus, an ATS can also block unwanted or unqualified “junk” resumes. As up to 80% of applications can be considered one, an ATS can save your HR department a lot of time. This is especially useful for mid-sized or big companies that have a steady stream of job openings.

Below, we compare the top 3 applicant tracking software based on these capabilities and more. We’ll look at each solution’s features and functionalities, integration, pricing, and customer support. After pointing our their strong suits, we’ll give you a conclusion to support your buying decision. Let’s start with an overview of each.

1. BambooHR

BambooHR dashboard

BambooHR is a cloud-based HR software whose claim to fame is being an all-in-one HR solution equipped with a robust analytics engine. Its user-friendly UI makes importing data from spreadsheets to an HR database easy and stress-free.

Hiring and managing candidates are two tasks that BambooHR can handle with ease. You can look at applications in their own special tabs, where the human resource agent can get an overview of all job applications and applicants. On this page, you can select or delete applications or filter your selections using factors like salary, contract type, title or position, and so on. Filter dropdowns make this easy, but you can even use BambooHR’s built-in text editor to make longer or more specialized strings to really dig into the applications.

Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for BambooHR free trial here.

BambooHR

An award given to products our B2B experts find especially valuable for companies

Try out BambooHR with their free trial

Companies can also create a job posting and share it on job boards or social media. You can do this on the software’s applicant tracking tab, as well. What’s more, you can set up team access and permissions so you can get insights from stakeholders and other relevant users at every phase of the hiring process. While you can certainly use collaboration programs to do this separately, BambooHR supports such team-based work on its own.

BambooHR also has an automation utility that allows you to send interview requests and offer letters with just a click of a button. You can customize message templates, and the software will fill in the candidate’s info to personalize that message. Plus, the software features electronic signature support so the candidate can accept an offer similarly with a single click without having to print and scan a signature.

BambooHR has distinguished itself among users throughout the years. To date, it currently sits on top of our list, earning such distinctions as the Best HR Management Software Award for 2019 and 2018.

In summary, BambooHR’s features include:

  • Applicant tracking system
  • Centralized applicant information
  • HRIS/HRMS
  • Data import and export
  • Team access and applicant management
  • Report generation
  • Onboarding
  • Custom interview requests
  • Custom offer letter generation
  • HR management features
  • Native mobile app
  • SSL security
  • G Suite integration
  • Multiple languages

2. Submittable

Submittable dashboard

Submittable (formerly Submishmash) is an application management software. While it certainly is used to capture job applications, Submittable isn’t simply an HR software. It’s also meant for submissions, such as for publications, contests, and grants, allowing both the applicant and organization to review, select, and delete submissions.

With Submittable, you can customize your portal and personalize your forms, so they reflect your company’s branding. Submittable can also eliminate everyday admin tasks in HR by automating some processes, including bulk messaging. Similarly, it has team-based access that allows you to compare notes and comments for each submission, supporting simple thumbs-up/down reviews.

The vendor has an appealing free demo where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Submittable free demo here.

Another feature is its smart forms that dynamically change questions depending on an applicant’s previous answers. Also, it has drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to add, remove, or change sections on your submission forms. Plus, it supports more than 50 file types with mixed media, including text, graphics, audio, and video.

Because it doesn’t have the comprehensive HR feature set of the other two in this article, Submittable may well prove to be a more flexible and affordable option.

In a nutshell, Submittable offers the following features (among others):

  • Submission management
  • All-in-one review platform
  • Team access and permissions
  • Custom portal and URLs
  • Customizable forms
  • Thumbs-up/down reviewing
  • 50 file types supported
    • Smart forms and conditional logic
    • Response templates
  • Bulk messaging
  • Task automation
  • Single sign-on (SSO)
  • VPAT compliance

3. Freshteam

Freshteam dashboard

Freshteam is an end-to-end HR software that uses several modules to manage human resources. One such feature is its ATS capabilities, which it presents to the user in one convenient and intuitive interface.

As part of the Freshworks family, Freshteam is packed to the brim with features that make it a central HR management software. Among its features is allowing you to create job postings and disseminate them through various channels, like social networking sites and job boards, screen applications, and communicate with candidates with its built-in tools. All of these in one platform supporting dozens of integrations with assessment, productivity, and interview applications.

You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for Freshteam free trial here.

What makes Freshteam an excellent ATS is that it automatically parses resume data, which it then populates into an automatic candidate profile page. From here, this data is entered into a database so you can sort through several filters. If this is inadequate for your needs, you can attach custom tags to each profile so you can pull up similar candidates depending on the factors you’d like. Additionally, you can archive candidates for later consideration and collaborate with your team to gain insight into each applicant.

Freshteam also supports communicating with your candidates right from the platform itself. Apart from the regular message templates—which you can customize—you can sync your email to the ATS, allowing you several actions like scheduling and sending email or canned responses based on certain milestones in the application process. Plus, you can do all these in bulk and delegate messaging to certain users of your workgroup.

Freshteam offers the following features as an ATS solution:

  • Applicant management
  • Customizable portal
  • Automatic applicant parsing
  • Integrations with third-party recruitment platforms
  • Personalized engagement
  • Collaborative hiring
  • Custom tagging
  • Email syncing
  • Bulk email actions
  • Searchable talent pool
  • Mobile app
  • 24/7 customer support

Comparison of Features

All three ATS systems have the necessary feature sets to accommodate tracking applicants, but BambooHR edges the other two in terms of the sheer amount of functionalities. It’s a fully-featured HRIS/HRMS platform as well, giving you a centralized database of all employee data. Its ATS is only one part of its HR management suite. BambooHR also offers best-in-class SSL security, G Suite integration, multiple languages, customer support, and even a native mobile app for its ATS module.

Submittable, admittedly, has somewhat limited HR solutions, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s not exactly an HR management software, anyway, as it’s concerned with receiving submissions, whether they be job applications or scholarship grants. In this, it works the same as the ATS of both BambooHR and Freshteam, with a drag-and-drop functionality, smart forms, SSO authentication, and support for over 50 file types.

Freshteam is more similar to BambooHR, with an almost identical feature set only with fewer integrations and a different pricing scheme. What sets it apart is that Freshteam is part of a Freshworks family, which means it could tap into the functionalities of its sister products when purchased as a suite. Otherwise, it’s a solid ATS choice, especially with its customizable and fully searchable tagging system, applicant data parsing, and 24/7 customer support.

Applicant Management

At the heart of each ATS is how it receives, stores, and manages the data of each candidate. Without a good applicant management system, an ATS is useless, but it’s also a good idea to look at other intangibles in this area. For example, encryption is important, but it’s also nice for hiring managers to sort through voluminous amounts of data to find the applicant they need.

BambooHR makes a great name for itself in this area because it makes sifting through candidates a breeze—and adds predictive analytics, to boot. With a separate tab for applicants, the recruiter gets a bird’s eye view of applications and can sort through them in different ways—position, salary expectations, contract, and so on. It even adds a special text editor for longer text strings so you can drill down into your applicants to find the qualification you need.

Submittable, meanwhile, doesn’t limit itself to job applicants. It supports submissions of every kind (hence its name), from video, audio, to images. Boasting over 10,000 partners that use its platform to receive anywhere from applications to contest entries, Submittable makes hiring managers’ lives easy by using drag-and-drop form builders and dynamic forms. It also makes use of workflow automation to cut everyday tasks down to size.

Finally, Freshteam is similar to BambooHR in this respect. With a single, centralized dashboard for each applicant, you can find all the information the system has collected from a candidate. Find resumes, email correspondence, interview results, interaction with your team, and so on in one convenient area. And the platform blocks duplicates, so if applicants already applied once and got rejected, you don’t have to deal with them again.

Compose offer letter, BambooHR

Bamboo allows you to draft an open letter right in the application.

Verdict

BambooHR. This platform has all the strengths of its two competitors. Though the other two have no glaring weaknesses that we could see, BambooHR offers just a bit more in terms of searching through your candidates and managing their data.

Collaboration

A hiring manager is never alone; there is a reason there is a hiring team, after all. A good ATS can allow one recruitment agent to perform all these tasks, but a great one allows their entire team to pitch in. That said, make sure that the collaborative tools of the software is functional and seamless; otherwise, your team members may have conflicting opinions of an applicant that may derail the hiring process.

From the outset, BambooHR was designed for collaboration. For example, you can add custom and default permissions for each member of your hiring team at any stage of the process. BambooHR also has in-app messaging for your team so that you can share notes and comments on each applicant. Plus, data is centralized, allowing you to share it through whatever channel—desktop or mobile—to your entire team.

Submittable takes it a notch further. As it’s primarily designed to receive submissions to be reviewed by a panel, collaborative tools are built-in. Your team has access to an all-in-one portal where you can view relevant materials from the applicant, including notes from your team and communications with the candidate. This way, you don’t need to switch windows back and forth. Plus, you can assign review tasks for each member with up to five levels of permission.

Freshteam has a similar approach to BambooHR. Freshteam’s collaborative take on an ATS enables them to help you shortlist candidates and comment on applicants. The platform also allows for syncing calendars and email services so you can assign them interviews or gather feedback. The syncing process is also important as it can apprise your team when recruitment events happen—such as hiring or rejection.

Verdict

Submittable. It’s hard to argue with a platform whose main purpose is to receive submissions like job applications as a team. As a team, you have unprecedented control over each submission, including auto-scoring with simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down ratings, all-in-one view, and team assignments.

Onboarding

Managing applicants is nothing if your HR department doesn’t follow through with a great onboarding process. Modern software solutions, especially those geared towards HR, have onboarding capabilities out of the box. A great onboarding capability is expected of any ATS, especially one that can automate some of the tedious tasks that recruiters are saddled with.

BambooHR can make your candidates feel extra special when they pass your rigorous requirements. It has a letter template to congratulate those who make it, but you can customize it with your own message and auto-populate it with candidate information. Its onboarding process also sends useful information to the new hire, such as introducing themselves to the team, a day one checklist, and other onboarding tasks.

Submittable has scant resources in this area, as it’s more concerned with accepting and collecting submissions and applications. When using this application, onboarding is going to be manual.

Freshteam allows you to create an onboarding kit even before the hiring process has begun. This may include forms or other paperwork, which new hires can simply fill out before they come in (or on the first day). With a simple reminder system, Freshteam can capture employee data in one platform without having to print out anything. Like BambooHR, it has an electronic signature system to facilitate this feature. On the flip side, Freshteam has an offboarding process that is just as seamless.

Manage onboarding in Freshteam

Freshteam’s Talent Center, where you can manage the onboarding of new hires.

Verdict

Freshteam. It offers a slightly more comprehensive onboarding feature set than BambooHR’s, with a more in-depth tracking of onboarding materials and requirements. It also automates offboarding for employees who leave the company.

Integrations

Integrations expand any software platform’s capabilities and allow it to work with other applications. Great software always comes with a lot of integrations built-in. Still, one hallmark is also the ability to offer integrations using third-party extensions like Zapier, allowing even more integrations than the software doesn’t already come with.

Plus, applications that invest in integration often have more features. For example, Salesforce generates almost 50% of its income through APIs.

Salesforce revenue from integration

It’s always a good idea to check for integrations in any software you want to purchase, especially if you’re already using a lot of applications. As you might expect, all ATS systems in this article have a great number of integrations as expected of the top 3 applicant tracking software.

BambooHR can integrate with G Suite, 15Five, Workable, Performance Pro, Motivosity, Nimble Schedule, Newton, NetSuite, Jobvite, Jazz, Small Improvements, Greenhouse, Glassdoor, GoodHire, Seamless Docs, Cornerstone Growth Edition, CATS, Bitium, Applicant Pro, Hiring Thing, Compas, ZenPayroll, Zapier, TraxPayroll, Simplepay.ca, OneLogin, Okta, and SwipeClock. Plus, you can also find other apps to integrate with on the BambooHR App Marketplace.

Meanwhile, Submittable has the fewest integrations of the three. It integrates only with Google Analytics, Quickbooks, and Salesforce. It connects with Zapier, however, so while it has few integrations out of the box, it can potentially connect to thousands of other apps, so this is rendered kind of moot.

Finally, Freshteam connects with all products of the Freshworks family. In addition, it also integrates with some products of G Suite like Calendar, Gmail, and Hangouts. It also comes integrated with HackerRank, HackerEarth, ClassMarker, Codility, Skype, CodePair. It also uses SSO authentication for Google and LinkedIn.

Verdict

BambooHR, thanks to its dozens of integrations and its App Marketplace that further extends its integrations even without using Zapier. All three can integrate with Zapier, anyway, so BambooHR’s out-of-the-box integration is the clear winner.

Pricing

Pricing is often what makes or breaks a software platform. After all, your software may have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s priced too high, no organization will purchase it. On the other hand, software that’s priced too low will not generate any income, and its development will stagnate. A reasonable price point with flexibility in price (using free trials and/or variable packages) is often what most companies will look for.

As far as simplicity is concerned, you can’t go wrong with BambooHR. It has a free trial, as expected of any top solution, but it also only features two packages: Essentials and Advantage. Both are quote-based, so you get only the features you need—or the price you’re willing to pay—making it more flexible, all things considered.

At the other end of the spectrum, Submittable is fully quote-based. This makes pricing variable just like BambooHR, but without a free trial or flexible packages, some organizations might find it hard to commit to it. Unless, of course,  your industry sits right on Submittable’s scope and you need it for other than job applications.

By contrast, Freshteam believes in a more traditional pricing system. It offers a free trial, like BambooHR, but while the latter is quote-based for its paid plans, it offers four packages, billed annually. Their pricing starts at $50 for 50 users per month, up to $200 for 50 users per month. If you’re not a power user that knows exactly what you want from their ATS system, Freshteam can be a great entry into the platform.

Verdict

BambooHR. Its simple, quote-based pricing package means you only pay for the features you need—nothing more, nothing less.

Support

Support is always important, especially in software whose continuous development and maintenance are predicated on a monthly subscription. SaaS solutions, whether for HR or help desk platforms, need excellent support to guide you through problems you might encounter while using the software. Support also comes nifty in instances where you need to train your employees in using the application.

BambooHR has classic support channels: email, phone, tickets, and live chat. However, it also includes a knowledgebase and HR management resources, including webinars and blog posts.

Knowledgebase page, BambooHR Support

BambooHR’s knowledgebase serves as a self-help page.

Submittable has about the same kind of support, except it has a more robust knowledge base and lacks a proper ticketing platform.

Finally, Freshteam has it all, including 24/7 support for all pricing plans.

Verdict

Freshteam. Its round-the-clock support is simply too attractive to pass up and edges the other two.

Which applicant tracking software is best for you?

While all top 3 applicant tracking software share the basic features as you would expect of the three top scorers in this category, it’s clear that BambooHR offers a more well-rounded and solid feature set. It’s an all-around applicant tracking solution with a more than capable HR management suite. Submittable and Freshteam are excellent choices, but all things considered, BambooHR had them beat—though narrowly—in flexibility and end-to-end human resources needs, not just in applicant tracking.

If you want to check its comprehensive feature set you can easily sign up for Bamboo HR free trial here.

Applicant tracking is only a module of an HR management software, however. If you’re interested in a complete, end-to-end HR solution, take a look at our HR management software list for the best options.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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