Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

Applicant management software is now practically indispensable for organizing the entire application process for most companies. All processes are coordinated here, from receipt of the application to hiring. However, not all software solutions are equally suitable for all companies. In this applicant management software comparison, you will learn about the best providers and find out which software suits you best.

Applicant Management: Definition

Applicant management is the administration of applicants, involving all process steps – from the receipt of the application to the decision on the best application. The subtasks under the applicant management essentially include applicant selection and communication, coordination of the application process and the people to be involved. In the following article on the comparison of applicant management software, the term is defined a little more broadly and deals with aspects from the job posting to the actual hiring of the candidate.

Applicant Management Software / Recruitment Software: What is It?

Applicant management software is HR software that supports companies in efficiently carrying out the individual process modules of recruitment. In addition to supporting various administrative activities in the process, such as communication with the applicant, the involvement of executives or the organization of job interviews. Such software solutions also provide advantages, for example in the outreach of job postings.

Applicant management software comparison

We will find the right applicant management software for you!

What are your challenges in recruiting?

Approximately how many positions do you fill per year?

Do you already use a recruiting system? If yes: Which one?

Do you already use a recruiting system? If yes: Which one?

Applicant Management Software Functions: What Should it Be Able to Do?

Each company must decide for itself which reporting and which connectors need to be supported. In principle, however, all common applicant management systems include the following standard functions.

Job Approval

Recruiting software supports the coordination between the necessary roles through individually configurable workflows. As a rule, applications for new managerial positions are addressed to higher-level positions. HR will/can be involved after the positions have been approved or are in the approval process in order to start the job posting process.

Job Posting/Multiposting

As a rule, recruiting systems offer workflows that ensure that the requirements of an applicant be addressed to HR and HR can in turn have the manager finally approve the vacancy to be published. Here system templates (templates) should be available for efficient reformulation of vacancies in the future.

With custom fields, all necessary, additional details for document storage can be specified. At best, different hiring processes and people involved can be defined in the software. The relevant selection process and application questions can also be adjusted in many systems if necessary with the associated template (e.g. internal vs. external candidate, languages, auto-disqualification questions).

Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

Systematic support when publishing the position (posting) is also important in the process. As a rule, systems offer so-called multi-poster functions and interfaces to job portals which allow to save time by publishing vacancies directly on several portals and, of course, to post them on the company’s webpage. As a rule, software providers also offer corresponding templates for their own webpage.

Incoming application management

From here, recruiting software supports the process of tracking each application across company-specific levels. Every application received must be recorded precisely. When did an application received and via which portal? This question is important, on the one hand, to ensure adequate communication with the applicant and, on the other hand, to determine the use and effectiveness of job portals and agencies.

Applicant Selection and Management

This area includes various functions that are “must haves” for the recruitment software. Below are the most important ones.

Communication with Applicants

Dealing with candidates quickly and transparently ensures that applicants feel valued and not get lost in the process. Systems support this requirement with functions such as automatic replies and in-time communication, e.g. acknowledgment of receipt, invitations to meetings, documents request, job offers and rejection.

Sorting and Clustering Functions

For recruiters in particular, it is essential to keep track of the mass of applicants so that a smooth and professional recruiting process can be ensured. Applicants can be filtered and sorted in the system according to different statuses, recommendations for action, positions or organizational units. Overviews and dashboards not only keep up to date on the current status of the applicant funnel not only recruiters, but also hiring managers and other stakeholders.


In order to make the application process efficient, the relevant roles must be involved and an overview of the evaluation must be maintained. The applicant documents should be easily accessible for all people involved. Notes on interviews or other comments can be stored and the candidate can be assessed for different roles.

Assessment Center Functionalities

Check which interfaces the system offers in order to be able to consider online assessments or room management functions at an early stage and later map them in the system.

Coordination and Organization of Interview Invitations

In the case of suitable applicants, recruiting software often also supports arranging interviews:

  • Various interview guides may be provided.
  • an Outlook integration makes it easy to find appointments in the system.
  • the connection to online meeting providers can automatically integrate virtual rooms into the invitation.
  • Confirmations and cancellations of appointment slots by interviewers and interviewees are documented and managed so that the next step in the recruiting process can be taken as quickly and easily as possible and nothing stands in the way of a conversation.

In addition, the following functional areas should be checked for depth of content when selecting the appropriate applicant management software, as these areas are not always included in the standard one:

Contract Management

The creation and sending of contracts often offers the additional contract management function, which enables to also document the following contractual steps with the applicant in the system.

  • Use of templates
  • Contracts created in the building block system
  • Submitted for approval,
  • Sent to the applicant
  • And digitally signed by him
  • or the document to be signed can be uploaded.

Onboarding Management

In the recruiting software market, depending on the provider, the onboarding module is an independent one (stand-alone module), or is included in the recruiting module, or can be additionally integrated. The onboarding functionalities include

  • a welcome message
  • corporate videos
  • introduction to the future employer
  • digital training before first working day (compliance training or workplace instructions)
  • applications for canteen tickets,
  • collection of the master data and its transmission to the master data system.

Digital onboarding can also be helpful for the HR department. Preparations for the new employee’s first day at work (such as applying for IT equipment or reminders to the manager) can be automated.

Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

Talent Relationship Management

A technical function for managing, sorting and maintaining potentially suitable candidates is essential for securing the talent pool in the long term. The applicant management software provides an administration function so that prospective applicants who were not suitable for a position or who performed only marginally worse than the hired applicant are not lost after the rejection.

In general, various recruiting software mostly have similar or identical core functions. The difference is in the details of functionalities. That’s why a precise requirements analysis is a must when selecting the software.

What are the Advantages of Applicant Management Software?

The use of applicant management software basically has three decisive advantages:

1. The process is accelerated and simplified:

Originally, any type of digitization also significantly accelerates the recruiting process and thus significantly shortens the time-to-hire. In addition to the simple storage of applicant data, it is, above all, the communication and interaction in the applicant selection process that are much faster and easier. This is because all roles involved can always interact directly on the data set and information is available to everyone in real time.

2. A better overview is guaranteed:

Furthermore, the transparency of the respective status of the individual application procedures is easier to establish or is available ad hoc, which enables HR to particularly control the process efficiently as well as to further develop it qualitatively on the basis of key figures.

3. Data protection requirements can be implemented more easily:

Another overarching point that recruiting software simplifies is compliance with data protection requirements. The central data management in one system prevents negligent handling of personal data better than handling it via Excel and document storage, thus facilitating GDPR-compliant recruiting.

These three basic requirements can be described as rather banal as they are basically supported by every common applicant management software. The further goal should be to optimally design the candidate experience for your own applicants and to ideally support the company-specific recruiting processes for all stakeholders.

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Applicant Tracking Software Comparison: How Do you Choose the Right One?

An applicant management system can support a company in basic aspects of applicant organization. However, the choice of applicant management software should be made more on the basis of individual aspects. When comparing applicant management software, you should ask yourself: in which markets are you looking for your applicants? What are the “pain points” in your own recruiting?

Numerous differentiation criteria and specific factors can be examined when comparing applicant management software. With our applicant management software comparison, you already have an indication of which software could best fit your company.

Applicant Management Software Comparison: Important Aspects and Questions

In order to find the right recruiting software for you, you should examine the supposedly simple task in detail for your own organization. Successful recruiting takes into account the respective environmental variables. Among them are:

  • Awareness of the employer
  • Scope of the job posting
  • Options in the context of remuneration and benefits that can be offered to applicants.
  • Important questions arisen here are:
  • What skills and competencies are required for the position and how accessible are candidates on the job market?
  • What internal decision-making mechanisms are there when filling vacancies and how do they influence the duration of the recruiting process?
  • How strong is the competition with other companies for the best candidates?
  • Company-wide factors such as locations, product, brand image and publicity are also decisive factors in recruiting.

Accordingly, there are many different parameters in recruiting that need to be considered in order to meet the respective individual situation with the right recruiting approach. Every company faces its own challenges here, has a different degree of internationalization, different processes, different philosophies, corporate structures and locations, job profiles, recruiting strategies and goals. An applicant management software comparison cannot be carried out according to a ready-made catalog of criteria, but should always be tailored to the company.

What We are Proud of:
Already reached over  1200 projects and therefore, over 6 million
employees in 80 countries.

Recruitment Software: Universality is the Keyword

These differences can not only be seen between the individual companies, but sometimes also occur within different areas or strategic units of a company. Applicant management software should therefore not only be able to serve a standard process, but also be able to map the requirements of the different job profiles in the company or the requirements of other branches and international units:

  • How many stages a particular process have? (e.g., the selection of candidates)
  • How autonomous should branches and international units be able to handle the process?
  • What languages does the system need to support?
  • Which regulatory aspects must be covered with regard to local co-determination and data protection?
  • How does the respective embedding of the career website look like?
  • Which interfaces to other local systems are there?

Recruiting Software Comparison: Differentiation factors

Whether and to what extent specific recruitment software suits your company, should be considered from an individual perspective. This results in the following relevant differentiating factors in the recruiting process of your own company:

  • What are the real “pain points” in your own recruiting?
  • What job-specific challenges do recruiters face?
  • In which job markets can we find candidates for various jobs and to what extent can the recruiting system help to be active in these markets – for example, by optimizing the range in posting or, if necessary, by using options for supported active sourcing?

Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

One thing is clear: recruiting is not just recruiting. Depending on the job profile, the challenges are more likely to be tackled in finding the best application in a high volume of applications or in coming into contact with candidates in the first place.

This should come before the attempt to screen large numbers of applicants as efficiently as possible and, depending on the fit, to examine them in detail in a further process. Depending on the challenges, it is important to check the possible systems for flexibility so that they support your own company in the best possible way.

Recruiting Software Comparison: Strategic Aspects

In addition to defining the core functionalities in administration, increasing control transparency, ensuring compliance with data protection requirements and the individual aspects of the company’s own processes, strategic aspects should also be examined as a matter of urgency.

It is important to remember that Software-as-a-Service partnerships are only successful if both partners continue to move in the same direction in the future, since there are only limited possibilities for deeper customization of the software. Some of the important aspects are:

Fit for Your Own HR-IT Strategy

Are there other HR functions that should also be digitized? Depending on the provider of the applicant management software, they also offer additional modules, such as Payroll, HR administration, digital personnel files, etc. Depending on the depth of the requirements, it can make sense to expand the digitization options with a broader provider.

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)

The clarity and plausibility with which the recruiting process can be implemented as well as the visual maturity are essential criteria for the acceptance of the solution. It is important to remember that the applicant portal often forms the first impression of the employer brand and can therefore reach the applicant directly.

Furthermore, it is also important to provide professional support to your own hiring manager. Here, too, the tool reflects the appreciation and importance that the topic has for your own company.

Technical Integration Option

Depending on the challenge in recruiting, it is important whether the introduction of the applicant management system should also support the reach and access to new potential candidates. Aspects such as multiposting and one-click apply via social media platform integrations should be noted here. If it is a provider that only supplies applicant management, the question arises as to the interface capacity to be linked with other internal HR tools: Here, for example, the integration of calendar tools such as Outlook for appointment coordination etc., should be considered.

Provider Strategy

Last but not least, it should be questioned to what extent the manufacturer is the right partner – regardless of the software in the status quo. How economically stable is the manufacturer? What development strategy is the provider pursuing with the software? To what extent does the provider offer appropriate service and support for the software? These questions are particularly important for SaaS solutions, since as a customer you are dependent on the congruence of goals with those of the provider when developing the solution further.

Applicant Management Software Test: Find the right provider here

The above points show that a simple applicant management software comparison based on simple functionalities does not always make sense. The suitability of recruitment software results from your own company-specific challenges and the digitization strategy of the HR department as a whole.

In the following table you will find the most common providers of recruiting solutions along with the possible digitization strategies and their potential fit in relation to company sizes. If you need a tailor-made HR software selection, we will be pleased to show you options using the HR software comparison.

Provider Type Provider Module Strategy Core Market Achievements in recruiting
ERP Suite SuccessFactors Integration of all HR modules as part of SuccessFactors larger medium-sized companies and corporate environment

SuccessFactors offers a globally oriented and cloud-based recruiting solution. In addition to the option of a single career page for different countries and companies, the end-to-end solution also offers internal recruiting measures for employee retention.

Furthermore, it offers a great deal of autonomy for recruiters, candidates and managers thanks to comprehensive self-service. This is supplemented by various analysis tools in order to find the right candidates using machine learning.

People Suite Cornerstone A consistent talent management software with basic components in HR administration SMEs and corporate environment

Cornerstone offers a holistic approach to recruiting to ensure a seamless candidate experience.

The appropriate social tools, applicant tracking, easy-to-configure career pages, simple onboarding and many possible integrations with job boards, multi-posters and background checks all work together to attract the right talent.

Recruiting-Spezialist SmartRecruiter Specialized in recruiting SMEs and corporate environment

SmartRecruiters offers a variety of functions in all steps of recruiting: from recruitment to selection to employment. The end-to-end recruiting solution and quarterly product updates help you stay competitive in talent search and keep up with the latest recruiting trends.

From the one-click application to integrated SMS communication or the field recruiting app to registering for talent pools: SmartRecruiters enables a perfect candidate experience.

With campaign management, intelligent job marketing, freely configurable workflows and referral options, the software also optimally supports hiring managers and recruiters in their talent search.

KMU Suite Haufe Full-range HR digitizer with multi-component strategy Focus on medium-sized companies but also in the corporate environment

The Haufe applicant management supports all processes related to applicant management. All processes from the application for a job through the advertisement to the creation of the contract and the signing of the contract are supported by the module.

Interfaces to job portals, Google for Jobs-compliant job postings and integrations for easier active sourcing are just a few of the highlight functionalities in addition to many automated workflows.

Implementation of Recruiting Software: How It Works.

As soon as you have found the right provider, it is now a matter of applying the applicant management software as quickly as possible. Each provider has its own implementation consultants who support the customer during the introduction.

The implementation process of recruiting software follows similar rules within the various providers, but differs in details depending on the best practice and project management practices of the implementation partner. In general, however, the following components are relevant:

  • First of all, your requirements and objectives are clearly worked out in coordination with you and reflected in detail.
  • Goal, timeline and distribution of tasks of the implementation project are determined and task packages are defined. The project can only be successful if the implementation partner and HR managers work closely together, since the technical implementation and the conceptual and content-related professional preparation go hand in hand.
  • Your requirements will then be technically implemented in the software.
  • In a proof-of-concept workshop, the implementation, distribution of roles and process steps are demonstrated and discussed in detail and installed in the system for the first time.
  • After customer feedback, there is a second iteration loop, including testing in places, until the prototype is finalized. In this step, it would be helpful if future system managers familiarize themselves with the system as early as possible and communicate open questions or change requests to the implementation partner at an early stage, instead of only discovering potential weak points after the go-live. This is precisely why extensive and extensive testing is necessary afterwards.

This can also be used for an initial introduction to the system of later relevant roles. An accompanying change management concept is essential. Transparency, effective training and communication are the be-all and end-all of user acceptance and the success of your project. The end users should get excited about the new software, the management should be aware of the advantages and successes of the project. However, before the software can be introduced, there are a few steps to be taken. It should be noted that the implementation can take from several weeks to months (or sometimes years).

Applicant Management Software: Comparison of the Best providers

Important Questions before Implementation

As a customer, it is advisable to outline the current HR process in the company in advance. At best, these questions should already be clarified before the selection process:

  • How is the TARGET process?
  • How does it work in reality?
  • Which steps can be automated through digitization?
  • How can the process be optimized?
  • Which data should be requested?
  • Which data do I possibly need from or in my master data system?
  • Which roles and third parties are involved?

From the questions to the applicant to the process and the interaction of different parties, the process should be examined. Since most providers are SaaS solutions, the scope for customization here varies. Some providers are more flexible than others. Some have integrated interfaces with job portals. Others have onboarding features.

Important Preparations

With a good software selection process, it that unavailability of functionalities at the given stage of the project can be avoided. Together with the implementation partner, a strategy is then simply developed on how to implement the new desired process in the system. They advise you the best practice solutions and various implementation options.

You should start early to involve the necessary contacts for technical integration. Whether the master data system, IT for the career site or single sign-on, room booking tools or a third party – the earlier you initiate the integration, the smoother the implementation will be.

Important Tests

After all content such as job description layout, applicant questions, role concepts, translations and data protection declarations have been finalized in a few iteration rounds and the process has been integrated into the system, the user acceptance testing begins. It is important to test the process end-to-end for all roles, both from the perspective of the applicant and all recruiting roles involved.

As soon as the applicant management system is finalized, you should train the users. An accompanying change management and communication concept can bring a decisive advantage in user acceptance. The better your users can handle the system, the happier they will be after “going-live” and the probability of errors will decrease.

Experience shows that it is an advantage to have one (or more) direct project managers in the company who oversee and further develop the software even after it has been introduced. Otherwise, it is important to clarify the resource requirements in advance in order to ensure that the project runs smoothly. An international roll-out should not be underestimated compared to a national one.


FAQs on Applicant Management Software

What does applicant management mean?

Applicant management is the management of applicants – i.e. all process steps from receipt of an application to the decision on the best application.

The subtasks below essentially include the selection of applicants, communication with the applicants, the coordination of the application process and all tasks of those involved.

What is applicant tracking software?

Applicant management software is HR software that helps companies to effectively carry out various recruiting process modules.

In addition to supporting various administrative activities in the process, such as communication with applicants, the participation of executives or the organization of job interviews, such software solutions also provide advantages, for example in the outreach of job postings.

What functions does applicant management software have?

Each company has to decide for itself which reports and which connectors need to be supported.

In principle, however, all common applicant management systems include the following standard functions:

  • Job approval
  • Job Posting/Multiposting
  • Incoming application management
  • Applicant selection and administration
  • Contract management
  • Onboarding management
  • Talent Relationship Management

What are the advantages of applicant management software?

The applicant management software has three main advantages:

  1. The process is accelerated and simplified
  2. A better overview is guaranteed
  3. Data protection requirements can be implemented more easily

How is the right applicant management software selected?

An applicant management system can support companies in basic aspects of applicant organization.

However, the choice of applicant management software should be based more on personal aspects.

There are a number of differentiators and specific factors that can be examined when comparing applicant tracking software.


Conclusion: The Best Applicant Management Software for Your Company

There is no such thing as THE best software for your recruitment, but there is a right one for your organization. Make sure that the recruitment software can map all the necessary core components of your recruiting process. It is also important not only to think about the current process, but also whether the system can map the requirements of other units and branches.

What We are Proud of:
Already reached over  1200 projects and therefore, over 6 million
employees in 80 countries.