Free ATS Gaining Ground With SMBs Despite Recession

May 7, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Even for a product that’s free, MrTed‘s entry-level ATS has had a meteoric rise. Since being introduced in October, 1,000 clients have become users of SmartRecruiters, an accomplishment the European-headquartered company celebrates today in an announcement that declares it “the fastest-growing ATS in the recruiting software industry.”

“We are blown away by the response of small businesses to the launch of SmartRecruiters,” says Jerome Ternynck, CEO at MrTed.

Undaunted by the recession, the small businesses and organizations that are the target market for the SaaS-provisioned ATS are currently using it to fill 10,000 jobs. Posts to a commercial job board earn MrTed a commission, which is one of the ways the company earns money from the program.

“We pay nothing,” says Jerry Winans, associate vice president of HR at Taylor University in Indiana. The 1,900-student Christian school was looking to move away from its decentralized, paper-based recruitment process when it decided to give SmartRecruiters a try.

“We looked at other systems,” Winans says, but the cost — $5,000 setup and up to $7,000 annually — was more than the university wanted to spend. With 600 full and part-time employees and a turnover below 5 percent, spending even that modest amount was “prohibitive.”

So when Winans came across SmartRecruiters, he signed up for a beta test. “We wanted to see what the capabilities of their system are,” Winans adds. Since going online with the system in March, there have only been two staff candidate searches, but the results have been “very encouraging. It’s been a good product.”

Being an academic institution, faculty departments mostly handle their own recruitment and selection. Even for non-teaching positions HR plays a supporting role, receiving and processing applications and resumes before sending them all to the hiring managers who do the culling themselves.

Cutting down on the paper flow and being able to centralize a candidate database are two of the more compelling reasons for moving to an ATS. “Our goal,” says Winans, “is to buy no more filing cabinets.”

Taylor University is typical of the SMBs that have signed on to the SmartRecruiters program, a MrTed spokesman tells us. Cost is a key consideration, he says. But, like Taylor, the users don’t want to skimp on features.

One feature Winans particularly noted was the candidate ranking, a typical ATS keyword match ranking against the requirements in the req. When a feature is lacking, such as an auto-responder so candidates know their application was received, MrTed has been accommodating, Winans adds.

“We’re very impressed with the number of features,” Winans says, adding, “it’s very appealing for the price.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.