Free ATS Gaining Ground With SMBs Despite Recession

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.

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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.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


4 Comments on “Free ATS Gaining Ground With SMBs Despite Recession

  1. There are similar services around. provides a free VMS system to manage agency based hiring of permanent candidates and also the hiring of temporary contractors through vendors. The service can handle complex staffing setups even for large organizations without the needs of any special customization. They do not charge any monthly fee or account opening charges etc. Client pay only when they hire candidates through the suppliers. In a single service, clients get a VMS to manage agency/vendor based hiring, access to approved suppliers nationwide and a support staff to assist hiring. Great concept.

  2. Hey John,
    Thanks for sharing the info!Will check them out and see if it suits our Requirement.We are still evaluating few solutions.

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