Applicant Tracking Systems

I’ve used three systems (that I can remember) for applicant tracking. This is a brief summary of each.

I used Lever at two different companies. It was not a perfect system, but after using others, I think it’s the best I have experienced. My summary:

  1. The chrome extension for LinkedIn is actually very useful. It inspired me to build Scout for Engagio when I first used it.
  2. It sends emails from your actual Gmail. This is great to look back and see what you wrote or switch back and forth between app and GMail.
  3. It syncs with your email so even if you use GMail for correspondence, it is all captured in the system.
  4. Templates organization was rough, but using them was simple and straight-forward.
  5. The UI was snappy and easy to use.
  6. I loved the ability to add links. It’s a small UI but quite well done.
  7. Very cool bulk email feature that allowed customization and bulk at the same time.
  8. Nice delayed email scheduling functions.
  9. Overall, many little touches made Lever a great experience
Lever with their unique overlay style

In the end, I found that I could set up Lever to process all my candidates quickly. Customization wasn’t always easy, but I could always get it to the finish line.


I used Wrk next. It was the definition of minimalism. Look at the UI, no color, no shadows. It’s the least you can do with a design. With that said, it wasn’t terrible. The UI was snappy.

Super minimalist

Unfortunately, the lack of functionality made automating my recruiting work a real hassle or just not possible. There just wasn’t enough there. No chrome extension. None of the nuance that made Lever great. It felt like the beginning of something interesting, but not there yet. I only used it for about a month or so.


I am new to Breezy, but it has been a little rough around the edges. It’s an interesting system and it has many novel approaches to the UX. Mainly it takes a Kanban board approach. (See image below). This works for a certain amount of candidates but can get overwhelming with too many.

Breezy’s Kanban approach

It has the sync with GMail, but it seems a little slow. I am still testing that part out.

Although I generally like the Kanban UI, there is alot of other things I do not like. There are too many settings that only can work for admins, not hiring managers. For example: I can’t create custom messages. This is the heart of good recruiting: customized messages on a timely basis. It feels strange to me that a regular hiring manager wouldn’t want to customize “personal” messages. Luckily, I was given access. Otherwise, I am not sure what I would have done.

Another unfortunate thing is that they have “automatic emails” when you enter into a stage. It doesn’t give me a chance to customize it. So I had to turn them all off. Plus, sending a one-off custom message is more clicks than it should be.

The speed has also been lackluster. Just clicking around takes too long. I don’t know if this is UI or backend bottlenecks, but the amount of data shouldn’t be this slow. Pre-fetching, caching, or just overall performance optimization is warranted.

One thing that is unforgiveable is the font. Arial. Come on, people! Nunito is the way to go. Just changing the font would make the system feel a little more modern.

Other systems

There are other ATS systems out there such as:

I haven’t used any of these. Have you? What’s your favorite system?


Whatya think?