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A free ATS can be a great tool for a business starting out, but is it the right choice for your first applicant tracking system?


When you’re ready to dip your toe in the world of recruitment software, you’ll be wary about where to start, and how much to invest – so seeing recruitment software that’s “free” might seem like love at first sight! After all, every hiring system is better than an excel spreadsheet and manual emails!

We designed JTGO purely for the SME market – and whilst it isn’t a free recruitig system – we know that if you’re an organisation with under 250 employees, a full-blown applicant tracking system won’t suit your needs.

Our parent company Jobtrain designs fully configurable ATS’s for organisations like NHS Scotland and Odeon Cinemas, but if you’re a small care home or housing association, that level of complexity is likely to be too much too soon!

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What do you need to consider with free applicant tracking systems?


The free ATS market is chock-full of recruitment systems which claim to be “free,” but will conceal hidden costs, operating on a “freemium” model. Perhaps it’s free for one user, but certainly not for all! The same goes for advertising. You may find that advertising through a free ATS will be more expensive!

JTGO has been designed to have an affordable price for SMEs – and it’s an all-in-one package which gives you exactly what you need!


Not all applicant tracking systems are created equal, make sure you’re not signing up for a glorified spreadsheet or job board! Does it offer CV Parsing? Does it allow you to advertise on free job boards? Is there robust reporting functionality which will help your business grow, and your recruitment funnel grow with it?

As part of your agreement with some free ATS suppliers, they will own the data which your system processes. Make sure you have full ownership of the information you collate and action.


JTGO comes with full UK support for small businesses. We have a robust knowledge hub for our users, and a help desk to assist you and your candidates.

Be sure to check if your ATS provider offers support if anything goes wrong. You don’t want to be left blowing in the wind if a user or candidate locks themselves out of their account! Do you require DBS Checking? Make sure your ATS supports this functionality and helps you with your integration. JTGO offers integration with First Advantage so you can be secure in your checks!


JTGO has no hidden costs. Don’t make a commitment only to realise later you haven’t got what you thought you had! We recommend drawing up an internal plan of features you need and features you want so you can make the right comparisons.

Check if there’s extra costs for:

  • Candidates the ATS can process
  • E-mails and texts you can send out
  • Application forms you can customize and configure
  • E-mail templates you can edit and update
  • Reporting functionality

Some free recruitment systems will have a limit on the amount of candidates you can process – meaning you might get some great candidates reaching out to you, but your ATS can’t support their application!

If there’s something you’re unsure of, reach out to the provider which interests you!

DOES IT REPRESENT YOUR company culture?

As part of JTGO you can configure your candidate site to represent your colourways, logos, and make the most of the candidate experience. We operate as a silent partner – there are no watermarks on any of the communications you send out to candidates. This is extremely important for how you attract candidates, and how connected they feel to your organisation from application right through to their first day!

Want to learn about our features and pricing?

Affordable Recruitment Software