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BambooHR

Best Applicant Tracking System for Small Businesses

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
  • BambooHR is a long-term HR recruiting solution designed to help you track and manage individuals through every phase of the employment process, from candidate recruitment to offboarding.
  • BambooHR offers two plans, service is month to month, there are no contracts and no cancellation fees.
  • BambooHR's Advantage plan offers features like hiring, onboarding, applicant tracking, customizable workflows, integrations, HR management and reporting.
  • This article is intended for small business owners who want to learn more about BambooHR, the best recruiting software for applicant tracking. 

We recommend BambooHR as the best applicant tracking system for small businesses. BambooHR offers customized month-to-month plans with per-employee pricing, which is great for small businesses that want advanced features that fit their budget. Unlike other competing software platforms, BambooHR aids in employee onboarding and offboarding. You can track your employees from the day they apply with your company to the day they say goodbye. 

We chose BambooHR from dozens of recruiting software options. To understand how we chose BambooHR, you can find our methodology and a list of recruiting software vendors on our best picks page. 

Rather than provide candidate sourcing and job posting features like many competing HR recruiting software solutions, BambooHR integrates with your business to act as a long-term employee management solution. There are two standard plans: Essentials and the Advantage plan. The Essentials plan focuses on HR management, whereas the Advantage plan includes everything in the Essentials plan, plus hiring, onboarding, applicant tracking, customizable workflows, integrations, and reporting features. We evaluated BambooHR's Advantage plan. 

Each plan's price is per employee, which is advantageous for small businesses wanting advanced applicant tracking and recruiting features at an affordable rate. You can add performance management and time-tracking features for additional fees. 

BambooHR plans are month to month; there are no contracts and no cancellation fees. You will have to speak with a BambooHR representative for exact pricing, though, since they create customized quotes to match your business needs. 

When we spoke with a BambooHR representative, they said they use the following as the basis for their proposed quote: 

  • The number of employees you have
  • How your company is currently tracking HR data (HRIS, paper, spreadsheets)
  • The primary type of functionality you want (applicant tracking, onboarding, paid time-off tracking, reports, etc.)
  • How soon you want to implement the software 

BambooHR offers several demo videos and a seven-day free trial, so you can experience the software risk-free. 

Key takeaway: BambooHR's month-to-month recruiting software is priced per employee and comes with a seven-day free trial. 

BambooHR's Advantage plan has all the features you need to find, hire and manage great employees. Instead of simply helping you source new employees, it acts as a long-term solution to help you track and manage your team through every phase of employment. Here's more about its specific features. 

Sourcing candidates with BambooHR Advantage is simple. You can customize job application questions and settings (e.g., making some questions required and others optional). BambooHR allows for customizable job postings on free job boards and social networks. When a candidate applies, they are screened and, if they meet the screening requirements, are then forwarded for review. 

BambooHR's comprehensive applicant tracking system (ATS) is included with the Advantage plan, and is available online and through a mobile app. With the ATS module, you're able to send qualified candidates notices so they can apply for open positions, and your hiring team can review candidates, give star ratings, leave comments, send customizable email templates, and change candidate status. This level of tracking and collaboration can put your team ahead of the competition in quickly and effectively hiring the best candidates. 

Once you've hired someone, you can continue using BambooHR to manage and track engagement. BambooHR lets you customize email alerts to update employees on information updates, pending approvals and company announcements. 

Onboarding new employees is quick and easy with BambooHR Advantage. You can quickly create and send offer letters complete with built-in e-signatures. Additionally, companies can customize the paperwork they provide to new hires, such as including W-4 forms, any onboarding paperwork specific to your company, customizable introductory sections and FAQs, etc. 

BambooHR has a progress bar, onboarding checklists, and auto-reminders to help you stay on top of the onboarding process. It even offers tracking with training to help with compliance and employee development. 

What's more, BambooHR offers something most competitors don't – offboarding. It is there for you through the entire time an employee is with your company. It has an offboarding process that can simplify a sometimes difficult process. 

BambooHR's HR management features help you manage your team and track their progress. Users can manage employee records, track employee benefits, store HR documents (e.g., handbooks, new-hire paperwork, etc.), set customizable access levels (admin, manager and employee), and use custom workflows to ensure your team is running at optimal efficiency. 

BambooHR's reporting is just as exceptional as its applicant tracking system. Advantage plan users receive advanced reporting metrics. Analytics like headcount and turnover, employee satisfaction, employee performance reviews, and applicant funnels help you see the weak points in your recruiting and training processes. You can also look up employee info (e.g., birthdays, EEO-1, job history, salary history, years of service), which is useful for maintaining compliance, diversity and inclusion. 

BambooHR's platform can be accessed by desktop, tablet or mobile device. BambooHR has several online demo videos that explain each specific function of its recruiting and HR management tools, which is great for first-time users. 

Unlike other competing software solutions that are focused on recruiting, BambooHR's platform allows employees to easily access self-service features with single sign-on, and it's integrated with Google and SAML. Businesses can take advantage of features like time-off management, an employee directory, an organization chart and a company calendar. 

Key takeaway: BambooHR has features like customizable job posting on free job boards and social networks, an applicant tracking system, customizable email alerts and onboarding, HR management, and custom reporting and grouping. 

BambooHR's platform is more comprehensive than many competing HR recruiting software programs. Besides posting open jobs online, it is a long-term solution that easily integrates into your business, allowing you to enhance your recruiting process and continually track employees. 

Another advantage of BambooHR is its reporting features. BambooHR is very customizable, allowing small businesses to see a complete picture of the organization, which can steer recruiting efforts toward improved outcomes going forward. 

Small businesses benefit from BambooHR's month-to-month pricing structure. The cost of the software is charged on a per-employee basis, so your budget correlates with the size of your business. This is especially advantageous for very small businesses that want access to advanced (but affordable) features. And BambooHR's pricing lets business owners keep costs low at first and gradually build as the company expands. 

Key takeaway: The three advantages of using BambooHR are the comprehensiveness of the software, its reporting features and its pricing structure. 

There are a couple of limitations with the software. First, the company doesn't publicly disclose pricing. Granted, this is a minor drawback – pricing can be obtained by reaching out to a representative – but small businesses with tight budgets may be deterred by the lack of disclosure, plus many business owners don't want to deal with an extended sales process – they want the information they need quickly so they can make a determination. 

Another drawback is that BambooHR does not have live chat support. Many other HR software solutions have live chat for new and existing customers so they can immediate answers to questions. While this isn't a deal-breaker, still, an option to reach a representative quickly can be very useful, especially for first-time users. 

Key takeaway: BambooHR does not disclose pricing or offer live chat support on its website. 

Although BambooHR does not offer a live chat feature, there are a bevy of resources, plus there are multiple ways you can get in touch with a representative. 

On the website, you'll find several demo videos that go into detail about the functionality of its software. Users can also access webinars, an HR glossary, an HR software calculator, blogs, plus a searchable database full of e-books, infographics, whitepapers, courses, and guides. You can contact a support representative by phone, email or a contact form located on the website.  

To test BambooHR's customer support, we posed as a small business owner looking for recruiting software. When we contacted the company, a support representative quickly responded. After asking us a few questions about our software needs, they redirected us to an HR specialist who could elaborate on BambooHR's plans. 

Key takeaway: BambooHR offers several educational resources: demo videos, webinars, an HR glossary, an HR software calculator, blogs and a searchable database. Customer support can be reached by phone, email or contact form.

Ready to choose an HR recruiting software solution? Check out the rest of our coverage: