What is the difference between applicant tracking and job benchmarking? Simply put, they are two completely different things – apples and oranges.  Let’s dig into the differences:

Applicant Tracking vs. Job Benchmarking.

What is applicant tracking?

Applicant tracking system diagram

Applicant tracking systems (also known as an ATS) function primarily as a database aggregation tool, enabling recruiters and human resources staff to efficiently manage incoming applicants in large volumes – generally through the company website.

Many applicant tracking systems include features that allow you to sort applicants according to the information they typed in during the application process. Some will also store uploaded resumes, hook into recruiting CRMs, and integrate with social networks like LinkedIn for applicant prospecting purposes.

Exporting tools allow for the integration of aggregated information into an existing database. Integration across resources allows for efficiency when information must flow from department to department.

What is job benchmarking?

Job benchmarking is the process by which a hiring manager carves out specific requirements or key accountabilities for a job – before anyone ever applies – and then evaluates all candidates against the established benchmark (as they apply) to predict their ability to succeed.

The Job Benchmarking Process

Learn more about our patented Job Benchmarking process at ThinkPlanLaunch by clicking the image above.

Notably, the job benchmarking process can be done with or without an applicant tracking system, and is focused entirely on evaluating job fit across a group of candidates. It allows recruiters and hiring managers to more objectively determine who to bring in for an interview, and to decide who is ultimately the best fit for any given job.

Applicant Tracking Systems and Job Benchmarking Processes are great compliments.

In a perfect world, you will have an applicant tracking system with an integrated job benchmarking process.

This effectively gives you the best of both worlds, because it allows you to efficiently track all of your applicants in a powerful online database while simultaneously evaluating individual applicants against the benchmark corresponding to the job(s) for which they have applied.

By integrating your applicant tracking functions with job benchmarking in the same system, you also empower yourself to consolidate resources and save time in managing the employee selection process.

However, even if you utilize a job benchmarking process independent of your applicant tracking system, you’ll still be getting the powerful 1-2 punch of efficiently handling a large volume of applicants (a la applicant tracking) and drilling deep into the psyche of each applicant to objectively measure job fit (job benchmarking).

Five Popular Applicant Tracking Systems.

The following is a list of popular applicant tracking systems for your convenience:

1. Talent Management Plus™ (TMP)


Talent Management Plus Applicant Tracking and Job Benchmarking Software

Talent Management Plus™ (TMP) lets you leverage ranked lists of job applicants to save time and hire the right people with confidence. Because of this, it is our preferred solution at ThinkPlanLaunch for applicant tracking and job benchmarking. Find exactly who you’re looking for by using a combination of your own custom criteria to sort and filter applicants, right alongside our patented benchmarking and applicant ranking process.

All related features and functions are integrated into the same, powerful user interface for ease of use. This makes it very unique, because no other software available on the market today directly integrates job benchmarking. This science and engineering “under the hood” guarantees you’ll see increases in retention and a decrease in turnover, yet the system itself is so easy to use that your 8-year old nephew could handle it with ease.

2. Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit is an applicant tracking system that we recommend if you’re not using, or planning to use, Talent Management Plus. In fact, here at ThinkPlanLaunch we are long-time customers of Zoho – leveraging their sales CRM, cloud-based email, and several other modules to run our business (even though we don’t use Zoho Recruit). One bonus to using Zoho Recruit is that its basic functions are available free of charge for a single recruiter.

3. JobVite Hire

JobVite Hire

JobVite Hire functions much like a typical sales or marketing CRM – it allows for greater efficiency in reaching out and responding to your talent pool. Along with this come customizable hiring workflows, automated email broadcasts, and a number of other features that help recruiters and hiring managers save time. While it does not offer job benchmarking, it does hook into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make it easier to share job openings with social networks.

4. iCIMS

iCIMS applicant tracking

iCIMS Talent Acquisition Suite offers customizable career portals, such that candidates can browse for open positions in an online environment that “matches” the brand of your company. Like JobVite Hire, it also allows for social media distribution of job postings in addition to specialty sites. Perhaps the most intriguing factor of using iCIMS is its Career Site SEO product, which uses specially designed micro-sites to help your job postings come up in search engine rankings higher than that of other companies.

5. Greenhouse

Greenhouse applicant tracking system

Greenhouse is an applicant tracking system that was designed with the needs of large recruiting firms in mind. Like other systems, it starts by increasing your “reach” so you can find more applicants from job boards, external hiring agencies, referrals, and also social media. Then it goes a step farther by helping you define a specific interviewing process that can be implemented as a standard across your organization.

What’s behind these applicant tracking systems?

What you’ll notice is most applicant tracking systems are primarily focused on getting in front of more applicants – they help you “cast the net wide.” The underlying philosophy is that if you throw enough applicants against the wall, some are bound to stick.

Accessing a larger talent pool is good, but what all of these systems (except Talent Management Plus) lack is a reliable job benchmarking process that systematically tells you who to hire based on assessed performance factors.

This is an important distinguishing factor.

Whereas most applicant tracking systems are designed simply to organize and manage quantity, Talent Management Plus was designed specifically to improve quality in making actual hiring decisions – at any scale – due to the power of accelerated job benchmarking.

Talent Management Plus ranks and sorts your applicants according to job benchmarks established from over 30 years of rigorously validated workplace performance research, giving you the ability to cherry pick the best candidates for every job.

The job benchmarking process provides you with exact interview questions to ask candidates when the time comes, too, and makes for more effective onboarding with powerful coaching reports (accessible at the click of a button) to help new employees succeed in their roles. In other words, it’s a holistic process that addresses the entire employee life-cycle.

Job Benchmarking Moves the Needle.

At the end of the day, this (job benchmarking) is the game-changing information recruiters and hiring managers need in order to make superior hiring decisions. It is what allows you to predict, with great accuracy, whether an individual applicant is destined to succeed or fail in their new role.

Simply put, job benchmarking moves the needle – and regardless of how many applicants you do or don’t have, it systematically helps you separate the winners from the losers. This is why Talent Management Plus works great as a standalone interface, or even alongside one of the many applicant tracking systems mentioned in this article.

Job Benchmarking in Talent Management Plus

Talent Management Plus creates ranked lists of applicants based on online screenings administered during the application process. This allows you to quickly see who’s who – and exactly which candidates are prime for an interview. Lots of detail about each measured factor is available at your fingertips for further investigation, too.

Imagine – instead of spending several hours or days screening resumes and taking best guesses as to who to bring in for an interview, if you could simply choose the top 5-10 applicants from a trustworthy pre-ranked list.

This type of automation is possible with Talent Management Plus, and is crucial towards making the hiring process more efficient, effective, and objective on all levels.

Our Patented Job Benchmarking Process

Our patented job benchmarking process at ThinkPlanLaunch relies on over three decades of science, research, and third-party statistical validation to support strong and objective results when evaluating job fit – empowering you to always hire the right person for the job with confidence.

By looking deep into the behaviors, motivators, acumen, and competencies of an individual, our four-factor evaluation process allows you to scientifically predict whether or not someone will “stick” and even excel, depending on the nature and requirements of their role.

This approach is far more powerful than traditional methods of comparing exaggerated resumes to outdated job descriptions, and removes personal bias from the equation when decision-time comes.

Of course, you should still strive to get a good gut feeling about the person you’re about to hire – but importantly, job benchmarking allows you to support those feelings with cold, hard data and facts.

Great job benchmarking means no more rolling the dice on future employees who may (or may not) work out, allowing you to stay focused on key work projects instead of filling holes in your team all day.


When it comes to applicant tracking, there are a multitude of options available to your organization – including some that are free of charge, like Zoho Recruit.

When it comes to job benchmarking – and ultimately selecting the best person for the job – only our Talent Management Plus software integrates this feature into its applicant tracking system, making it an effective all-in-one solution for handling employee selection.

When you’re interested in learning more, please give us a call or submit a request for more information here.