ATS vs CRM: What’s the Difference and Why You Need Both in 2024

Khyati Sagar

Senior Writer

ATS vs CRM: What’s the Difference and Why You Need Both in 2024

Key Takeaways:

  1. Both ATS and CRM are essential for streamlining recruitment processes and engaging candidates effectively.
  2. Integrating CRM with ATS enhances candidate experience and streamlines hiring processes. This integration empowers recruiters to build and nurture talent pipelines, making informed hiring decisions based on data-driven insights.
  3. The use of CRM systems is expected to increase significantly. Adopting modern recruitment strategies is crucial for staying competitive in the job market.

Filling vacant positions is the top priority for the HR department. With over 70% of the workforce consisting of passive candidates, organizations are using advanced tools to simplify the recruitment process.  

Talent acquisition is much more than posting job ads and shortlisting candidates. With ATS and CRM, finding top talent becomes easier. But there’s a difference between ATS and CRM.

Let us understand the differences and find out who wins the debate between ATS vs CRM.

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Maximize candidate engagement by seamlessly integrating CRM with ATS. Use CRM to nurture talent pipelines and deliver personalized interactions throughout the candidate journey. Leverage data-driven insights for informed hiring decisions, staying ahead in the competitive job market.

What Is An ATS?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a specialized software designed to streamline and improve the hiring process. Recruiters and hiring managers can post job openings, handle applications, screen applicants, and handle the recruiting process. The system accelerates the recruitment process by integrating these tasks onto a single platform.

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) works by automating several duties and streamlining recruitment operations. It involves receiving resumes and job applications, filing applicant data, setting up interviews, and notifying candidates of developments. Its primary goal is to maximize the number of positions filled while assisting recruiters with efficient handling and tracking of applications. It makes the process of identifying highly qualified applicants easier by applying criteria like experience and skills.

How Does ATS Work? By SoftwareSuggest

An effective applicant tracking system streamlines the entire talent acquisition process by automating a number of processes, including:

  • Posting job vacancies across social media, LinkedIn, and job boards.
  • Streamlining the application process.
  • Building a database of candidate profiles.
  • Exploring resumes efficiently.
  • Conducting skills assessments.
  • Gathering and analyzing hiring data.
  • Coordinating interview schedules.
  • Sending timely follow-up communications.
  • Conducting background checks.
  • Generating employment offers and contracts.
  • Facilitating the signing of employment documents.
  • Assisting with onboarding processes.

What Is CRM?

A CRM system is a tool that serves to enhance connections between recruiters and potential candidates. It enables recruiters to utilize these candidates for future job opportunities.

You can combine all of the rich data you’ve collected from your client interactions into one place: your CRM. Every little thing has a place in this all-inclusive system, from the first interactions—reading a blog article or subscribing to your newsletter—to the meticulous recording of sales conversations and lead evaluations. 

Additionally, the CRM efficiently manages the entire workflow, helping with everything from contract and proposal writing to billing data management.

What Can A CRM Do? By SoftwareSuggest

CRMs also referred to as candidate relationship management in recruitment settings or customer relationship management, are essential components of recruitment marketing strategies. 

To build relationships with passive talent, they enable talent acquisition experts to create talent communities and distribute customized messaging. CRM software for recruiting makes it easier to build a talent pipeline for hiring and recruitment efforts that includes passive prospects, current employees, and job seekers.

Typically, candidate relationship management systems provide features like:

  • Assembling a database for potential applicants
  • Enabling keyword-based searchability for saved resumes
  • Delivering customized communications to the talent pool
  • Fostering a relationship between candidates and the employer brand
  • Tracking a candidate’s progress during the onboarding and recruiting process
  • Distributing surveys and compiling hiring process feedback
  • Compiling and showcasing hiring metrics
Looking for CRM Software?
Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best CRM Software solutions.

What’s the Difference Between ATS And CRM?

Essentially, CRM systems are meant to support recruiters in their sourcing efforts by drawing in candidates long before they are needed for recruitment.

 In contrast, ATSs are meant to streamline the hiring and selection process by cutting out pointless red tape and improving critical hiring metrics like hiring velocity, hiring quality, and budget efficiency.

An application tracking system vs. CRM debate has been long due. Let’s see what differentiates them.

An ATS is used to manage applicant workflows and guarantee compliance. In contrast, the CRM system stores both active and passive candidates as well as previous applicants who are already registered with the system. 

An inadequate applicant tracking system only performs routine tasks, which forces recruitment teams to spend time on non-value-added tasks instead of focusing on strategic objectives.

We have created a table to show you the difference between CRM and ATS.

Applicant Tracking SystemRecruitment CRM
ATS is a workflow and compliance tool for managing and hiring employees.A recruitment CRM keeps track of passive and active candidates.
It is used for sourcing, shortlisting, interviewing, and hiring candidates.It is used for sourcing candidates.
An ATS follows a formal hiring process.CRM follows a non-formal hiring process.
ATS is used by full-cycle recruiters for end-to-end recruitment.CRM is used by sourcing recruiters
An ATS is used to streamline and automate the recruitment process.Recruiters use CRMs to find and engage passive candidates.

Why Integrating CRM With an ATS Makes Sense?

Companies must put the candidate’s experience first in today’s competitive employment market, as candidates have a lot of influence. Talent acquisition executives cannot succeed without technological solutions designed to improve this element. 

Since most hiring happens before candidates formally apply, it’s essential to provide a customized message to get an advantage over competitors attracting great talent.

To do this, a strong talent acquisition package that seamlessly integrates ATS and CRM features must be implemented. CRM systems allow recruiters to manage talent pools, enabling them to make data-driven, well-informed hiring decisions. 

Additionally, CRM cultivates long-lasting connections with previous, current, and prospective prospects, enabling quicker and more effective recruiting processes and enhancing the applicant experience within the applicant tracking system.

How is CRM Software Used In Recruitment?

The recruiting CRM helps businesses attract and develop potential talent by serving as a tool for recruitment marketing and early application management. Here are a few common situations in which it’s applied:

What CRM Software is Used In Recuitment? By SoftwareSuggest

1. Candidate Nurture

Recruiters can use CRM software to develop applicant relationships throughout the recruiting process, just as marketers use it to manage customer relationships during the purchase process.

Emails and SMS job alerts keep prospects informed and engaged. Additionally, recruiters can maintain a good experience with great candidates at any time, wherever, via automation and preset nurturing flows.

Some businesses even employ chatbots to assist applicants in finding the information they require or in getting answers to inquiries about position requirements or expected salaries.

2. Proactive Hiring 

Talent teams frequently consider social media advertising and one-on-one contact with prospects when considering proactive recruitment.

However, proactive hiring should never resemble a mad dash. It’s more about keeping interested prospects warm and gently correctly nudging them.

A more sustainable talent pipeline may be created and maintained with the aid of this kind of proactive talent recruitment.

3. Analytics

Recruiters no longer have to rely only on their gut feeling when making decisions about sourcing and content. Advanced candidate relationship management gathers information about the activities and interactions of job seekers and uses it to create thorough candidate profiles. 

Certain CRMs even make smart suggestions based on candidate scoring, which finds people that most closely match job requirements and the best sourcing channels while also revealing hidden talent. 

Recruiters can strengthen their talent pool by using alumni rehire and internal mobility tactics when they have a thorough understanding of the talent pipeline. Organizations can save a significant amount of money by using this kind of data to lower their sourcing costs.

Who Uses Recruitment Marketing and CRM Software?

Teams are using CRM software, or modern recruitment marketing, to evaluate their pipelines, fine-tune their sourcing channel investments, and support creative approaches like:

Creative Approaches To Improve Recruitment Processes By SoftwareSuggest

Even though they’re still relatively new ideas to many, recruitment marketing and candidate relationship management software are becoming popular tools within organizations. However,  talent acquisition teams and employer branding experts are quickly adopting them.

To stand out in the competitive job market and draw in top talent, corporations, and top employers are adopting a strategy that combines marketing and talent acquisition concepts.

CRM vs ATS: Choosing The Right One

ATS vs. CRM By SoftwareSuggest

While both recruitment CRM and ATS have their benefits, an ATS is preferable as it allows companies to manage all recruitment processes through a single platform. However, recruitment CRM needs another tool to streamline and automate other parts of the hiring process. 

Both ATS and CRM recruitment simplify the recruitment process and reduce manual efforts. In the debate between CRM vs ATS, you tell us who you find better?  Did we miss out on any aspect?

Frequently Asked Questions

The primary function of an ATS is to streamline the recruitment process by managing job postings, candidate applications, resume parsing, and communication with applicants efficiently.

A CRM streamlines candidate management enhances communication, centralizes data, improves candidate experience, enables targeted marketing efforts, and fosters stronger relationships with both current and potential candidates.

Yes, there can be overlap between ATS and CRM functionalities, particularly in managing candidate data and facilitating communication with candidates.

Integrating CRM with ATS streamlines candidate data management enhances communication, and provides a holistic view of candidates' interactions, improving efficiency and optimizing recruitment efforts.

Having both an ATS and CRM equips a company with comprehensive tools for managing both candidates and relationships. This integration optimizes processes, enhances communication, and fosters stronger candidate engagement, giving a competitive edge.

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