ATS vs CRM: What’s the Difference?

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The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning has transformed the entire recruitment process. With more people inclined towards freelancing, recruiting a talented workforce has become exponentially challenging across the globe. 

Market vendors now offer various recruitment software to businesses to make the process easier. Out of these offerings, the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) systems are the ideal choices for recruiters.

Most recruiters believe that CRM is not essential if they already have an ATS. This is not true. In fact, top recruiters use both systems, as each focuses on different aspects of the recruitment process.

So, what is the difference between an ATS and CRM? And do you really need both? Here’s a comprehensive insight into both systems to help you hire the best employees more efficiently.

What Is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An ATS software serves as a repository for recruiters to create and post different jobs. After that, they can collect applications from the candidates, test, select, and process them further through the entire hiring process — all via one platform. 

Simply put, an ATS is recruiting software that eases and optimizes the whole recruitment process.

What Is a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) System?

A Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) is software that provides recruiters or hiring managers with a pool of talented candidates whenever a position becomes vacant.

A CRM system keeps the recruiters and potential candidates in contact so the recruiters can consider these candidates for any future job opening. CRM helps create talent communities that allow talent acquisition (TA) professionals to strengthen relationships with passive talent. 

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What’s the Difference Between an ATS and CRM?

An ATS is a recruitment tool that facilitates the talent acquisition process for everyone involved in the hiring funnel. The software makes selecting, screening, and hiring candidates and managing applications easier than ever. With an ATS, a recruiter doesn’t have to worry about a load of administrative tasks. 

Meanwhile, a CRM system helps recruiters with their hiring efforts by providing all the information about passive and active candidates. When the ATS is not optimized with CRM, it diverts the recruiting teams from taking necessary initiatives. 

To determine whether your ATS and CRM are appropriately optimized, watch for these things in your recruitment system:

  • It requires manual input for several entry fields.
  • It categorizes candidates by their current employment instead of their desired job.
  • It doesn’t have any method for evaluating candidate and recruiter relationships.
  • It doesn’t provide a return on investment (ROI).
  • The ATS is usually used for completing administrative tasks.
  • Job positions stay vacant there for months.

Why Do Recruiters Need an Integrated Talent Acquisition Solution?

In this candidate-focused work environment, hiring professionals must be aware of modern technologies. Knowing these technologies has become critical for the success of talent acquisition programs

It’s believed that most of the hiring occurs in the pre-application stage. So, companies need to adopt recruitment software that helps them with administrative tasks and with candidate relationships. This way, they can have an edge in this cut-throat competitive market. 

CRM can help recruiters maintain and optimize their talent pool to make effective, data-driven decisions. Moreover, CRM speeds up the hiring process by providing instant data about past, active, and future candidates. When it’s the right time to hire an employee, recruiters can use an ATS to enhance the applicants’ entire hiring process.

So how do you know if your recruiters need an integrated talent acquisition solution? The below checklist will help you out:

Do you hire candidates frequently?

If yes, you definitely need one. While the CRM is entirely proactive, the ATS is reactive. This means the CRM helps you target your prospects easily whenever you have an open vacancy, as it has all the records of your past, active, and potential candidates. Then, you can use your ATS to facilitate the entire hiring process.

Does your team rely on spreadsheets to collect and manage candidates’ data?

The use of spreadsheets has become obsolete these days. Now, recruiters are looking for new software and technologies to easily store and manage candidate data. 

Of course, Excel is great for accounting tasks, but it’s not that effective for the recruitment process. For instance, you can’t get visual insights into candidate-recruiter relationships on a spreadsheet. Moreover, you also have to add the data manually.

Do you have a team of recruiters?

If your company depends on a team of recruiters, you need an ATS and CRM integrated solution to make the data accessible at all times. With CRM software, you and your team members can share information, including notes, candidates details, and lead updates. In the end, ATS will take care of the rest of the hiring work.

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Do you have any hard-to-fill job openings?

Some job positions get tons of applications, while others remain dry for months. If you’re hiring for any position like the latter, you will be required to attract candidates, build relationships with them, and then choose the best one after screening. 

This is where you can use an ATS and CRM integrated solution. It helps you build a pool of potential candidates to screen, evaluate, and test for the desired job role.

Do you spend a lot of time on data entry and processing?

The biggest bummer of hiring employees is the load of data entry work. Typically, an ATS (working alone) requires a lot of time to process and function properly. However, with an integrated CRM and ATS system, you can relieve your workflow burden and get back to the important tasks in no time.

Does your ATS store a candidate pool of thousands?

If you’re one of those recruiters who receive many job applications, you need integrated talent acquisition software to manage them. Yes, your ATS may have years of data stored, but it is useless until you have a proper CRM system for managing and optimizing it. 

Moreover, the data may also be inaccurate, and your ATS may not recognize it properly. With an integrated CRM system, you can update all your stored ATS data, verify its accuracy, and make it valuable.  

Do you initiate online campaigns to increase interest?

Undoubtedly, online campaigns are compelling to create brand awareness and attract potential candidates. However, the problem is that they don’t let you measure your return on investment (ROI), such as total time to hire, cost per hire, quality, and more.   

This means you can’t track the candidates who responded or saw your campaigns. With an integrated CRM and ATS system, you can track your attendees and even see who visited or saw your campaigns. Not only that, but you can see what’s working for you and improve the aspects that aren’t creating much value for your recruitment drive. 

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Oleeo Can Help

Today, all recruiters can make the most out of their campaigns by choosing the right tools and software. As technology continues to grow, the concept of integrated talent acquisition solutions is expected to evolve. Recruiters who want to stay ahead of others need to practice this software properly.

If you want to simplify things, Oleeo can help. Oleeo Recruit, our ATS, can leverage AI, automation and data to increase the efficiency of your hiring processes. At the same time, Oleeo Engage, our CRM, can assist you with the data you need to build strong relationships with your candidates.

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