ATS vs CRM: Which Works Best? 


Kiran Bajpai

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: January 28, 2021


Oorwin : No. 1 In Applicant Tracking Software

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. Statistics suggest that a vacancy costs the average company $500 a day.

Maintaining a candidate database and building relationships with them involves time and effort. On average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes

In order to select the best fit in a talent pool, it is important to choose the right Human Resource (HR) tool. Moreover, it is critical to understand the different aspects of recruiting systems. 

While the applicant tracking system (ATS) is widely used, analysts believe that in the future, 70-80% of recruiting processes will be handled by customer relation management (CRM) systems

Let us understand the importance and attributes of recruitment CRM and ATS.

Recruitment CRM

Recruitment CRM allows hiring managers and recruiters to build relationships with prospective job candidates. Moreover, CRM helps to manage the entire recruitment process. A recruitment CRM treats candidates as customers and makes efforts to provide them a personalized experience.

With the increased competition in the market, it is essential to maintain good relationships with the candidates. Maintaining a candidate database requires great organization skills. However, managing it using paper, pen, or even spreadsheets is outdated. 

For instance, if an HR manager comes across a great candidate who might not be suitable for the current job position. With a CRM system, they can maintain communication with that candidate and connect with that candidate when a suitable job position opens up.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is an end to end recruitment tracker that helps manage all the recruitment requirements of a company. It offers features like automatic posting of job ads, scheduling interviews, shortlisting candidates, and managing their onboarding process. A modern ATS is fully-automated and manages each phase of recruitment.

Looking for an ATS System? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best Applicant Tracking System solutions.

Why Companies Need a Recruitment CRM for ATS?

Let us look at why companies must have recruitment CRM for their ATS. 

1. Actively Source Candidates

Recruitment CRM is a must if a company actively sources candidates. Companies can use CRM to target potential candidates and build new relationships. An ATS is reactive and can only deal with candidates that have applied. 

2. Easy Data Tracking

Spreadsheets are the most popular options for tracking candidate data. While they are great for accounting, they are not ideal for recruiting purposes. With spreadsheets, everything needs to be updated manually. 

Moreover, it does not provide insights into candidate relations. However, organizations can integrate CRM with email and time tracking software to compile all information in one place.

3. Supports Team Coordination

A solo recruiter can easily balance relationship details and balance different recruiting tools. However, a team of recruiters may or may not have that expertise. 

With a recruitment team, candidate data needs to be accessible at all times. Each team member must know every relationship’s status and if his/her colleagues have spoken to a candidate before.

A CRM supports seamless sharing of notes, tracking candidates, developing and nurturing leads, and documenting activity across the organization. 

4. Helps Fill Hard-to-fill Roles

Certain roles will always have tons of applicants. However, for many positions, the applications are always low. 

For example, leadership positions for STEM roles require building a successful pipeline of candidates and nurturing relationships with them.

A CRM helps organizations build a talent pool of non-applicants by targeting the right market and candidates.

5. Saves on Time

An ATS requires a lot of time and effort to work. Data entry and other processes can lead to a loss in productivity. CRM systems help save time by automating most processes and letting organizations focus on the important stuff.

6. Handle A Large Amount of Data

More than thousands of candidates must have applied to a company. While ATS stores all data, the data is of no use. 

There might be hundreds of candidates relevant for open roles. A CRM system automatically updates data and lets companies target the best previous applicants for open roles.

7. Generate Interest via Campaigns

Career fairs and online campaigns are a great way to attract passive candidates. However, it is difficult to measure the number of candidates that came to the event. 

CRM systems automatically track attendees and prospects from campaigns. It helps companies track leads and nurture relationships with prospective candidates. 

Why Do Companies Need an ATS?

Here is why an organization needs an Applicant Tracking System. 

1. Posting Job Ads

Creating compelling job ads is an easy task. However, posting job descriptions on every recruitment site and categorizing them is a time-consuming process. An ATS automatically posts job requirements on all websites with a single click. Moreover, it also helps track applicants coming from different websites and modify the distribution strategy accordingly.

2. Sorting Applications

ATS sorts and organizes candidate applications. It has tools that also screen and shortlist resumes by matching candidate profiles to the existing employees’ resumes. These tools help cut down on time and effort. Thus, allowing in-depth examination of candidates suitable for the position. 

3. Schedule Interviews

With ATS organizations can automate the entire scheduling process and fix a time for the interview. When the interview date approaches, the ATS will send reminders to everyone involved in the interview process.

4. Collaborating

A hired or to be hired candidate needs to work with a team. It is essential that the team is satisfied with his/her skills. An ATS allows easy sharing of candidate data and helps get feedback from the team members.

5. Onboarding

ATS accelerates the onboarding process by automating it. This saves on time and helps new employees gel up with other employees and establishes excellent professional relationships. 

The Difference between ATS and Recruitment CRM

ATS is used by full cycle recruiters for end-to-end recruitment.CRM is used by sourcing recruitersAn ATS is used to streamline and automate the recruitment process.

Recruiters use CRMs to find and engage passive candidates.

Applicant Tracking SystemRecruitment CRM
ATS is a workflow and compliance tool for managing and hiring employees.A recruitment CRM keeps a 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.

 Recruitment CRM vs. ATS: Choosing the right one

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 recruitment CRM and ATS simplify the recruitment process and reduce manual efforts. Did we miss out on any aspect, let us know in the comments section below!



Kiran Bajpai is Marketing Associate at SoftwareSuggest. Her expertise lies in Software Analysis. She can never get bored of reading books, especially those related to History and Politics.

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