HR Recruitment Software vs. Applicant Tracking Systems: Comparing Apples vs Oranges?

webrecruit-may15-2The recruitment software marketplace is varied, with numerous options available to businesses to choose from. And this market, therefore, can be considerably overwhelming to an HR professional trying to research the most suitable solution.
Introducing a software solution, such as an applicant tracking system (ATS), is a common requirement shared by many HR and recruiting teams keen to gain control of their hiring activities.
It’s not surprising, if your team already has an HR system in place, that it is natural to consider the recruitment bolt-on to this software to help manage your hiring activities as a first port of call.
Opting for an HR system bolt-on seems a worthwhile avenue to explore, with two key factors of this route eluding it to be a guaranteed ‘quick-win’. Firstly they are considered cost effective, and secondly, easy to integrate (you’ll already be familiar with the system).
However, the issue with using an HR bolt-on to manage your recruitment is simple: that it’s not a system specifically designed to do this.
To compare its capabilities to an ATS would be like comparing apples and oranges. Just like an ATS would be ineffective in managing wider HR processes, an HR recruitment add-on has limitations in its ability to help you to attract, manage and recruit staff.
In fact, Webrecruit often finds that many businesses who are serious about direct recruitment, but opt for the HR bolt-on rather than an ATS, have to revert back to the option of an applicant tracking system further down the line because there are gaping holes in the functionality.
Worst still, whilst they are waiting to catch up on the time they’ve lost from a wrong decision –they have to revert to the previous solutions that supported them – most commonly, and most costly, the assistance of an external agency.
Of course there is a time and a place for HR systems, however, if you are serious about your recruitment strategy, here’s why an HR bolt-on could harm you – and hinder your efforts.
If you are considering opting for your HR recruitment bolt-on over an ATS, here’s some things to consider before you make the decision.

Shortfall in flexibility – (what happens if you need to change it in 12 months’ time?)

Stand-alone recruitment software boasts a wide range of bespoke tailoring including client specific requirements, and integration to both required social platforms and video interviewing software.
The recruitment tool within a typical HR bolt-on is an add-on component, and is therefore not the primary focus of the system. It will have set perimeters, and often fails to meet the individual recruitment needs of a company. What’s more, if you wish to make alterations this will have to be looked at by a developer, which can be costly.
If your recruitment needs change after you’ve purchased a system – for example, you have been set a recruitment drive – recruitment software can be adapted to meet the changing needs of your business’ objectives.

The bolt-on isn’t fit for purpose

Bolt-ons are developed to accommodate for short term initiatives, to help you tie over and reduce some of the admin headaches. Their focus is on HR processes in general, and falls short to provide specialist tools for recruitment activities.
HR teams interested in transforming their hiring activity should look at systems that are designed specifically to achieve specialist objectives. For instance, ATSs will have features such as agency portals (to manage your suppliers) and interview schedulers, as well as functionality that will allow for reporting connect to your high level objectives.
To give an example, an ATS will be able to report on advertising sources that deliver quality candidates, which is key to helping you reduce your advertising spend. It can also report on which hiring managers are taking the longest to approve adverts, allowing you to identify the bottle neck fast and speed up your processes.


There are indeed many HR bolt-ons available in the market that do a great, robust job; and it’s not our intention to under-sell them.
When workloads increase, the fast and easiest solution is often the most appealing. It’s a trap many businesses fall into. Yet it’s this mentality that is often the root of the problem in a business meeting long term objectives.
Before you decide between a HR bolt-on and recruitment software – try to visualise where you and your business will be in 12, 24 and 36 months’ time. Will your bolt-on still be with you?
Discover more applicant tracking system benefits or download Webrecruit’s Fusion Software brochure.

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