Recently, TA Leaders have been exploring and using, to great success and scalability, the capability of a recruitment CRM and combining its known power with the traditional ATS. The use of a CRM to find, engage, and manage relationships with candidates as they go through the application process has become commonplace, and the role definition of the CRM and ATS continues to be blurred. As we look at the capability our clients are seeking, with an integrated CRM, we are reminded of the numerous things each leader must consider as they navigate this decision, many of these are explored here. (Tip: We have an entire category in our TA technology Ecosystem devoted to tracking ATS, Download the Latest TTL Ecosystem)
An ATS Tracks Data as the System of Record
An ATS is to track an applicant, and it typically focuses on compliance type items as a priority. The ATS allows TA organizations to open jobs, facilitate the application process, gather feedback from the hiring manager and recruiting teams, and finally, manage the offer process. Most applicant tracking systems continue to record employee behavior and deliver the desired employee experience.
A CRM Tracks (and Facilitates) Behavior
A recruitment CRM is to manage the relationship between the company (usually facilitated by the recruitment team, hiring manager, or team) and the candidate, whether that candidate is passive today, applied directly, was sourced internally or externally, or a former employee or employee of a competitor. The goal of a CRM is to nurture the relationship through things like reminders, email/ text automation and workflows, and store comprehensive candidate information that recruiters and hiring managers can use to continue the conversation with candidates, whether they’re “active” or not. All of these activities are focused on converting the candidate to apply for a position.Consider the same vendor for both your #ATS & #CRM. Here are 6 reasons from @TalentTechLabs: Click To Tweet
Because the two are often used together (but track different things), one might think it’s okay to grab any old ATS and CRM and mash them together. While countless companies have made this work out of necessity, it may not always be the best way to design a recruitment experience that delights candidates and your internal recruitment team and hiring managers.
TA leaders typically decide on the feature set of a particular ATS to deliver the desired experiences for candidates, recruiters, HR, and executive leaders relative to their recruitment processes, and think of the CRM feature set as completely separate. But, there may be an opportunity to think of them as one platform, also focused on delivering the experiences mentioned. Some clients may choose to purchase an ATS and a CRM from different companies to “spread the budget around” in hopes that one solution will be a winner, even if the other proves difficult in terms of service, implementation, integration (data and process), or actual features.
While a desire to get more value for the money, combining powerful feature sets and gut feelings aren’t bad reasons to select from different vendors, there are also really good reasons to select an ATS and CRM combination from the same company. The fact remains that these are two different software applications that were built for two different purposes, and the strategic intent of them remains important as recruiting execution is challenged in the ever-changing landscape of business today.
Here are a few things to consider as you weigh the pros and cons of the platform play for the combined CRM/ATS solution.
Consideration #1: Tech Stack Consolidation
In the past, as our clients considered a TA tech transformation – they would invest in a series of technologies and often have to sign individual contracts for CRM, ATS, assessments, etc.. From here, vendors matured and began to partner where the primary vendor (often the ATS) would subcontract with each vendor on their paper and clients would be able to sign just one contract. The next evolution of this was disrupted as vendor consolidation occurred, and now TA suite vendors provide a series of solutions across the TA ecosystem, such as CRM and TA from one provider.
Other vendors chose not to buy but rather build solution capability that was then on one code base and platform. This still lent itself to one contract but created a new complexity for the buyer. These clients could buy from one solution provider but may have to integrate these platforms together, even if they were from one vendor by name. The integration approach is one to evaluate and should be thought through thoroughly as you compare this to an option where one vendor has built each of these solutions on one single platform. According to Bill Cleary, VP of Talent Strategies at Avature, “this is a special sauce for us at Avature, as we believe in the platform strategy with one codebase for our customers, creating simplicity as they integrate data, process and technology across CRM and ATS.”
Consideration #2: Integration of Data and Process is King
SSO is another acronym you’re probably accustomed to hearing. Many companies tout a single sign-on or one-glance dashboard as proof they can integrate with any other vendor out there. However, true integration is about both data (what integrations usually proclaim) and process. When you rely on one company for both your ATS and your CRM, you avoid process overlap, bring a unified UX, and should bring a POV to the data consistency conversation. As we discussed above, many processes in ATS and CRM can be duplicative, which can cause extra work for recruiters already struggling with bandwidth and a potentially irritating redundant process for your candidates (who may have to enter the same information in two systems).
With one vendor, you also have similar processes throughout the TA ecosystem. Even the UX is the same, so when recruiters and hiring managers have to replicate each other’s roles in a pinch, it’s totally doable. The only exception to this rule is if the ATS or CRM has recently been bought and brought into the product solution set. In this case, the integration isn’t usually so seamless and can be fraught with design limitations and the building of an interface where you would think you would not need one to transfer data. If you’re the type of team who likes solving thorny issues with your vendors — have a go at it. Otherwise, wait about 6-18 months to try out their “new CRM.”
Consideration #3: Candidates are Customers and Need One Experience
Candidate experience or CX is paramount at the moment. When products aren’t truly integrated (or even owned by related product teams), it not only means that candidates have to enter the same information twice, but everything from the mobile experience to loading time can be impacted on their end. Think about it like a game of badminton. Every time your candidate is tossed from the ATS to the CRM, or from the CRM to the ATS, there is an opportunity for a point of failure. When that integration of two disparate systems doesn’t work, that’s potentially a lost opportunity even if you are buying both solutions from one provider.Wondering how to move forward with your #CRM and #ATS integration? Purchase them from the same company. @TalentTechLabs explains in their latest blog: Click To Tweet
Consideration #4: One Login for HR and One Interface
It’s easy to forget that talent acquisition isn’t the only department that uses the ATS or CRM systems. Of course, candidates and employees are common users, but your HR department also needs to be able to navigate the system for their purposes. One interface throughout the system is much simpler and ensures everyone on your talent team is speaking the same language.
Consideration #5: One System of Record and Engagement
HR loves systems of record, and with good reason. The more complex your talent operation process becomes, the more opportunities for data to slip through the cracks. If you are competing in a tight talent market, it pays to understand just who has engaged with an applicant and HOW. One of the biggest turnoffs for highly sought after talent is a tone-deaf approach from multiple contacts at a company. By ensuring your system of record has no room for error, you can avoid this small, but damaging faux pas.
Consideration #6: One Source of Truth for Reporting
If you haven’t heard about how HR and TA/TM are using predictive analytics, you’ve likely been living under a rock. Predictive analytics can now inform everything from which product your company brings to market next or where you should place your next regional office, to which benefits you should offer your burgeoning workforce, and where your hiring managers need an extra hand (or bias training!). Having one source of truth enables predictive analytics across the organization and avoids so-called “dirty data” caused by multiple inputs (that could be very different) or distinct formats (that could truncate records due to mismatching fields or values). Having your ATS, CRM, and analytics engine on the same platform helps avoid all this.
Consideration #7: Security
This can be both a blessing and a curse. When you select your ATS/CRM vendor, security is one of the first things you should vet (and bring your IT department along for the ride). Security is key and allows recruiters to do their job according to the business unit they support while still being able to see talent across the spectrum. A single security protocol, combined with defined user roles, is the ultimate in ATS/CRM efficacy, and this varying from one application to another can create unneeded complexity.
While a case can be made for purchasing these two crucial systems from different vendors, the benefits of using the same trusted vendor for both can be the right solution for many companies.
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