Technology | 9 Min Read

HRIS vs ATS: Which HR Software To Choose?

author Written by Amit Ghodasara February 5, 2021

HRIS vs ATS: Which HR Software To Choose?

Are you thinking of investing in HR software for recruiting purposes but confused between HRIS and ATS?

Well, it is 2021 and the world is shifting its HR practices to automation.


The reason lies in the disadvantages of manual HR administration.

Being an employer, you must be familiar with the hassle of screening the right resume.

What if you miss a potential employee with exceptional qualities? How will you keep a record of all the data?

Above all, what if you fail in protecting the applicants' data?

The fear is real and you're not alone in this.

Did you know?

One-third of Australian data is breached because of human error.

One-third of Australian data is breached because of human error

So, whether to buy or not to buy HR software is no longer a question.

The question is which software to purchase, ATS or HRIS system?

By the end of this blog, you will be able to make the right decision.

But first!


What is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a specific software for recruitment purposes that typically manage talents.

It overcomes the problems in manual recruitment and facilitates different tasks' handling.

Its functions include job postings at different platforms, matching keywords and screening resumes and storing and securing data.

Best of all, it lets employers rate the candidates. These ratings are visible to all those involved in the hiring process so everyone stays aware of the proceedings.

Furthermore, with all the data ATS software tracks, it helps in assessing training and development needs, evaluating candidates, and deciding their rewards, accordingly, when integrated with HRIS software.

But then,

What Does HRIS Mean?

HRIS is the acronym for human resource information system also known as human resource management system (HRMS). It is the software that integrates HR with IT. Thus, facilitating the occurrence of all HR functions digitally.

10 Essential HR Management Tips for Small Business Owners

It carries all functions relating to different spheres of HR thus, automating all the manual work.

It is cheap yet efficient.

What? Is it cheap?

Not literally. But yes, centralizing all HR functions to single HRIS software is inexpensive for employers compared to buying different ones for specific functions.

What more would you want?

HRIS is your next purchase.

But wait!

Not so fast.

The disadvantages of HRIS system

HRIS software might seem like the ultimate solution but you can say,

It is a jack of all trades, but master of ONE.

And, that one is the main purpose behind its installation.

So, it wouldn't allocate more resources to a specific function that is other than its main product.

This means, if recruitment is your main purpose, HRIS software wouldn't be of much help.

Keep reading to know why.

That being said, another issue is that HRIS is not mobile-friendly.

Imagine, having an important record to keep but because this software is only desktop-friendly you will now have to first reach the office, then open the laptop, log in and then enter that single record.

What if you forget to do it?

You don't even want to think of the negative consequences.

Conducting HR transactions through mobiles saves time, is efficient, and removes barriers in employee engagement.

If you, being an employer, wouldn't want to go through this long process, so wouldn't the 89% of job seekers who find mobile-friendliness essential when applying for a vacancy.

mobile device play critical role in job hunting

These include great minds too.

That means loss of the core human resource and your potential competitive advantage.

But, don't you have an option of making Android and IOS apps for your HRIS?

Yes, you do.

But beware! Utilize this option only if you want to spend an arm of your budget for this purpose.

Doesn't seem like a wise decision.

HRIS software does not only have disadvantages for being an all-rounder but there are some advantages too.

Let's analyze them.

Benefits of using HRIS recruitment system

It is true, one shoe doesn't fit all, but at least that shoe covers your foot somehow.

Similarly, HRIS, although is a generalist, can save you when you have no ATS to look up to or have budget constraints.

  • It narrows down the recruitment budget and helps in monetary tracking, saving the initial costs that could otherwise be high in the case of specialized software like ATS.

  • HRIS gathers data in one place that can be reviewed by all the members involved in the hiring process.

  • The data can be integrated for different purposes such as performance analysis, HR auditing, and more.

  • The candidates' information remains in one place not having to be shifted from software to software.

  • Rather, after recruitment is done the information can then be saved, updated, and converted into the employee files of the same candidates.

This means, applicant's data is only entered once which is then used for all HR-related tasks.

Though for external applicants it could be unattractive because of operational difficulties but internal applicants can still benefit.

  • HRIS systems help internal candidates in applying for promotions without difficulties. Because of their familiarity with the software they'd know how to use it for their online applications and track the phases that follow.

  • Above all, HRIS can do the job perfectly for a smaller company so rest assured if you own a small company. In this case, it will be illogical to spend on ATS when not even required.

So if you're thinking about why some companies still use HRIS software, these are the reasons.

Benefits of using specialized Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

If ATS software is specific to recruitment it means it has some exceptional qualities and benefits many employers utilize.

It is the most helpful recruitment tool for market revenue generation.


Employees are your resources.

Their talents can generate revenues in billions so it is important for you to choose the right ones. Your organization's good fortune depends on your workforce.

According to stats, specialized ATS recruitment apps or applicant tracking systems' total revenue for the recruitment segment rose to 3.17 billion U.S dollars in 2019 from that of 1.19 million U.S. dollars in 2016.

Moreover, the competition is tough for acquiring the right talents with limited time. So, ATS helps in timely recruitment.

It utilizes the stored data so whenever there is a job opening it matches the data to it. It helps in automated email generations, interview scheduling, streamlines employability tests, and much more until the right hire is made.

It adds quality talents to the workforce this way.

While doing all this, ATS also reduces the cost-per-hire. It saves time by preventing manual labor that could take hours for the same task. This means that saved time can be invested in some more important money-generating activities.

Additionally, it also provides insights on the sources that lead to best hires. This means you can save costs if you know employee referrals gather better talents than job boards.

These sum up the myriad benefits of ATS systems. The best ATS software you can use in 2021 differ in features. Here are the criteria of the best features you require in your recruitment tool.

Which to Choose, HRIS or ATS Software?

One simple answer to this question lies in the difference between both the software.

The difference is of time and purpose.

HRIS is the software fit to store, track and utilize employee data while ATS is the software used to compile the applicant data.

This means the role of ATS ends once hiring is made after which HRIS software comes into action.

In short, it is a shift from the pre to post-hiring phase.

So, if the purpose is recruitment then ATS software takes the lead. ATS handles job postings, talent search, resume screening, and the likes.

But, if you intend to make employee payrolls, promotional decisions, track their performance then HRIS is your go-to solution. HRIS focuses on all internal HR functions.

ATS stores basic applicant data like their resumes, work experience, cover letters, backgrounds, etc.

While HRIS carries data like employee demographics, salary details, attendance, and performance reviews, etc.

If you are juggling between the two then rest assured, the knots have been untangled.

Now that you know, ATS is specific to recruitment you also need to understand that HRIS cannot completely replace its requirement.

Both have different roles and are used for different needs.

Research tells, while some organizations use HRIS for every function others argue recruitment is a crucial process and requires special attention.

Today, these both are used in integration more commonly known as HRIS applicant tracking systems.

90% of fortune-500-companies use ATS for its evident benefits.

HRIS or ATS, The Decision is Yours Now!

To summarize, before choosing any of the two, it is best to base this decision on your budget, organization size, and timeliness.

Usually, small-sized organizations are reluctant in purchasing ATS. But, if you want to own one of them and ease the hassle, you have the perfect ATS solution for this.

HRIS software has its role to play in the post-hiring phase and isn't replaceable for its specific purpose.

It is better to integrate both if you need exceptional outcomes.

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