CRM VS ATS: What’s the Difference?  

The sphere of recruitment has changed a lot and is continuing to change. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are triggering these changes. Many tools and technologies have been built which has made the life of recruiters much better. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) are tools that aid recruiters incredibly. These systems are the top choices for many recruiters. They help in sourcing, attracting, and recruiting the top talents out there. But these two tools differ in many ways. Let’s see what these are in brief and understand the differences between them.  

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 

An Applicant Tracking System is a type of recruitment software that manages and aids the recruiting process, including posting jobs and receiving job applications. An ATS streamlines the entire hiring process from the beginning till the end. It organizes information about the candidates. It also helps in tracking candidates, scheduling meetings, issuing notification alerts and sending automated messages to the candidates. This software optimizes and facilitates the hiring process overall.  

Candidate Relationship Management (CRM)  

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology that is used for managing and maintaining long-term relationships with people who are in the pre-applicant stages of their candidate journey. It is also defined as the process of attracting and engaging candidates and building strong relationships with them over time. It is designed to strengthen the relationships between potential candidates and recruiters. This way recruiters can use these candidates for future job openings. It saves time and reduces the cost per hire. CRM is a part of the Recruitment Marketing Strategy.  

The Differences 

  • CRM is used for managing and maintaining long-term relationships with people who are in the pre-applicant stages of their candidate journey. An ATS is used to maintain a talent pool, automatically post jobs on multiple job boards, schedule interviews and shortlists candidates, and manage the onboarding process.  
  • A CRM works on building a pool of both passive and active candidates. An ATS is a workflow and tracking tool for managing and hiring potential employees. 
  • A CRM is used during the pre-formal hiring process while an ATS is used during the formal hiring process.  
  • A CRM is used for storing the details of potential candidates. An ATS is used for sourcing, shortlisting, interviewing, evaluating, onboarding and hiring candidates.  
  • A CRM is majorly used by sourcing recruiters while an ATS is mostly used by full cycle recruiters and companies for an end-to-end recruitment process.  
  • A CRM is designed to find and engage passive candidates while an ATS is designed to tailor and automate the complete recruitment process.  


With the right tools in hand, any recruiter can make great hires that drive business growth and development. These technology solutions will evolve with time to tackle the arising recruitment challenges of every year. Recruiters will know where to look for the best of talents and will stay ahead among the rest in the nurturing and hiring of talents.  

CRM and ATS have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, using an ATS is preferable because it allows companies to manage all their recruitment efforts in one single platform. You would need an ATS along with a CRM to streamline and automate the remaining parts of the hiring process.  

AviaHire’s ATS is a complete end-to-end recruitment software that streamlines all the processes related to recruitment activities in your organization. Book your free demo today! To know more about the latest trends in the recruitment industry, read our blogs on Medium. To know more about ATS, read our blogs on Traditional RMS VS ATS, and How to use ATS for Employee Referrals.  

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Hanan Ashraf
A strong believer in the power that words have over people, Hanan works on producing content that is creative but at the same time graspable for readers. A content writer and digital marketing intern, she loves to write about automation, HR, performance management, and employee wellbeing.