Top 5 Reasons Companies Choose an ATS over an HRIS

Feb 1, 2023


As technology continues to advance across both consumer and commercial markets, new and exciting opportunities for advancement are arising every day.

For the most part, this is a positive change. However, buyers are facing an increasingly more complex decision-making process as more and more options become available to them. In the HR technology space, one of the greatest disruptions has been in the movement towards specialization of services and providing a standalone service instead of taking a broader approach with an HRIS type of platform. Today we are going to look at the top 5 reasons why HR departments are moving towards using pure-play ATS (applicant tracking system) companies for their recruitment management rather than relying on a HRIS system.

  1. An ATS-only platform typically has better features and functionality than a recruiting platform offered by a HRIS. Which system would you rather have for recruiting – one that focuses only on recruiting, or one that focuses on being a one-stop shop for every HR need? By concentrating on one very specific goal (get the best people, faster), an ATS provider will usually come out on top of an HRIS when it comes to their ability to manage and attract applicants to their organization. It’s simple math, actually – if you and I both have 8 hours today to study for a test, but my test covers 5 subjects and your test covers only one, you are going to outscore me every time (given we have the same variables such as IQ and work ethic).
  2. ATS providers will usually be on the cutting edge of implementing new technologies and features that improve the recruiting process, providing regular upgrades to their clientele. This is a key benefit because it keeps your organization on the forefront of new technology, as opposed to buying a platform that may be average-good to start with, but then becomes obsolete over time due to a lack of focus on improving in a specific area.
  3. Any ATS worth it’s salt is going to have an open API, meaning it can integrate seamlessly with your other HR systems. This means that you can integrate one or any number of other HR systems into your ATS platform on setup, giving you the seamless integration that is the key selling point of an HRIS. Usually when an organization decides to choose an HRIS for the first time, the main reason is for the ease at which information can flow from recruiting to onboarding to training to development to paychecks to all of the other HR functions. With an open API, you could use 5 different specialized systems and have them communicate seamlessly with one another, giving you the all-in-one experience you get from an HRIS. The biggest difference in that approach, of course, is that those 5 companies are probably each going to give you a better experience in their respective fields than the one company trying to be an expert in all 5.
  4. Taking a specialized approach allows HR departments more freedom and flexibility. I talk to HR managers every day who have at least one or two complaints about their HRIS system, but because their platform takes an all or nothing approach, they usually have to put up with the things they don’t like until their dissatisfaction reaches a critical mass and they are ready to try a different provider. So, many times I’ll see an organization switch to a completely new type of HR platform simply because their HR software couldn’t get just one or two areas right. If you took a specialized approach and used multiple providers that specialize in a single discipline, you could easily replace one of your platforms if they became undesirable, while not having to train everyone on a brand new system for all of the platforms as well. This saves both time and money.
  5. Better support. Just as the product of a company specializing in one discipline is probably going to be better than one with multiple focuses, the support is going to be better as well. You will more than likely have shorter wait times to talk to someone, faster problem resolution, and your feedback will be more valuable as well. I know for a fact that if I call my company right now I will be connected instantly with someone in customer service who can resolve my issue 99% of the time, and in those extremely rare situations where they can not assist, they will get me to someone who can help right away. Customer support is one of the most overlooked categories when selecting a technology/service provider, so do yourself a favor and use it in your evaluation criteria of an ATS provider.