Which Recruiting Tool Should I Buy? Recruitment Marketing or ATS?

Which recruiting tool should I buy? Recruitment Marketing software or ATS?” is one of the most common questions recruiters ask when it comes to making new investments. The problem is that many of them, besides not knowing the difference between the two, don't know that there are 2-in-1 solutions that offer both. Even though many think that ATS is their best option for solving hiring challenges, this is often not the case. 


Types of recruiting tools

Not every recruiting software is the same. Moreover, same types of recruiting software differ in their features and capabilities. To make recruiting software classification as simple as possible, I put them in 2 categories based on primary solutions that they offer:

  1. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and 
  2. Recruitment Marketing Software 

To help you understand the biggest difference between the two, think of them as pre and post application tools. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a solution to manage applicants, and Recruitment Marketing software is a solution to manage leads.

Leads are defined as candidates who are or may be interested in your company, but are not ready to apply just yet.

types of recruiting tools

That being said, solutions offered by these two types of recruiting software are very different. However, realizing that they complement each other well, and offer the best recruiting experience together, some software providers now offer 2-in-1 recruitment marketing and ATS solution.

Meaning, there are software that offer both ATS and Recruitment Marketing solutions that integrate together perfectly under one platform.

Benefits of using one software that offers both ATS and Recruitment Marketing are significant. Trying to integrate two or more platforms can never work as well as one platform that offers both solutions. 

If you are looking into buying a Recruitment Software, our guide for buying a Recruiting Tool will help you!

Differences in Recruiting Tools: ATS vs. Recruitment Marketing platform

As explained earlier, ATS are useful after you have job applicants. However, one of the biggest recruiting challenges today is finding and attracting candidates. The biggest challenge is to lead them through the first 3 stages of their candidate journey: awareness, consideration and interest. 

This is what Recruitment Marketing is responsible for. It helps recruiters showcase their brand, and optimize their Employer Branding strategies and attract talent. All Employer Branding ideas can, using a Recruitment Marketing recruiting tool, be brought to life. 

After you have turned leads into applicants, Applicant Tracking System comes into play. This is a recruiting tool that helps you streamline your candidate selection and manage candidates from your talent pool

types of recruiting tools

Recruiting tool: Applicant Tracking System

Applicant tracking system offers a wide range of solutions for different hiring challenges. It is a repository of all of your applicants for job openings that manages and streamlines your hiring process from job applications to hires.

ATS usually serves as a database with all of your applicants’ profiles, it helps interview scheduling, candidate screening and evaluation, enables easy team collaboration and communication...all in one place.

This is all great, but what about passive candidates?... 

Many recruiters today struggle to find the right job candidates. Often times, these are passive job seekers, and they make 73% of the whole workforce.

recruiting tool for passive candidates

Even though some ATSs have capabilities for finding and attracting job seekers, this is not their primary focus. Instead, their main goal is to make post-application phase of hiring more simple, automated and faster. 

In other words, ATS can help you in your hiring efforts only AFTER you already have applicants for your job opening. If you are struggling with attracting and getting more high-quality applicants, ATS is not a solution for that problem… 

Recruitment marketing platform is! 

Recruiting tool: Recruitment Marketing software

Creating an outstanding candidate experience is what employers are focused on more than ever before. Attracting talent is more challenging than managing existing applicants. This is why Recruitment Marketing has become one of the must-have recruiting strategies, and Recruitment Marketing platforms have become must-have recruiting tools.   

Improve your Recruitment Marketing with TalentLyft
To see how TalentLyft has helped hundreds of companies improve their strategies, make sure to set up a consultation call!
 Book a quick call 

In a recent Aptitude research, Madeline Laurano, Co-Founder & Chief Research Officer, defines a recruitment marketing platform as a platform that

Manages outbound sourcing, inbound recruitment marketing, and employer branding. A recruitment marketing platform includes capabilities that maintain the employer brand, foster candidate relationships, and enhance messaging and communication efforts. The most critical capabilities in these systems include: Career Site, SEO, Employee Referrals, and Talent Communities/Networks. 

types of recruiting tools- CRM

For these reasons, many modern recruiters use recruitment marketing strategies that have proven to hep them showcase their Employer Brand, improve candidate experience and attract best talent. 

Since the struggle for finding and hiring high quality candidates has been increasing rapidly, recruitment marketing platforms have become the most popular solutions for biggest recruiting challenges.

40% of companies that plan to hire next year have had unfilled vacancies for 6 months or longer because they cannot find qualified applicants.

- McKinsey & Company

Unfortunately, this problem will keep happening as long as recruiters don’t understand that recruiting process begins long before a candidate applies for a job. Unlike ATS, Recruitment Marketing technologies offer solutions for challenges that have become much more significant than managing existing applicants- challenges to GET applicants. 

Globally, 57% of employers say that competition for talent is their top challenge!

- LinkedIn

Features of Recruitment Marketing software can be numerous, but they vary from provider to provider. Some of the most important features of a Recruitment Marketing software include:

That’s a lot, isn’t it?

Yes, but these are all solutions that companies and recruiters have started looking for in their recruiting tools. Therefore, when you start looking for a Recruitment Marketing software, make sure that all these features are available.

Even though the main goal of every Recruitment Marketing solution is to find, attract and engage both passive and active job seekers, some platforms are much more robust than others.

Therefore, when choosing a software to invest in, you should look for the one that offers as many solutions as possible.

Unlike Recruitment Marketing platforms, there are many companies that already use ATS. However, it is becoming more and more obvious that ATS alone is not considered a solution for more effective hiring and talent acquisition.

Influencers on recruiting tools

Many HR experts and influencers have shaped their own opinions about recruiting tools. Matt Charney, one of the biggest HR bloggers and analysts, says this about ATS: 

If you think you can actually transform a system of record into a system of engagement, you must be high on the hog.

Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.” He serves as executive editor for Recruiting Daily, whose flagship property, Recruiting Blogs, is the world’s largest social network and content-sharing platform for recruiting professionals.

In addition, many existing ATS solutions have a reputation of being complicated, not user-friendly and lack some key features.

For these reasons, a large portion of companies that already use ATS are willing to, or considering to, switch to a solution that has more Recruitment Marketing functionality.

Recruiting tool you should buy: ATS or a Recruitment Marketing Software?

Even though we have defined the two recruiting tools, you are probably still not sure about which one would best serve your needs.

In order to help you make the best decision about which tool to buy, in the next two posts, we have identified a detailed list of all solution offered by an ATS and a Recruitment Marketing software. 

backgound backgound
2024 Guide to Buying a Recruiting Tool

2024 Guide to Buying a Recruiting Tool

Looking for a new Recruitment Software? Replacing the old one? Not sure about what type of a recruitment tool to invest in? This guide is for you!
Get your eBook

Further reading

55 Best Job Boards in 2024 (Free + Paid) 55 Best Job Boards in 2024 (Free + Paid)
Welcome to the ultimate cheat sheet for navigating the jungle of job boards! At this time, the space of job boards is almost endless, ranging from widely recognized...
How to Create a Hiring Plan That Works How to Create a Hiring Plan That Works
Imagine working in tourism, and you start posting ads for seasonal jobs a month before the beginning of the season? We all know it will be a disaster. Because we...

By topics

Attracting Candidates
Best HR Blogs
Candidate Experience
Careers Page
Collaborative Hiring
Conducting Interviews
Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Company Culture
Employee Management
Employee Onboarding
Internal Recruitment
Employer Branding
Hire planning
HR Software
HR Tech Trends
Interview Questions
Job Advertisement
Mobile Recruitment
News & Updates
People Analytics
Recruiting Stats
Recruitment Agencies
AI in Recruitment
Recruitment by Industry
Recruitment Content
Recruitment Marketing
Recruitment Process
Recruitment & HR Software
Recruitment Trends
Remote Work
Resume Screening
Candidate Assessment
Social Recruiting
Talent Sourcing
Successful Recruiter
Talent Acquisition
Tech Recruiting
Employee Retention
Video in Recruitment
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Your hiring teammate

TalentLyft is an intuitive recruitment app made for successful hiring.