Understanding ATS and HRIS Platforms

Managing your recruiting processes can feel overwhelming when using manual processes. However, most of these tedious tasks are being replaced by digital recruiting platforms and automation – giving recruiters back the time needed for making actual human connections.

Organizing and tracking applications, candidate communication and evaluations, and employee performance and payroll can be challenging. Here, we discuss applicant tracking systems (ATS) and human resource information systems (HRIS), the differences between them, and what you should consider when integrating either or both for your organization.

What is an applicant tracking system?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a recruitment platform that focuses on attracting candidates and keeps track of several stages of the hiring process. This includes the marketing and posting of multiple job ads across several websites, collection and storing of candidate data, and measuring a candidate’s resume-listed skills against an open position’s job description.

ATS platforms also support tracking of:

  • Interview schedules

  • Compliance data (if required)

  • Analytics and reporting of candidate applications

What is a human resource information system (HRIS)?

A human resource information system (HRIS) is a platform that focuses on the tracking of employee information after they are hired including benefits, contact information, position details, salary, and paid time off. These platforms also support the onboarding and offboarding of employees, and any related or required training.

HRIS platforms also support tracking of:

  • General employee data

  • Performance and skills management

  • Organizational policies, forms, and surveys

How ATS and HRIS platforms complement one another

Implementing both ATS and HRIS platforms can be beneficial to your organization because of how they complement each other during a candidate-to-hired-employee journey. Though used at distinct stages in the recruitment process, one of the advantages of having both systems integrated within your organization is that they can transmit information from one system to another. Of course, this type of implementation can depend on the size of the organization and budget.

Platforms you may want to consider

Along with ATS and HRIS platforms, there are similar systems available such as a Human Resource Management System (HRMS) or Human Capital Management System (HCMS). An HRMS is like an HRIS and includes more complex programs within the system, including performance management reviews. 

 An HCMS is an all-in-one platform that has robust functionality for recruiting. However, the software may not have all the in-depth recruitment tools for analytics you may be looking for.  

Safeguard your recruiting and employee data

As cloud-based systems become the norm, protecting personal information and other sensitive data has become more pertinent. As ATS and HRIS platforms evolve, cyber-threats become more of a reality. There are several ways to prevent a security breach’s risk (and consequences).

Some helpful tips you can use include providing data security training to all employees, having a recovery plan, and staying on top of employee offboarding. Partnering with your IT team is critical to securing your recruiting platforms and mitigating breach potential.


Regardless of the automated platform you choose, make sure your systems can easily store the data you need for faster and more effective candidate and employee workflows. ATS and HRIS systems are vastly improving the hiring process, by saving time, offering better ways to source, reducing manual errors, and providing better talent for your company.

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