This article, written by Alex Oliver, is reprinted with permission from iCIMS, a talent acquisition solutions provider. iCIMS marketplace is the largest ecosystem of integrated recruiting technologies.

Wondering why organizations go with dedicated recruiting software when their HCM includes a built-in applicant tracking system? You’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re exploring the key differences between HCMs and dedicated talent platforms, the benefits of choosing one over another, and why they may be more sympatico than you think.

Let’s get started.

Applicant tracking system vs. human capital management

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software program that helps handle a company’s recruitment needs.

At its core, an ATS collects and stores candidate information, organizes them based on categories like skills and experience, and tracks them throughout the hiring process. An ATS can also store job information, automatically screen and filter out candidates, organize communication between recruiters and hiring managers, and more.

On the other hand, a human capital management system (HCM) combines multiple HR functions, including recruiting, benefits, and payroll, into one package. This makes it easier for organizations to manage and report on HR functions across the business. HCMs do most things, though it’s not uncommon to see them excel at reporting and payroll but fall short on recruiting and talent management.

The benefit of using an HCM is that everything HR takes place in one system. It’s simple and scalable. However, this isn’t realistic for most commercial or enterprise businesses to rely solely on their HCM. Most use a lot of HR tools and solutions to accomplish everything they need to get done.

At a certain point, you’re going to run into things that your HCM can’t do. That’s where a dedicated ATS designed and built specifically for recruiting is an excellent upgrade to your current HCM.

Why some companies (mistakenly) go with HCMs for recruitment

The two main drivers for using an HCM for recruitment are 1) all HR technology (including payroll and time management) operate on the same system, and 2) data is complete and accurate across the organization.

Both sound good in principle. So good that our Talent Cloud platform uses the same concept, with one notable exception – we focus exclusively on all things recruiting and talent acquisition software.

HR is a broad umbrella, encompassing everything from benefits to payroll. All are critical to the success of your HR function and deserve focus and finesse. Simply put, we don’t believe a do-it-all system for HR exists that also does everything well. That’s not a hit on any specific vendor. In fact, we partner with many of the major HCM and HRIS systems and are proud of the work we do together.

Instead, we believe that if you’re going to do something, do it with precision and focus. No platform on the market today excels in all areas, ours included. There’s a reason we stick to what we know – recruiting.

Everything recruiting and talent in one platform (including the applicant tracking system)

The idea behind an all-in-one HR platform (e.g., your HCM) is useful in theory. It’s just not as good in practice, at least when it comes to recruiting. Anything outside of a very basic applicant tracking system is just not their strong suit.

The iCIMS Talent Cloud takes what makes that concept good – compatible, integrated systems and data – and focuses it on attracting, engaging, hiring, and advancing talent. Everything you possibly need to build and manage your workforce is in one system, from the ATS to video interviewing and offer management.

Still, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. While we’re confident any organization could and would benefit from using the entirety of the Talent Cloud, there’s flexibility to our approach that you won’t find in all HCMs.

Maybe you’re using iCIMS’ Applicant Tracking system, but talent assessments and background checks from another provider – great. Our marketplace has over 300 excellent HR and talent tools that readily integrate with the Talent Cloud. This gives new customers the ability to bring their existing recruiting software with them and existing customers the ability to shop, integrate, and switch out vendors at their convenience.

An example of what your recruiting software looks like

If you’re having trouble picturing what this looks like, never fear. Imagine your HCM as a solar system. Each of the planets is an area of HR, including payroll, time management, benefits, etc. One of those planets is recruiting – let’s say planet Earth. A lot goes into talent acquisition, including sourcing job seekers, vetting candidates, and promoting internally. Those are your continents.

The iCIMS Talent Cloud is Earth in this scenario. All your recruiting software is housed in one self-contained ecosystem (your ATS, CRM, onboarding, etc.). Zooming out, iCIMS plugs directly into your HCM or HRIS of choice, operating as part of a much larger unit (e.g., the solar system).

Award-winning candidate and user experience you won’t get with an HCM

You can’t overstate the value of a quality, flexible user experience. Technology shouldn’t need complicated workarounds or require incentives to adopt. We’re proud that teams worldwide use the Talent Cloud for the least complicated reason in the world: it’s easy to use, and it simply works.