How to pick an ATS and CRM for your company?

My company, AC Lion, recently assigned me the task of finding a new Applicant Tracking System and Customer Relationship Management software. The ATS and CRM systems are a MUST for any staffing company of ANY size! Being that we are a niche market recruiting firm, our needs are particular to specific best practices and standard processes. Before picking out the correct solutions, I must define the two systems:

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term applied to processes implemented by a company to handle its contact with its customers. […] Information in the system can be accessed and entered by employees in different departments, such as sales, marketing, customer service, training, professional development, performance management, human resource development, and compensation. (Wikipedia)

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of corporate recruitment needs. (Wikipedia)

The rationale behind these systems is to improve how we track and also how we provide services directly to the customers. We use the information in the system for targeted marketing and sales purposes.  One of the industry leading CRM’s is Salesforce.com, but my company decided on an ATS/CRM hybrid able to handle both candidate leads (B2C) and client-side relationships (B2B).

Another thing to consider is a web-based, also know as Software as a Service (SaaS).It really comes down to a few considerations. Cost of in-house servers and storage vs. a Tier3 network and fast internet connection. It really depends on your comanies budget and needs. We decided on web-based.

When it came time to conduct research, I read a very helpful article on ERE.net, on How to pick an ATS in 7 days – includes short review of 6 major vendors (LONG). This is a great way to organize your time and find the right fit in an effective manner in 12 simple steps.

I am still on step #5, Contact each vendor….Below is a list from ERE.net of which I can say 3 of my choices and our current vendor are inlcuded:

  • cBizOne
    Easy to use and contains all core functionality of ATS. Very customizable. Can host data locally or remotely (on access or SQL server). Cool quick searching UI.
  • PCRecruiter
    Easily customizable and good performance for an ASP.
  • BullHorn
    Highly recommended and praised. Performance good for ASP, UI and usability are good. Integrated email with cool email tracking feature.
  • HireDesk
    Feature rich and very customizable. Awesome website integration where candidate can have custom job agents (most the same features candidates have on Monster) Large company, dedicated support staff and best support hours.
  • Sendouts
    Outstanding usability and GUI design. One of two hybrid solutions. Good performance and overall solid system.
  • MaxHire
    Its all Microsoft technology and the email integration and automation is very well designed.

I hope at this point you find yourself with enough information to get started. If you need further advice or a copy of my checklist, feel free to e-mail me at work – Red@aclion.com.

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Posted under Job Search, Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on October 14, 2008

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7 Comments so far

  1. Julia October 18, 2008 1:21 am

    If you have not done so already, please consider myStaffingPro applicant tracking system. Alot has changed in the applicant tracking marketplace since the ERE article was published in 2005.

    Sincerely,
    Julia Friemering

  2. Gary Greene October 27, 2008 11:49 am

    Red,
    I wish you the best as you complete this process. I was glad to see Bullhorn on your final list. My recruiting company has been with Bullhorn for a number of years, growing from 3 users originally to now over 30. Another important consideration in choosing an ATS or CRM is cusomter service/technical support. When conducting references, a firm should not overlook this critical area. We continue to be blown away by the support we get from Bullhorn as well as their ability to customize solutions to our specific needs. I will be glad to serve as a reference for them once you reach the reference-checking stage and have further questions.

  3. Brian Davis November 19, 2008 12:05 am

    We have been avid Bullhorn users for over 5 years now. We made the switch from a self-designed ACT system to bullhorn when were were still 3 users in one location. We now have over 20 users in 3 countries and 10 cities in the US. We could NOT have done it without Bullhorn. Yes, there are other ATS systems out there many, with similar features, but none offer the tru partnership approach that Bullhorn does. On 2 occasions we have looked elsewhere and both times we came back thinking… why would we ever leve the best?! Thier APIs offer full function integration and the customizable platform allows for easy adaptation to any nich industry. My vote goes to Bullhorn and I challenge any other system to stand up next to it side by side… any takers?

  4. Marc Salvati November 19, 2008 9:21 am

    Bullhorn is an excellent platform, feel free to contact me and discuss. I know Salesforce is highly customizable, but Bullhorn has many featured built in and will do customizations for a reasonable charge. I know another firm who moved from Maxhire to Bullhorn and never looked back.

    Marc Salvati
    212-213-2220
    http://www.cpi-search.com

  5. Justin November 19, 2008 6:07 pm

    I agree with the other posts here, Bullhorn is a great system – we’ve been using it for over 3 years now, growing from 8 users to 45 in that time, and have found it highly scalable. I also agree with Red in separating ATS and CRM – as an agency recruiter you absolutely need both and I’d recommend looking at hybrid systems like Bullhorn only, you need integration. I’d make the argument to any internal recruiters that internal stakeholders / hiring managers are still customers and should be treated as such… therefore having a strong CRM component to your ATS is critical.

  6. Bradley May 14, 2009 5:13 pm

    Through the Force.com platform provided by Salesforce.com, you can now have best-of-breed CRM with Salesforce.com and best-of-breed ATS with JobScience…with all functionality leveraged on one database. The results are incredible!…and all within Salesforce.com. I highly recommend this combined solution for anyone performing a needs analysis.

    Bradley
    404.229.2232

  7. Bob Nelson January 14, 2011 8:23 am

    Wow, I was just found this article. Just as a follow up, after all of their research, ACLion chose cBizOne as the best fit for their unique needs.

    cBizOne is by far the best product/value combination available. You won’t find a more full-featured, lower-priced recruiting and sales software anywhere.

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