Recruiting software

Ultimate recruiting software guide for startups and companies:

Choosing recruiting software isn’t easy

If you’re considering investing in recruiting software, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Not only is the recruiting software landscape extremely crowded, but you also likely have a lot of questions:

  • How do we effectively evaluate our need for recruiting software?
  • What are the different types of recruiting software on the market?
  • What do we need to know and do before we evaluate our options?
  • What questions should we ask prospective recruiting software vendors?
  • Is recruiting software worth the cost for my company?

If you’re asking any of these questions, you’re not alone. At WhoCo, we’ve worked with scores of companies that have faced the challenges you have before you today. 

In this guide, we’ll do something different from what you may find elsewhere. We’re not going to run through a generic list of possible recruiting software solutions and current market leaders. 

Instead, because we know the needs and challenges of your company are unique, we’ll provide you with the best practices and intelligence you need to choose the right recruiting software for your business.

Table of contents

Part I. What recruiting software can’t do 

Part II. Evaluating your recruiting software needs

Part III. Questions to ask recruiting software vendors

Part IV. Is recruiting software worth the cost?

Part I. What recruiting software can’t do

Although the recruiting industry as a whole is a bit slow in terms of embracing technology, you still have a lot of options at your fingertips 

Before you start evaluating your needs or researching potential recruiting and hiring software solutions, there is one critical point to understand. While recruiting software can do many things, it is not a “silver bullet” for addressing any deficient hiring processes you may currently have. 

As WhoCo CEO and co-founder Amit Kapur noted when speaking about recruiting automation software specifically:

“For the most part, all they do is ‘address inefficiencies’ enabling companies to run through (bad) recruiting practices faster, so companies are able to hire (poorly) at scale.”

Recruiting software solutions can’t replace missing recruiting strategies, nor can they fix what’s broken within your processes. If you don’t address hiring process and strategy shortfalls before adopting a recruiting technology solution, they will empower you to scale what isn’t working.

For example, are your brand positioning and website candidate-ready?

Although there are numerous ways in which a company’s hiring processes and strategies may need optimizing, one of the most common points of failure for companies with hiring goals is their website. 

Companies usually design their websites for one audience: the individuals or companies they’re trying to convert. But consider how your website speaks to those you’re trying to hire. 

For example, if you need to hire top-tier tech talent, don’t overlook this statistic:

Image source: datapeople

The majority of candidates who accepted technical positions found their roles through a company’s website. So, before you go hunting for a recruiting software solution to solve your hiring problems, evaluate your website to make sure you’ve nailed the basics:

  • Can a job seeker easily understand what it is that you do?
  • Do you make it easy for job seekers to find open positions?
  • Do you clearly describe what it would be like to work for your company?
  • Do you offer up information about your company culture and benefits?

If you can’t answer “Yes!” to each of those questions, you still have work to do before you start looking to technology to solve your hiring challenges. 

It’s like the old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. You can have the most powerful hiring technology at your fingertips, but if the digital home base of your company (your website) isn’t attractive, useful, and friction-free to candidates, you’ll struggle to hit your hiring goals.

Of course, your website may not be the problem

There are many reasons a company’s recruiting strategies may have vulnerabilities – hiring processes that unintentionally reinforce or fail to address bias, poorly written job descriptions, flawed interviewing practices, and not leveraging internal resources effectively

We recommend looking closely at your hiring strategies and processes for gaps and opportunities before you turn to technology. 

Software will only amplify what you already have. You don’t want to invest in recruiting software then realize you should have spent elsewhere, like on improving your website, hiring better recruiters, or partnering with a PR firm.

Part II. Evaluating your recruiting software needs

Given your overwhelming number of options, the most important thing you can do after scrutinizing your recruiting strategies and hiring processes is to determine your true needs for recruiting software. 

1. How much hiring do you need to do?

If you’re hiring fewer than ten people in the foreseeable future, you may want to hit pause on investing in recruiting software until your needs increase. If you’re hiring for 10 roles or more, technology can be really effective. 

2. What kinds of roles are you hiring for?

In addition to volume, the types of roles you’re looking to fill are critical considerations when evaluating recruiting software. The diversity and specificity of your hiring plans – 25 people across different departments vs. 25 software engineers – will affect the technology you choose as well as the questions you ask prospective recruiting software vendors. 

3. What’s your budget?

All recruiting software packages come with unique pricing structures and cost ranges. Think about how much hiring you’re doing today and plan to do in the future. If your hiring needs are significant, and you know you have growth plans for the next year or two, you should feel comfortable investing more in recruiting technology. 

4. How can you leverage internal teams?

When optimizing your hiring practices and recruiting strategies, don’t forget to evaluate how you can rely on your internal teams to make positive changes. For instance, if you’re struggling with role design, candidate sourcing, interviewing, or candidate evaluations, rely on your team to help. 

Technology can certainly help with those elements of hiring, but (once more with feeling), you need the human aspects of your hiring processes buttoned up before you turn to software. 

5. What type of recruiting software do you need?

To answer this question effectively, you must thoroughly evaluate your current processes and strategies for gaps and inefficiencies. Only then can you understand the precise type of recruiting software you’re looking for. They come in all different shapes and sizes:

  • Online interviewing support software
  • Candidate relationship management
  • Applicant tracking (ATS) software
  • Candidate assessment tools 
  • “All-in-one” recruiting solutions 
  • AI and machine learning-driven platforms 

That’s not even a complete list. 

At their core, these solutions streamline and improve your recruiting efforts. Still, whatever software you choose will only work if you understand the specific inefficiencies or shortfalls you’re looking to address. 

WhoCo CEO Amit Kapur says to proceed with caution when it comes to recruiting software based solely on automation:

“We also can’t look to most of the recruiting automation platforms on the market to address the innovative shortcomings of our space … They do nothing to empower smarter decision-making at a strategic level, and very few have begun to scratch the surface of what AI and machine learning can do to augment the invaluable expertise of the human recruiter.”

Part III. Questions to ask recruiting software vendors 

OK, let’s say you’ve worked through the previous section and determined that, yes, you need a recruiting software solution for your company. You also now know what type of recruiting technology solution you need. That means it’s time to prepare for your conversations with prospective recruiting software vendors. 

More specifically, you need to know what questions to ask. 

For instance, if you’re looking to recruit at scale, you’ll need a recruiting software partner that has high-volume hiring experience and capabilities. With that in mind, you should ask questions like:

  • How can you help me get the right messaging in front of the right people at scale?
  • How does your software/solution enable me to easily wade through a high volume of applicants to find the right candidates?
  • How will your software/solution help me spend less time with bad-fit candidates?
  • How can you help make our sourcing strategies smarter and more efficient?

Even if your hiring plans are more modest, these are smart questions to lean on in sales conversations. In addition, develop a list of questions specific to the recruiting gaps, inefficiencies, or goals you identified in the previous section. 

Before you say yes to a potential software partner, there are two other key areas you’ll want to ask potential recruiting technology partners about, no matter the scale of your hiring needs. 

Reporting and integration capabilities 

Regardless of your industry or recruiting demands, the technology you choose must deliver in the areas of reporting and integrations:

  • Great recruiting and hiring technology solutions provide robust reporting that tells you what is or isn’t working, depending on your hiring focus, so you can make quick changes as needed.

  • The best software will also integrate seamlessly with any technology or platforms you already use. The last thing you want is a solution that will make your life harder because it can’t integrate with your technology stack.

If the recruiting software you’re looking at fails to check both boxes, keep looking. 

Part IV. Is recruiting software worth the cost?

Of course, the answer to this is everyone’s favorite (see: “totally annoying”) answer:

“Well, it depends.”

When it comes to conversations about recruiting and what it takes to scale hiring effectively, it can be all to easy to look to technology as the cure-all to whatever ails you. In fact, there are more than a handful of vendors out there who position themselves that way, which doesn’t make your job any easier. 

The right solution from a quality vendor that genuinely meets your needs and delivers the ROI you’re looking for is worth the cost. But there is always a chance you can end up choosing a software solution that breaks your heart (and your budget). Is this the fault of the software vendor you choose? Sometimes. However, In other instances, it may be a lack of planning or due diligence on your part. 

Recruiting and hiring technology has limitations 

It’s true; technology can do a lot of things. However, even though we’ve spoken at length about how technology has a long way to go in the recruiting field, the one thing it can never replace is the inherently human aspect of what it takes to hire well.

A platform is a tool, not a hiring strategy. An algorithm can’t replace an experienced recruiter or internal team member who understands how to craft powerful, purpose-driven messaging that will resonate deeply with the right types of candidates. An automation feature can’t fix broken hiring practices that make it easier for bad-fit candidates to slip through to the next stage. 

Moreover, the attractive promises of recruiting technology can sometimes distract from where you truly need to invest. Particularly if you make a bad choice that also makes it easy for candidates to beat the recruiting software you choose.

You may need to invest in recruiting, but not recruiting technology

If you have robust hiring needs and have outgrown your current hiring strategies, you need to invest somewhere in your recruiting ecosystem. 

But that might not mean putting all your eggs in the technology basket. You may need to hire a new recruiter. Maybe try improving the candidate experience on your website. You could engage with a public relations partner to elevate awareness of your brand. 

In some cases, you may need to make other internal hires beyond recruiters if you’re looking to hire at scale for specific types of positions. For example:

“... if you know that technical recruiting will likely be a part of your long-term growth strategy as a company, you might think about bringing on strong technical leadership, such as an experienced engineering manager or a CTO. Such a move would signal your commitment to being a technology-focused company, and great talent attracts great talent. Moreover, internal technical leaders can help you improve your hiring processes and overall recruitment posture for your technical roles because they know first-hand what does and does not work.”

It may seem crazy that, as a recruiting technology platform ourselves, we’re seemingly advising you potentially against investing in technology. That’s not entirely true.

Yes, at WhoCo, we firmly believe technology can never replace the need for human recruiters. We also believe that investing in the right technology is essential for modern recruitment strategies, especially if hiring for challenging roles, such as technical positions.

However, there may be other investments you need to make first before you start looking at technology to scale your hiring into the future.

So, when is recruiting software the right choice for you?

The answer can be “Yes, the recruiting software you choose is absolutely worth the cost!” if you:

  • Proactively address the gaps in your hiring process that technology can't solve. 
  • Know how your hiring demands will influence the type of recruiting software you need.
  • Thoroughly evaluate your recruiting practices and processes to know where you need the most help from a technology perspective. 
  • Ask potential recruiting software partners the right questions, so you can confidently pick the right solution.

Always start by evaluating your company’s unique needs, challenges, and goals with unflinching honesty. In doing so, you’ll guarantee you’re making the best investment possible to move your recruiting efforts and, ultimately, your company’s mission forward.