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Your Guide to Choosing the Right Recruiting Software

image for fizkes / Getty Images
fizkes / Getty Images
  • Recruiting software provides the tools you need to stay organized and streamline the hiring process.
  • Common recruiting software features include workforce planning, candidate sourcing, applicant tracking, employee onboarding and reporting.
  • Find a software package that not only fits your current recruiting needs but will accommodate your business as your team expands.
  • This article is for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to know what to look for when choosing a recruiting software solution. 

As your small business grows, you will be faced many times with the challenging task of hiring new employees. Your employees are the greatest asset to your company, and it is important to find top talent that is not only highly qualified but that also fits your company's culture. 

Posting ads and sifting through hundreds of applications can be a daunting task, so many small businesses turn to recruiting software to streamline the process of finding the perfect candidates. 

We've written this guide to help you choose the right recruiting software for your business. If you already know what you're looking for, visit our best picks page to see which applications we recommend. 

Hiring the right people is one of the toughest challenges for small business owners. Recruiting software is an all-in-one solution designed to simplify the hiring process, even if your company doesn't have a human resources department. It can save you time and money by helping you find the best candidates in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. 

Most recruiting programs provide a variety of automated functions: job posting, candidate sourcing, applicant tracking, third-party integration and employee onboarding. The best recruiting software, though, has analytics and reporting capabilities that help you further streamline your recruiting process. 

Key takeaway: Recruiting software is an automated solution designed to streamline your hiring process. 

Recruiting software provides the tools you need to stay organized and streamline the hiring process, from creating a job posting to onboarding new employees. With a recruiting solution, you 're able to publish job postings across multiple platforms, accept applications, establish workflows, maintain schedules and more all in one place. The software is often intuitive and mobile friendly, and some solutions are customizable – you tailor the workflow to suit your specific needs.  

Key takeaway: Recruiting software acts as a single platform for you to post jobs, find candidates, accept applications, schedule interviews, track applicants, and communicate with candidates and team members. 

Most small businesses have infrequent or short-term hiring needs. Recruiting software can cost as little as $25 per job posting per month or thousands of dollars per month, depending on the scale and features needed. 

Recruiting software is typically scalable; pricing is flexible – typically month to month – and some software vendors offer demos and free trials. 

There are several factors that affect the cost of the software, like what features you need, how many open jobs you are hiring for, and how many people on your recruiting team need access to the software. It's also common that some software providers charge additional fees for premium features, licensing, setup and installation, etc., and this is something to ask vendors about as you evaluate different solutions. 

There are free recruiting software plans; however, the included features are often very limited. 

Key takeaway: The cost of recruiting software varies. Look for scalable software solutions with demos and free trials. 

The best platforms offer automated features that streamline the recruiting process and reduce the time it takes to fill a job opening. 

The software should let you post job listings to multiple websites (including your own) and social media. Most applications target popular job sites, but it's equally important that you have the ability to post ads to niche job sites, particularly if you're looking for designers or tech professionals. 

Additionally, the recruiting solution should allow you to accept resumes online and populate candidate data automatically. It should generate prescreening questionnaires so you can eliminate unqualified candidates. Using the software, you should also be able to quickly and easily search for qualified candidates based on specific criteria, such as experience and required skills. 

The best recruiting software helps you stay organized throughout the entire hiring process. Look for features like the ability to bifurcate the hiring process by stage and project management tools like to-do lists, contact management and scheduling capabilities. 

Key takeaway : Recruiting software can have many features like candidate sourcing, workforce planning, applicant tracking, employee onboarding, reporting and analytics. 

The best recruiting software offers additional capabilities so you get the most out of your investment. Liz D'Aloia, founder of HR Virtuoso Company, a mobile recruiting software provider, said businesses should look for the following functionalities: 

  • Flexibility to post openings on the specific job boards you want to use 
  • Mobile-friendly (for both candidates and recruiters) 
  • Fast application process that lets candidates apply in minutes 
  • A quick training and implementation period 
  • Flexible pricing (You're not paying for features you don't understand or need) 
  • Scalability to grow with your business 
  • The ability to manage compliance (e.g., Equal Opportunity Employment regulations) 

Other features to look for include: 

  • HR tools like onboarding and benefits administration 
  • Analytics and reporting 
  • Email integration capabilities 
  • Recruitment CRM capabilities 
  • Alternative contact methods, such as the ability to text candidates 
  • Customization and branding options 
  • Third-party integration, such as payroll and HR management solutions 

Choosing the right recruitment software is all about looking for something that aligns with your business's needs, said Dean Iacovetti, president and founder of Vanta Partners.


Besides evaluating the usefulness of the features offered, businesses should assess factors like whether the software will primarily be used to maintain a database of candidates or as a means of finding candidates based on values, such as those that match the culture of the company, he added. 

Next, businesses must consider the real-world application of the software. Your business is unique, and so are your recruiting needs. 

"The best recruiting software is going to depend on the size of the company, the industry and the specific recruiting strategy it is pursuing," said Ben Eubanks, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory

This includes considerations like whether you want to use video interviewing or if you want to focus on social recruiting, Eubanks explained. Some platforms are built for these specific approaches, while others completely lack those features. 

Finally, recruiting software should be simple and easy to use. A large corporation or recruiting firm with an advanced team of HR professionals is better suited for a more intricate HR software and recruiting solution, but small businesses often don't have the time or resources to spend on complex solutions. 

"When you're a small business considering purchasing a recruiting software program, it's important to remember that the system you decide on should make things easier for your hiring team," said Andre Lavoie CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany. "You don't want a system that will overcomplicate the recruiting and hiring process, or your team won't get anything out of it." 

Key takeaway: Recruiting experts recommend that small businesses find a recruiting software solution that matches their specific recruiting needs and is easy for teams to use. 

Sara Angeles contributed to this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Ready to choose an HR recruiting software solution? Check out the rest of our coverage:

Skye Schooley

Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. She received a business communication degree from Arizona State University and spent a few years traveling internationally, before finally settling down in the greater New York City area. She currently writes for business.com and Business News Daily, primarily contributing articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviewing categories such as remote PC access software, collection agencies, background check services, web hosting, reputation management services, cloud storage, and website design software and services.