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How to Choose the Best Recruitment Software (The Unbiased Guide)

Sourcing featured

Choosing the right Recruitment CRM for your company can be daunting. Every vendor has it's own page, demonstrating how powerful their product is, and how much better they are than competitors.

This makes a decision that is already difficult even harder. Companies live and die by the quality of their hires, so having recruitment software in place that helps them hit their goals is crucial.

To help you choose the right Recruitment CRM, there are some questions you need to answer about your company, your team and the kinds of candidates that you want to hire or place.

What do you really need?

It's easy to get distracted when you set out to find new recruitment software. Before you know it, you're watching product demos and flicking through conference handouts (stuffed with all your favourite buzzwords) and you've forgotten the key reason why you're in the market for a new system!

To avoid getting lured in by salespeople and feature lists, there are a few questions that you need to answer when you start your search for new recruitment software.

i) Do you need a Recruitment CRM?

If you're an agency recruiter, you're well aware of the benefits of using a Recruitment CRM, but if you work in-house it's possible that you've only ever used an ATS before.

What's the difference? ATS systems are set up to manage and process applications, a CRM lets you get proactive and start sourcing, building talent pools and nurturing candidates that haven't applied (as well as applicants).

Here are a few indicators you might need a CRM:

  • You're sourcing actively
  • You're using spreadsheets to manage candidates
  • Your company has more than 1 recruiter
  • You're regularly faced with hard-to-fill roles
  • You waste time on process and admin work
  • You have a big applicant or resume database that you're not tapping into

Right now the ATS is more widely used, but analysts believe that in the future 70-80% of the recruiting process will be handled in the CRM.

The Future ATS vs CRM-

We're keeping this section purposefully brief, so if you want more information on the indicators above, or want to learn more about why you might need a CRM, you can check out this post.

ii) Why are you looking for a change?

What has prompted your search? Why doesn't your current system fit your business process?

It could be anything from a frustration with persuading old school software to do what you need, or a need for new functionality to help your team deal with candidates more effectively (e.g. sourcing and engaging passive candidates).

There's always a reason, and pinpointing this will help you stay targeted in your search for new recruitment software.

*If you're a first time buyer...

This could be the first time that you're looking for recruitment software, maybe you've decided that now is the time to graduate from spreadsheets to a Recruitment CRM. Even if this is the case though, there should still be reasons for the switch. (These should be quite obvious, once you're at a certain capacity, spreadsheets become unmanageable!)

iii) What are your priorities?

Put simply, what are your main recruiting and business priorities for the next 12 months? What are the things that your Head of Talent or your CEO really care about? The right recruitment software will help you hit these goals and build your business, so make sure that these are front of mind from the start of the process.

Here are a few examples of possible business priorities:

  • The need to hire proactively, source and build a talent pools.
  • The need to reduce costs and time to hire.
  • The need to provide a great candidate experience.
  • The need to build your brand and attract passive candidates.
  • The need to create the perfect interview and assessment process.
  • The need to see comprehensive analytics on your whole process
iv) Have you considered ALL the effects of a bad recruitment CRM?

Choosing recruitment software can have a pretty big (and unexpected) knock-on effect. It isn't just your recruiters (the end users) that have to deal with the system you put in place, it's also your candidates.

[tweetery]It isn't just your recruiters that have to deal with your recruitment software, it's also your candidates.[tweetery-end]

Here's why:

If you're bought a clunky system that your team hate to use, how likely is it that they'll be performing at peak capacity, managing candidates effectively, running a watertight assessment process and sending out personalized messages to improve responses?

When you have to fight with a system that doesn't work the way you need it to, inevitably things start to slip through the gaps.

What you can guarantee though, is that all of these things will affect the candidate experience. Candidates have no idea what recruitment software you've chosen, all they know about your organisation is the derived from the way you treat them.

[tweetery]The main impression a candidate has of your company and brand is provided by your recruiting team[tweetery-end]

If your team have to spend the bulk of their days fighting with their recruitment software, doing admin work and updating records and notes, are they going to be able to provide the candidate experience you want?

Bad candidate experience (the figures)

And if you're wondering about the negative impact of a bad candidate experience...

  • 42% of candidates said they would never seek employment at that company again
  • 22% said they would actively tell other candidates not to work at that company
  • 9% said they would go so far as to tell others not to purchase products or services from that company


What are your requirements?

Gathering internal requirements is the best way to start thinking about buying new recruitment software.

At this stage, you have 2 key questions to answer:

  • What exactly does your current system do well?
  • What do people want to do with a new system?

Try to involve as many recruiters or "users" in this initial discussion as possible, understanding their requirements should help engagement with this system after implementation.

It's best to keep your list short, and focus on your core requirements or key features, (we've all used bloated recruitment systems that are overloaded with unnecessary features).

Divide your list into 2 categories:

Essential features: If the recruitment CRM does not do X, then we cannot create the hiring process we need.

Non-essential features: If the recruitment CRM does X, we could potentially make use of it to improve the hiring process.

Recruitment software that does what you _actually _need well, should always beat out a solution that has more features.

Examples of required features could include:

  • Sourcing extension
  • Good search functionality
  • Talent pools
  • Email campaigns
  • Analytics

Non essential features might include:

  • Landing pages
  • Automation
  • Social media integration

Working out a budget

The amount that you're willing to invest in new recruitment software will depend on how much of a priority hiring is to your company.

One thing to remember before you set a budget though, is to put the cost in the context of what you're currently spending on recruiting.

You may be paying for:

  • Job ads
  • Agencies (if you're a corporate team)
  • Internal Recruiters & Sourcers
  • Interviewer time
  • Salaries

If a new recruitment system can help you reduce some of these costs significantly, as well as make meaningful improvements to your recruiting team's output, then it's far easier to justify internally.

Remember: the prevention of a few bad hires would easily pay for any new software several times over.

Thinking of free software?

Free software often seems attractive but there are often hidden costs hiding beneath the surface. These come in the form of the hours spent troubleshooting and trying to tweak the software to fit your needs.

Instead of looking for free software, we recommend asking for a trial or pilot of a fully fledged solution instead. The cost of free software can often add up.

Shortlisting recruitment software

You can now exclude any platforms that do not match your essential feature list. The next step is to put together an evaluation committee to demo and test your shortlisted recruitment products.

If you're just starting out, or at a small company, you may be the only person involved in the evaluation process. For larger companies, we recommend you include recruiters and other "users" of the system. Combining people with different requirements in the process will ensure that any recruiting software you choose will be a good fit for your company.

Getting the demo process right

Before you start entertaining salespeople at your offices, we recommend you work through online demos to identify the solution that makes the most sense for your company.

Here are some of the most important features that you'll need to evaluate:

**Sourcing **

Sourcing is fast becoming the most critical part of the hiring process. In today's hyper competitive talent market, the best candidates rarely apply, (this is particularly true of the elusive passive candidate!)

You need recruitment software that makes sourcing candidates on social media completely seamless, and helps improve your reply rates and efficiency.

If you're hiring for hard-to-fill roles (e.g. engineering) and leadership positions sourcing should be an essential requirement.

Managing candidates and collaborating

Every company invests a lot of resources into talent acquisition. Whether it's through applications, sourcing or referrals, it costs a lot of money to get candidates into your database.

What happens next though, what happens when a new candidate goes into your CRM? Are there effective search capabilities or do you have to wrestle with the software to find your new candidate?

Effective recruiting also relies on your team's ability to discuss, interview and rate candidates effectively. If possible, the recruitment software that you choose should make this kind of collaboration as effortless as possible.

Candidate engagement

The way companies actually engage and nurture candidates is perhaps the most overlooked part of the recruiting process.

If you're interested in treating candidates like customers, and building a pipeline of candidates, ready for when you have roles to fill, then this should be a serious consideration.


“Without data, companies are blind and deaf, and wandering onto the Web like deer on a freeway” - Geoffrey Moore, Author of Crossing the Chasm

It's a catchy expression, the kind of thing you can imagine on a poster or an internet meme. Despite this, Geoffrey Moore is completely correct - if you're not measuring what you're doing, you have no idea what's working.

Don't be lured in by shiny dashboards though. If you know the kinds of recruiting metrics that are important to your organisation, make sure you ask the vendor if they can help you get those results with their platform.

Building an Employer Brand

In a world where every company is online, broadcasting their jobs and products as loudly as possible, the need for a solid Employer Brand is only increasing.

The key value of a strong employer reputation is the ability to attract the passive candidates that can make game changing hires - 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job.

If talent attraction is a priority for your company, make sure you find a solution that's going to help (not hinder) brand creation and promotion.

Making your decision

Take your time over any buying decision. There's no rush, and you need to make sure that any new system that you choose is a good fit for your company.

There are a few things you can do to make sure that you're making the right decision with your new Recruitment CRM:

i) Getting references from your network

Tap into your network to get references for the Recruitment CRM that you settle on to make sure it's going to be a fit for your business.

Make sure you ask about implementation and product training, as well as checking how user friendly and powerful they've found the system to be. This is a great way to spot any possible red flags with your recruitment software of choice.

ii) Preparing your team

When you’re ready to make a move, sit down with your team and discuss the different areas you might need to change to make sure you're fully prepared for the switch.

Here are a few questions you might want to consider:

  • Will this affect the way that you source candidates?
  • Will you be able to access and search your existing database in an improved way?
  • Will you be able to improve the way you nurture and communicate with talent?
  • How will you train your team on the new tool?
  • Do you need any new integrations?


Rolling out a new Recruitment CRM doesn't have to be painful. In fact, the pain of change is often a phenomenon that we blow way out of proportion. To be sure of a smooth rollout though, make sure you discuss the implementation in detail during the selection process.

Get a clear timeline on onboarding and training, and make sure that all major stakeholders understand the next phase of the project.

We recommend opting for a modern SaaS solution that requires minimal configuration and setup time. This will save you (or your IT department) any potential headaches as you move forward.

Final word

Moving to a new Recruitment CRM is a big investment for your company, your recruiters, and ultimately your candidates. A nice, long feature list might look good on paper, but you need to choose software that works for your team and fits your needs if you want long term hiring success.

**At [Beamery](
), we think we've built the most advanced Recruitment CRM on the market. If you're interested in learning more, or seeing the platform first hand, you can request a demo here.**_