Chat with us, powered by LiveChat What is Recruiting Software? | Your Guide to Software for Recruiters

What is Recruiting Software? A Guide to Software for Recruiters

by | Jul 23, 2021 | Recruitment Software, Top Echelon Blog

For the longest time, recruiters did not use recruiting software. The reason is simple: it didn’t exist yet. Neither did the Internet or email. Instead, recruiters used rolodexes (remember those?) and filing cabinets.

However, that was a thousand years ago in terms of technology. Now personal computers exist. The Internet and email exist, as well. Their introduction was truly a game-changing moment in the recruiting profession. In fact, some people believed that the Internet would mean the end of the third-party recruiting agency. Wrong-o!

What is recruitment software?

So what is recruiting software? Or to put it another way, what is recruitment software? The truth be told, recruiting software and recruitment software are one and the same. It’s simply a matter of nomenclature and semantics. Whether you call it recruiting software or recruitment software depends primarily on what part of the world you call home.

And while we’re here, let’s address military recruiting and sports recruiting, too. Obviously, when we talk about recruiting software, we’re not talking about software used to recruit people for the military or to recruit athletes. That should go without saying if you’ve conducted even a cursory investigation of the Top Echelon website. But I’m going to say it, anyway.

But once again . . . what is recruiting software?

Recruitment software definition

There is a lot that goes into the definition of recruitment software, mainly because there are so many different factors, aspects, situations, and even people involved. So you can make it as complex as you want . . . but on the other hand, you can make it as simple as you want.

Recruiting software is software that helps recruiters or talent acquisition professionals identify, contact, engage, and recruit job seekers and candidates in the employment marketplace for the purpose of hiring the best candidate for the position. Recruiting software automates and streamlines tasks associated with the hiring process in the interest of saving time, energy, and effort. While recruiting software is often equated with an applicant tracking system, recruiting software is a broader category that includes applicant tracking systems, as well as other tools that belong in the category.

In its simplest form, the definition of recruitment software is any software that helps people recruit other people. This could be a comprehensive package such as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering or it could be a smaller, integrated tool that an organization can use for a specific recruiting purpose within the larger scope of their hiring efforts. There are multiple factors involved in regards to which solution a company or organization chooses, including company size, the industry in which the company operates, and whether or not the organization is an employer or a third-party recruiting agency.

Speaking of which before we analyze the many components of software for recruiters, let’s address the different types of recruiters (and other people) who might use recruiting software. This will help to explain the different types and tools that are available in the marketplace.

Types of recruiters who use software

Now that we know what recruiting software is, who uses this software? You are probably tempted to yell,” Recruiters!” And you would be correct if you did so. However, the answer is a bit more complicated than that. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. There is more than one type of recruiter.
  2. Recruiters are not the only people who use the software.

Corporate vs. agency recruiters

Let’s start with the fact that there is more than one type of recruiter. The term “recruiting software” is a rather broad one. It encompasses quite a few software packages or online tools, all of which have to do, in one form or another, with the hiring process. There are many people who are involved with the hiring process. These people include recruiters. However, there are different types of recruiters. There are:

  • Corporate recruiters—These are also referred to as internal recruiters. That’s because they work directly for the organization for which they are recruiting. Usually, they are a W-2 employee of their employer. All they do all day long is recruit job seekers and candidates to work for their organization and their organization alone.
  • Third-party agency recruiters—Also known as professional recruiters or search consultants, these are recruiters who do not work directly for the organization that has the job openings. They work for a recruiting firm or agency, either their own or somebody else’s. Instead of being paid a salary, they are paid a recruiting fee when they successfully place a candidate at one of their client companies.

Everybody involved with hiring

Recruiters, though, represent one category of people who use recruiting software. There is another category, and that category are those people who are not necessarily recruiters but who are still involved in the hiring process. This category includes the following:

  • Human Resources (HR) representatives—Larger companies and organizations have entire HR departments devoted to the activities associated with hiring. One of the tools that HR representatives in their effort to carry out their duties is recruiting software. (Although in most cases, the software is called something different but still under the umbrella of recruiting software, such as applicant tracking software.)
  • Hiring managers—A hiring manager is a supervisor or decision maker in charge of hiring within a specific department in an organization. They may work with HR personnel or independently of them. In other words, candidates might be interviewed by both a HR representative and a hiring manager. Or it could be one or the other. So the HR representative or the hiring manager could have access to the recruiting software, or they could both have access to it.
  • Small business owners—These people do not have the budget to support hiring a team of HR personnel. In most cases, their company is not big enough to have a hiring manager, either. In such cases, the owner is the one who does the hiring. It should be noted that many small business managers do not use a recruiting software at all. They rely on more primitive methods. (Filing cabinets, anybody?) However, there are some small business owners who use a recruiting software package.

Recruiting software categories

So as you can see, there are a LOT of people who could conceivably use recruiting software. Because of the array of professionals utilizing the software, there is an array of options and tools available for those professionals, depending upon their specific needs. The main categories of software for recruiters include the following:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) packages

This is a stand-alone software for recruiters (often referred to as an applicant tracking system or ATS) that is accessed online in a subscription format, as opposed to being installed on your computer. Both agency recruiters and corporate recruiters are likely to opt for this option, although they usually choose different packages.

Recruitment CRMs

In this case, CRM can stand for “Candidate Relationship Management” or “Client Relationship Management.” And in the case of agency recruiters, it can stand for both. In some cases, the recruitment CRM is separate from a SaaS package, and in others, the SaaS package includes both an applicant tracking system and a recruitment CRM in one package.

Interviewing tools

This is just what is sounds . . . recruiting software that helps in the interviewing stage of the hiring process. This category includes video interviewing software, which is now “all the rage” since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Both corporate recruiters and agency recruiters might use this software, but the former is more likely to do so.

Human capital management software

This is a software application that allows companies or organizations manage their employees, including recording and storing important information in a central database. This type of software for recruiters is also sometimes called a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) or a Human Resources Management System (HRMS). Agency recruiters do not use this type of software for recruiters.

Testing and assessment tools

Once again, this is just what it sounds like, and it can include a wide variety of testing. These tests include cognitive ability, personality, skills assessment, and emotional intelligence, among others. Once again, corporate or internal recruiters are more like to use these types of recruiting software tools.

Talent intelligence systems

These tools deal not just with the recruiting and hiring of job candidates, but also everything that happens after they’re hired. Artificial intelligence often drives this type of system, which captures and analyzes data for the purpose of helping HR departments and talent acquisition professionals manage just about every aspect of employment that you can imagine.

Job aggregators

A job aggregator is not a job board. A job aggregator gathers job postings from job boards and displays them on one website for the convenience of job seekers. Some common job aggregators include Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and even LinkedIn. (You can see how LinkedIn doubles as a social media site and also as a job aggregator.) This is another recruiting software tool that both internal recruiters and agency recruiters use.

The type of recruiter you are largely determines the type of recruiting software that you use. That’s because not all recruiters have the same needs. In other words, they don’t need the same solutions to the problems that they face. Different challenges require different solutions, and that brings us to the features and functionality that serve as the solutions to those challenges.

Software for recruiters: features and functionality

Simply put, professional (agency) recruiters and search consultants have different needs and face different challenges than internal recruiters and Human Resources personnel. Those differences can be summarized by the fact that a professional recruiter or search consultant is tasked with finding and recruiting qualified job candidates so that their client can hire the best one available. As a result, once the candidate is hired and becomes an employee of the organization, the search consultant’s job is essentially done, for all intents and purposes.

However, that is not the case for an internal recruiter or a Human Resources professional. For them, their job does not end once the job candidate has been hired and becomes an employee of the company. In a way, it’s only just begun, and since that is the case for internal recruiters and HR personnel, they have more challenges. And since they have more challenges, they need more solutions. And since they need more solutions, they need different recruiting software packages and/or tools than search consultants need.

With that in mind, below is some of functionality of software for recruiters:

Sourcing of candidates

It all starts here. You can’t hire (or place) job candidates until you can identify them, and sourcing them is how you do it. This could include promoting jobs on your organization’s website, on job posting sites, through social media, or all three. Or if you’re agency recruiters with thousands of candidates in your database, it means using a recruiting software package that will allow you to quickly and easily search that database in search of qualified candidates.

Applicant tracking

Applicant tracking means just that—tracking applicants throughout the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. Obviously, an applicant tracking system or applicant tracking software (often referred to as a SasS package) handles all of this functionality. In fact, it’s one if its main selling points.

Relationship management

As mentioned above in regards to recruitment CRM, the acronym CRM can stand for “Candidate Relationship Management” or “Client Relationship Management.” Many internal recruiters and search consultants want the ability to stay in contact with individuals who are important to their recruiting and hiring efforts. As a result, the CRM functionality of a recruiting software can be an important factor in determining which one they choose to use.

Pre-hire assessment

This functionality entails the testing and assessment tools category of recruiting software that we mentioned above. This is a critical stage of the hiring process, since this is where job candidates are either “screened out” or “screened in” to the next stage of the process. Once again, this functionality can include cognitive ability tests, personality tests, skills assessment, and emotional intelligence tests.

Background screen/checking

This is another crucial stage of the hiring process, since it has the potential to kill a person’s candidacy for a particular positions. As is the case with many of the pre-hire tasks required during the hiring process, the objective with recruiting software is to streamline these tasks for the purpose of shortening the process. The more quickly that you can complete these tasks, the more quickly you can hire the right job candidate.


Just because you hire a job candidate does not necessarily mean that the candidate will actually show up for their first day of work. “Ghosting” is a real phenomenon and it’s still happening in the employment marketplace. That’s why a recruiting software that includes onboarding functionality is essential for recruiters, especially internal recruiters and Human Resources personnel.


You know the old saying: “If you can’t measure it, then you can’t improve it.” Any organization, whether it’s an employer or a recruiting agency, wants to improve its metrics for the purpose of more hiring success. The best software for recruiters contains a dashboard that allows users to see their metrics in one place and in real time so that they can make the proper adjustments and better decision

Top Echelon recruiting software

So as you can see, there are multiple categories of people who use recruiting software. However, for the purpose of simplification, the software is used by two main entities:

  1. Third-party recruiting agencies
  2. Companies, corporations, and organizations (in other words, employers)

As a general rule, when professional or agency recruiters use software, especially a SaaS package, it’s known as recruiting software. When a company or corporation uses it, it’s more commonly called an application tracking software or applicant tracking system. And of course, it’s possible for a software package to be both a recruiting software and an applicant tracking software. Recruiting software is the overall, broad category, and there are multiple sub-categories and tools that exist within this broad category.

Regardless of what you call it, the goal is the same: to hire the best person for the job opening in the shortest amount of time possible. The emphasis is on speed, efficiency, and effectiveness, not sacrificing one for another but maximizing all three.

Top Echelon is a leader in terms of software for recruiters. We’ve been servicing third-party recruiting agencies for over 20 years, and right now you can try our recruiting software for free. That’s right, just click here to sign up for a 15-day free trial of the software.

This is the full version of the software with no limitations. Not only that, but you do NOT need to enter a credit card number to start your trial. In addition, our recruitment software is one of the most affordable packages on the market. So don’t delay. Start your free trial today and enjoy more success today!

Free Recruiting Software

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