For most recruiters (and certainly HR), an Applicant Tracking System sits front and center in their recruitment tech stack. The ATS is much more than a repository of resumes and jobs. It’s a vital tool for streamlining day-to-day operations and optimizing the management of jobs, applicants, and employers.

Getting the best out of your ATS helps your recruiters make better hiring decisions and improve hiring efficiency. The trick is knowing how. Here are 5 tips for getting the best from your ATS. 

1. Configure your ATS to fit your unique process

Every recruitment firm and HR team has its own unique workflow. There might be shared best practices, but no two recruiters do things in exactly the same way. For that reason, a good ATS should be customizable to your specific needs. 

While ease of use is important, one common problem with out-of-the-box solutions is that they can be too streamlined and not flexible enough to match how you want to use them. At the same time, a solution that’s overly customizable can require time and effort to set up, which you may simply not have or which would be better spent making placements. 

For most recruiters, the sweet spot is an ATS that can be easily customized and configured around their existing recruitment workflows. They also need a level of out-of-the-box functionality to save time and improve efficiency in certain areas like job postings and candidate communication. 

2. Track recruitment metrics from day one

Recruitment is a data-rich industry. Whether you’re a new recruiter or you’ve been in the business a long time, data can give you a competitive advantage. In fact, there’s almost no end to the ways you can use it to enhance and refine what you do. It can show you where your successes are and give you a platform to build on.  

With built-in analytics and reporting tools, your ATS can give you insights into any activity or any step in your hiring pipeline. These numbers can help you streamline your processes and even enable you to remove pieces that aren’t working. For instance, you might want to track the number of communications with different clients or candidates to figure out whether you’re contacting them too much or not enough. You could also see which communication channels are getting the most responses. 

The PCR Analytics reporting system gives recruitment team leaders a graphic representation of KPIs.

Features like PCR Analytics help you go deeper into the details, surfacing insights from particular recruitment campaigns and showing you what’s successful so you can replicate it in the future. Not only can an ATS provide valuable data on your recruitment metrics, such as time-to-hire and cost-per-hire, but it can also be used to track the performance of certain teams or individuals to see where their strengths are. 

The metrics you decide to track really depend on your business. However, it’s always worth keeping an eye on these numbers:

  • The number of placements you’re making for specific clients
  • How many candidates you’re reviewing for specific positions
  • How many interviews you’re doing, who’s doing them, and the success rate

3. Define a workflow and make it uniform

Following a standardized sequence also helps create consistency. After all, if everyone’s doing something slightly different, you won’t know what’s working properly and what needs to be adjusted. Ultimately, a team that makes more effective use of your ATS will improve your overall recruitment efforts.

It’s not uncommon to have multiple roles within one sourcing and placement workflow, so sequencing is also useful when different team members are working on different parts of the process. It’s important that your tools keep everyone involved in the process on the same page.

With PCRecruiter’s Sequencing Tool, you can make it easy for recruiters to get going with both the software and your recruitment processes at the same time. This is great for onboarding new recruiters, as they can simply open up their Tasks for the day and follow the instructions. 

4. Keep your recruitment data updated 

Currently in beta, the latest PCR Capture will help keep your database clear of duplicates.

With so many name records, company records, and position records flying about, it doesn’t take long for your recruitment data to become cluttered and outdated. Dirty data can slow down the hiring process because recruiters aren’t able to find what they need when they need it. 

PCRecruiter has a number of tools for keeping your records updated – including reports which let you search for duplicate records and merge data fields quickly and easily. In fact, the upcoming version of PCR Capture slated for June 2023 identifies possible duplicates when candidate data is captured from an online source and allows users to select the most up-to-date data before merging them into a single record.

When it comes to recruitment data, the best practice is to schedule regular clean-ups of your data every few months or so, as incremental and regular cleanups are far easier than large and infrequent ones.

5. Train your recruiting team to use your ATS

With all of the functionality at their fingertips, training your recruitment team on the essentials is an important first step. Recruiters will be working in your ATS on a daily basis — in some cases never stepping outside of it — so it’s important to ensure that your team is trained on how to use it effectively. This includes how best to search for candidates, screen resumes, and schedule interviews. 

No matter what ATS you use, take advantage of the support, documentation, and user training options available to you. Ask for best practices and tips on making your job easier. The software’s support team can often suggest methods that may not be immediately obvious, or help devise ways of achieving your goals more quickly.

A final word of ATS advice  

It sounds obvious, but when you’re paying for an ATS, the best thing you can do is use it!

With so many features and options for enhancing the recruitment process, there will always be opportunities to optimize what you do and how you do it in order to improve the efficiency of your recruiting efforts. 

Chances are if a part of your recruiting process is repetitive, there’s a way to automate it.  The great thing about PCRecruiter is that our training and support team is always on hand to help simplify your day-to-day workflow with the simple click of a button. 

See how to get the best from your ATS. Book a demo

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the world of work. That much is certain. For most industries, the big question is how it will change the way people work. With all the noise around AI tools – like ChatGPT – and what they can and can’t do (or what they should and shouldn’t do) it’s easy to forget one thing: AI can make social recruiting easier and more effective.

Any digital tools – AI or not – that enable recruiters to spend less time on repetitive and time-consuming tasks and more time engaging with clients and candidates have got to be a good thing.

Darren Westall, CEO of Paiger
Darren Westall, CEO of Paiger

Social recruiting is great, but building an engaging personal brand and consistency at every touchpoint can make serious demands on your time. This is where an AI assistant really comes into its own.

To discover how easy it is to enhance social recruiting with AI, we spoke to Darren Westall, CEO of Paiger, the AI marketing assistant built for recruiters and salespeople.

Build A Better Network 

People buy from people. LinkedIn has moved away from being a headhunting tool to being a social network for professionals.

– Darren Westall, CEO, Paiger

Let’s face it, posting job ads across multiple social media channels and job boards is a time-consuming task. Especially when you want to maintain consistency, avoid unintentional bias, and present a cohesive and appealing employer brand. There’s a lot of extra work involved. From manually entering details about a company and a role to setting up the correct metadata and choosing a captivating and on-brand image – it’s all time taken away from core activities. But it’s also a social recruiting essential. 

For professional platforms such as LinkedIn, in the last 5 years or so, the balance has started to shift. They’re no longer just another space to headhunt or be headhunted; they’re somewhere to grow a professional social network and develop a personal brand for both businesses and people. They’re also a space where companies can build their brand as an employer to increase their appeal to ideal candidates.

And yet, 95% of people and businesses don’t actually share content on LinkedIn. This represents a huge missed opportunity. For employers and their recruiters, putting together engaging social content can help tease out passive candidates. Get social recruiting right, and it can surface hidden talent. The challenge, as always, is the time and cost it takes to create this content.

Cut Through The Noise

I don’t expect a recruiter in the software development space to understand Python. I do expect them to know the average salary for a Python developer with machine learning experience, based in London.

– Darren Westall, CEO, Paiger

Getting the attention of passive talent across different sectors from healthcare to software development takes carefully crafted content posted in the right places. A good starting point is to think about where your potential candidates are, who they are, and which social networks they’re likely to spend time on. That information then determines where to invest in terms of social recruiting. 

Social media platforms are busy places. Standing out from the crowd is no easy feat and, according to the statistics, only 5% of people and businesses are posting. The effort it takes to cut through the noise requires creativity and confidence. Sadly, many brands feel they don’t have the right to occupy a particular space. They question their own authority: are they really the expert? 

Recruitment is one of those industries which can quickly become very niche. For that reason, there’s sometimes a lack of belief in recruiters who need to niche down further on their market. Often, all it takes is to remove writer’s block to enable recruiters to get posting. That’s where AI comes on. 

Inside The AI Toolkit

A job being shared on LinkedIn

Paiger is an AI assistant. Not only can it be used in social selling and business development, it’s also helping tech-savvy recruiters to streamline their social recruiting processes. From CV writing prompts to tips for starting a new career, with Paiger’s AI assistant, recruiters and marketers can instantly get content-writing suggestions. 

Not only that, but Paiger’s Ghost Writing tool automatically puts together content, leaving space around it for users to customize different aspects such as the company’s tone of voice, and the call to action. In this way, Paiger enables recruiters and businesses to build their personal brand by sharing relevant content to attract candidates or new clients. 

Of course, recruiters’ networks are also another great place to share employer value proposition (EVP) content – anything from downloadable white papers to blog posts. Whether it’s the results of an employment survey or recent employer news, sharing company content across these networks is a surefire way to boost visibility and engagement with a recruiter’s or employer’s brand. 

Positioning job postings within a wider package of engaging value-added content helps to build trust, authority, and engagement with prospects. The difficulty is that recruiters have enough to do without concerning themselves with brand guidelines. With Paiger, any content shared on behalf of a company goes out with the right assets and follows brand guidelines.

Integration With PCRecruiter

For social recruiters using PCRecruiter, integrating Paiger enables them to automatically feed it with their new job roles, ready for posting across social media. All it takes is the PCR Job Board and a request to our technical team for your database’s Paiger XML feed. The AI then combines this information with a marketing approved-image, the relevant hashtags, and the correct brand guidelines before sharing it out to their social media channels – whether that’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – all or just one. Job done!  

AI is making social recruiters more efficient by supporting them with automated content creation, so they can get on with more important tasks – like talking to candidates. Find out more about combining PCRecruiter with powerful integrations like Paiger. 

Book a FREE PCRecruiter demo

No matter what type of recruitment you’re working in, there are always going to be market trends. In the fallout from the pandemic and the ‘Great Resignation’, remote working not only became a viable option for some workers, but the preferred choice for many. This possibility has created new opportunities – and challenges – for those hiring.

Jeff Kaye
Jeff Kaye, Co-CEO of Kaye/Bassman International and Next Level Exchange

Jeff Kaye helped grow Kaye/Bassman to become one of the largest single-site search firms in the US. With over 30 years experience in the recruitment industry, Jeff’s seen just about every recruitment trend there is come and go.

For this blog post, we spoke to Jeff about the challenges of recruiting in a remote-first world and how companies and recruiters can adapt to ensure they’re getting the best talent available.

Supply And Demand

“Recruiters have to go where the talent lies. In the last few years, there’s been a low unemployment rate in the US, with candidates in feverish demand. On top of that, the pandemic created the possibility of a distance-based workforce.”

Jeff Kaye, Co-CEO, Kaye / Bassman

In recent years, many sectors in the employment market have seen increasingly fierce competition for the best talent. In fields such as software development and digital marketing, demand has been on the rise, leaving local talent in short supply. 

With the global pandemic opening up more opportunities for remote working, recruiters started to meet the talent where it is — whether that’s in a different state or another part of the world. The trend we’ve become accustomed to seeing is a less homogenized workforce from both the perspective of diversity and economics.

However, with most of the world now fully emerged from the pandemic and many countries facing up to economic uncertainty, there’s a sense that the hiring frenzy is poised to slow down. And it’s this supply and demand curve which correlates with what companies are willing to do to secure the best talent.

For many companies, there’s an increasing expectation that employees will return to the workplace in some capacity, either for a certain number of days a week or on a daily basis. For recruiters, the challenge comes in selling a company’s best offer in order to secure the right candidate. 

Earning The Right

“We’re likely to find less receptivity to remote-first positions except in cases where people have earned the right – by their background, their skills or qualifications, or their time at a company to demonstrate their suitability for a remote role.”

Jeff Kaye, Co-CEO, Kaye / Bassman
Working Remote

There’s no question that where people work has an impact on their effectiveness and productivity. Some people are more effective when they work from home, others perform better in the office, whilst others do better in a hybrid environment. 

Instead of falling back on a universal, blanket policy around where employees work, we’re starting to see companies evaluate the effectiveness of employees in a distance-based environment. In short, workers need to earn the right to distanced-based employment. 

At the same time, companies also need flexibility when there is a shortage of the right talent locally. In this scenario, recruiters need to expand the talent pool by county, state, or even country to secure the right candidates with the offer of remote working.  

Widening Recruitment Practice

Search professionals working in specific industries, such as medtech and pharmaceuticals, are already used to a national practice. On the other hand, there are more general recruitment firms who specialize by state or city.

To align with clients looking to fill open roles with national or even international talent, local recruiters will need to widen their capabilities, so they can quickly attract the right candidates for open roles. One approach is to push the possibilities of distance-based working. Another is to form partnerships with other recruiters within a larger network.

Access to a wider network of trusted advisors, means the recruiter maintains the client relationship but works with another recruiter to source potential candidates

The advantage of partnership is that a recruiter with local knowledge and talent in one city or state, can collaborate with another firm working with a company in a different location. This helps them extend their reach — especially when it comes to surfacing passive candidates.

Partnership is also beneficial to industry-specific recruiters who have a client looking for talent outside their specialism. For example, a recruiter working for medical and healthcare clients might have a talent pool of doctors and nurses. But what if a client needs to fill an open role in finance? 

Access to a wider network of trusted advisors, means the recruiter maintains the client relationship but works with another recruiter to source potential candidates.

The Software Needed

“The better the content inside your ATS, the better you’re going to be in targeting the right individuals.”

Jeff Kaye, Co-CEO, Kaye / Bassman

The quality and freshness of data on the best candidates can go a long way in giving recruiters a competitive edge over their rivals searching for the same talent. As does the reliability of the search function to surface candidates from your talent pool. 

Another important part of any ATS is the integration with your CRM. In the past, an ATS was simply a home for the data recruiters needed to put to use on a phone call. Now, an ATS has to integrate with a range of communication channels – social media, text, voicemail, and email – which are all used for candidate outreach. Deeper integrations between an ATS and CRM – even email sequencing functionality – offer competitive advantages to recruiters within the current employment landscape and beyond.

Every day, PCRecruiter’s hybrid blend of ATS and CRM functionality helps thousands of recruiters like those at Kaye / Bassman make the right hires. See what PCRecruiter can do for you. Discover our tech.

On February 21, 2023, Main Sequence Technology, Inc was awarded a patent by the United States Patent Office. US Patent No. 11,586,760 B2, entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ASSOCIATING MULTIPLE LOGINS TO A SINGLE RECORD IN A DATABASE,” relates to PCRecruiter’s unique method for handling the multiple ways through which the same jobseeker might access the job board.

On February 21, 2023, Main Sequence Technology, Inc was awarded a patent by the United States Patent Office. US Patent No. 11,586,760 B2, entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ASSOCIATING MULTIPLE LOGINS TO A SINGLE RECORD IN A DATABASE,” relates to PCRecruiter’s unique method for handling the multiple ways through which the same jobseeker might access the job board.

Diagram from US Patent No. 11,586,760 B2

The patented method allows for one consolidated applicant record in PCRecruiter while reducing the chance of a duplicate. It also prevents anyone from seeing information in the record that wasn’t provided using that login.

The PCRecruiter Job Board has been leveraging this technology for over two years to great success. The typical use case for this solution is to handle the problem of people applying for jobs and using a different log-in on a subsequent visit.

For example, let’s say Joanne Jackson arrives at the job board and uses her LinkedIn account credentials as a password in creating her account. She enters her resume, contact info, and other details. Now suppose Joanne returns to the same job board a year later, but this time, forgetting that she had used LinkedIn on the same recruitment agency’s job board in the past, she uses her Facebook account as her signup authorization.

Candidate Flow Diagram
A diagram used during the development of this feature, describing how it affects applicant data flow.

Although PCRecruiter is able to identify her as the same person based on her name and email address, it would be a security risk to display the old information to a new visitor using different account credentials. After all, if her Facebook login were to become compromised, she wouldn’t want someone to be able to log into the job board with that account and see potentially sensitive information she had entered while using her LinkedIn account.

Instead, PCRecruiter’s patented tech allows both the new and old login details to be associated with the same record, while only allowing the applicant to view and update the information that was entered while using the same credentials they have logged in with.

Furthermore, this prevents scenarios where a candidate who exists in the database but did not self-register on the job board might be stopped or delayed during their apply process by a ‘password reset’ or login operation. Even if the email, name, or resume is already on file, PCRecruiter will allow them to apply without losing or compromising any of the stored data in their record.

It’s an important question facing tech buyers everywhere: open architecture or closed? Over the last decade or so, many software companies have seen the advantages of open standards. In that time, we’ve seen vendor APIs mature and compatibility increase between open systems. That said, there’s still ongoing demand – and a market – for proprietary software.

Key decision-making in this area is largely influenced by industry and application. For recruiters, there are pros and cons to both types of solution. However, when it comes to recruitment tech, open architecture is a practical and beneficial choice in a highly competitive industry.

In this blog post, we shine a light on the differences between open architecture vs closed. With this information, tech buyers in the recruitment space can make informed choices around bringing the best solution to their business.

What Is Open Architecture?

Open architecture is based on a set of open, publicly available technical standards. This makes it much easier for different software applications to exchange data, and work together.  

Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) make it possible for vendors to work outside proprietary restrictions. This openness creates a broader and deeper community of vendors and therefore a wider range of options for upgrading, expanding, and maintaining systems. 

For recruiters, the decision to purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) platform and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which uses open architecture has a number of advantages. 

Why Choose Open Architecture?

The real draw of software with an open architecture is that third-party developers can easily create add-ons to enhance the product. This means companies are not locked into a single vendor, and the software is much easier to scale and upgrade.  

There are benefits both ways: developers gain access to a much wider market, and companies are not beholden to a single vendor. With so many third-party enhancements on offer, they can also enjoy greater choice, selecting from the best of what’s around to create the ideal solution for their needs.

With an open-architecture ATS and recruitment CRM systems, companies are able to choose their enhancement vendor(s) and the data is manipulated via API and automation processes. Due to much broader compatibility, this gives companies the flexibility to switch to a new vendor in the future if they want to. Furthermore, users of open-architecture systems are leveraging the major capital investments and development teams of multiple vendors at the same time, providing greater benefits at lower costs.

An image of an open door, evoking the "Open architecture vs Closed" subject matter.

What Is Closed Architecture?

As the name suggests, software with a closed architecture has tight restrictions imposed by the developer or vendor. Typically, any third-party add-ons or enhancements need official approval. In terms of integrations, these tend to be restricted to other software with similar architecture. In recruitment, a closed system is often one where the ATS vendor is also the enhancer or aggregator of the data. 

Why Choose Closed Architecture?

It’s fair to say that, despite restrictions in compatibility with other software, an exceptional piece of proprietary ATS and CRM software might well be able to meet your recruitment needs. Because it’s a ready-made and out-of-the-box solution, the initial setup tends to be more straightforward when compared with configuring open-architecture software to make use of various third-party integrations. 

By its very nature, closed architecture creates vendor lock-in. That might not be a problem if you’re willing to accept long-term contracts and potentially unpredictable rises in costs. You could view it as the price you have to pay for ongoing and long term security updates and ongoing support from a single vendor. You’ll also benefit from their product updates and security enhancements.  

However, do be aware of the time and cost implications should you choose to switch providers in the future. Using systems with a closed architecture often means reduced compatibility. Consequently, there can be significant headaches around extracting your data and continuing with business-as-usual during a future switchover.

Open Architecture vs Closed Architecture

So what’s best for buyers of recruitment tech, and how can they make the right choice? 

The truth is, the choice between open architecture vs closed is always considered in relative terms. Both these terms can also refer to the whole solution or just certain important domains. A truly open system is somewhat aspirational. At the same time, it’s possible to have a closed system that has integrations – albeit tightly controlled and usually less numerous.

In the recruitment sector, the trend toward open-architecture software has been partly driven by the increased demand for data enhancement. The data enhancement domain – or the ability to enrich name and entity records with updated, more accurate, and expanded information – relies on information sharing between online platforms. 

PCRecruiter’s Enhanced API is highly developed. It’s also well-documented, with a long track record of successful third-party developer projects. In fact, our own internal products such as PCR Capture, Portal for Outlook, and our upcoming PCR 10 version rely on it. On top of that, it also has a number of powerful integrations with the likes of outbound recruiting platform hireEZ and the world’s most comprehensive B2B database Zoominfo.

Making the choice between open and closed architecture is an important consideration for recruitment tech buyers in the market for a new ATS and recruitment CRM system. Learn more about PCRecruiter’s Developer API.

As any proper Luddite will tell you, the machines are absolutely coming for our jobs. At times it seems practically inevitable. For the moment, we’re fortunately in that sweet spot where most AI is just smart enough to help us work more efficiently but not quite good enough to do the job better than we can. Recruiters are already taking notice of emerging AI tools like ChatGPT and finding ways to use them to their advantage.

I’ve been watching the rise of publicly-accessible AI tech for a few years now. I’ve experimented with each new toy as it comes along… Replika, Dall-E, Stable Diffusion… and now ChatGPT. I continue to be amazed at just how ‘human-like’, practical, and comprehensive the results can be. The speed at which these technologies are advancing is whiplash-inducing. In fact, I’ve had to revise this very blog post several times while writing it because of changing details and new enhancements. In the words of ‘fellow scholar’ Dr. Károly Zsolnai-Fehér, “What a time to be alive!”

What is a GPT?

PROMPT: "cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document in front of its face, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document in front of its face, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still” (Generated with mage.space)

Generative pre-trained transformers, or “GPTs”, are neural network models that have been trained on vast amounts of data. Over time, a model is constructed that can relate concepts and properties of those concepts to each other. Eventually, the tool can make original inferences based on the knowledge in its model. Neural networks are made to ‘learn’ in the same way that humans do, gleaning new connections from observations and experience.

It’s important to understand that the model doesn’t contain or copy any of the original information that it was trained on – its output isn’t a collage or a rearrangement of the source material. Instead, it stores the complex matrix it has built to explain how the different words, phrases, and combinations of words and phrases in the training data related to each other. In the same way that a human doesn’t need to memorize every individual car they have seen in order to describe a hypothetical new car in great detail, a GPT model doesn’t need to store the articles or websites it examines in order to compose new text based on the concepts they contained.

With great power comes great limitations…

Unlike a search engine, which stores and retrieves information, an AI model generates wholly new content from scratch based on a prompt from the user. This offers incredible possibilities, but it also creates some limitations. For example, the AI cannot provide information about anything that wasn’t relevant to the content it was trained on. ChatGPT, for example, was trained on data collected up to 2021, so it can’t write about anything happening in 2023.

PROMPT: "award-winning photograph, a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, the robot is holding an iPhone, the robot is holding a piece of white paper, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, chrome accents, coffee mug, photo by J.J. Abrams" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “award-winning photograph, a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, the robot is holding an iPhone, the robot is holding a piece of white paper, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, chrome accents, coffee mug, photo by J.J. Abrams” (Generated with mage.space)

The current big-name AI tools are also “generalists,” trained on vast but not highly specific troves of text. As more purpose-built models are trained on curated data sets such as resumes, job descriptions, interview questions, trade-specific documents, etc. they will become far more powerful in their application to niche recruitment tasks.

You’ll also want to be wary of false information – after all, the model cannot generally fact-check the original statements if makes. The AI is designed to give humans the output they asked for, and whether or not the output is factually accurate or logically sound is not isn’t part of its instructions (for now, at least).

As with any algorithm, the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ adage holds true. Low-quality prompts will yield low-quality results from the AI. Learning to craft a good prompt can take time and practice. It will also vary depending on the chat tool you’re using and may even change over a brief period. One thing I’ve learned in working on this post is that, as the technology rapidly evolves, what worked last week may not work this week.

Fortunately, dedicated professionals like Irina Shamaeva, Jacco Valkenburg, Jim Stroud, and others in the space are continually pushing on the tech and suggesting new methods and use cases.

ChatGPT: Not the only player in the game

The name making the most headlines in AI right now is ChatGPT, a project of OpenAI, which recently extended its partnership with Microsoft. (Given Microsoft’s ownership of LinkedIn, the effect of Microsoft leveraging ChatGPT in the recruiting and business networking sectors could be huge.) Other new players, like Perplexity (which combines AI chat with search engine citations) and Chatsonic have entered the field, while pre-existing services like our partners at Paiger are beginning to offer GPT-based tools as part of their feature set.

OpenAI

ChatGPT is still learning, both in terms of its AI model and in terms of its business model. Unlike some other AI tools, such as Google’s LaMDA and DeepMind’s forthcoming Sparrow, ChatGPT has been made free during its beta testing phase. It still goes offline often enough to be considered somewhat unreliable for day-to-day reliance, but when it is up and running it can be a powerful time saver for sourcing, recruiting, and hiring professionals. Let’s see how.

Streamlining Recruitment Tasks with AI

1. Drafting Emails

One of the things chat AI systems excel at is quickly writing original content. You can save loads of time drafting email follow-ups, cover letters, and other business correspondence by asking the AI to start it for you.

PROMPT: "cinematic photograph, rear view, the back of a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, typing on a laptop, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, lens flares, movie still aesthetic"  (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “cinematic photograph, rear view, the back of a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, typing on a laptop, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, lens flares, movie still aesthetic” (Generated with mage.space)

For example, you might give a prompt such as “compose an email that would be perfect for a wind farm mechanic, asking them about their interest in work opportunities in Texas, using a polite tone.” With a brief overview of the job and key points like the position name, requirements, and one or two interesting facts about the company, AI can draft a very professional sounding email in seconds.

You can also use it in a similar way for marketing a candidate. You might copy/paste the professional experience section of a resume into the chat and ask the AI to compose an email describing why, based on this experience, the candidate would be suitable for the role.

As always, it’s important to think of the AI as a well-informed but very inexperienced young assistant. It can be prone to uninspired and rote sounding content creation. Treat these emails as drafts for you, the experienced human recruitment professional, to refine and build upon.

2. Suggesting Searches

With its vast understanding of word and concept relationships, ChatGPT may be able to come up with strings for candidate sourcing that you hadn’t considered. You might try asking the bot to “Create a boolean search string that finds LinkedIn profiles of US-based wind farm engineers. The search should focus on senior level hiring prospects. The search should include various ways these engineers might describe their work or title, and include Spanish alternatives.”

In my experiments with ChatGPT, the output of this prompt was:

(“wind farm engineer” OR “wind turbine engineer” OR “wind energy engineer” OR “ingeniero de parques eólicos” OR “ingeniero de turbinas eólicas” OR “ingeniero de energía eólica”) AND (“senior” OR “lead” OR “principal” OR “nivel senior” OR “líder” OR “principal”) AND (“United States” OR “USA” OR “US” OR “Estados Unidos”) AND (title:(senior OR lead OR principal OR nivel senior OR líder OR principal) AND location:(United States OR USA OR US OR Estados Unidos))

Again, it’s important to double-check the bot’s work. Do you know if the Spanish phrases it selected are appropriate to the type of candidate you’re after? Did it put the parentheses and colons in the right places? If not, you could end up sourcing the wrong people.

3. Composing Interview Questions

The chatbot’s wide ranging training data means it can often help craft role-specific questions for candidates. ChatGPT is quite adept at answering a prompt like this:

“give me a list of interview questions for a wind farm engineer with three years of experience who is being considered for a management position”

PROMPT: "wide cinematic photo, standing female humanoid talking to a human business man, office meeting room, lens flares, sorayama robot, cinematic movie aesthetic, bokeh" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “wide cinematic photo, standing female humanoid talking to a human business man, office meeting room, lens flares, sorayama robot, cinematic movie aesthetic, bokeh” (Generated with mage.space)

The resulting answers are liable to be somewhat generic… “How do you ensure safety and compliance in your work?” If you just need the basics, this can save you a lot of time.

To go a bit deeper, you may want to try providing the AI with the details from the specific job description, then prompt with something like:

“given this list of responsibilities for a wind turbine engineer job, please craft five job-specific interview questions to help assess a candidate’s fit for the role”.

Following on that, you might then ask it to provide general ideas of what a good answer to each question may look like.

4. Drafting a Candidate Summaries

While PCRecruiter’s Candidate Presentations feature makes it easy to send resumes and information to clients and to receive and store their feedback, you might try using an AI chatbot to shortcut the composition of a candidate summary. Asking the AI to condense the resume into an introductory brief, saves both your time and your client’s.

Generating a usable summary is as simple as pasting the candidate’s resume text into the chat, along with a prompt like:

“summarize the following resume in two paragraphs, using a professional tone, and suggesting why this may be a good job candidate for an engineering management role.”

5. Simplifying and Rewriting Job Descriptions

In addition to writing completely original content, AI can be useful in rewriting content that already exists. This can be valuable for internal and external uses.

If you’re a recruiter just starting out, or one moving into a new and unfamiliar market, you may try pasting the client’s complex technical description into ChatGPT and prompting it with “rewrite this job description to make it suitable for a high school level reader.” Having the description without the technical jargon may make it easier to discuss with colleagues.

PROMPT: "cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still” (Generated with mage.space)

You may also find it helpful to give the AI your client’s job description and then ask it to create multiple variations of it for job advertisements and recruitment emails. You can then choose the most suitable version or put multiple versions into use and test which is the most effective. 

For confidential searches, using the description provided by the client can not only reveal their identity, but can also pose issues for search engines detecting it as duplicate content. Rather than spending valuable time custom-writing your own descriptions, paste the client’s version into the AI and prompt it to “write a new version of the following job description that does not reveal the name or location of the employer, adding in alternate phrases where possible.”

Concluding in ChatGPT’s own words…

Rather than writing my own concluding statement here, I thought it would be more appropriate to ask ChatGPT to write one for me.

PROMPT: Compose a first-person conclusion for a blog post entitled “5 ways ChatGPT can enhance your recruiting workflow”, using a conversational but professional tone. Describe in a sentence or two why using ChatGPT and similar tools is a smart idea for recruiters, and express excitement at the future of artificial intelligence in the recruitment space.

“In conclusion, using ChatGPT to enhance your recruiting workflow can bring a multitude of benefits to the recruitment process. From automating repetitive tasks to generating personalized communication, ChatGPT can save recruiters time and help them focus on higher-level tasks like building relationships with candidates and hiring managers. 

The future of artificial intelligence in the recruitment space is very exciting and I believe that utilizing ChatGPT is a smart idea for recruiters. It allows them to be more efficient and effective in their recruitment efforts, ultimately leading to better hires and a more successful business. I can’t wait to see what advancements will come in the future and how they will continue to transform the recruiting landscape.”

Not too shabby for a machine…


Andrew Rothman has been with PCRecruiter for 25 years, managing a variety of projects, including web and media design, video production, and vendor partnerships. He has a background in music, multimedia, and theater.

Addendum:

A few added suggestions from recruiter Thomas Alascio — Try using ChatGPT for suggesting Boolean strings, getting a list of a company’s competitors, getting a short and sweet explanation of a job title or industry, and extracting important info from a job description. Thanks Thomas!

The last couple of years have seen sweeping changes in the job market. Call it the Great Resignation, the Great Change-Up, the Great Reshuffle – or the great something else – thousands of people have chosen to change career paths.

Dave Nerz - President of NPAworldwide
Dave Nerz – President of NPAworldwide

What’s not so great for recruiters right now is that previously passive candidates – people not actively seeking new roles – are now super-passive. That’s because they’ve found a role that they’re comfortable with and there’s risk associated with making a change. 

Finding the right talent is tougher than ever before. Sometimes clients need to know the reality, especially when there’s a limited pool of candidates for an open role. So how can recruiters keep it real and push back on clients for a win-win outcome? 

PCRecruiter got some thoughts on the matter from Dave Nerz, President of NPAworldwide, a global network of 550 specialist and generalist recruiters in multiple sectors operating in 42 countries. (We also spoke with Dave about Working From Home for another blog post last year.)

The Great Challenge

The opportunities to recruit someone who’s chosen to move outside the city to work remotely are reduced. The pool of talent is getting smaller.

Dave Nerz, President, NPAworldwide

A few years ago, sourcing and attracting the best and brightest passive talent was a struggle. As it stands, the job of a recruiter is even tougher. 

The pandemic made tens of thousands of workers reevaluate their choices. For many different reasons – be it the chance to work from home, a change of lifestyle, or cost-cutting by no longer commuting – many people settled into new ways of living and working.

This increased satisfaction has decreased the size of the available talent pool. People are more risk-averse. Extracting passive talent from roles in which they’re now highly comfortable requires employers to up their offering. Recruiters need more resources – improved leverage – to attract the best talent and make the right hires. 

To get it, recruiters sometimes have to push back on clients. 

A Reality Check

The hiring managers and leadership of some mid-sized companies are not always in tune with what the current job market is all about.

Dave Nerz, President, NPAworldwide

Companies with in-house recruiters will have some awareness of the current employment market. Those relying on agencies tend to be less informed. Until it comes to the numbers. When recruiters surface ten prospective candidates for a role that in the past might have had a hundred, questions get asked. It’s a reality check. At this point, recruiters have to turn around and start educating employers. Their role becomes increasingly consultative. 

The reality is that it’s taking recruiters longer to find the right talent, and there’s less of it to go around. They might find a dead-on hit, and extract them from their current position, only to be told by the hiring manager that they’d like to see a couple more candidates as well. In an ideal world, it would be great to have a group of potential applicants. In reality, time is of the essence. If employers don’t seize the talent when it’s available – someone else will. If recruiters focus on sourcing additional candidates, they stand to lose the one or two that they’ve already found.  

It’s About Time

If they’re that good, they’ll be gone.

Dave Nerz, President, NPAworldwide

Competition for the best candidates in a shrinking talent pool means recruiters need to work smarter to get up to speed. Gone are the days of meetings over coffee or lunch. To extract the right candidates from their current roles and bring them in takes money, resources, and time. What used to be a window of three months to make the hire, is now more like three weeks. 

A man on the phone. Photo by 
Andrea Piacquadio

Employers also have to fiercely compete on their offers. Whether that’s a bigger signing bonus, more time off, the option to work from home, or something else – it all has to be negotiated within a limited timeframe. This is where speed is of the essence. It’s also when recruiters need to push back on clients to ensure they’re educated about the reality.

Some companies who reflect on the hiring process realize they need to take a more consultative approach to recruiting, knowing it will get them better long-term results. Others look at the problem and blame recruiters. To try to solve the issue, these companies hire multiple contingent recruiters to simultaneously source talent for a single role. 

The trouble is, there’s only a limited talent pool. So having multiple recruiters set against each other in a race to find the best candidates doesn’t necessarily yield more prospects. All it does is make recruiters consider the value of their own time – and how it might be more productively spent working exclusively for other clients.  

The Power Of Pushback

Pushing back on clients can pull some recruiters out of their comfort zone. But the benefits are clear. Being totally transparent and giving employers who get it a true picture of the job market means recruiters get the resources they need to get the job done, and make the right hires. In situations where recruiters get blamed for the lack of available talent, employers end up getting second-rate candidates – or worse – no candidates at all. 

Catching the best candidates before they opt to go elsewhere requires close collaboration and fast-thinking. The right ATS and CRM can also help to speed up the hiring process. That doesn’t mean cutting corners. It means streamlining workflows – even automating some aspects of it – so that recruiters can get the job done faster and more efficiently.  

PCRecruiter is an all-in-one ATS and CRM which saves recruiters time, so they can make the right hires faster. Discover our tech.

In the G2 Winter 2023 rankings, PCRecruiter appeared in seventeen new reports, achieving twelve new ranking badges and Top 10 slots in twenty-five different reports.

G2, the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace, releases quarterly reports for a variety of software categories. Their rankings and awards are based entirely on independent reviews submitted by real users. PCRecruiter is ranked in the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Candidate Relationship Management, Staffing, and Recruitment Marketing categories. PCRecruiter has appeared as a Top 10 recruiting software in the past, and the Winter 2023 reports continue the trend and then some!

PCRecruiter hits #1 in Recruitment Marketing Software Ranking

G2 Winter 2023 Badges - PCRecruiter is a Top 10 Recruiting Software Option

G2 considers a “Small Business” to be any company with 50 or fewer employees. According to IBISWorld, this encompasses most recruiting agencies, making G2’s “Small Business” grouping the most important one for PCRecruiter. Here’s how we fared in the 2023 Winter Report based on independent PCRecruiter reviews:

Recruitment Marketing – High Performer

  • Best ‘Usability’ (Ranked #1)
  • Best ‘Meets Requirements’ (Ranked #1)
  • Highest User Adoption
  • Top 5 in Customer Relationship
  • Top 10 in Implementation

Applicant Tracking Systems – Leader

  • Top 5 in Results Index
  • Top 5 in Customer Relationship
  • Top 10 in Usability

Staffing – High Performer

  • Top 10 in Usability
  • Top 10 in Results Index
  • Top 10 in Customer Relationship

Candidate Relationship Management – Leader

  • Top 5 in Customer Relationship
  • Top 5 in Results Index
  • Top 10 in Usability
  • Top 10 in Implementation

Top 10 Recruiting Software in Overall Rankings

When looking at the rankings for businesses of all sizes, PCRecruiter also appeared in several Top 10 ranks, including the results Indexes for Applicant Tracking Systems and Staffing software, and the Customer Relationship Indexes for Applicant Tracking Systems, Candidate Relationship Management, and Staffing software.

We are always particularly happy to see PCRecruiter reaching the top of the list for Customer Relationship, as we pride ourselves on how easy our customers say we are to do business with!

If you’re a PCRecruiter user, we would love to have your thoughts included in G2’s Spring 2023 rankings, particularly in light of new features like Sequencing and the many other exciting updates we’ve got planned for the new year. We invite you to submit your own review here.

About G2

G2 is the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace. More than 60 million people annually — including employees at all of the FORTUNE 500 — use G2 to make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews. Thousands of software and services companies of all sizes partner with G2 to build their reputation, manage their software spend, and grow their business – including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, and Adobe. To learn more about where you go for software, visit www.g2.com and follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Everyone seems to be saying the same thing: where did 2022 go? It was the year in which the world of work slowly came to terms with the after effects of the global pandemic. Organizations relaunched in recovery mode, and recruiters faced up to new challenges from remote working to the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. A lot has changed – maybe more than at any other point in living memory. The recruitment landscape is a very different shape and size to what it was 3 years ago.

You may remember that back in the fall, we compiled a list of key hiring and recruitment trends for 2022. The truth is that with so much going on this year, there’s plenty more where that came from. So we’ve decided to welcome in 2023 by looking back – and gazing ahead – at 5 recruiting trends you might have missed.

2022 In Review

1 Recruitment Podcasts

Staying up to date with the latest recruitment industry insight, topics, and trends is no easy feat – especially right now. The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen on the fly, in the car, on the way to work, or on your lunch break. The trouble is, if you can think of it, someone’s probably already made a podcast about it. With so many shows available, it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. To help you get started, earlier in 2022 we put together a list of our top 6 recruitment podcasts

2 Data Security 

Recruiters handle high volumes of personal data every day. In fact, your data is probably your organization’s most valuable asset. Think about it. All that candidate and company data sitting in your ATS and CRM is a goldmine – not only for your competitors – but for hackers looking to extract personal information. The last thing any recruiter wants is a data breach, which can be costly for your company – particularly your reputation. As data privacy regulations around the world continue to tighten, data security becomes ever more critical to client and candidate trust. Find out what you need to know by reading our article on data security in recruitment.

3 Social Recruiting 

Let’s be clear. The fundamentals of recruiting haven’t changed all that much over the years. But the ways in which candidates engage with potential employers, and employers reach out to candidates, have evolved. As a digital-first generation enters the job market, companies need to find the right spaces to engage with potential candidates. And that means social hiring – using social media platforms to connect with prospective candidates. However, recruiters need to be increasingly strategic about which social platforms they use to source the right candidates. Learn more by reading our guide on how to use social media in recruiting

4 Automations 

It’s not the most obvious move for a people business like recruitment, but introducing automations into the hiring process can help you hire faster. By making effective use of today’s technology, recruiters can free-up more time to focus on their core business. For example, in PCRecruiter, it’s possible to automate things like form letters to candidates, emails to clients to schedule interviews, and notifications that prompt administrators to take certain actions. The key to this is knowing what’s possible, and how to set up automatons which actually benefit recruiters in their daily work. Not sure where to start? Take a look at our blog post on 5 ways to use automation in recruitment

5 Artificial Intelligence  

Let’s be honest, in 2022 AI in recruitment was headline news, so you probably didn’t miss this one! But, we feel it’s an important one to keep on your radar. The reality is that AI is here, it’s been used by recruiters, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s fair to say that many of us are willing to welcome AI into certain aspects of our lives, from customer service chatbots to film recommendations. But when it comes to determining our suitability for an open role – that’s a different story. New York’s new regulation on the use of ‘Automated Employment Decision Tools’ comes into effect from 1st January 2023. It will be interesting to see the impact of this on the recruitment industry. Read our blog to learn more about the pitfalls and potential of using AI in recruitment.

Looking Ahead To 2023

As people, technology, and the global economies continue to pull in different directions, companies will continue to adopt and embrace technology-driven recruitment practices to compete for the best candidates, and ensure they get the right people into the right roles. 

At PCRecruiter, we’re excited to discover where our sequencing tool will take recruiters who’ll be able to accelerate recruiting workflows, speed up the onboarding of new team members, and increase efficiency for current users.

Stay on top of your hiring game in 2023 and beyond with PCRecruiter’s Sequencing feature. Watch this short video to learn more:

You want people, not software, to run your recruiting business. Finding the right software can be a challenge. You’re going to have questions, but are you asking the right ones?

Whether your chosen vendor requires a one-off transaction or a subscription service, recruiting CRM software is a significant outlay for your firm. It’s also the beating heart of your business. Your chosen software needs to perform well every day, and allow recruiters to get on with what they do best. 

Balancing the cost of your investment with the business value it brings is no easy task. There are multiple variables to consider, including your firm’s preferred workflows and unique approach to making hiring decisions. After all, you want people, not your software, to run your recruiting.

PCRecruiter’s Jim Lombardo and Chris Cyrus have over 30 years of recruitment solution sales and consulting experience between them. In this post, they’ll share their tips for what to ask your staffing or recruiting CRM software vendor to ensure you get the right solution for your business. 

For those new to the business, let’s start with what recruitment software has to offer. 

What Is a Recruiting CRM / ATS?

Recruitment software is used by placement firms and executive search pros to handle the administrative side of the recruiting process. It helps them to source, track, and manage talent from prospect to placement. 

An end-to-end solution typically combines aspects of an applicant tracking system (ATS) with candidate and client relationship management (CRM) tools to support the entire recruitment lifecycle. 

Recruiting software also provides related functionality that can help to speed up the process, such as:

  • Job postings
  • Workflow automation
  • Reusable forms 
  • Boolean CV / resume search
  • Multi-function lists
  • Configurable reports
  • Recruitment analytics 
  • Email and voice integrations

The Benefits of a Recruitment CRM / ATS

The right software can unlock significant business benefits. If you’re not already using an ATS/CRM at your recruiting agency, here are five ways it can add value:

  1. Automation: Automate routine and repeatable administrative tasks, like sending notifications and communications. 
  2. Information Retention: Build a pool of current and past roles, candidates, and clients for instant access and faster future searches.
  3. Communication: A single repository for logging all email, voice, and text activity makes it easier to track history and communicate more effectively.
  4. Error Reduction: Ensure candidate and client information is correct and up to date with a single source of truth, reducing duplication and related mistakes.
  5. Analytics: Use the available data to gain competitive insights into both candidate and recruiter performance. Easily identify areas for improvement. 
Questions to ask your potential recruitment CRM vendor

Whether you’re just starting up your recruiting firm or considering a change of recruitment CRM, it’s important to ask the right questions to get the right solution and the best deal from your vendor. 

Here are some key questions that Jim and Chris recommend:

What’s the pricing model, and how much will it cost?

Every recruitment firm has a unique budgets and unique needs. Paying for unused licenses or unnecessary functionality is not cost-effective. Ask how your potential vendor defines ‘users’, how they handle adding or dropping users, and what costs are involved in setup and training. As most software as a service (SaaS) software is offered on a subscription model, it’s important to know whether future updates are part of the package or an additional cost.

If you’re considering self-hosting, there’s also cost of hardware and maintenance to consider.

What kind of support do you offer?

With the implementation of any new software, there is always going to be a learning curve. The flatter this curve, the quicker recruiters can get back to the job of recruiting. With a training and support package from the get-go, it’s much easier to get up and running, and get back to business without a lengthy introduction.

Ask who your point of contact will be. Do you get an experienced trainer to help guide you through using the software and offer advice regarding best practices? It’s also useful to know what post-setup options are available, like a learning management system (LMS), videos, or documentation to help you further down the line. Ongoing personal support can also be invaluable. Don’t forget to ask what the hours for support are, where the support team is based, and whether support comes with additional fees.

How can I post and update jobs?

With all the heavy lifting going on within your software, it’s important that job postings can be easily shared with job boards and other external platforms, without having to copy and paste information from one location to another. This is especially important when you want job postings to be consistent across different locations, or you want to allow candidates to flow in from multiple places. How does the potential vendor put jobs out to the world?

Am I able to extract data to generate reports and analytics?

Forward-thinking recruiters are using data to speed up sourcing and selection, and accelerate the time to fill open roles. Data can also be useful for analyzing candidate and recruiter performance. To get the best value from your dataset, it’s vital that your recruiting software offers reports to reveal useful business insights, and enables you to continuously improve as an organization. Ask what reports and analytics they provide and whether you can generate your own or export to common formats.

How do I get legacy data in or out?

A woman on the phone
When shopping for staffing or recruiting software, have your questions ready and take plenty of notes on the demo.

If you’re moving from one staffing and recruiting software to another, another important consideration is the successful migration of your existing data. This process can take time to get right. Data from a spreadsheet can typically be imported by you as an end-user, but a full data migration of jobs, resumes, and record history can potentially take weeks. How does your prospective vendor ensure a smooth transition without impacting day-to-day business or creating costly downtime? What fees are involved in migrating the data? And if you decide to leave, what’s involved in getting your data out?

Is this going to work with my existing email?

Bringing in new software shouldn’t involve redefining your entire software stack (unless you want it to.) When it comes to email, altering email habits to accommodate a new system is both time-consuming and unnecessary. Whether you use Gmail, Outlook, or any other major email client and provider, make sure the software you choose can easily work with your existing account. Ask about integrations that would help you sync contacts, calendars, attachments, and forms between your email and recruitment CRM.

How does it track voice and SMS communications?

Recruiters spend a lot of time on the phone. Ideally, you want your staffing software to offer a single pane of glass over the entire recruitment process. That includes SMS and voice communications. So it’s a reasonable expectation that the system should allow you to sync with services for dialing out or sending a text messages easily. Find out what systems your vendor works with and to what degree, and ask about tracking of activity in general.

Does it enable me to enhance my existing talent pool?

The right staffing software will elevate your hiring game, and building your own private database of candidates and clients will pay dividends on future searches. To that end, what functionality does it have to enable you to broaden, and deepen, your existing talent pool? These days, there are a wealth of clever services out there to help you uncover best-fit passive talent. Does the software easily integrate with services such as seamless.AI, HireEz, or ZoomInfo’s TalentOS?

Will my data be secure?

It’s imperative to pay attention to the security of your private database. With plenty of high-profile cases of data breaches, there can be lasting reputational and financial damage if something goes wrong. Ask the vendor who can access your data, and what security protocols they have in place. Find out how frequently the data is backed up and how easily it can be retrieved if something goes wrong.

You’ll also want to verify whether the vendor themselves intend to makes use of your data. Will your data be used research, aggregation, or even resale? Is it comingled with data from other users?

PCRecruiter is ready to give you answers.

PCRecruiter has been helping recruiters source, track, and hire since 1998. Over the years, our offering has evolved alongside recruiters’ needs and advances in technology. We understand the wide range of business models and service requirements that recruiting pros need.

We’re proud to have served over tens of thousands of recruiters around the world through our ATS / CRM. We are both happy and qualified to answer the questions above and more.

Let us answer your questions and show you around our recruiting tech. Book a free demo today.

For some recruiters, self-hosting is still the most cost-effective and efficient way to manage their ATS and CRM. For others, SaaS makes the most sense. So how do you know what’s right for your recruitment firm? And is there a vendor who can offer you both? (Yes. PCRecruiter).

Whether you’ve been in recruitment for decades, or you’re just getting started, your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) sit front and center of your business. Their value to your day-to-day activities is unquestionable. 

If your current software license is due for renewal, you’re about to heavily invest in new hardware, or you’re building a recruiting business from the ground up, it’s a good time to reevaluate your options. But should you choose self-hosted or SaaS?

In this blog post from PCRecruiter, company co-founder Martin Snyder looks at the key differences between self-hosted and SaaS, and the advantages of each type of setup. Why? Because unlike other vendors, PCRecruiter still offers both options to ensure we can provide the best fit for a wide range of needs.

What Is Self-Hosting?

A self-hosted solution run by the user’s company on their own IT systems and servers or from a data center which is not owned by their software vendor. This is also known as an ‘on-premise’. In a self-hosted set-up, the software is purchased outright via a license, typically renewed on an regular basis. 

Self-hosting works well for companies who already own or pay for the services required to facilitate it. So if you’ve already got a web and database server, storage infrastructure, technical and administrative support, and software maintenance services in place and working well, then all you need is the software. In this set-up, the software is a capital expense – a one-time purchase.      

What Is SaaS?

Networking Image

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the more popular alternative to self-hosting. SaaS is delivered over the Internet and does not require the same level of installation or maintenance. It eliminates the need for you to self-manage complicated software and hardware installations. SaaS is sometimes referred to as on-demand software or web-based software. It’s also sometimes referred to as “hosted software” because SaaS is hosted by the vendor who manages updates, security, access, and availability. SaaS uses a subscription model, so you pay on a recurring basis, often monthly.

SaaS doesn’t require the expensive IT infrastructure needed to self-host. In most cases, SaaS can run from any device with a browser or sometimes via a dedicated app. SaaS eliminates the need to buy and maintain your own hardware and networking infrastructure. In this way, SaaS helps to keep the capital costs down for IT hardware and equipment. It also means that your software becomes an operating expense (OpEx).

Self-Hosted or SaaS

In many ways, recruiting is a very narrow economic process. But the definition of a ‘recruiter’ is very broad – from an independent headhunter working at home to the HR sourcer at an international corporation. The one thing they all have in common is that recruiters tend to be ‘people’ people, not ‘tech’ people. They need a solution that fits their day-to-day needs without adding an unnecessary layer of complexity. 

In the distant past, the only option was for businesses to use a self-hosted or on-premise solution to meet their IT needs. It’s still the traditional way of setting up major IT infrastructure – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But as the saying goes: do what you’ve always done, and you’ll always get the same results. For some recruitment firms, this approach still works and they get great results. For others – particularly recruitment start-ups – SaaS offers a better solution.

Here are some key points to consider when comparing self-hosting with SaaS:

Continuous Delivery

There are many reasons to choose SaaS. If you lack the IT infrastructure to self-host, or if you’ve got any concerns whatsoever about the stability of your database, a SaaS vendor can take care of that for you. The other considerations are uptime and availability. If you’re not able to guarantee the stable and continuous delivery of your recruiters’ every day software tools and network, then SaaS is also a good option.

IT Resources

While major recruiting agencies may have lots of IT assets, smaller firms often have fewer resources. SaaS gives these companies access to a much more powerful software stack than they would otherwise manage themselves.

Smaller organizations also benefit from only needing a handful of user subscriptions. On the other hand, large enterprises can sometimes find self-hosting a more cost-effective way to add tens or hundreds of users (see Economic Models). 

Data Security

Most recruiters would agree that their most prized asset is their database. 

Self-hosting gives recruiters the reassurance that, with proper security in place, only they will have access to their data. There’s no need to be concerned about the vendor relationship and what could potentially happen with their data when it’s hosted by a third-party provider. Fears over a data breach, cyber threats, or even the sale of data are common concerns. Some less reputable ATS providers may even stipulate that if you import data into their SaaS, they own or can make use of the data. If you’re looking into any SaaS option, always ask the vendor for the specifics about who has access to and ownership of the database!

Networking Image

For every company around the world, there are ever-tightening regulations around data privacy. Recruitment is no exception. A data breach or cyberattack can be costly in terms of reputation and financial damage. Self-hosting gives you complete control over where the data is stored, who can connect to it, and even direct database access to the contents if needed.

Conversely, self-hosting means the entire security of your database rests upon your own network and IT capabilities, which could make you more vulnerable to issues rather than less. A reputable SaaS provider should have a highly secured hosting setup and regular security audits to ensure safety of the system, as well as be compliant with any applicable data protection regulations. This may offer you more peace of mind than managing things yourself.

Updates & New Features

With self-hosting, updating and getting new features can potentially be a time-consuming and costly process. It may impact business functionality, and generate downtime. SaaS is hosted by the vendor, so any updates and new features are handled centrally and automatically, and are therefore much quicker and easier to roll out. 

The other aspect to consider is timing. With SaaS, updates and new features are rolled out on a continuous basis. With self-hosting, it’s more typical to receive less frequent updates because of the complexity and disruption to services. Digital SaaS updates put the control in the hands of the vendor. Self-hosting updates tend to happen on-demand, putting control in the hands of the owner.

Another factor of increasing importance is how well the software can connect to other tools in your recruitment software stack. While a SaaS vendor may be able to offer software integrations through their own application programming interfaces (API), technical or contractual requirements often limit these to the SaaS provider’s own domain or infrastructure. Choosing to self-host may mean giving up some of the more robust features that rely on specific hardware and software behind the scenes. If you are currently self-hosting and have pre-existing integrations that you want to continue using when making a switch, it’s vitally important to ensure you can keep those connections.

Economic Models

As with most business decisions, cost is a make-or-break factor. Your decision to self-host or subscribe to a SaaS depends on your preferred economic model. When you self-host, the software is purchased as a single product. It’s owned. In countries like the US, for tax purposes, the value of this asset is said to depreciate in value over time. SaaS, however, is handled like a rental or lease. This means it there’s no depreciation. It’s an expense, and it gets taken as you spend it. 

Most SaaS vendors have three distinct fees: setup, user fees, and workload. For recruitment software vendors, workload equates with storage, updates, and data maintenance. The more storage you need, the higher the cost. SaaS user fees are generally per-user/per-month, whereas self-hosted configurations generally involve an initial startup fee, plus an update fee. This means that as the number of users increases, the cost per user decreases. There is a level where self-hosting can represent a huge saving when compared with SaaS user fees, but that tipping point tends to be at much larger organization sizes.

Which One Is Right For You?

Despite the increasing popularity and advantages of SaaS – it’s still not for everyone. For every recruitment firm, what’s most important is to balance innovation with necessity and cost with functionality.

Thankfully, with PCRecruiter you can take your pick. While the vast majority of our users go with the SaaS model, we still offer a self-hosted solution for those who require one. The software is substantially identical, with the exception of some of the more advanced features, making it possible to move your data from one model to the other if your business requirements change in the future.

If you’re not sure which makes sense for your company, our sales consultants are trained to help you compare the various options, and determine the right one for you. Get in touch with us today.

G2’s Fall 2022 report recognizes PCRecruiter with 7 new badges and multiple Top 10 Rankings in the ATS, Staffing, Recruiting, and Candidate Relationship software categories.

G2, the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace, has released their Fall 2022 Reports today. In the latest report, PCRecruiter received four new Leader badges, three new High Performer badges, and was ranked Top 10 in ten reports. These recognitions are based entirely on independent reviews submitted by real PCRecruiter users.

We were particularly pleased to receive a Top 3 slot in the Small-Business Relationship Index for Applicant Tracking Systems, indicating that when it comes to ease of doing business with, quality of support, and likeliness to recommend, PCRecruiter is one of the best ATS software options for companies of 1-50 employees.

G2 Fall 2022 Badges
G2’s Fall Reports show why PCRecruiter is ranked as one of the Top 50 HR Software options on the site.

“Rankings on G2 reports are based on data provided to us by real software buyers,” said Sara Rossio, Chief Product Officer at G2. “Potential buyers know they can trust these insights when researching and selecting software because they’re rooted in vetted, verified, and authentic reviews.” 

We are deeply appreciative of your kind words about our software and we look forward to continuing to build on this success. If you’re a PCRecruiter user, we would love to have your thoughts included in G2’s Winter 2023 rankings. Click here to submit your own review now.

About G2

G2 is the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace. More than 60 million people annually — including employees at all of the FORTUNE 500 — use G2 to make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews. Thousands of software and services companies of all sizes partner with G2 to build their reputation, manage their software spend, and grow their business – including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, and Adobe. To learn more about where you go for software, visit www.g2.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Our series of free PCRecruiter webinars will be moving to Tuesdays! Dates are scheduled throughout the summer on a variety of topics in PCRecruiter.

If you missed any of the previous sessions on topics including Profile Forms, Contractor Features, and our Open API, check out our webinar archive.

If you can’t make it to the live session, don’t worry – a recording will be sent to all registrants afterward.

Job Board Overview (April 19, 2022)

PCRecruiter’s Drew Rothman walks through how the PCR Job Board is set up and what its capabilities are. A useful session for those who aren’t currently using the Job Board and want to know more, or who are using the older ‘Candidate Web Extensions’ and considering an upgrade.

Contractor Features (May 3, 2022)
In this session, you’ll learn more about how PCRecruiter facilitates your contract or contract-to-perm process. In this session we’ll discuss expense tracking with the ability to upload receipts and clock-in/out via the PCRecruiter mobile app. We’ll also discuss hours approval and reporting.

Searching in PCRecruiter (May 17, 2022)
In this session, some of PCR’s top trainers will discuss different methods of searching for names, companies, and jobs within your database.

New PCRecruiter Pipeline – May 31
This session will cover the all-new PCRecruiter pipeline (coming soon) and how to set up and navigate all of the great features it has to offer. A great orientation for those moving from the older version or for those new to PCRecruiter in general.

PCRecruiter Sequencing Features Part 1 – June 14 Part 2 – June 28 Part 3 – July 12
The brand new sequencing features (coming soon) in PCRecruiter will help you automate marketing, communication, and other processes. Learn all about what they can do in this session, to be presented in a three part series.

PCRecruiter Customer Demo – July 26
How do PCRecruiter users work in the system? In this session, we’ll be talking with a PCRecruiter user about their particular configuration and how they’ve made PCRecruiter work for them.