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?

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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?

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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!

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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.