HR Software

Recruitment software vs HR software: What are the differences?

Recruitment interview

Updated on: 5/7/2023


Recruitment is costly and time-consuming - no doubt about it. You’ve got to create the job ad, upload it to an advertising platform, promote it, sift through CVs, shortlist applicants, arrange interviews…The list goes on. It makes sense that you’d be looking for ways to improve your recruitment efforts. And no doubt the query that led you to this page was something along the lines of… recruitment software vs HR software. 

When it comes to recruiting tools/platforms, you generally have two options:  

In this article, we’re going to evaluate the differences between the two (including the pros and cons). After reading, you should be in a better position to decide the best way to drive your recruitment efforts forward. 

If you’ve visited our website before, you’ll know that we (Access PeopleHR) specialise in HR software. However, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be biased. We understand that every business has different goals, so this article aims to be as honest and objective as possible – even if you conclude that HR software isn’t right for you.  

Let’s begin… 

What is recruitment software?

Recruitment software, also known as recruitment management software, assists organisations in optimising the hiring process, including finding and attracting candidates, through the candidate shortlisting process and issuing offers. An ‘applicant tracking system’ (ATS) is often used to refer to recruiting software, though these two are not exactly the same. A recruiting software package is much broader and covers applicant tracking systems, as well as other tools that are tailored to specific stages in the hiring process. 

What are the main features of recruitment software?

The standard features of recruitment software include automatic job posting, interview scheduling, candidate acquisition and more. A variety of other features are available, including reporting and analytics, collaborative hiring, and social media integration. As an SMB, it’s important to select features based on your business's objectives and priorities. 

The main features of recruitment software: 

  • Applicant tracking 
  • Candidate assessment and evaluation 
  • Career webpages/microsites 
  • Communication functionality 
  • Interview and offer management 
  • Onboarding assets 
  • Talent sourcing 

Note: not all recruitment software will have these features. It’s important to speak to your selected vendors for more information on what tools they can provide.  

What is HR software?

HR software is any type of technology developed with human resources in mind and is used for the management of employees. Supporting a wide variety of HR functions, the tools within HR software bring together recruitment, payroll, administration, management information and performance management. 

What are the main features of HR software?

Depending on the type of software package you choose, HR software can offer as many features as you require. It’s important to assess your needs as a business before investing, as you may be paying for functionality that you won’t need or use.  

HR software features list: 

What do HR software and recruitment software have in common?

When considering HR software vs recruitment software, it’s important to note that both tools can manage candidates and track applicants, and therefore will have overlapping functionalities. The purpose of recruitment software is to facilitate tracking and directing applicants, CVs, and compliance documents throughout the hiring process. HR software can then be used to organise employee information and manage payroll once a company has made a hire. As mentioned in the introduction, however, some HR software packages have recruitment software built-in, too.   

Overlapping features of recruitment and HR software that has recruitment functionality: 

  • Applicant/recruitment tracking 
  • Employee onboarding and administration 
  • Communication functionality 
  • Interview functionality  
  • Mobile friendly* 

Although both are closely related, when it comes to recruitment software vs HR software, their functions differ. While recruitment software helps onboard candidates, HR software goes beyond that and helps manage employee information, payroll, and administration, as well as keeping track of employee information. 

*Not all HR software is mobile friendly. Speak to your chosen vendor.  

How to choose: recruitment software vs HR software

So, how do you choose between HR software vs recruitment software? It makes sense to go with recruiting software if recruiting and selection is one of your businesses only priorities. However, if your needs go beyond recruitment and you want a solution that manages the whole employment lifecycle, then you should consider HR software.  

Here are seven tips for choosing the right HR software 

HR software vs recruitment software: pros and cons

To compare HR software Vs recruitment software, we’ve summarised their relative pros and cons in a table.  

  • To summarise the benefits of HR software: 

HR software is appealing to most SMBs because it can be purchased as one software, meaning one bill. This makes things simple and efficient. Secondly, HR software is usually cheaper than dedicated recruiting solutions. So, when you can buy one software for every HR function in your company AND at a good price, you are getting more ‘bang for your buck’. 

  • To summarise the benefits of recruitment software: 

If you have decided to drive recruitment efforts within your business, a dedicated recruitment platform can add structure to your hiring process. Your hiring teams won't have to invent hiring strategies and stages; instead, they'll have a defined process from the moment they post their first ad. This ensures hiring managers and team members are engaged throughout the hiring process. The level of functionality you get with recruitment software is arguably better than recruitment as an ‘add on’ within an HR software. 

Software  Pros Cons
HR Software
  • One software, one bill 
  • Simple and efficient 
  • More cost-effective tan dedicated recruiting solutions 
  • May not be mobile-optimised 
  • Quality may be limited if the recruitment function has been overlooked 
Recruitment Software
  • Adds structure to your hiring process 
  • Hiring strategies and stages become standardised 
  • Only purchasing recruitment software, so no other functionality 
  • The cost of recruitment software may outweigh your recruitment needs (i.e. no ROI). 

Next steps 

By now, you should have a clearer idea of what to choose between recruitment software vs HRIS. Both HR software and recruitment software can contribute to your company's overall HR needs, but they do so in different ways. A recruitment software investment can assist with the hiring and recruitment process, while HR software can support your overall HR and employee management needs. 

Your decision will likely centre around business goals and budget. Are you looking to do a big recruitment push over the next 12-18 months, or would an all-round solution prove to be a more cost-effective, long-term investment? 

If you’re intrigued by HR software after reading this article, we would then recommend a free trial of Access PeopleHR? There, you’ll get to experience all the features of our HR software (including our applicant tracking system) without being locked in to a contract. Of course, you can always ask our experts any questions you have at this stage. Simply get in touch with a member of our team.

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Did you find this article helpful? If so, we’ve selected further resources that relate to some of the issues we’ve addressed in today’s read. Check them out: 

Rich Newsome
By Rich Newsome Digital Content Writer

Rich is a content writer at Access PeopleHR and has a wealth of experience within the tech space, including HR software. Passionate about providing website visitors with informative and easy-to-understand content, Rich is committed to helping SMBs find the best solutions for their needs. With a flair for writing, Rich's content engages and educates readers, guiding them towards informed decisions.