How Much Does Recruitment Software Cost?

by Mike Tannian on May 10, 2022

You’re ready to buy recruiting software but don’t know how much to budget. Find out how to estimate recruitment software cost for your organization.

Article Highlights

It’s time for your HR department to invest in online recruitment software. As your organization has grown, it’s become harder and harder to upkeep your applicant tracking systems and talent management. Spreadsheets simply aren’t going to cut it anymore. 

Fortunately, you have a meeting with the City Manager and budget staff this afternoon to discuss your needs. But you know they’re going to ask the dreaded question: how much does recruitment software cost? 

And you aren’t quite sure how to answer. 

Well, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll offer guidance on recruiting software prices and the return on investment you can expect from your purchase. We’ll also provide helpful insight about common features of software and how to choose the right software for your organization. By the end, you’ll be more than ready for your meeting.

Recruitment Software vs. Recruiting Agency

While trying to determine how you can improve your recruiting process, you may have considered hiring a staffing agency. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of hiring a recruiting firm versus using recruitment software solutions so you can determine which approach will work best for your organization. 

Pros and cons of a recruiting agency

For public agencies that don’t have an internal recruiter, recruiting agencies can be a valuable resource and can help take the workload off your internal teams. In particular, organizations that encounter situations like the ones below may benefit from hiring a staffing agency: 

  • You’re hiring for a leadership position, such as the City Manager 
  • You’re hiring for a position that requires highly specialized knowledge
  • Your organization has infrequent turnover or hiring needs (so it doesn’t make sense to have internal staff dedicated to hiring) 

Because recruiters have a pulse on current market trends, they can provide valuable insights into how to make a competitive job offer. This is particularly helpful for leadership positions, like city managers, where you may be conducting a national search. Staffing firms can also find talent for positions that require more technical skill sets.

But there are some downsides to hiring recruiting agencies, too. 

Staffing agencies aren’t entrenched in your organization, so they might not always be the best at recruiting for culture. And we all know that the most qualified candidates on paper aren’t always the best candidates for your organization! 

Additionally, agencies are concerned with finding the best candidate for the job as fast as possible. While this allows you to fill positions quickly, it also means that agencies don’t have as much time for proactive candidate communication. This can lead to candidates not receiving feedback about why they aren’t moving forward in the interview process.

Similarly, because you’re less involved, it’s more difficult to integrate the hiring process with your larger employer branding strategies. Taken together, these factors may make disqualified candidates less likely to apply to future positions and decrease your ability to promote your organization as an employer of choice

Pros and cons of recruitment software

In contrast, recruitment software allows you to control your entire process from start to finish. This makes it a great option for organizations that want to: 

  • Foster a strong employer brand and great candidate experience throughout the entire recruitment process
  • Manage applicant tracking information and time tracking across systems
  • Use candidate relationship management tools to improve communication
  • Collect and analyze key performance data throughout the hiring process

Software strengthens your brand through core features like job boards and candidate self-service portals. These user-friendly interfaces demonstrate that your organization keeps up with modern needs and counteracts the stereotype that government orgs are behind the times. Over time, a strong employer brand can even reduce your cost per hire and time to hire, better positioning you to compete against larger businesses in the private sector. 

Additionally, the best recruitment software systems function as intuitive technology that can be integrated into your existing HCM or ERP systems. Many recruitment software vendors also have onboarding and performance management modules, and some even offer email integration for streamlined candidate outreach and mobile apps for easy access by internal teams. As such, software can often be used throughout the entire employee lifecycle, as opposed to a recruiting agency which is primarily used during active hiring phases. 

Recruitment solutions can also help your organization effortlessly track applicants and track key recruitment metrics throughout your entire hiring process, such as application completion rate, time to hire, and first-year attrition. You can then use these metrics to assess progress towards meeting your recruitment goals. 

Of course, you do have to pay for recruitment software even when you aren’t in an active recruitment cycle. There is also a slower start-up than working with staffing agencies, as your software provider must help with software setup. 

As such, it can be helpful to think about recruitment platforms as a long-term strategy to improve your organization’s candidate sourcing and hiring workflows. In contrast, hiring a recruitment firm may be best reserved for “one-off” situations, such as hiring for leadership positions or other high-level talent.

How Much Does Recruitment Software Cost?

By now, you likely have a good idea as to whether recruitment software or a recruitment agency best serves the core HR functions of your organization. But you still need to answer the question that will be on everyone’s mind this afternoon: how much does recruitment software cost?  

Because recruitment software cost depends on a wide range of factors, you likely won’t be able to provide your City Manager with an exact number. You can, however, create a pricing model that explains some of the factors that affect recruitment software cost. This includes: 

  • The number of employees in your organization 
  • The specific product(s) you’re interested in
  • Set-up fees 
  • Software add-ons

As you might expect, the larger your organization, the more upkeep involved in processing and maintaining users for your recruitment software. As such, many software companies price their products at different tiers based on company size. The larger the company, the higher the average cost.

So an organization with hundreds or even thousands of employees will pay more for recruiting software than an organization with only a couple dozen staff. Recruitment software cost can thus range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over a hundred thousand dollars. 

Additionally, organizations must pay software companies to set up the system on their behalf. This may involve an extra cost for actions like setting up administrative accounts within the system, adjusting the software to meet user specifications, and integrating the software with third-party systems. 

Finally, any add-ons you purchase to complement your base product can also incur an additional cost. This could include things like: 

  • Single sign-on
  • Social media integration 
  • Other products in a company’s lineup 

As you compare solutions and set up software demos, don’t forget to ask about any hidden costs your organization will have to pay that might not be communicated upfront. 

On that note, because there are so many variables to consider, the best way to get a recruitment software price comparison is to contact each recruitment software provider directly. If you’re interested in learning more about NEOGOV’s cloud-based software, you can book a free demo online.

What’s the ROI of Recruitment Software?

It’s not difficult to see why organizations choose to pay thousands of dollars for a recruiting solution. Recruitment software systems provide a strong return on investment, both in tangible and intangible ways. 

Tangible ROI

After purchasing recruitment software, some of the most tangible returns on investment you can expect are:

  1. Cost savings; and
  2. Time savings 

As counterintuitive as it may sound, spending money on online recruiting software now could save you thousands later. That’s because recruiting software solutions increase the likelihood you’ll make a solid hire for your organization. In fact, when you use NEOGOV’s GovernmentJobs.com, you’re 177% more likely to find a qualified candidate than on Indeed. 

And that’s no small thing since the wrong hire can cost your organization anywhere from $17,000 to $240,000. Great recruiting software improves your talent acquisition by: 

  • Increasing the size of your talent pool 
  • Filtering through applications to find the most qualified candidates and move them through your candidate pipeline 
  • Preparing candidates to succeed from day one of onboarding 

Of course, you’re likely looking into recruiting software because you're short on another valuable resource: time. Recruiting software reduces the time you and your recruiting team spend on administrative tasks like:

  • Checking job boards and sifting through the applications of potential candidates
  • Coordinating interview scheduling
  • Entering personnel tracking info into spreadsheets

Additionally, good recruitment software can reduce your overall time to hire, meaning you can lock in the most qualified candidates before they get hired by another organization. This is especially significant for public sector organizations, which have an average time to fill that’s three times longer than the private sector

Intangible ROI 

Beyond saving you money and time, recruitment software can provide intangible benefits as well. This includes:

  • Facilitating a better candidate experience 
  • Reducing stress on your human resources team 
  • Improving your onboarding process 

Many recruitment softwares offer advanced features like attractive, user-friendly job boards. These boards enable job seekers to easily find active job listings and apply to work for your organization. Some software systems also offer interview self-scheduling, providing candidates with that much more control over the stressful process of job hunting. 

Of course, spending less time reviewing applications and coordinating with staff to schedule interviews has the added benefit of reducing stress on members of your team. Rather than spending time on these repetitive tasks, your staff can instead focus on things like building a strong organizational culture or cultivating professional development opportunities for existing staff. 

Finally, some recruiting software companies, like NEOGOV, offer onboarding software solutions to create a seamless recruiting process, from application to first day on the job. Not only does a solid onboarding process make your life easier, but it can also boost your new hire’s productivity by more than 70%.

How to Choose the Right Software for Your Organization

When it comes to choosing the right online recruiting software for your organization, you should consider far more than the cost of software (even if that’s what budget staff might be most focused on!). While it may be tempting, purchasing a low-cost recruiting software can be far more expensive for your organization in the long run.

Think about it. The price you pay for software involves much more than the money you spend each month for the product itself. Your total investment includes things like: 

  • The time and money you spend researching features of recruitment software
  • The time and money you spend getting a product set up 
  • The time you and employees spend learning software 
  • The money you spend to pay for the ongoing upkeep of software 

If you end up purchasing low-cost recruiting software that isn’t providing quality candidates, doesn’t have the key functions you need, or is simply a pain to work with, then you’ve quickly eradicated any “cost savings.” 

So, it pays to do your research from the very beginning. Beyond being affordable, you should make sure that the software you purchase has all the key features you need and has a good user rating. As you research, ask yourself the following questions to decide if a specific product is right for you. 

  • Is the software user-friendly, attractive, and intuitive? 
  • Can this software integrate with my organization’s existing human capital management and ERP systems? 
  • Does this software company provide a high level of customer service? 
  • Does this type of software comprehensively meet the needs of my organization, including any compliance requirements like PII blinding
  • What have other organizations like mine said in their user reviews of the software?
  • Is this software scalable? 
  • Are there any extra costs associated with this software that I should be aware of?

Only once you’ve identified the products that comprehensively meet these needs and your standards should you start narrowing down software vendors that meet your organization’s budget.

Final Thoughts

While you may not be able to provide your City Manager with an exact answer to “how much does recruitment software cost,” you now have valuable information to share at your meeting. Whether your organization is looking to free up staff time, build its employer brand, or simply be more competitive in today’s job market, recruitment software can help.

And if you’re itching for more information about how to improve your recruitment practices, learn how to recruit the best candidates in a highly competitive job market on our blog.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.