Recruitment software and HR software: What’s the difference?

This is one of the questions we see most often – from bloggers and those inside the industry. “Is there any difference between HR and recruitment software? Does it really matter which one I use for my recruitment agency?” The short answer is: Yes, it matters. But if both are developed to help manage talent acquisition and human capital management, why are they so distinct from one another? eBoss explains.

choosing the best software for your recruitment agency

Today’s professional software marketplace can be a pretty disorientating place for a new business owner. Every niche industry is handsomely catered for, and recruitment is no exception. It leaves many entrepreneurs wondering – is there really that much difference between any two systems? Is HR software in fact the same thing as recruitment system? After all, both are dedicated to managing talent and human capital.

This is a common misconception – but a very important one to put right.

Recruitment software and HR software are two very different offerings. Understanding which one your enterprise needs means understanding what each does. Let’s take a look at how recruitment software is different to HR software.

Human Resources (HR) Software

Human resources management systems (HRMS) support the HR department. They are developed to streamline the collection, storage and retrieval of important data that will help the HR team with their work.

A feature-rich HRMS will provide the following functionality:

  • Talent acquisition management
  • Interview, hiring, and onboarding progress trackers
  • Policy, processes, and legal
  • Employment contracts
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI) reporting, progress and development tracking
  • Payroll
  • Attendance / absence management

    As you can see, some of these tasks may logically overlap with those of a recruitment agency. But what is HRMS lacking that a recruiter cannot live without? Let’s take a look at what unique features recruiter software has to offer.

    Recruitment Software

    HR software, for the most part, is dedicated to internal and administrative tasks. Meanwhile, recruitment software concentrates on all of the processes that happen before the candidate reaches onboarding. Think of it like this: HR software is all asset management, whereas recruitment software is all about performance in a competitive environment.

    Recruitment is, fundamentally, a sales profession. It means that the software in your office must have a comprehensive understanding of your performance and value. Where are you generating income? Which of your consultants is discovering the best new talent – and from where?

    Recruitment software detects your peak performance and helps you to repeat these processes. Let’s take a look at what the best recruitment software has under the hood:

  • Databasing
  • CV parsing
  • Fast, accurate candidate searching
  • List building
  • Candidate tracking
  • Notes and records management
  • Vacancy management
  • Client management
  • Communications tools
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Consultant management
  • Performance analytics and reporting
  • Data compliance management

    You can read an in depth summary of each of these key processes here.

    As you can see, an end-to-end recruitment software service has to wear many different “hats”. At its core, it is a database. But recruitment database software is more than a storage solution. The best quality recruitment databases offer fast and efficient bulk uploads and automate the data parsing from a candidate’s CV. This alone removes 90 per cent of the traditional workload associated with candidate sourcing.

    Next, you have to know that your database is searchable. There is no point having thousands of great candidates if you cannot find the right one for a job. Machine learning has opened the door to a new age of sophisticated searching. Semantic search is increasingly seen as the industry standard. It surpasses a traditional boolean search by understanding the context of a query.


    Imagine a situation where a job title or description has changed over the years. It happens often enough. Now consider the fact that every candidate CV on your database will no longer be discovered if you use the up-to-date jargon in your searches. With semantic search, your recruitment software understands this context, and will show you results based on their relevance; not the specific search terms you have used.

    So quality and accuracy are both important to recruiters. That’s fair enough. But so is speed. Recruitment is one of today’s most competitive markets; “fast” and “reliable” are synonyms in this industry. If you can deliver to tight deadlines – every time – then you will win clients. A good recruitment software will help you to build shortlists for your candidates in next to no time. Some, like eBoss, will even start you off one step ahead of your competitors by automating the process. It means you have the option to start any shortlisting with a ready-made pool of results. When you need turnaround within the hour, automation is an indispensable assistant.

    Lastly, we have the enterprise management tools. Follow your candidates through the recruitment process with applicant tracking systems (ATS). Understand your clients’ individual expectations and objectives with advanced customer relationship management (CRM) facilities. Then, reach out to them with integrated communications solutions.

    Did the workflow described above work for you? Key Performance Indicators (KPI), data analytics and automated reports will let you know. The best recruitment software is end-to-end. Every task can be completed within the working environment.

    In summary

    So there we have it. HR software is focused on management and maintenance of human capital within a business. While it does contain elements of recruiting and onboarding, its primary function is one of oversight. Recruitment software, meanwhile, is built for an industry whose aims are sales and growth. The best recruiters will never stay content with their existing pipeline. They are always eager to move their candidates through the process and into their next position. This type of recruiter needs the support of a software solution that reflects their workflows and performance. The best recruitment software will always provide the tools and features needed to grow an agency.

    At eBoss, it is what we have always aimed to achieve with our products.