Recruiter Perceptions of Software and Technology Use
IndustryView | 2014

Human resources (HR) professionals are often called luddites and laggards when it comes to using technology for recruiting. But is this claim backed up by the facts? Although recruiters don’t need to be able to write complex functions using JavaScript or Python, they would be well-served by at least some knowledge of the recruiting software and technology that can make their lives easier.

Software Advice set out to determine if recruiters are, indeed, as technologically disinclined as some claim. We polled approximately 100 recruiters to see if they were averse to using recruiting software or technology (other than email and job boards), and if so, why. We also interviewed Matt Charney, executive director of Recruiting Daily and champion of recruiting technology, to better understand the results. Here’s what we found.

Key Findings:

  1. The vast majority of recruiters (89 percent) said that recruiting technology was either “extremely” or “very” important for performing their jobs well.
  3. Of recruiters who did not use recruiting technology or software, 50 percent noted that a limited budget was an extremely significant obstacle to adoption.
  5. Ninety-five percent of recruiters using software/technology noted that they had minimal difficulty learning to use it.

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91 Percent of Recruiters Use Recruiting Technology

It seems the claim that recruiters are so far behind in their adoption of technology as to be considered “luddites” may be unfounded: Our poll found that 91 percent were using some form of recruiting technology or software.

Of those, 89 percent noted that recruiting software/technology was either “extremely” or “very important” to them performing their jobs well, while just 2 percent noted that technology was merely “somewhat important.” And, interestingly, none of the recruiters polled said that technology was “not at all important” for high job performance.

Importance of Recruiting Technology for High Job Performance

What’s more, only 9 percent noted they used no recruiting software or technology whatsoever, aside from email and job boards. When I shared these figures with Charney, he was not surprised.

“I believe it, to be honest with you,” he says. When he participated in the Kansas SHRM conference, he explains, “I asked, ‘Who still has a completely manual applicant system? Who here relies only on paper applications?’ I had two people in a room of maybe 200 raise their hands.”

Limited Budget Most Common Obstacle to Adopting Recruiting Software

In order to better understand why 9 percent of recruiters were not using technology, we asked these respondents how significant three common obstacles were in their decision to refrain from technology use: budget, ease-of-use and security.

We found that budget was by far the most significant factor, with 50 percent saying their lack of software was due to limited financial resources. Meanwhile, 25 percent said that recruiting software/technology was too complicated, and thought the manual methods they were using were quicker.

As one respondent noted: “I get rapid results using job recruiting boards, Craigslist, social media etc. Software seems like it would be more difficult than my current methods.”

Finally, while concerns about security did play some part in recruiters’ decisions not to adopt recruiting software and technology, this was the least important factor. In fact, none of the recruiters we polled said security was an “extremely significant” barrier to technology adoption.

Top Obstacles for Recruiters Who Don’t Use Technology

Given this, we set out to determine if these obstacles were true barriers to technology adoption. After polling the 91 percent of recruiters who were using recruiting software and technology, it appears these difficulties can, in fact, be overcome.

Most Say Benefits of Recruiting Technology Outweigh the Costs

The fact that budget was a primary concern for many recruiters when adopting new software and technology did not surprise Charney. And although a limited budget can certainly be a factor for smaller businesses with limited resources, he points out that it doesn’t necessarily need to be an obstacle.

Charney notes that many recruiters think the only available free technology is social media, which can be extremely time-consuming for the uninitiated. To the contrary—a variety of other options are available. For instance, many software vendors offer “freemium” recruiting solutions that are ideal for small businesses with limited recruiting needs. Meanwhile, Charney says, there are additional plugins and extensions for Internet browsers that can make sourcing simpler, or at least quicker: Rolepoint, Vibe, Connect6 and Recruiting Bar, to name a few.

Even if recruiters do need to pay for the software or technology they use, the expense seems to be worth it. When we asked recruiters who do use technology about their perceived return on investment, 93 percent felt that their recruiting software and technology was either “extremely” or “very beneficial” compared to the costs.

Perceived Benefit of Using Recruiting Technology

Recruiters Note Technology Is Fairly Easy to Learn

The next most common reason recruiters gave for holding out on adopting recruiting software and technology was that it was too complicated or cumbersome to learn.

“That’s not surprising,” says Charney. “I think that a lot of traditional recruiting professionals [think], ‘This works, so why change it?’” But, he adds, the idea that recruiting technology is too difficult to learn is “a huge disconnect” from the reality of how easy it actually is to use.

The recruiters we polled who do employ recruiting technology agreed. Ninety-five percent either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that it was easy for them and/or their team to learn how to use their recruiting software/technology.

Recruiters' Perception of Technology as ‘Easy to Learn’

Most Recruiters Think Data Stored Electronically Is Secure

Finally, the perception that recruiting software or technology isn’t secure has also prevented some recruiters from taking the leap into the modern era. While this preoccupation with security isn’t as strong a deterrent as a limited budget or the perceived difficulty of learning new technology, one-quarter of the recruiters we polled still noted that this was a key consideration.

“HR people have traditionally been scared of the cloud, because they don’t host the data [themselves],” Charney says. “It’s not sitting in a mainframe. It’s not firewalled off the legacy system or corporate firewall.”

But, he adds, these claims are unfounded, and are usually “propagated by the vendors who haven’t yet made the transition from ‘old-school’ to ‘new-school’”—meaning, from on-premise solutions to Web-based deployment models.

The majority of recruiters actually using recruiting software and technology seem to agree that doubts about security are unsubstantiated. In fact, 91 percent were either “extremely” or “very confident” that the data stored in their recruiting technology/software was secure—and none of the respondents reported being “not at all confident” in their data security.

Recruiters’ Confidence in Security of Data Stored in Software/Technology

Reduced Time-to-Fill Is Primary Benefit of Recruiting Technology

Some of the most common key performance indicators (KPIs) of recruiting technology and software include: a lower cost per hire, a reduced time-to-fill for open positions and a higher quality of hire. When we asked recruiting technology adopters to rate how well software/technology improved their efficiency and productivity in these areas, most agreed that it was, in fact, quite beneficial.

Degree to Which Recruiting Technology Improves Key Performance Indicators

A reduced time-to-fill was the number-one benefit realized by those who adopted recruiting technology, with 91 percent of respondents noting that technology had a noticeable impact on their ability to fill positions quickly—thereby reducing costs.


Recruiters and HR professionals, it appears, have been inappropriately labeled “luddites” when it comes to recruiting technology. While there are still a few lagging behind in terms of adoption, it appears that the concerns these recruiters have, which prevent them from joining the fold of tech-savvy human resources professionals, may be unfounded.

The myths surrounding recruiting software and technology—that it is too expensive, overly complicated and that stored data is not secure—are not substantiated by the experience of the vast majority of recruiters. In fact, recruiting software and technology has proven extremely valuable to those recruiters who have adopted it.


To find the data in this report, we conducted an online poll of 10 questions, and gathered approximately 100 responses from randomly selected recruiting professionals. We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood their meaning and the topic at hand.

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