Of course it is! All software is different. But what are the unique characteristics of recruiting software that make it different from MS Outlook, an accounting system, banking software, computer design, graphics design, marketing, etc.?
All of these applications have uniqueness and characteristics that allow them to be defined as a group. What are the characteristics of recruiting software applications that allow them to be identified? Of course, this could be just another sneaky way of asking the question, “What do you look for when selecting recruiting software?”. Every recruiting software vendor has one of those documents including BlackDog Recruiting Software.
But really that is not what this article is about. I am trying to get to higher ground here. I do not want this article to become a document that says “recruiting software must do this and if it doesn’t pick ours because it does”.
All professionals have tools they use to do their job. A surgeon uses a vast array of very special instruments and specialized computers to perform her work. An artist has his brushes and special paint mixes. A carpenter uses saws, ladders, leveling devices, etc. An accountant has accounting systems.
All of these professionals share a common characteristic in that they use a variety of tools to perform their work.
Recruiting software as a tool for a recruiter is unique from the above examples in that it is designed to be the only tool a recruiter will need besides a telephone, and even that is under assault by recruiting software vendors!
Wow! Think about it. Recruiting software just put mankind back 30,000 years where the only tool he used to stay alive was a sharp stone and his brain!
Of course recruiting software systems are not exactly sharp stones, but some are close. J
In all seriousness now, the more that an applicant tracking/executive search/ recruiting software system can do for a recruiter the better the tool. It is an all in one tool because of the characteristics of the recruiting industry.
Most of us recruiting software vendors are driven by incorporating or interfacing any new technologies that help a recruiter into their own software, i.e. phone and video conferencing, PDA’s and video resumes.
Staffing or recruiting software vendors are like the Wal-Mart of the software world, meaning we would like to be the one stop shop for all your recruiting needs by bringing everything a recruiter needs under one roof.
But there is a dilemma for us vendors. The profession of recruiting is, for the most part, a niche oriented business. A recruiter specializes in medical device sales, helicopter pilots, hospital staffing, etc.
Recruiting software has to be more specialized than a contact management system or a CRM system because these tools are too general. Recruiters need more preciseness than this, or they find themselves spending too much time finding the people they need. Consider, for example, the difference between a table saw for a finished carpenter and one for a fine furniture maker. Both tools would get the table made but the one made by the finished carpenter would have taken longer and would not look as good.
The dilemma is how to make recruiting software be an all in one tool for the recruiter and still be specialized enough to serve the unique characteristics of their recruiting niche?
Some recruiting software goes too far and works only for a specific recruiting niche, i.e. nursing, attorneys, etc. For a recruiting software vendor they are too specialized and can’t evolve quickly enough as the environment changes so they become extinct and leave their customers in a very desperate situation.
These systems are just a hair above custom software. I may write a future article about custom software, but generally I think it is a bad idea for any recruiting firm.