Technology such as HR software has made huge advances in recent years, with the potential to add efficiency and productivity to the HR department. Recruitment software, or candidate management systems (CMS), in particular, have improved, and mean that the whole recruitment process can be managed online. The candidate journey can be tracked from start to finish.

However, as with all new technology, it’s worth considering the pros and cons before deciding to make the change to a new system or process. Here are the top benefits and drawbacks of CMS.

Pros and cons of CMS suites


Faster pipelines

CMS can speed up the shortlisting process by almost 50%. As everything is streamlined and actioned from one central point, processes become easier, and with most CMS today you can move from advertising the job to booking the shortlisted candidates for interview. This can all be done online, with the ability to send emails, appointment dates and application forms online.

Better tracking of performance

CMS allows you to carry out A/B testing on recruitment ads as well as easy tracking of which ads perform better in different locations. With continued use, this means you can streamline your recruitment process even further. Customisable templates mean that you can upload new ads without copywriting each time.

Shortlisting improved

It can be easier to shortlist with HR software. Keyword matching, scoring and minimum requirements mean that the software can effectively weed out unqualified candidates before you ever see their CV, saving time that you can use to concentrate on creating a better shortlist and talking to candidates.

Reduces cost-per-hire

In today’s economy, businesses are watching every penny. Many of you will know from harsh experience that HR and recruitment often aren’t considered a profit-making part of the business (even though we all know this isn’t the case). If you’re feeling the squeeze in your department, CMS can reduce the overall cost-per-hire, saving money by increasing productivity and reducing manpower required for each hire.

Reduces HR workload

In many industries, recruitment is an everyday process. Turnover and lack of retention can mean that you never get to the end of that constant recruitment pipeline, and that eats into the time you’d prefer to spend on other things. Reducing the time per hire means you can focus on employee engagement and training.



CMS can be an impersonal mode of recruitment. Since most of the sorting work is done by the software and most appointment booking is done by email, it can be tempting to bring candidates to interview without ever speaking directly to them. This can affect the quality of your shortlist, and also the recruitment experience for the candidate.


CMS can cause issues in terms of diversity of recruitment. As the software sorts by keyword or score, there is no personal touch that can ensure a balance of gender, race, ability, sexual orientation and the like. You might find that the original candidate pool was diverse, but the software has unwittingly sorted a shortlist that lacks proper diversity.

Human skills

Nothing beats experience when it comes to recruitment. Years of training and experience, coupled with an instinct for quality, mean that when you look through applications you can probably make good, snap decisions about your shortlist. If the software is doing this on your behalf, the impersonal nature might mean that you’re losing out on quality candidates for interview.


Possibility for manipulation

Candidates are increasingly shrewd in a competitive marketplace. CMS systems can be “gamed” by candidates who have experience of them, or who have done their homework. Using predictable, high-ranking keywords can get them through the door and into that interview slot regardless of their actual suitability.

All of which means you could be missing out on some of the best candidates out there – they’ll never hear from you because you’ll never see them.

Making the most of HR software

As with most things in the world of recruitment and HR, balance is key. If you decide to use HR software, we’d recommend doing so carefully. Streamline your processes by all means, and follow the candidate journey online – it will increase productivity, and the ability to track is key to shaping recruitment plans and forward planning, particularly for operational departments that rely on you for this.

However, we would advise a human element at every step of the process. Check random samples of unselected CVs, gauge the effectiveness of scoring, and compare the output of the software to your own decision-making to ensure that you know it is working as you need it to.

In the end, HR software is like all technology – when used as a tool to supplement existing processes it can be extremely beneficial in saving time and reducing cost, but don’t depend on it to do your work for you.

If you’d like more information on how we can help you to work with your CMS system to headhunt or shortlist candidates, contact us at here.



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