If you’re running a small to mid-sized business, building, tracking, and managing an effective recruitment stack on a budget can be challenging. Especially when you’re competing with organizations with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of recruiting spend.

However, that shouldn’t keep you from developing a great recruitment stack. Today, you can put together an incredibly effective recruitment technology stack without shelling out a small fortune every month on expensive software, in-house resources, and change management. If you use the right mix of solutions, you can develop a recruiting stack that meets your needs and addresses major recruiting challenges as you head into the new year.

In this article, we look at:

  • What is a recruiting stack
  • What does an ideal recruiting stack look like
  • Which tools should you consider deploying
  • Building a recruiting stack on a budget

So, let’s look at how you can use the most basic, inexpensive or even free recruiting tools to compete for talent with organizations using much more sophisticated software.

What is a Recruitment Technology Stack?

A recruiting stack is a bundle of technologies that recruiters use to find, attract, and hire talent. A recruiting stack will help you improve the business impact of your recruitment activities and allow you to connect and hire more qualified candidates. By using the best recruitment solutions out there you can hope to outperform your competitors in the war for talent.

What Does an Ideal Recruiting Stack Look Like?

An effective recruitment technology stack covers the entire candidate journey from awareness to onboarding. By creating a technology strategy that covers every candidate touchpoint in the journey, you can improve your candidate experience and significantly increase conversions.

An end-to-end recruiting technology stack for an SMB typically includes one or more tools for each stage of the recruitment process:

  • Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding
  • Talent Sourcing
  • Candidate Screening
  • Interview Scheduling and Management
  • Employee Onboarding

While an operational website and active social media handles are pre-requisites to deploying most of these solutions, additionally, you might also want to create a Glassdoor profile for your company to help potential job seekers learn more about your culture and employee experience.

Image of a full recruiting stack for SMBs
Figure 1: A comprehensive recruiting technology stack for SMBs

Recruitment Marketing Tools

Recruitment marketing plays an integral role for small businesses looking to attract top talent. While some would argue that your employer brand and reputation grow organically, technology can certainly do a lot of heavy lifting for you. Providing a better candidate experience and driving visibility through content marketing and social media are just a few ways in which recruitment marketing tools help you position yourself as an employer of choice. Here are a few budget-friendly tools that can help you boost your recruitment marketing efforts and draw the best talent to your company:

  1. AgoraPulse: A social media marketing solution, AgoraPulse offers recruiters a rich array of features to build social engagement, improve branding, and benchmark against competitors. It can be used across all major social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. Additionally, its social listening capabilities and InboxZero enable you to respond to candidates and prospects proactively at scale. It is the one-stop -hop for all your social recruiting strategies. It also offers a 28-day free trial for users who want to take it for a spin before zeroing in on a subscription plan.
  2. Zoho Recruit: The first comprehensive recruitment solution in our list, Zoho recruit features multiple capabilities including a dedicated CRM, career pages, automated job postings across popular job boards, customized email and SMS templates, and social media job postings. Zoho is one of the most affordable solutions in the market, with subscriptions starting at $25/user/month.
  3. Freshworks: Freshteam by Freshworks is another end-to-end recruitment platform that offers cost-effective recruitment tools for SMBs. Built around a traditional ATS, Freshteam allows recruiters to create and post jobs, manage all communication in one place, build career sites, and connect to multiple sourcing channels. Like Zoho, Freshteam covers the entire spectrum of recruitment workflows to help businesses hire better. What’s more? Freshteam has some of the most competitive subscription options out there with the Sprout package offered free for businesses with up to 50 employees. For a free plan, Freshteam punches way above its weight, making it one of the must-have solutions for SMBs on a shoestring budget.
  4. GoHire: GoHire is yet another excellent product for SMBs looking to get the most bang out their buck when it comes to recruiting. GoHire features advanced employer branding tools such as career pages, job postings, application forms, along with core recruitment modules like ATS, interview management, and talent assessment tools. With special plans for early-stage startups and SMBs, GoHire is very competitively priced with plans starting from $40/month.
  5. Breezy: Breezy has emerged as one of the preferred recruitment automation solutions for SMBs for its feature richness and advanced recruitment marketing capabilities. Breezy offers candidate management with pipeline creation, automated job posting across leading job boards, candidate communication suite, and careers sites. It also provides a module for candidate sourcing as well. What makes a great option for SMBs? It offers a free subscription plan that includes a host of features that are typically billed as premium by many recruiting software companies. Paid plans start from $149/month, which include advanced features like mobile apps, task management, video assessments and more.
  6. CareerBuilder: A long time player in the recruitment marketplace, Careerbuilder offers a comprehensive recruitment solution that includes modules for recruitment advertising, candidate sourcing and job matching. Best known for its resume database, Careerbuilder also sports some of the best recruitment marketing features as well. From job posting across niche job sites to social referrals, Careerbuilder is a great tool for SMBs looking to land qualified talent quickly.
  7. TalentLyft: Geared for SMBs looking to attract talent through content marketing, TalentLyft’s recruitment marketing solution offers career sites, talent networks, career events, and careers blogs. With subscriptions starting at $49/month, TalentLyft is one of the most compelling best-of-breed recruitment solutions out there.

Candidate Sourcing Tools

As the war for talent rages, candidate sourcing has become one of the most important recruitment activities. Sourcing opens up new talent pools you had no access to before and enables you to reach out to not only active candidates but also passive talent who otherwise wouldn’t apply because they aren’t aware of your company or job vacancies. Let’s look at some of the most cost-effective sourcing tools at your disposal today:

  1. HiringSolved: HiringSolved is a talent discovery platform that uses AI to automate candidate matching. The solution offers numerous integrations with ATS, CRM, and HCM systems to help recruiters streamline their candidate sourcing strategies. Its powerful search engine scrapes information from social media to provide recruiters with an accurate database of eligible candidates based on skills, talent, experience, education and so forth.
  2. Monster: TalentBin by Monster is another database that gathers candidate information from across the web for hard-to-fill positions. TalentBin also automates recruiting workflows to stream your processes and tracks candidate engagement with your jobs. While typically suited for high-volume hiring, TalentBin subscription starts at $249/month which makes it appealing for organizations with 50 – 100 employees.
  3. LinkedIn: With more than half a billion members, LinkedIn is easily the largest talent repository available to recruiters. LinkedIn offers two distinct pathways for recruiters to connect with talent – organically (you add them to your network) or by using the Recruiter feature that unlocks multiple tools to help recruiters reach candidates not within their network.
  4. Hiretual: Hiretual is an AI sourcing platform that uses context-based data to help recruiters find the perfect candidate. It offers easy integrations with most ATS and CRM systems which helps you consolidate all data in a single place. Pulling in data from over 30 social platforms such as Angel List, Indeed, GitHub, Stack Overflow, and others, Hiretual offers one of the most extensive candidate databases. It offers a free chrome extension that allows recruiters to look up 10 contacts per week. Paid subscription starts from $89/month.
  5. Pipl: Easily one of the largest identity directories online, Pipl helps recruiters find and verify candidates’ contact information for further outreach. Pipl charges a per-match fee starting at $0.10 and going up to $0.40. It is an ideal tool for recruiters looking to fill the gaps in their candidate database.
  6. Indeed: The most popular job sites in the US, Indeed, has one of the largest candidate databases to help you source the right talent. Sponsored job postings on Indeed start at $5 a day and you have the option to create a budget that meets your requirements. You can also post free jobs on Indeed, making it a powerful sourcing tool for businesses of all sizes.

Talent Assessment Tools

Pre-employment testing and resume screening are time-consuming processes and cause major bottlenecks in hiring. Talent assessment tools and testing software have evolved over the past few years to automate screening and help recruiters choose the right candidates for open positions. However, as technology and skills become more specialized, you might need solutions that cater to specialist positions like a software developer or data architect. Here are a few screening pre-employment testing solutions that can help you asses candidates more efficiently:

  1. HackerRank: Designed for recruiters in the technology industry, HackerRank is a technical skills assessment platform that can be used to create role-specific assignments conduct technical interviews. Powered by AI, HackerRank’s database is constantly optimized to help you make more informed hiring decisions. Pricing starts from $249/month which makes it a premium offering in this category. However, for SMBs operating in the software industry, it is a small price to pay for top technical talent.
  2. Criteria: As HR leaders look for competency-based approaches to recruitment, Criteria’s aptitude, personality, and skills testing solutions provide a great way to make data-informed hiring decisions. With tests designed to assess cognitive aptitude, measure behavioral traits, and evaluate job-related competencies, Criteria boasts one of the most comprehensive assessment feature lists in the market today. It caters to businesses of all sizes with unlimited tests and assessments.
  3. Berke: Similar to Criteria, Bereke is an assessment solution that measures personality and problem-solving traits that provide you with insights into your candidates’ ability to succeed at your organization. It also offers job-specific hiring profiles to help you assess candidates for unique positions at your organization.
  4. Interview Mocha: Interview Mocha is yet another assessment platform that helps you hire for technical positions. Covering a wide array of IT skills, coding languages, domain skills and more, it also features easy integrations with leading ATS and HCM systems. With subscription starting from $150/month, it is one of the most affordable technical assessment solutions in the market.
  5. Pymetrics: An AI-powered talent matching platform, Pymetrics leverages behavioral data to help recruiters find the right candidates. It provides bias-free and accurate data on your candidates to help maximize your chances of hiring high performers.
  6. ClassMarker: Classmarker is an online testing and quiz platform designed to help organizations find qualified candidates easily. Pricing starts at $39.95/month.
  7. Quodeit: Quodeit is a technical screening platform for businesses hiring programmers. It offers pre-built tests, a question library, and API integrations with major ATS solutions. It has a pay-as-you-go pricing model which is $5/candidate.
  8. Vervoe: Vervoe helps organizations hire better through its dynamic skill-testing platform that supports a large variety of question and answer types, including text, MCQs, videos, document editing and more. It gives recruiters a fair idea of how candidates will perform on-the-job tasks. Vervoe also offers job-specific and soft skills assessments that can be customized and graded automatically. Vervoe is one of the very few assessment platforms out there that has a free Pilot plan for startups and small businesses.

Interviewing Tools 

While job interviews have largely remained unchanged over the past years, the shortage of qualified candidates is compelling organizations to approach interviews in a more structured manner. Moreover, the rise of remote work and the gig economy have broken through geographical barriers when it comes to talent acquisition. Video interviewing tools and scheduling software is driving this transition where employers can conduct structured interviews with candidates who live thousands of miles away. Also, the evolution of AI and machine learning have helped employers understand candidates much better and are empowering recruiters to make data-driven hiring decisions. For SMBs looking to tap into a rich global talent pool, interviewing tools can come in handy. Here are some of the best interviewing tools you can use to hire your next great candidate:

  1. HireVue: Hireue is an on-demand interviewing platform that leverages the power of AI to automate interview assessment and predict job performance. It greatly brings down the time needed to conduct and evaluate interviews improving the performance of your recruiting process. HireVue costs between $25 to $175 per interview depending on whether you have a subscription or not.
  2. Sonru: The next video interviewing solution on our list, Sonru, helps you schedule and conduct video interviews flexibly. Based on the questions and criteria you set, candidates can respond to those questions in their own time from the comfort of their own mobile devices or desktops. Sonru also provides API frameworks for all major ATS solutions, allowing you to seamlessly embed video interviewing into your recruitment workflow. While Sonru doesn’t have a fixed price subscription model, most small businesses can expect to purchase a subscription starting at about $100/month.
  3. SparkHire: SparkHire is yet another on-demand video interview platform that makes hiring easier and faster. SparkHire offers some pretty useful customization options to employers like limiting think time and restricting maximum answer length. Additionally, its video messaging feature provides an excellent way for organizations to boost their employer brand. Plans start from $119/month for a single position to $599 for unlimited positions.
  4. Shine: The video assessment platform offers customized assessments and scheduling for organizations looking to improve their candidate experience. It also enables recruiters to hire for cultural fit with its value-based assessment software. Subscriptions plans start from $200/month.
  5. ConveyIQ: The company bills itself an intelligent candidate engagement platform and offers a host of messaging, interviewing, and scheduling features. ConveyIQ uses automated messaging to significantly improve the candidate experience and eliminate communication gaps. It also features on-demand and live interviewing capabilities, providing you with more flexibility to conduct interviews. ConveyIQ pricing ranges from $0 to $250 for the basic plan. Advanced features come at a premium.

Onboarding Tools

What does an ideal first day for a new hire look like? A ton of paperwork and a blur of meet and greets with colleagues? That doesn’t sound too productive, right? Employee onboarding has for long been a major pain point for organizations of all sizes. Today, when the workplace is becoming more employee-centric, it is crucial that you develop a structured onboarding process that helps new hires ease into their roles at your organization. Onboarding tools are key to ensure a smooth transition. Here are some budget-friendly tools that can help you deliver a delightful onboarding experience:

  1. Namely: Namely’s employee onboarding software helps you streamline the process by centralizing all information in a single place, eliminating paperwork and physical signatures, and easy benefits enrolment. While subscription costs vary by organization size, Namely typically charges $15-$30 per employee per month.
  2. Webonboarding: Webonboarding is a mobile-first employee onboarding platform that provides a paperless, hassle-free onboarding experience for new hires. Webonboarding enables new hires to understand the onboarding process and request changes to their contract even before they step into your office, making onboarding a lot faster and simpler.
  3. Eloomi: Eloomi is a comprehensive learning and onboarding solution for SMBs. It provides pre- and post-joining onboarding programs that allow employers to design customized onboarding courses or select pre-built programs, conduct compliance tests, create automated learning pathways. Pricing starts from $0.20/user/month.
  4. BambooHR: BambooHR is a comprehensive HR solution designed for SMBs with advanced onboarding capabilities. It helps you deliver a great candidate experience through its customized preboarding packages, welcome emails, IT checklists and more. Pricing for BambooHR starts from $6.19/employee/month based on total headcount.

There you have it. By using a combination of integrated suites and best-of-breed solutions, you can build a formidable recruitment technology stack for under $400/month. Depending on your industry the cost could go up if you invest in niche talent matching and assessment platforms.

So, what are you going to add to your recruiting tool stack? Let us know in the comments.

Sushman Biswas

Sushman is a contributing editor at RecruitingDaily.com and writes about how organizations can succeed with recruiting technology. With a background in B2B tech publishing and events, Sushman strives to make dry, technical copy engaging. When not writing, Sushman enjoys craft beer and motorcycling holidays.