Chris Phillips
by Chris Phillips
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Hosted vs SaaS recruitment websites: what's the difference?

When it comes to attracting candidates, clients and consultants a website is a key ally for your recruitment agency. However, what can be less clear is what type of website is needed to raise your profile and be productive on the internet.

Essentially, there are two types of recruitment website for you to choose from: hosted/brochure and SaaS recruitment websites. While hosted websites have long been the go-to option for many recruitment agencies, SaaS recruitment websites are becoming increasingly popular as cloud-based technology continues to benefit digitally savvy organisations. 

To help you make the right decision for your recruitment agency, we explore the differences between SaaS recruitment websites and hosted ‘brochure’ websites – explaining how they work, what options are available and how they can be beneficial for your recruitment agency. With this comparison, you can make an informed decision that will set your agency up for success.

What is a hosted ‘brochure’ recruitment website?

Hosted websites have long been the de facto option for recruitment agencies. They have been built on traditional website practices and you’ll find many IT and design professionals deliver web building services in this arena. 

Hosted brochure sites have long been relied on due to:

  1. Simplicity being at their core – these are awesome as they only have a small number of static pages to manage. 

  2. Typically, these websites are highly customisable and will reflect your brand

  3. As an uncluttered website, this improves user experience because there’s not a lot of pages to read through – your visitor can get their answers straight away

  4. With the minimal number of pages, this can streamline the sales process encouraging the visitor to take direct action – pick up the phone, fill out a form or drop an email

  5. Your IT team can take direct ownership of the hosting and security of your site

  6. Low upkeep

  7. Extra pages/content does mean extra charges

What is a SaaS recruitment website? 

SaaS recruitment websites are a relatively new kid on the block.  A SaaS recruitment website  enables your agency to advertise its open roles and encourages job seekers to apply whilst leveraging all the benefits of the Cloud. 

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a subscription service that has increased in popularity since the onset of cloud computing in the mid-2000s. Industry leading examples include Netflix and Amazon Prime. For businesses, applying this practice offers a number of benefits that adds peace of mind, security, and enables proactive working for staff.

With the advancement of technology, cloud-based software is growing in its influence and importance to the lifecycle of a business. For recruitment agencies, it offers a more agile way to build and grow online.

SaaS recruitment websites offer additional capabilities: 

  1. Based on a platform, when new innovations are developed they are easily rolled out making your recruitment website more attractive to search engines and visitors. Users are not buying a fixed product, it’s a continuously updated service

  2. As a subscription service, just like Netflix, businesses can pay monthly helping with budgeting and cashflow

  3. Typically, there isn’t any limit on pages – a SaaS recruitment website scales as your recruitment agency grows

  4. It’s an all-in-one package wrapped up into meaning security and maintenance come part of the service you’re subscribing to

  5. When legislation changes are made, for example GDPR, your SaaS provider will make these changes to the platform, which will roll out to your site

  6. Cloud based recruitment software such as a SaaS recruitment website encourages you to keep up with demands of all visitors to your site meaning you can deliver an inclusive candidate experience

  7. The dynamic nature of the platform means reporting metrics are at your fingertips and it means you can align other recruitment technologies to your website enhancing to date tardy processes with automation.

What are the differences between a hosted website and a SaaS recruitment website? 

Below are the key differences between hosted vs SaaS recruitment websites at a glance.

Feature / capability

​​Hosted recruitment website

​​SaaS cloud-based recruitment website 

Hosted

​​Website will be hosted locally and will be managed by your local IT resource

Your website will be hosted and secured in the Cloud

Content management system

​​Can be specified as an option when commissioning your website build

​​Generally considered as part of the SaaS offering from the start

Integrations

​​Do check with your website builder whether integrating with additional, external back-office software is practical

Through an open-API, this can be configured, although you might need to pay for the integration if not immediately available

Design

​​Your brand, colours, logos and colours will be included on your new website

​​Generally a choice of a templated or designed options available

Reporting

​​As this is a custom built website, ascertain if reporting is possible

​​Through cloud-based links to other software, reporting metrics can be accessed 

Comparing cloud-based recruitment websites with hosted options

Choosing the right recruitment website platform can be tricky, and is ultimately a decision that will assist the growth aspirations of agency for at least three years. Remember, your recruitment website is now a key member of your tech stack so comparing and contrasting is an important element in your decision making; whether you go with cloud-based recruitment software or traditional hosted type websites. 

In this section, we will compare the following functionality and capabilities of hosted vs SaaS recruitment websites: 

  1. Costs

  2. Flexibility 

  3. Website design 

  4. Security 

  5. Platform agility 

  6. SEO tools 

  7. Integrations

1. What are the costs of hosted platform v SaaS cloud-based recruitment website?

Whatever recruitment software you are shopping for, you’ll have to allocate a budget to pay for it. There are ‘free’ options available on the market but will be extremely limited in their abilities. Ultimately, the budget you have will have an important bearing on what platform you end up opting for.

Typically, hosted websites will require investment to start the project and then when your website is complete, another payment will be required. This will suit those recruitment businesses who save funds for a capital purchase such as this - therefore reassured that one cost is made and the website will be delivered. However, there will be added costs for additional functionality throughout the lifetime of the website with this vendor. When negotiating, ensure there isn’t a monthly retainer required.

A SaaS recruitment website, - your cloud-based option, - is based on a monthly subscription model. With Volcanic, there won’t be any upfront fees to start the project - all your costs will be spread across the term of the project, usually three years..  However, you won’t ever own your website - as a subscription it’s all stored in the cloud and you pay for your service, monthly. At the end of the contract - typically 36 months, you’ll be required to negotiate a new subscription.

Budget (or lack of it) is often a reason why a project doesn’t get off the ground, however, with a subscription your Finance Director can allocate funds accordingly and will help cashflow immeasurably. This is one of the reasons why cloud-based SaaS recruitment websites now becoming an increasingly favoured option for some recruitment agencies. Give your FD the news - they’ll be thrilled.

2. How flexible is a SaaS recruitment website vs hosted brochure website?

Flexibility to manage your content and web pages is key for recruitment agencies wanting to perform well online. Hosted recruitment websites and SaaS cloud-based systems offer differently content management functionality. Whatever platform choose, you’ll need to consider how you and your appointed staff will add new content, jobs and important updates, and from where. A CMS - Content Management System - is the high-revving engine of your recruitment website.

The working day is now no longer 9am-5pm and confined to one office location. Flexible, hybrid working is definitely making us mobile. With an agile CMS, website updates can be made from anywhere - literally - enabling staff and team members make the changes and additions when and where they need to. SaaS recruitment websites from Volcanic are built around a core CMS that makes you efficient. Lately, hosted websites have also permitted logging in from anywhere and this is a feature you’ll find on these platforms. If you have a design, purpose-built hosted website (from a design agency, or a friend who is doing you a favour), the secure, work-from-anywhere option simply won’t exist.

So when you’re scoping your next website, ensure you have access to a Content Management System that lets you make changes - securely - from anywhere. The alternative can be costly - financially and chronologically - because you won’t be able to make the changes yourself and you’ll have to rely on the person/team/business who built it.  

3. Designing a SaaS recruitment website vs hosted website

The design of a website can be very subjective - different people like different things – but ultimately, you want your visitors to be wowed and to have a positive experience when interacting with your site. Hosted sites have for a long time been relied on by businesses everywhere and with that there have been some spectacularly executed websites, and these you know just by looking at them have had many hours design time making them just right. Equally, there are some websites that haven’t had the same expense applied to them.

A tight brief to your vendor (it could be an agency, freelancer or friend) will explain what you desire in a design and suggesting sites you like will be welcomed by the designer.

SaaS recruitment websites can also be expensive to implement if you seek a bespoke design, however, vendors in this space also offer a template version that deliver an attractive design and therefore are regarded by many as a happy marriage of form, function and budget. Design also incorporates a first-class user-ex (UX) and with a Volcanic site, this is embedded into the design process, so everyone feels welcome and it aids goal completions on your website.

4. Security on a hosted site vs SaaS alternative

For any digital project, knowing where your recruitment website is hosted and how secure the platform is will provide much needed peace of mind. Hosted in an unsecured environment leaves your business open to hackers who could try to extort funds from you causing (potentially huge) reputational damage from which you might not recover.

When talking with potential vendors, you will need to emphasise your desire for security to be a major consideration. At this juncture, it would be wise to involve your IT team/support to ensure they can host your website in a secure environment and your digital presence will on be on 24/7.

Security is built into the platform of a SaaS recruitment website is cloud-based recruitment software and as part of the service that you are paying for is hosting and security. With this arrangement, all your legal considerations are covered. If legislation in the digital sphere changes, your site will be too. At Volcanic, for example, all clients’ website are stored on Amazon AWS servers ensuring uptime and encrypted with SSL certificates meaning hackers desires for mayhem are kept at bay.

5. Platform agility of a SaaS recruitment websites vs hosted alternatives

Adding (and deleting) images, content, extra pages, jobs and more with ease on your recruitment agency website is a key requirement. With a SaaS recruitment website, this is a core functionality of the system and is wrapped up in the subscription based cost. It’s only substantial changes that are typically additional costs for this platform. See how Volcanic’s CMS works.

When you chose a hosted website, its simplicity will be a key attraction. You’ll be able to arrange the key pages as you wish– Home, About, News, Our Work, Contact Us and Terms and Conditions – to advertise your business and support user experience. However, adding new pages, jobs, images and content could lead to more costs, because you’ll need to pay for an agency/professional to deliver the service. Do take the time to explore how this works when discussing with a potential vendor.

6. What reporting and SEO tools are there with a hosted vs a SaaS recruitment website

In today’s data-driven world, understanding who’s visited your recruitment website - and for how long - how many candidates applied for jobs posted, and who has downloaded your case studies, is absolutely crucial to many recruitment agencies. This determines the return on investment and where you should spend more of your time. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can also be placed in this basket. Winning on the search engines means adding keywords to your content - blogs, case studies, jobs, news - so it can be found when your desired visitors are scoring the internet.

Reporting tools - data and SEO - are embedded in your cloud-based platform is an arena where a SaaS recruitment website will thrive and provide you data on demand. Your reporting can be completed in minutes. You can quickly see how many candidates you’ve had directly from one advert or seen how successfully a piece of content has been on Google. Access Volcanic’s reporting tools provide accessible data points at the users fingertips.

This might seem like nirvana, but you’ll need to allow regular, often lengthy, time periods to allow the data to settle. Real time data is not always feasible. Equally the data can be tardy in its delivery meaning delays which can lead to frustration. You might need to request the same reports to cross-check the performance of your candidate attraction techniques, for example. Hosted websites thrive on simplicity, providing a momentum in the sales process. Therefore, adding a reporting sequence could be troublesome as the functionality might not be set up for that. However, in our experience this is not insurmountable and you’ll need to specify this at the time of build and discuss the metrics you want to gather.

When the reports are generated, these will give insightful data points to help grow your recruitment business.

7. Can my SaaS or Hosted website integrate with other technology?

Today’s recruitment environment is all about working smarter. Automating processes helps consultants build relationships with candidates and clients, whilst also enhancing personal brands.

Cloud-based recruitment software can connect your recruitment website to your CRM, job multiposters and other back office systems. A SaaS recruitment website are configured so connecting software - via open API - can be easily achieved and through the minimum of fuss. Hosted websites are also capable of integrating with job multi posters and other back office technologies and this will be managed locally by your vendor of choice.

SaaS recruitment website vs hosted – a summary

In this article, we’ve compared how a SaaS recruitment website contrasts with a hosted, brochure website. We have looked at:

  1. SaaS recruitment website v hosted website

  2. The design of your website

  3. How accessible the site is to maintain and update

  4. The data you can glean

  5. How you can work smarter with an integrated recruitment website

  6. Different payment models

  7. Keeping your website safe and sound

There are many factors to consider, and it doesn’t come purely down to budget. There’s also how you use the tech and what you want it to do for your recruitment agency.  With the world moving online, determining what performance - and the service you receive - is crucial to how your website delivers what you need it to.

Here’s six top reasons why hosted websites are a fit for some recruiting agencies:

  1. If you wish to own your website

  2. If you require a core website that places simplicity at its core making it easy to manage and keeps you online

  3. You want a website built to mirror your brand’s logo, colours and identity

  4. If your recruitment business wants to save for their next website and pay in one instalment

  5. If you want a low hassle, low maintenance website

  6. If you IT department wants an easy website to host

And the top 7 reasons a SaaS recruitment website is a viable alternative:

  1. You wish to pay for it monthly – this will be a subscription model over a specified period

  2. As part of the platform, changes can be made by your vendor and your web presence will be encrypted to keep away unwanted hackers

  3. You can choose from either a template or a bespoke design

  4. You want reporting and SEO tools at your fingertips to help manage data insights that helps growth aspirations

  5. You want a website that will scale as you grow and can be administered from wherever you are, whenever which can add pages, images and more at a time to suit you

  6. You wish to embed the necessary tools to make your website inclusive to everyone

  7. You want to integrate your recruitment website with your CRM and streamline processes

If you’re ready to discuss a SaaS recruitment website, please contact the Volcanic team for a no obligation demonstration.

Volcanic powers over 1800 recruitment websites globally and delivered over 7 million candidates to our clients in the last year. To discuss your recruitment agency’s website requirements, contact the Volcanic team for a no obligation demonstration.

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  2. How to build a recruitment website: factors to consider

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