Contextual recruitment is fast becoming an essential part of university as well as early talent recruitment. It helps candidate be better understood, helps recruiters not miss out on talent and it helps tackle low levels of social mobility. However, if you are looking to recruit contextually, and want to add a Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) to your recruitment process, it can be difficult to work what doing so will cost.

It’s not surprising you’re confused on costs

There are several different overlapping cost factors to consider, and different parties will each quote their own costs, creating a confusing babble of competing quotes and fees.

This article cuts through the confusion

To make things clearer, we’ve put together this article to help you understand the various pricing models in the market. We have lain each element out plainly and simply, to cut through the confusion and help you work out a rough cost based on your organisation’s own unique needs and context. Armed with this information, you should be in a much better position to convince budget holders of the feasibility of a CRS – particularly when it comes to cost.

To main categories of CRS costs

There are two main categories of cost when adopting a CRS: one-off costs at the beginning of the process, and ongoing, annual costs.

One-Off Costs

Any initial CRS cost depends on whether your organisation uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) with a CRS already built in. If not, your chosen CRS may provide a website for candidates to fill in their information, from which their contextual data is generated.

However, if you do use an ATS and require that all interaction with candidates be through that ATS, or the CRS is not able to host the form for you, you will need to work with your ATS provider to integrate contextual recruitment into their product.

While some ATS providers may do this at no cost, others will charge a fee. This may be a one-off cost, which should be no more than £10,000. There may even be ways to split this cost with the ATS provider’s other clients, as once the CRS is integrated it can be used by everyone. We advise bringing your ATS and CRS providers together, to see if this might be possible.

Annual Costs

The main ongoing cost to your business will be from the CRS provider themselves. The bill depends largely on the number of candidates applying annually; more candidates, of course, means a higher price. There are economies of scale which mean that price per candidate is lower as their overall number rises. While some providers might charge up to £10 per candidate, price can be driven down to as little as £0.40 per candidates for organisations who receive tens of thousands of applications per yers. For most organisations however, the ongoing CRS costs range from between £2,000 to £15,000 a year.

Unfortunately, on top of their one-off fees, some ATS providers may also try to charge an ongoing subscription fee to maintain integration, complicating costs further. If so, the cost of this subscription is often based on the complexity of the maintenance. If the CRS itself provides much of the ongoing service – hosting forms, answering candidate’s questions, and delivering reports of candidate data – the cost will be lower. If the ATS has to do most of this work, the cost will be higher. Depending on where your solution falls on this spectrum, maintenance can be anything from £0 to £2,000 a year.

Watch out for predatory practices

As you can see, budgeting for CRS integration can be a headache, especially when justifying that cost to management. The situation isn’t helped by the somewhat predatory practices of some providers: PiC has even heard of CRS providers themselves charging for integration, on top of the unnecessary ATS fees!

How to get to final cost

It helps to think of the above information as a series of questions that you can ask of yourself, keeping in mind your company’s resources, client base and existing contracts. The answers to these questions will provide you with some guide to the final cost, increasing your persuasive power when explaining the benefits of CRS to budget holders.

PiC’s pricing does not make your head hurt

PiC provides the UK’s most accurate and complete Contextual Recruitment System whose pricing models don’t make your head hurt. We do not charge any integration fees, and our solutions start at £2,000 a year, with the majority of our clients paying less than £10,000 a year.

How is that for plain speaking?