What is Open Source Recruitment Software & How Does it Compare?

what is open source recruitment software?

If you are currently in the market for new recruitment software or an applicant tracking system (ATS) you might come across open source recruitment software as part of your research.  One of the questions we come across within our industry is, what is open source recruitment software and how does it compare to a commercial solution? So let’s explore what open source recruitment software is, and how it compares.

Open Source Recruitment Software

Is typically a low cost (or free) licensing offering which is built on open source software where the source code is made available to the purchaser to develop within.


  • Minimal licensing fees. Nine times out of ten times, open source recruitment software is an inexpensive offering compared to a commercial solution.
  • Independence. Open source recruitment software is developed using open source software by a community of independent developers.
  • Hands-on exploration. You’re able to explore and understand the software in detail, and make your own development changes.
  • Easy to manage. Anyone can fix bugs and make the software better without waiting for a new software release.


  • Maintenance charges. Whilst licensing fees are minimal, the cost (time and resources) associated with developing the software may well end up being higher.
  • Limited documentation. As there is not just one person developing the software the access to detailed functionally documentation is limited.
  • Learning curve. Since you’ll be responsible for the software yourself, you’ll probably end up needing to hire a software developer to maintain and develop your software.
  • Confusion over users/compatibility. Parallel developments are ongoing, so users may be confused as to which version is compatible with their software.
  • Sudden death.  The software often comes to a halt and some times disappear because software developers fight, quit or simply lose interest.
  • No guarantee of support. Should something go wrong, nobody is obligated to help you as it is community based. Generally any support is offered through an online forum.

 Commercial Recruitment Software

Is a higher cost licensing offering, licences are purchased directly with a recruitment software provider. The source code is closed, and is developed and maintained by the software provider.


  • Quicker response times to fixing bugs. With a dedicated development team behind the software, you’ll often receive a quicker turn-a-round to fixing bugs or problems.
  • New releases and updates. You may not be able to develop the software yourself, but you will know when updates are coming – unlike with open source recruitment software, which can change without any notice.
  • Ongoing support assistance. A commercial solution provider usually provides a range of support services (telephone and online) to assist you and your software users.
  • Better documentation. You will have access to thorough and detailed software functionality documentation.
  • Dedicated training. With open source recruitment software you’re generally left to figure out how the software works yourself. With a commercial solution you have access to a team of experienced software trainers with the knowledge of their product.


  • Cost. Often, it’s more expensive and is a larger investment (upfront and reoccurring).
  • Software Development. You will need to wait for the software provider to release new software functionality updates or pay to have bespoke development done.
  • Tie-in. Once you have purchased your recruitment software, if you decide it is not the right software for your business, changing to another software solution again could be cost prohibitive or you may be contracted for a lengthy period of time.

 What’s the Verdict?

It really depends on what functionality you require from your recruitment software if that is basic or more comprehensive, the importance you place on recruitment software within your business, your budget, and what access you have to a software developer to maintain and develop your open source recruitment software.

Cards on the table: we at Eclipse Software obviously believe in a commercial solution. We believe that our recruitment software provides you the solution to work more efficiently without having to worry about maintaining and developing your recruitment software, so that gives you more time to focus on what you do best, managing and growing your business.

However we recognise there is a place for open source software within the recruitment industry, like WordPress. This is why we have chosen to develop an open source WordPress plugin as part of our web integration products.

We listened to our clients and understood that whilst the security of a stable and well supported recruitment software is paramount for supporting their business, the capability to develop and customise their website often requires the ability to have an open source product that will connect their website with their Eclipse recruitment software.

Websites are often developed by an external web design agency who have the necessary skillset to further develop an open source product.  For this reason we opted to provide a web integration solution that works brilliantly out of the box, offers the stability and backing of any commercial product whilst maintaining the open source flexibility.

Buying the right recruitment software solution is crucial for any  business, learn how to get it right by downloading our free recruitment software buying guide eBook.

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