SmartRecruiters Blog

7 Pros and Cons of Decentralized Hiring and Why Your ATS is Responsible

Local hiring managers are frequently tasked with making recruiting decisions at many global organizations, but are their decisions only as good as the technology behind them?

Decentralized hiring models are like beehives, with different company branches each managing their own roles to contribute to the organization’s overall success. This structure is common for many large and enterprise-level companies, which benefit from shifting staffing and recruitment responsibilities to local hiring managers in order to streamline processes, boost productivity, and provide a greater candidate experience.

In these situations, decentralized hiring systems are more effective when paired with an innovative, collaborative, and flexible Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that fits the unique needs of the business while maintaining consistent employer brand throughout. There are also a number of additional benefits to this type of recruitment model:

1. Greater Productivity. Decentralized hiring quickens the pace of decision making so that hiring managers can move at the speed of their market.

2. Localized Experience. Hiring managers can select candidates based on their knowledge of local markets and the individual needs of their branch.

3. Personal Touch. Communication between candidates and the hiring manager is more individualized, which positively impacts the candidate’s experience.

4. Empowerment. Hiring managers can operate independently without unnecessary involvement from corporate headquarters.

All of these benefits sound great in theory; however they become a bit more convoluted because—just like that ice cream stand in the middle of the desert—a successful decentralized hiring process may very well be a mirage for some companies. Depending on the company’s ATS, implementing a decentralized hiring model could have a negative impact on business.

For ill-equipped hiring managers, battling industry challenges like shortages of skilled local talent becomes exponentially more difficult with a subpar ATS. Outdated systems unable to handle high volumes of resumes, provide realistic follow-up times, or lack collaboration & transparency into the hiring process often leave managers feeling isolated and unsupported. Without the right tools to make great hires, managers of decentralized hiring models may also feel:

5. Lack of Consistency. Without a clear sense of the company’s best hiring practices, local managers can easily run into problems of inconsistent branding, poor candidate experience, and clunky workflows.

6. Reliance on Contractors. Many hiring managers don’t have the time to play recruiter. This often leads to contracting outside agencies to provide specialized services, causing further strain on limited hiring budgets.

7. Greater Industry Challenges. Resource-strapped departments might flounder in the face of obstacles unique to their industry. For example:


  • Challenge: Last year’s holiday sales accounted for nearly 20% of all retail industry sales. At the same time, approximately 1 in every 4 retailers are unable to hire enough temporary workers to meet the spikes in staffing needs during the holiday season.
  • Effect: An academic study of a large US apparel chain found that 33% customers who had a poor experience cited not being able to locate sales help as the main offender, resulting in at least 6% loss of all possible sales.


  • Challenge: Manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers. Plus, a significant portion of the manufacturing workforce is nearing retirement age, and manufacturing careers not appeal to younger people entering the workforce.
  • Effect: The US National Association of Manufacturers warns that 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled between now and 2028, according to a recent joint study with Deloitte.


  • Challenge: Rapid growth and scale, along with fierce competition for top talent leaves many companies struggling to hire workers with specialized skills like: business intelligence, cyber security, and software development.
  • Effect: Seventy percent of IT companies expect challenges in hiring mid-level tech talent in the next year, particularly for cyber security jobs.

The immediate impact of many of these challenges affects many organizations’ bottom lines and employer brand. Tied to this is the impact on a business’ hiring metrics, from hiring velocity to NPS score. Best-of-breed technology solutions can address these industry challenges with robust functionality:

  • Source candidates through CRM and recruitment marketing campaigns
  • Complete transparency backed by on-demand analytics
  • Platform customization and global configurability across all locations
  • Intuitive UX and mobile functionality
  • Innovative service with continual improvements

End-to-end Talent Acquisition suites allow hiring teams to adapt processes to navigate each of these industry-specific challenges. This means that, in any situation, a hiring manager has the tools needed to attract, select, and hire the best talent on demand and on budget.

Mark Gregory