What's the difference between Prelude and Calendly recruiting software?


Kristin Schultz

Kristin Schultz
Jul. 12, 2023

What's the difference between Prelude and Calendly recruiting software?

Recruiting teams turn to Calendly for scheduling automation to speed up the hiring process and capture top talent. With the recent acquisition of Prelude, Calendly now offers the most specialized recruitment scheduling solution. Trying to decide which of Calendly’s recruiting products is best for you? You’ve come to the right place.

Both Calendly and Prelude streamline your interview scheduling and hiring process. In this post, we compare the two products in depth — including real-world examples, features, and integrations — so you can decide which solution is right for your team. Either way you go, you can rest assured that both tools deliver way more functionality than your average scheduling software. 

When is Prelude the best choice?

Prelude was built to solve specific challenges faced by enterprise recruiting teams, including multi-step interview panels, interviewer management, and extreme hiring volume. In addition to saving time, Prelude helps teams provide a five-star candidate experience by enabling quick, personalized communication and transparency. 

Only Prelude was designed to help talent acquisition teams track recruitment-specific scheduling metrics, such as:

  • Time to schedule

  • Interviewer declines

  • Load balancing

  • Interviewer bandwidth

  • Reschedules

This matters when you need easy-to-understand analytics to help you meet targets, balance the interview load across your company, plan capacity for the future, and get a handle on declines and reschedules.

How Prelude simplifies complex interviews

When your recruitment process involves multiple rounds of varying interview types (e.g., sequential panels), Prelude is often the better choice. The platform makes quick work of interview scheduling that involves several steps, takes place in multiple parts, and stretches over a span of days. 

For example, Prelude customer Samsara reports their recruiting team saves 600 hours per year with Prelude. Samsara has cut the time it takes to schedule complex panel interviews from 30 minutes to fewer than 10!

Prelude screenshot showing scheduling options for a panel interview with three interviewers.
Recruiting teams use Prelude to coordinate multi-step, sequential interviews in just a few clicks.

Recruiting coordinators use Prelude’s workflows and templates to rapidly assemble hiring panels, organize interview loops, and coordinate interview series that must happen in a certain order and/or with a specific combination of interviewer types. With proxy booking, coordinators save everybody time by scheduling meetings on behalf of recruiters, hiring managers, and interview panelists.

Plus, recruiting teams can use the Prelude Superdays workflow for high-volume interview scheduling at job fairs or campus recruiting events.

Prelude has completely transformed our processes. Most importantly, we can deliver a memorable candidate experience that sets us apart from our industry peers.

Danny Cao

Internship Program Manager at Glassdoor

Explore Prelude’s recruiting-specific functionality and integrations

Prelude is a good match for teams that need integrations with enterprise recruiting software. The platform has native integrations with leading applicant tracking systems (ATS), including:

Prelude screenshot showing how a recruiting coordinator can schedule candidate interviews from Workday ATS.
Integrating Prelude with an ATS like Workday or Greenhouse lets you set up interviews without leaving the software you’re in all day.

Prelude syncs interview details across your tech stack, so everything stays up to date. Since the platform also integrates directly with conferencing tools (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc.) and coding assessment tools (Coderpad, HackerRank, etc.), coordinators can add video conferencing or coding test links to the interview lineup without leaving Prelude.

For the recruiting team, Prelude’s interviewer profiles feature taggable details like seniority level, DEI information, and interviewer type (such as cultural or technical). Recruiters use these details to create fair and diverse hiring panels in seconds. 

Another major difference between Calendly and Prelude is the hiring team experience. For hiring teams, Prelude runs in the background so interviewers and hiring managers don’t need to learn a new tool. 

If interviewers want to go into Prelude, they can update their preferences themselves, with no action required from the recruiting team. Interviewers also can designate certain meetings on their calendars as movable or unmovable, making interview scheduling that much easier. 

With Prelude, candidates don’t self-schedule their interviews (although this feature may be built in the future). Instead, the candidate provides their availability, and Prelude matches available interviewers to fill the interview loop.

What’s the typical team size using Prelude?

Prelude is a great fit for large recruiting teams at enterprise organizations. Teams benefit most from Prelude when they:

  • Have recruiting coordinators

  • Support multiple recruiters

  • Schedule interviews, log candidate interactions, and follow up with both candidates and interviewers 

Recruiting operations at this scale typically manage many interview sequences at once — and face hours of time-consuming tasks.

By automating scheduling operations with Prelude, recruiters and coordinators spend more time sourcing top talent and strengthening candidate relationships. Recruiting teams manage their talent pipeline more effectively and can focus on finding ideal candidates for open positions.

After adopting Calendly’s Prelude, we saw our average interview load per week go from 2-3 interviews per interviewer to less than 1. We saw a dramatic increase in available bandwidth because we’re able to scale our process.

Tyler Patterson

Recruiting Manager, Coordination and Operations at Airtable

What you should know about Prelude pricing

Prelude’s pricing model is designed to be efficient for large enterprises, so only recruiters and coordinators need a Prelude license (as opposed to Calendly’s pricing model, where each individual recruiter, coordinator, hiring manager, and interviewer needs a license — more on that in the next section). 

Like many SaaS companies, Prelude’s enterprise pricing is custom, because every enterprise plan needs to be tailored to your organization’s needs. If you need advanced features or are buying dozens of seats, definitely talk to a sales rep.

Webinar: Calendly's Prelude: Scheduling automation built for recruiting teams

Webinar: Prelude's scheduling automation for recruiting

Learn how Calendly’s recruiting platform, Prelude, can reduce interview scheduling time by 50%.

When is Calendly the best choice?

Calendly speeds up the interview process for recruiters, recruiting coordinators, and hiring managers – and offers easy, intuitive self-scheduling for candidates. 

Unlike Prelude, Calendly can be used by many other teams across your organization: For example, sales teams can schedule prospect calls, marketing teams can improve speed-to-lead, and customer success teams can coordinate customer check-ins. 

How Calendly simplifies interview scheduling

Calendly is a good fit for recruiting teams with straightforward interview processes. These teams mostly schedule initial phone screens, 1:1 interviews with hiring managers, and/or group interviews with a hiring panel. Calendly also can be used for offer calls, reference checks, and other candidate check-ins.

Recruiters use Calendly to send scheduling links that allow candidates to select their preferred interview time, whether it’s a group or 1:1 interview. In both cases, the candidate self-schedules based on the interviewer’s real-time calendar availability, and Calendly adds the interview details to everyone’s calendars automatically. Within Calendly, recruiters can add video conferencing details and collect key information at the time of booking.

Screenshot of a form recruiters can ask candidates to fill out before scheduling an interview in Calendly.
Calendly helps you collect key information before allowing candidates to schedule their interview.

The recruiting team at Muck Rack decreased their average time to hire by eight days after implementing Calendly. Beyond making scheduling easier, Calendly’s workflows helped the team provide a personalized, high-touch candidate experience with less admin work.

“We’ve taken a lot of time to make it intentional and build out that candidate experience so that they can have a smooth process with us. It’s been awesome to be able to do that with Calendly," said Odlenika Joseph, Recruiting Coordinator at Muck Rack.

Screenshot showing how recruiters use Calendly to schedule phone screens, group interviews, job offers, and other 1:1 appointments.
Recruiters use Calendly to schedule phone screens, group interviews, job offers, and other 1:1 appointments.

For high-volume hiring, recruiting teams use Calendly’s Round Robin links to connect candidates with the first available recruiter. You can also set up Round Robin to distribute meetings equally to balance team workloads, or assign new meetings to a specific team member.

Feat Img - Hire Faster with Calendly

Webinar: Hire Faster with Calendly - Pro Tips for Recruiters

Looking to level up your interview-scheduling game? Get pro tips for hiring top candidates faster (and improving their experience)!

Explore Calendly’s recruiting functionality and integrations

Like Prelude, Calendly syncs interview details across your tech stack, so everything stays up to date. Calendly integrates with ATS platforms including Greenhouse, JazzHR, Gem, and other recruiting software so you can share meeting details across your recruiting tools in real time. Prelude just offers a wider variety of recruiting-specific integrations.

Screenshot showing Calendly’s integration with Greenhouse.
Calendly’s native integration with Greenhouse allows recruiters to schedule interviews without leaving the ATS.

Calendly also integrates with video conference links (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc.) to include interview invitations automatically, and send automated reminders to prevent late arrivals and no-shows.

Thanks to browser extensions and add-ins, recruiters can embed Calendly links or available times anywhere they’re reaching out to candidates, whether that’s within the body of an email or in LinkedIn.

Calendly’s LinkedIn Messaging browser extension adds scheduling functionality to your messaging toolbar. With just a few clicks in LinkedIn, recruiters can immediately share a scheduling link during initial conversations with a candidate. Recruiters can add custom questions to pre-booking forms to gather more details and automatically vet candidates before allowing them to book an interview.

Stylized screenshot showing adding a Calendly Event Type to a LinkedIn message using the Calendly browser extension.
Calendly's browser extensions make it easy to share scheduling links and meeting availability in LinkedIn messages.

Because Calendly was designed to work across an entire organization, it has fewer recruiting-specific integrations, but a lot more integrations used org-wide and by other departments. For example, your sales and marketing teams can do Calendly appointment scheduling directly from their Salesforce and HubSpot CRMs and sync those meeting details with their customer records. To compare integrations head-to-head, you can find the full lists of Prelude integrations here and Calendly integrations here

Stylized screenshot of Calendly meeting times added to the body of an email.
With Calendly’s browser extensions, suggest available times in an email on any platform your prospect uses. If none of the embedded times work for them, they can follow your Calendly link and find another time that works best.

Now let’s talk about Calendly’s behind-the-scenes recruiting features. For talent acquisition teams, Calendly’s admin managed events allow recruiters to establish standard practices for interviews, such as title, duration, and branding, and push those out to all hiring managers and interviewers. 

Screenshot showing how Calendly’s admin managed events can lock and sync meeting templates to ensure best practices are followed.
Empower managers to enforce best practices: Use Calendly’s admin managed events to lock and sync meeting templates across the entire recruitment process.

Muck Rack’s team also implemented a custom redirect page, which sends candidates to a special landing page after they book their interview.

“Candidates are always asking us ‘What’s coming next? What is the interview process? Who am I going to be meeting with?’ The custom redirect page is an awesome way to do that automatically," said Odlenika Joseph, Recruiting Coordinator at Muck Rack. "People have really enjoyed this, because not a lot of folks are going back to the original job posting where this information is listed. So this is a way to tie back to what they can expect.”

What’s the typical team size using Calendly for Recruiting? 

Calendly works well for hiring managers and teams of all sizes. Calendly’s automation takes care of tasks like finding availability across hiring teams, booking interviews, and sending reminders and follow-ups

Unlike Prelude, Calendly can be used across your organization by different teams. Just keep in mind Calendly isn’t as robust as Prelude when it comes to coordinating complex, multi-step interviews.

What you should know about Calendly pricing

Calendly offers several pricing plans and offers a free, 14-day trial. Calendly’s free forever version lets you connect one calendar, create one event type with unlimited bookings, and use automated notifications. Upgrading to paid plans connects more calendars and unlocks more features. Most recruiting teams will want the feature set included in the Teams plan for $16/month. Larger enterprise companies needing dozens of seats should contact Calendly’s sales team to get a customized quote. 

Evolving scheduling automation for the future of recruiting

Now you know, both Prelude and Calendly can get you to your recruiting goals faster and easier than your average scheduling tools.

Over time, Prelude’s interview scheduling functionality will merge into Calendly. So no matter which platform you choose today, Calendly’s recruiting team solutions will have you covered for the future.

Learn more about Calendly for recruiting

See how different organizations use Calendly's recruiting solutions to automate scheduling, streamline hiring processes, and speed up time to hire.
Kristin Schultz

Kristin Schultz

Kristin is a Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at Calendly.

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