Understanding the differences between domains and instances


Organizations with multiple brands and business units can utilize multiple domains and instances in Lever to manage their recruitment functions. The setup most appropriate for your organization will depend on its technical composition as well as how you wish to manage candidates, user access, and recruitment data across brands and business units. This article describes the difference between domains and instances as well as the utilities and limitations associated with multi-domain and multi-instance setups.

Defining domains and instances

An "instance" is a shared Lever environment to which the members of your organization log in. The email address an individual uses to log in to a Lever instance is associated with their organization's "domain" (i.e. what comes after the @ symbol in their email address). In most cases, an organization will have one instance from which they manage all hiring, and all members of that organization will typically log in using emails addresses associated with one domain.

The company Acme Corporation has a single Lever instance and single matching domain.

      • Instance: Acme Corporation
      • Domain: @acmecorp.co

Organizations may have multiple domains in order to support different brands and locations under a single banner. The number of domains that you can associate with a single instance depends on your LeverTRM package.

The company Ace Financial has divisions in both the United States and Canada. It also has an additional brand within its US division for a separate product suite called QuickTax.

      • Instance: Ace Financial
      • Domains: @acefinancial.com, @acefinancial.ca, @quicktax.com

Some organizations may need multiple Lever instances. This is common scenario for parent organizations with subsidiaries that operate independently of one another. Note that costs may vary for additional instances.

The pet food company PetPro grows to become a full-suite pet care supplier. PetPro acquires three smaller companies - Fluff & Fur (a pet grooming service), Chewbie (a pet toy vendor), and Paw Watch (a pet daycare). Each of the acquired companies maintains its independence in terms of brand and operations, but all employees are converted to the parent company domain.

      • Instances: PetPro, Fluff & Fur, Chewbie, Paw Watch
      • Domain: @petpro.co 


While one domain can be supported across multiple instances, it is important to note that a single Lever user can only ever belong to one instance. In the example above, although all four instances support the "@petpro.co" domain, an employee that has logged in to the Pet Pro instance would be unable to log in to the Fluff & Fur, Chewbie, or Paw Watch instances with that same email address.

Choosing between multi-domain and multi-instance setups

If your organization is composed of more than one brand and/or business units, you may be considering setting up multiple domains within your Lever instance or setting up multiple Lever instances altogether. Here are some high-level characteristics of organizations best-suited for each option:

Multiple domains within a single instance Multiple instances
  • Multiple brands/locations under the umbrella of one company
  • A single company-wide system infrastructure across brands (e.g. HRIS, email/calendar provider)
  • Recruitment processes are largely the same across all divisions of the company
  • Multiple business units that are operationally independent from each other
  • Each business unit has its own system infrastructure (e.g. email/calendar provider used in business unit A is different than that used in business unit B)
  • Recruitment processes are highly differentiated between business units


In the table below, you will find a breakdown of the technical implications of each setup option:

  Multiple domains Multiple instances
Platform Access Users can log in to the instance as long as their email matches one of the instance's supported domains. Users need a unique email address for each instance that they wish to access. Aliases of email addresses used in other instances cannot be used to gain access to a new instance.
Candidates Users can view and act upon candidates associated with all jobs.* Candidates can be shared with users of a different domain, provided that domain is supported in the instance. Users will only be able to view and act upon candidates associated with jobs in the instance(s) that they can access (see above).* Candidates cannot be shared between instances.
Job Postings &
Career Site
Brands can be set up as different departments within the instance. Postings can then be attributed to departments representing each brand. To learn how to set up departments, refer to our help article on configuring company-level settings

The Lever-hosted job site for the instance will support a single logo.

Lever's Postings API can be used to filter jobs for a specific domain to a specific custom-built career page.
Each instance will have its own Lever-hosted job site, that can be linked to the website of each corresponding business unit.
Job Boards The job board feed (including the feed to direct integrations such as LinkedIn and Indeed, as well as the XML feed) for the instance cannot be segmented by domain.  The job feed is unique to each instance and therefore feeds for different business units can be ingested by job boards independently of each other. However, some job board vendors may not be able ingest feeds from multiple Lever instances, depending on your contract with them.
Interview Scheduling Users will not be able to see the availability of other users on different domains if those users are not on the same email servers as the user scheduling the interview. Users can view the availability of users on the same domain. Scheduling interviews with interviewers on different domains requires logging in to the instance on which that domain is supported.
Pipeline The pipeline is the same for all domains. The pipeline in each instance can be customized based on the recruitment processes of each business unit.
Email Emails can be sent on behalf other users in the instance (using Lever's 'Send For' feature), even those on a different domain than that of the sender. Emails cannot be sent on behalf of users outside belonging to other instances. If a candidate exists in the pipeline of multiple instances, users will need to make sure they are logged in to the correct instance when emailing the candidate.
Approvals Approval workflows function the same, regardless of a user's domain.  Approval requests can only be sent to users belonging to the instance in which the request is generated. If an approver needs to approve postings, requisitions, and/or offers generated from multiple instances, they will need to log in to email inbox of user account belonging to that instance.
Reports All recruitment data for the instance is aggregated, regardless of domain. Note that dashboards in Visual Insights can be filtered by department. Consider setting up brands as different departments within your Lever environment in order to run brand-specific reports. To learn how to set up departments, refer to our help article on configuring company-level settings Recruitment data cannot be merged between different instances. Pooling recruitment data from different business units requires exporting data sets from each instance and then manually synthesizing the data outside of Lever. To learn more, refer to our help article on running data exports.

*The ability to view and act upon candidates is mediated by a user's role permissions as defined in Lever's permission matrix.

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