“Paralysis is a consequence of having too many choices,” said Barry Schwartz in his TED Talk.
These days there seems to an impossible number of recruiting software options out there, and if you’re a recruiter or hiring leader in charge of procuring the best option for your business, it can be pretty intimidating. I’ve been publishing and consulting in the recruitment technology industry for 6 years and would like to share how buyers can reduce risk and bias in their purchasing decisions for recruiting software.
- Know Your Company
The best recruiting software for IBM, a company that needs to hire the next engineer to work on Watson, is not necessarily the best software for a local pizza shop, which needs to hire its next hostess. My point is that all the points below must be framed within, ‘what’s best for my company?’ But for any size company in any industry, these steps and questions will help you create a frame of mind that is less biased and better informed.
- Evaluate Past Recruitment Performance
How has technology impacted and not impacted your recruitment performance over the last year? When you start to measure the inputs that drove your annual recruitment results, what was driven by labor and what was driven by technology? The areas you want to identify are where (1) software could eliminate remedial labor, (2) you’re using software but are unsure how it’s affecting the bottom line, and (3) software is already driving major ROI. Wherever software can eliminate labor is opportunity to spend more efficiently. If you’re unsure how your software is impacting the bottom line, you need to figure it out before you consider eliminating it or consider replacing it. And wherever technology is already implemented and driving ROI, you need to build around it and evaluate how any new software will work with it.
- Determine Foreseeable Recruitment Needs
Most softwares, workflows, and online hiring solutions work better for some roles than they do for others. What roles will you be hiring for? For example, if you get 30% of your candidates from a niche job board, when you evaluate job posting solutions, they should automatically post to the niche job board that is already working for you. In the foreseeable future, what type of candidates do you want more of? If your percentage of candidates from employee referrals is low, consider how every solution will drive that candidate source. My point is: forget technology for a second, and think about your bigger picture recruitment needs. How does each software you’re considering have the chance to move the needle of the recruitment department as a whole?
- List Essential, Unnecessary, and Ideal Functionalities
What do you actually want the recruiting software to do? Think function first. Do you want it advertise your job across the internet in a few simple clicks? Do you want it to surface the best candidates for every job? Do you want it to be your entire history of recruitment record? What reporting and analytics functionality would create the clearest view of your company’s recruitment performance? By whiteboarding what is essential, unnecessary, and ideal, you can start to assign value to a vendor’s offering. This is the basis for rubrics and RFPs.
- Browse the Marketplace
Now that you have a better idea of what you want, do some research into what the market currently offers. This can simply start with a Google search. What vendors rank the highest for the functionalities you need? What features differentiate the top ranking vendors? Browse their websites and then cross reference their claims with B2B software review sites such as FinancesOnline, G2crowd, SaaSGenius, GetApp, Capterra, and SoftwareAdvice.
- Think Hard About Price
What would you like to pay for recruiting software? What is the most you can pay for recruiting software? Create an internal minimum and maximum price range for this expenditure. But you must also know how the rest of the recruitment budget is being spent because you may run into a technology that could eliminate large non-technology expenses, and if this is true, your range for technology expenses must also change. The key here is that you – and not the vendor – are putting the price to value.
- Make Contact With Vendors
Now that you have a base level of education about what will drive results for you at what cost, start talking to vendors. You can generally reach out via their home pages, contact pages, or pricing pages. Also, browse your network because a direct intro to the right vendor employee could mean better service and friendlier prices. Then you want to see the product, use the product, and establish a point of contact to address any issues or questions in a timely manner. I recommend scheduling demos as closely as possible to avoid any recency bias.
- Value the Test Drive
Demos are great for understanding the concept of what a software is trying to offer, but they are inaccurate for figuring how and if a software can deliver what it claims to offer. It’s just so easy to hide warts and gloss over flawed functionality in a demo environment. I recommend not committing to anything long term without a trial. Even if a vendor doesn’t offer a free trial publicly on their website, ask for it. This is SaaS; don’t buy from the companies that don’t trust their product to make the sale.
- Community Verified
Every decent recruiting software has glowing customer endorsements listed on their website – and they are informative to read – but to better verify how customers like the software, you need to dig deeper. Ask your contemporaries at different companies what recruiting software they value or what their perceptions and experiences have been with a one you are considering. Furthermore, ask the vendor for a customer reference you can talk to. Search social networks and aforementioned review sites to uncover positive and negative experiences with the recruiting software you are considering.
Becoming an unbiased and well informed buyer takes some effort. By starting with these 9 points, you can create a frame of mind that is less likely to be duped by the vendor with their next slick software.