This post is for HR/TA practitioners who want to understand the process behind our research to better evaluate how much they can trust our advice, in addition to practitioners who want to hone their own abilities to discover and vet vendors. This post is also for the vendors who reach out to us and want to know what look for in vendors we feature.
There are thousands of software vendors in the HR/Recruiting ecosystem, and it's our job to understand which ones we should be recommending to our readers. While what we publish should never be the beginning and end of your research (you should do demos with multiple vendors to figure out what is best for you organization) - we strive to do the best possible job in identifying the companies you should talk to.
Of course, we think about discovering and vetting vendors in a funnel. At the very top are companies that we find in our own online research, companies that reach out to us, or those who are recommended to us by a trusted source (although these last companies usually make it to the next stage automatically).
Our first question is - do we want to spend time understanding this solution, or are there obvious reasons we wouldn't feature them? The most obvious reason not to feature a company is scale. We don't want to have our best of lists full of sub-scale companies that lack product/market fit, as well as the capabilities to support a large number of customers.
Scale can be customer count, revenues, employees, or traffic to their site. Most of this can be learned from a quick email exchange, or some basic internet research. If this is what your employee count looks like on LinkedIn, we probably don't want to feature your business:
Other deal breakers are companies that are super niche by geography, industry, or product. There are some companies that are really great at providing employee feedback surveys after 360 degree reviews for restaurants in Germany...but we aren't there yet. Instead, our content is to help the 80% of people who are looking for a list of the best ATS's, or trying to figure out whether recruiting chatbots should be a focus.
Once we've determined there are no obvious deal breakers, it makes sense to get on the phone with the vendor and learn more about their company and product.
We have the advantage of typically talking to an executive or group of executives that are leading product or marketing. We don't typically get bulldozed by an account executive who's reading from a script, and can ask much more detailed questions that only the leadership team could answer.
We have an internal rubric we use to score vendors. Sharing the specifics would allow people to game the system too much, but we wanted to share some insights into how we think about this. Each bucket listed below can lead to a vendor getting -15 to 15 points (we think negative points are needed for lying on demos, really horrible user interfaces, products that have very few customers, etc).
There are some other factors when it comes to selecting what software to feature. Some vendors are very disorganized and what should be a 45 minute call turns into two hour long calls. That's annoying, and it's boring. I wish this didn't have an impact on our decisions, but it does.
We are more biased towards companies based in the US, companies that are "growth stage" vs early or mature, management teams that speak the same business language (ROI, analytics, automation), companies where we may have met the team in person, and products that make us think "yes - that is exactly how I would've built this." Some of these bias's lead to better outcomes, some probably don't. And, there are definitely bias's we aren't even aware of!
My advice to vendors reading this who'd like to be on the site:
And if you're a practitioner reading this, our advice is to take some of our courses on ROI or buying HRTech, or getting internal buy in - learning to do this the right way takes a long time. Start now!
This post originally appeared on SelectSoftware's blog where we write about the latest in HRTech.