Selecting Recruiting Software Part 1: Know your users before you set requirements

By Michael Brandt – BrightMove Recruiting Software

I want to start this series on selecting recruiting software by just saying “I love recruiting”. Recruiting is one of the fastest growing, moving and evolving industries I could ever imagine working in and I have had the privilege of seeing some of the most amazing companies, tools and strategies put to work over my 18+ years in the industry. That being said, I am going to be doing a series of blog posts discussing some critical things I think companies should consider when evaluating and making a software move or selection.
The first topic is going to be about knowing your users. One of the most common mistakes I have seen companies make when selecting their applicant tracking platform is that they don’t know there users enough before building their functional or business requirements. It is sort of like giving a pair of children’s scissors to a surgeon and saying “Go do heart surgery!”. If your talent acquisition software doesn’t match your user, then you have the wrong software and/or you will be missing out on some great applicants.

Buying Based On “The Cool Factor”
Now this term is not an industry term but it is the most common occurrence that I have seen in the HR and Recruiting Software industry. Every year or two, a new buzz word, theme or trend becomes the cool factor in the industry and quite honestly, we as vendors know this and will sell our version of this the cool factor of the day. Right now “Social Media Recruiting” is the cool factor being sold by just about every vendor out there including BrightMove. A few years ago, it was employer branding. A few years before that, it was concept based searching. You probably have seen the vendor specific cool factor functionality that vendors use to differentiate in demos or collateral but my point is simple. Cool Factor is what has traditionally sold software once the baseline requirements are ticked off in the evaluation process.
Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever validated every item in an RFP?
  • What is the key thing you remember about the vendors you have seen?
  • If you selected a vendor, do you use the functionality you thought was so cool from the demo?

The Truth About Cool Factor
The simple truth about the snazzy features and functionality is that it wows users and set us vendors apart in our demos. Let’s face it, sitting through a dozen demos is sort of like poking yourself in the eye after a while, you just want it to stop. The worst part about cool factor functionality is that in many cases you will never use it because it doesn’t make sense to your day to day recruiting or this functionality just isn’t main stream for your audience.

Get To Know Your Audience
I can’t stress this enough; before you even embark in looking for recruiting software. Survey, email, question and get to know your users (applicants, managers, recruiters). Ask yourself tough questions before your buying eyes send you down a path that doesn’t make common sense to your business need. I have included some modern day examples I can think of with today’s more common selling functionality.

Social Media Recruiting
This is the hottest topic in recruiting technology right now. Some vendors have staked their business model on social media. Folks, if your users don’t leverage these networks, this is a total waste of your time.

  • Do your potential hires even log into Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social networks consistently?
    • Ask your previous hires how they found you
    • Look at the data in your current system to see where they came from.
  • Have you tried recruiting on social networks before to see if you even get a response?
    • Try one of the services out there that posts jobs and allows you to source before you buy an entire platform for social media.
  • Survey your managers/employees and find out where they would go?
    • Your managers and employees probably know the best place to find people because they have more than likely used the same resources. (Consider using something like SurveyMonkey to survey them anonymously to get better response.)

Employer Branding
Employer branding is important but what you think is branding and what your applicant's think is branding may be different. Further to this, your hiring brand may be completely different from your corporate brand because of your audience.

  • Find out why your employees selected you
  • Survey applicants to understand how they perceive your brand

Don’t Decide For The 1% Rule
This is a very common mistake for companies evaluating recruiting and staffing software. They make a buying decision based on a role they hire maybe one time a year. I cannot stress this enough, don’t waste your money on software that is designed to handle a role that you don’t recruit for that often. There are plenty of one off options out there that can help you recruit for that one job without you making do with something that doesn’t support the bulk of your hiring.

Compile Your Data and Build Your Requirements
This blog wasn’t meant to be a guidebook but I hope companies really review the user base they will be recruiting for so that they can build requirements that make sense for them. It is also important for vendors to know when their software isn’t a fit for the customer’s needs and when you as a prospective buyer know what you need, they can help you decide if the partnership is a match.


Our Next Blog: Selecting Recruiting Software: Understand Industry Pricing Options and How That Can Save Thousands

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