Caveat Emptor: How To Stop Getting Screwed By Software

For a market that’s both historically underserved and largely inexperienced in software selection, making this challenging, yet critical, decision for recruiting and staffing seems like more trouble than simply sticking to spreadsheets. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

You just need to know what you’re looking for – and ask the right questions. Which is why staffing professionals and leaders already have the requisite skills for filling the requirements required for recruiting success.

If you’re buying enterprise recruiting software, follow this framework for a first class experience without any second guessing.

You’ve Got Needs, Dammit: Why Blind Dates Are A Bad Idea for Buyers

IFThis should seem pretty obvious, but if you’re looking to buy staffing software, then your primary consideration for choosing a partner should be the product itself.

Before putting out an RFP or doing any sort of formal due diligence, you’ve first got to make sure that you explicitly identify the business need that you need the product to solve.

This means evaluating what your process looks like right now, and how that software will help optimize those processes for maximum efficiency and efficacy.

Conduct a comprehensive internal audit internally to help you better understand which features and functions are the most important. This will help you refine your list of requirements and streamline the selection process by eliminating those vendors whose core competencies fall outside your critical needs.

Doing a deep dive into the current state of your staffing business might reveal that it’s your processes, not your product, that are wrong – and no software in the world can help fix the fundamentals.

Remember: staffing technology should support and augment, not replace or disrupt, the best practices and processes you’ve already got in place. That’s why another important product consideration lies in data portability.

If you’ve already got systems in place somewhere in your process, remember that you’ll have to migrate old information into any new system, so ask about integrations..

Be ready to ask potential providers about how integrations work and whether they will integrate and the process involved in moving your data between interconnected systems.

When looking at systems integration and data migration, it’s also important to understand which analytics and metrics matter most to your company, how you currently measure success, and what reporting capabilities you need from a product.

For many staffing companies, moving from manual to automated processes or from a legacy system into the cloud can help breath fresh life into existing data by uncovering additional insights and analytics that can help drive more informed decisions and better business outcomes.

The Software Sales Walk of Shame: Hooking Up with the Right Partner

sex robot

The sales process provides an outstanding litmus test for previewing what your relationship with a software provider is really going to be like.

If you’re an active prospect in the process of making a purchasing decision, remember that you’ll never get treated better than you will while you’re still a possible sale.

You’ll also never have the same leverage with any vendor ever again – or at least until they’re trying to upsell or renew your contract. If you don’t like how you’re being treated during the honeymoon phase, it will only get worse if you actually sign a contract. Any lack of responsiveness, lapse in professionalism or delay in meeting deadlines or deliverables should be a red flag that should send you running.

Back Off, Bro: Picking Your Pick Up Line

Uptown_TheStarerAnother red flag is providers who, conversely, are a little too aggressive during the sales cycle. If you feel like you’re being oversold, chances are that partner will likely under deliver on expectations.

If you get that scent of desperation, that they’re trying a little too hard to win your business, it’s possible that your contract might last longer than the company you sign it with. The best partners want your business, but they don’t need it.

As any recruiter knows, the best predictor of future success is past performance, so in doing your due diligence during the sales process, it’s important to establish that they have done significant work and experienced demonstrable success in your firm’s industry, market or area of expertise.

Make sure they can back this up with case studies and customer references from these companies. Recruiters already know making an offer without a reference check and background screen is just bad business – and generally leads to bad decisions, too. 

Once you’ve decided on a final candidate, the hard part of the sales process begins – and negotiating a software contract as a staffing firm can be daunting, especially for those without significant experience in vendor selection.

Make sure before signing any contract that you understand exactly how fees are structured and you understand any variable costs that might be included, such as training, support or maintenance fees. Put simply, you shouldn’t be paying anything but a flat fee for licensing.

During the negotiation process, you’ll also want to ensure you understand how implementation works, who’s involved in change management, end-user training and company communications, and how long it will take for your staffing software to be fully configured and ready to roll.

Put A Ring On It: What Happens When The Honeymoon is Over

You-never-listenFinally, before signing any contract, make sure you’re able to define success and that the vendor agrees with these benchmarks or metrics, ensuring accountability and the ongoing ability to adjudicate business impact and recruiting ROI before, during and after implementation.

It’s also important to have a clear understanding of how to get out of your contract if those mutually agreed upon metrics aren’t met. Any last minute surprises or reticence to provide a comprehensive SLA with client-defined requirements should force you to reevaluate whether or not this is really a provider you want to partner with in the first place.

A partner will be proactive, not reactive, in supporting your staffing business, anticipating issues, communicating them clearly and providing a range of resources for technical support, and that they’re responsive when something inevitably goes wrong.

Remember, you’re paying a premium for your platform – you shouldn’t pay more to make sure it’s working properly.

You spend enough time chasing down clients and candidates where you shouldn’t have to worry about getting through to your staffing technology vendor, too.

After all, you’ve got hiring to do.

Please note that I cribbed most of this material from William Tincup, who’s been writing and speaking about this topic for a while now and knows software selection and contracts better than anyone in the business – which is why at least I’m stealing from the people who know their shit.

Originally posted on Recruiting Daily. 

And if you think this post was boring, it’s because I got paid, son. #sorrynotsorry

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