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Recently Animal had a show with Marty Snyder from Main Sequence Technology (PC Recruiter).  The topic was: how to choose recruiting software (CRM/ATS).  Great I thought – let’s listen on the train and see what these guys have to say (and if they can say it quickly and succinctly enough for Animal).  To be fair, it took Animal 15 minutes to ask Marty to get to the point “Don’t bore me!”  Then he used the B word “buddy” that normally means “get on with it!”

I’ve compiled some of the questions and added some of my own thoughts to them.  I know lots of staffing companies are in the market for new CRM/ATS, so I hope this is a help.

How Old is the Recruitment Software Vendor?

Animal asked Marty if the age of the company should be a consideration.  There seems to be a lack of confidence in the younger systems – I get this.  Why would any recruiter come out of a recession, finally have the budget to buy the system they need only to dump their budget in the lap of a baby?

But some of the old ones are pretty shocking.  Their systems are old, outdated and built on sand.  They have nasty legacy code which was stuck together with gum and a solder iron.  The newer ones don’t have wrinkles, have probably stood on the shoulders of giants (the old guard), but equally may be a little wet behind the ears. So does age matter? I don’t think so.

What is the Helpdesk Like?

You only know how great a company is when things go wrong.  Some sales people are employed to take you on a test drive down the same roads they always take people down – and your process and your business can get lost in the sales pitch.  After the dust has settled, you’ve bought the system.  What does the implementation team and helpdesk have to offer?  How will they interact with your staff?

Renting Instead of Buying?

This is a BIG question. If you’ve met with anyone in my business, you’ll know that cloud for us is exciting, gives you options and we get really antsy when people tell us it’s expensive.  It’s not.  What’s really expensive in installing server-based tech which you have to employ someone to cuddle every night, that takes up the space of a biller, demands a temperature controlled environment and costs a fortune to disrupt your workforce when it’s updated.

Yes, I know that’s a massively sweeping statement, but I’d love the recruiting industry to get with the cloud – they have in the States and it works fine.  Anyone that tells you that cloud is less secure that your own systems is likely to be managing your current server-based infrastructure…  If recruiters let their clients focus on cost we’d be scuppered!


If the vendor offers you days and days of training – why? Is their system so complex that your billers need to sit for 3 days and do a Vulcan mind meld with the system?

In my experience, the training on the system is not the piece that makes the difference – it’s the training on the process that’s needed.  So many recruiters get little training once they have been inducted.  The recruiting process on the whole is pretty eroded and thus any new systems introduced should take this in to account.  Often the trainers coming from the vendor are there to train you on their product, not on your process – BIG difference and massively different outcome.  PIBKAC (problem between the chair and the keyboard) is a big deal and you need to plan for it and it can really screw up your recruiting process.

Culture Vultures

I’ve seen some projects totally fail due to a mismatch in the culture of the supplier and the recruiter.  This may feel fluffy, but the biggest change you’ll effect with a new CRM/ATS is the change in humans and how they use the system (and they can really hold you back!)  Check out the supplier.  What’s their ethos?  How do they deal with people?  Are they open about their road map?  How passionate are they about their own product?  If they aren’t, why should you be, and how can you get your own talent to get in line?

The ultimate way to decide if the CRM is for you?

Glib answer – can it help you recruit, or does it turn you into an administrator?  Is it your buddy, or your mother?  Do you need to be a software engineer to use the thing, or is it intuitive?

Don’t lose sight of the fact that recruitment can be a very simple process, which technology can complicate if it doesn’t support you.  Is it a simple system OUT OF THE BOX, or a pricey config.

Can it make you better?  I get a real kick out of working with recruiters, lifting the lid on their workflows and helping to improve them.  Systems can and should do this – leaving time and space for more human interaction, calls and meetings.

How does it improve your speed? Speed is the biggy for many of my staffing company clients right now. You need to demonstrate that you can recruit and quick.  Quicker than your competitors, quicker than your clients and definitely quicker than those candidates who have the audacity to go direct to the client.

Get References from Leavers

I like the advice from Marty that you should speak to people who have migrated away from the software on your shortlist.  This is a valid point – how easy is it to move from the software you are considering buying?  There is the odd equivalent of the single white female of recruitment systems out there.

Recruitment Leaders

If you’re thinking of upgrading your recruiting software, there are lots of considerations and the above are only a few.  Cost is clearly important, but it should not be the main driver.  Your system needs to do a job; it needs a job spec.  Every recruitment leader has a responsibility to make the right decision.  I hope some of the ideas above are food for thought for you.

 Thanks to Global Recruiter for publishing this blog 

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