So you’ve finally decided. It’s time to switch recruitment software… or maybe you’re planning on getting a CRM/ATS for your recruitment firm for the first time. Well, good luck because you’ve just stepped into the dark and scary world of recruitment software selection. We’re just kidding… but every recruitment business owner has heard stories about hidden costs, data ransoms, and being locked into long, unsatisfying contracts….how can you protect yourself from joining their ranks?
Selecting the right technology platform for your recruitment or staffing company is an important business decision. It will either accelerate your growth or become the dreaded ‘system’ that you and your consultants resent. So don’t shy away from the tough questions that every vendor hopes you don’t ask.
We’ve identified the top 5 questions that recruitment technology vendors hope you don’t have the intelligence -or the balls – to ask.
1. How can I get my data out? How much will it cost?
When it comes to data import, it’s relatively simple… if you’re (very) lucky, the vendor will get your data into the system for free but most vendors will charge you $$$ upfront. Either pay or do it yourself- there’s no other way about it.
However, getting your data into the system is only half the battle. One of the most important questions you need to ask the vendor is how can you get your data out should the need arise.
You need to know:
- How can I get my data out? Can i get a data export myself, directly from my account…or do I have to request support to do this for me?
- How much will it cost?
- What format will the data export be in? Ie, .csv format, SQL
Some vendors will say that they’ll give you your data for free- great (get it in writing) – but you have to make sure that the format is usable. Most vendors do an SQL dump which means that the data output that is given to you is practically unusable unless you invest further $$$ in unpacking it.
*INSIST on a CSV format for your data and a Zip file format for your documents. Get this in writing from your vendor, as an “SQL data dump” could add $3-5000 dollars to move to your next system if your present vendor turns out to be too expensive or does not meet your needs.
Make sure you have in print an outline of the data export process, export format and costs associated with it. A great vendor will never threaten you or attempt to hold your data hostage in order to keep you. Remember that.
2. Can I do a fully-featured trial?
When a Salesperson gives you a demo of the system, everything works just fine and it all looks good. You like it and buy it…but when you get into your system and start to really use it, you wish you hadn’t signed the contract. Buyer’s remorse – but for a business critical system you and your team need to use everyday.
Every smart sales consultant will walk you through the juicy bits, the cool features and show you the stuff that works. That’s how they close deals, but what makes you think that you found ‘The One’ after just a short demo session led by the vendor?
Make sure that what you’re seeing is what you’re getting. Sometimes the critical features you really need like analytics, email integrations and APIs are add-ons and come at an additional cost. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you’ll know what’s included and what’s not.
A great vendor won’t hold back on showing you all that they have- because they (should) have nothing to hide. You should be able to get a trial… and in an account with access to all the features. How else will you determine if the system is right for you?
Use the trial period to really evaluate the system:
- Does the software match your business processes?
- Can you configure the system to match your needs? If so, can you configure it yourself or do you have the pay the vendor to do this for you?
- Can I easily integrate it with my email, calendar and LinkedIn account?
- Are my team members using it?
- Is the price point reasonable for us? Does this represent good value?
3. How often are there releases/upgrades…& what’s the product roadmap like?
Another question you should be asking is ‘When was the last product release’? Understanding how often releases are deployed gives you a good indication on the vendor’s pace of innovation. Go to their product blog or website to see what’s been included in previous releases: is it just bug fixes or newly added features?
A great software vendor continuously adds new features that enhance efficiencies, improving the User Experience and helping you make more placements. You’re looking for a platform that is capable of innovating to match the industry’s needs and most importantly, your needs as you grow.
A great vendor will also share the product roadmap with specific timelines you so you know what’s coming and when. This also shows the vendor’s commitment to product innovation. Even if you are a one-person recruitment firm you should have some visibility into what your vendor has in the pipeline. ‘Can I vote on features?’, ‘Do customers have influence on the product roadmap?’ these are questions you should keep in mind.
4. Who’s behind the company?
Before you make the commitment, make sure you know the full story. Who are the founders of the company – are they ex-recruiters who understand the nuances of the industry or are they a bunch of developers who just happen to make ‘good enough’ software?
If they’re a start-up, are they backed by investors and who are they? There is nothing wrong with going with a smaller vendor, but make sure they can put you in touch with at least 3 customers so you can do a reference call and get the inside scoop. Likewise, if you’re dealing with one of the bigger vendors in the market are they too big to listen to your needs or will you become you just ‘another customer’.
If they’re well established, are they gearing up for a major IPO? When a company devotes resources to getting the IPO, more often than not, innovation slows and prices hike. This means that you may end up using a software that is lagging behind your competition and unable to suit your needs as you grow.
5. Do you have flexible pricing plans?
A great recruitment software vendor will scale with you in good times and bad.
Given the economic uncertainties today, the vendor shouldn’t lock you into 2-year or 5-year contracts. You decide how long you’ll stay, not them. You should be offered flexible pricing plans so you can choose to go monthly or sign an annual contract. That’s true Software-as-a-Service.
A few more things to bear in mind: if you sign up for an annual plan initially, do you have the option to switch to a monthly plan if you need to? How about if consultants leave your business, can you reassign their licence to someone else…or are you left paying for a seat that no-one is sitting in?
One last thing: remember, transparency is the key to every successful relationship. Before you sign that contract, make sure you are happy with the answers to these questions. Don’t get burnt. Your business will suffer.
If you’re keen to get started with recruitment software that ticks all the boxes, why not take a look at Vincere? All you have to do is sign-up for a fully-featured free trial now. Don’t take our word for it, see it for yourself.