13 Lessons I Learned From Selecting a New Recruitment Software Provider

By Billy McDiarmid - Sourcing and Recruitment Technology Specialist - Glasgow

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I see a lot of questions relating to this topic posted on recruitment communities.

  • “What CRM do you recommend?"
  • “What should my criteria be?"
  • “How long will it take?" 

I have just project managed the migration from one recruitment CRM to another for a 45 seat recruitment business in Glasgow - for the second time in 8 years - so thought I would share some of my “lessons learned" from the selection process.

1. Involve your team - and not just those who are computer savvy

In fact, deliberately involve those who are not tech savvy. See the bloke who asks how to do a sum in Excel every week? Include him, as he needs to use the system as much as anyone else. Your team will rely on this system for fifty or so hours per week, so include them in the entire process - from requirements gathering to selection.

2. Consider EVERY single requirement suggested

Spend a significant amount of time on your GAP analysis and requirements gathering. No matter how unimportant it might seem, consider every single requirement. 

3. But be realistic about them

There is no recruitment CRM that will do everything that you want. Rank your requirements based on Must Have, Nice To Have, and Luxury. Then, disregard all of the Luxury items and most of the Nice To Have items (unless you intended on building the CRM yourself).

4. Spend time sizing the market

I spent a significant amount of time simply identifying then assessing (at a high level) as many potential suppliers in the market as I could. 

5. Treble - at least - the amount of time that providers suggest is adequate for migration

No offence to them, but ignore or, at least, treble the length of time that you are quoted for a successful data migration. There will always be issues unless you have significant in-house technical resource available.

6. Make sure you know what infrastructure the system is hosted on

Most of the time, you will go for a SaaS solution. But make sure you know what it is hosted on. Amazon, Azure, Google - check it out and know what the service levels are between the host and the provider.

7. And make sure your local data protection laws are observed

Especially if you are using a supplier - or system hosting - is based out with your country.

8. Think forward

What happens if your business expands and contracts rapidly? Will you be paying for licences you don’t need if you let people go? Will you able to buy new licences and set-up new users quickly?

9. Use a balanced scorecard

Create a scorecard from your requirements gathering, and stick to it. Remain objective and train the project team on how to assess and score fairly. 


10. Actually use the system when scoring

Run through real life examples. Set-up new people, place jobs, run marketing campaigns, extract data. Do everything that a recruiter would do in a typical day.

11. Take references and challenge them

I worry if I get a perfect reference regarding any potential supplier. Things will go wrong during a migration - I want to know how well it will be handled when things do go wrong.

12. Don’t just speak to the Sales guy

Ask to speak to Dev, Product, Customer Service. These are the guys you will be working with once sales chuck you over the wall.

13. Use a Project Manager

Don't have one? Get one.


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