Published: Mar 26, 2021Time to read: 6mins Category: Recruitment
17 Questions to Get the Most Out of a Recruiting Software Demo
Not all recruiting software is the same. If yours isn't up to scratch, it might be time to start shopping around. But before you do that, you'll need to carefully assess your hiring needs. Here are 17 questions for hiring managers to prepare for your next recruiting software demo and ensure that your solution meets all your talent acquisition needs.
It’s an ordinary Tuesday and you’re making headway on your to-do list when the email comes through: your boss wants you to be part of a team tasked with selecting a new applicant tracking system (ATS).
Whether you’re a recruiter, hiring manager, HRIS admin, or another stakeholder, this is a good thing. No one knows better than you how the current talent acquisition solution is—or isn’t—meeting your needs.
Your hands-on experience in your current ATS is critical to finding a solution that lets you work the way you need to, streamlining and enhancing the hiring process without forcing you to adapt to its limitations. With you on the team, your organization will be able to identify your must-have features and functions and write an effective Request for Proposals (RFP) for your next ATS. And you’ll be able to prep in advance for all those software demos.
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Technology Demos: The Fun Part of Selecting a New ATS
Once you’ve narrowed down the field of vendors, it’s time for the fun part: technology demos. A demo gives you an in-depth look at the recruiting tool, its features and functions, and its user experience. It’s also your opportunity to ask questions and make sure the solution:
- Fits into your current workflow
- Allows you to personalize the user experience for recruiters, hiring managers, and other users
- Enables recruiters to work at maximum efficiency
- Conveys your employer brand
- Creates a winning candidate experience
- Transitions new hires into an effective onboarding experience
- Satisfies your needs for tracking KPIs and recruiting metrics.
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Who Should Be Part of an ATS Demo?
Before scheduling your demos, make sure you’ve got all the right people on the selection team. This group will participate in product demos, review and rank potential vendors, and make recommendations regarding the best-fit ATS for your organization.
The ideal selection team includes a cross-section of multi-level stakeholders, including those who will use the system, those who will implement and support it, and those who will interact with the technology provider over time, including:
- Talent acquisition leaders
- Hiring managers
- Representatives from Procurement, Finance, and or Contracts
- HRIS/HRIT admins
- Enterprise IT leads
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Questions to Ask During a Demo
A good recruiting technology vendor will come to the demo familiar with your company and the challenges you face in talent acquisition. They will have read your RFP and talked with the leader of your selection committee. They should be prepared to show you how their solution meets your specific needs.
Typically, a demo kicks off with a review of the vendor as a company—including years in business, summary of their offerings, technology awards they’ve won, and number of clients (ideally with examples in your industry or similar in size and scale to your company).
The presenter will then walk you through the solution, showcasing the user experience, standard and advanced features, and functions that can be configured, customized, and/or personalized for your organization.
Smart vendors always leave plenty of time for questions, so be prepared with a thorough list to ensure you make the most of your selection team’s time. This list is a good start:
- Does your solution meet our base system requirements?
- How will this solution integrate with our current systems?
- Describe your approach to migrating candidate and other data from our current solution.
- Is training included in the cost of the solution?
- Is the solution optimized for candidates using mobile devices?
- How often are software updates released?
- Does your ATS support internal mobility and "hiring from within"?
- How long does implementation typically take for an organization of our size with similar requirements?
- Describe your support model.
- What type of training will be provided to our recruiters and administrator(s)?
- Tell me about your pricing. What is included in a standard scope of work and what is the pricing for enhancements or add-ons?
- How configurable is your system without incurring additional costs?
- Can your solution be customized to our specific needs? If so, at what cost?
- Are features and modules upgraded automatically?
- What type of reporting and analytics are included?
- What is the process and response time for resolving issues?
- Tell me about your approach to data security.
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More Than Just a Vendor: Finding a Recruiting Technology Partner
A demo affords you more than just a chance for technical Q&A. You’ll also get a sense of each vendor’s customer service philosophy and focus—that is, how they'll treat your company during system implementation and beyond. And you’ll see how eager they are to work with you.
Remember: The relationship between your HR team and your recruiting technology should be a strategic partnership. Your talent acquisition needs will evolve in response to shifts in the job market as a whole, trends affecting your industry, and internal organizational change. You need an ATS—and an ATS provider—that can adapt to the way your recruiters and hiring managers need to work today and in the future.
The ATS provider you select should be able to advise your talent acquisition leaders and teams on best practices, drawing on their expertise in talent acquisition generally and on their experience serving other clients.
By making the most of your recruiting technology demo, you’ll be better able to find an ATS provider who can be your long-term strategic partner. And that means your company will get the most from your new ATS—powering your talent acquisition strategy well into the future.
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Editor’s note: This article has been updated in line with recent thinking and best practices.
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