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The #2 Rated Applicant Tracking System?

This is the #2 rated ATS, but that says more about the ratings than this software.

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
November 21, 2019
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Most days I receive email from HR Tech vendors who find SelectSoftware and want their solution listed on the site.  Some are amazing solutions that we’ve somehow missed previously.  Some are clearly not a good fit.  And, some simply illuminate the challenges of buying HRTech!  This was one of those such emails.

A few weeks ago I got this email from a vendor who wanted to be on the site (all identifying info is de-identified, I have no interest in calling them out):

Screen shot of a vendor interested in being on SelectSoftware Revews

I always look at these messages and try to respond quickly out of respect for the people building the next generation of HR Tech companies.  I also want to be efficient, so I'll usually do a quick two minutes of research before I respond.

In this case, I realized the company had 5 employees, and was based in a far off land.  I responded with something along the lines of "thanks for reaching out, but do you mind sharing your revenue or customer count?"  I saw they had 5 employees, and I don’t feel comfortable recommending software to our audience that doesn’t meet a minimum scale threshold (maybe we’ll have a section in the future for the earliest stages of startups, but we have too much work to do before that happens).

I never heard back.  My guess is the answer to “what’s your scale” was “very small.”  But, that’s not what I found so interesting here.

The Point Of This Post

If you read the email that was sent to me, this 5-person ATS based in a far off land is the #2 rated ATS on Capterra!  How is this possible?  Well, they have around 50 five-star reviews.  To be honest, I’m surprised this small of a company has 50 customers, let alone 50 glowing reviews. But I’m not going to dig into how they got these reviews.

In fact, I probably don’t need to educate anyone about the validity of online reviews.  We’ve all been offered money to leave reviews, and of course are familiar with the many hacks we can use to adjust our company’s Glassdoor reviews.

That said, I found this email exchange very inspiring and so wanted to write about it.  I started SelectSoftware because 1) it’s hard to buy HR Tech and 2) the content that exists online is amazingly misleading.  This random company (and not one of the actual best ATS’s out there) was ranked #2?  

By the way, I hadn’t heard of ANY of the top 20 companies “ranked” by this crowd review site.  That’s just SCARY.  How many thousands of practitioners are being mislead every month by this list?

My personal takeaway here is to always understand who is telling you what, and why (clearly I have an incentive to share my thoughts on how expert, unbiased reviews are better than pay-to-play crowd reviews).  

I hope this is a useful anecdote as you build your skill set of buying excellent business software to propel your organization :)

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Phil Strazzulla

Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. He has bought over $1 million worth of HR and Recruiting tools. Additionally, as of 2022, nearly 3 million HR professionals have relied on his advice to determine which business software they should buy.

Phil studied finance at New York University and started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School. His in-depth understanding of the Saas landscape, especially HR Tech, stems from nearly a decade of researching and working with these tools as a computer programmer, user, and entrepreneur.

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