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5 Tips to Buying the Right HR and Recruiting Software

Here are a few tips on buying the right HR and recruiting software.

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
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Our site is dedicated to helping HR and recruiting teams find and buy the right software for their business.  Most of our readers are incredibly busy, and don’t want to spend all day researching the many vendors out there.  That said, they also don’t want to make any mistakes when buying software.

In This Article

For many of the tools in your HR Tech stack, making the wrong decision can be fairly disastrous.  If you’re buying an ATS system and don’t go with one of the top vendors, you’re going to be married to a solution you hate for a long time.  This will lead to a poor candidate experience, and recruiter experience.  It’ll also hurt your chances of hiring the best people!

While the ATS and HRIS are probably the most important to get right, it’s hard to think of many HR software or talent acquisition tools that won’t be a huge pain if you don’t make the right decision in the first place.  That’s why we spend so much time to uncover the best vendors in a given landscape.

This is also why we try so hard to provide other useful tips beyond who the best vendors are including questions to ask on demos, pricing info, how to think about ROI, and whatever else we think is relevant.

Tips for Vetting Software Partners

What makes a top vendor in a given space?  There are a lot of factors at play.  And, what matters to you may not matter to others.

That said, we wanted to provide a few tips you may not be thinking about when looking at potential recruiting and HR software partners.


We always start conversations off with why potential customers approach them in the first place.  A vendor may best serve a given size of company, industry, or geography.  It’s great to know this before telling them what bucket you fall into.  They may also serve a specific persona (recruiter, head of recruiting, head of HR, PeopleOps, etc).  And if you don’t fit this, you need to understand if it matters to your buying decision.


We always ask about the financial profile of the business.  Most companies vote with their wallets, and so it’s a strong signal when a vendor has low churn and high growth.  We can also be confident they will be around for a while.  We’re big fans of the rule of 40 to understand the health of a SaaS business which is a bit technical but pretty important.


We usually get a demo from the head of product, marketing, or the CEO.  So, we’re lucky to get the inside scoop on everything going on at the company.  We can also ask curveball questions and know that we are getting the best answer anyone in the company can give.  Thus, there is a lot of signal in their answers.  That said, asking a curve ball of a seasoned sales rep shouldn’t throw them off their game.  If it does, that’s a bad sign.  We strongly believe that on a great demo you “just know” you’ve found a product that makes sense for your organization - and vice versa.

Specific Use Cases

Most product demos go through everything at a high level.  Think about the 2-4 workflows that are most important to you, and dive deep.  Maybe it’s how you add an applicant to a system, or how an employee does something.  Whatever the case is, go through each step to make sure it’s bullet proof for the few things you care about.


How the vendor thinks about the value they will bring to your company is amazingly telling.  Most people can’t make up an answer to this question on their feet, and so you get a strong sense for the core use case they will solve, and how that will translate into an ROI.  Some companies literally don’t think about the dollars and cents ROI they are bringing you, and that’s ALMOST a deal breaker.

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Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
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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 2023, 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.

Featured in: Entrepreneur Harvard Business School Yahoo HR.com Recruiting Daily Hacking HR Podcast HR ShopTalk Podcast Employer Branding for Talent Acquisition (Udemy Course)

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