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Getting to the Right Diagnosis & Treatment– Optimizing the RFP Process, Part 1

If you’re like most Talent Acquisition leaders nowadays, you feel pain. You recognize that things aren’t working right and could function a whole lot better. But where do you begin? Is the situation incurable or can it be fixed? Getting the correct diagnosis can be daunting but not impossible.

Start by evaluating the symptoms. Are there problems with people and processes or could it be your recruiting systems? The key to zeroing in on what ails your organizations is to take a good look at the current situation. Are your vital statistics in working order? Determine what’s working well and identify anything that’s not. It’s easy to assume that by replacing older technology, your organization will be healthy and vibrant again but the problems you face may not be technology-related. It could be people, processes or a combination of all three. Rather than treat each issue individually, think about enhancing your existing recruiting systems overall in order to alleviate the pain points. If the problem runs deeper and you find the need for a complete overhaul, there are also a few things to consider before engaging in the RFP process with recruiting system vendors.

First, we recommend that you begin with future state recruiting processes in mind. Future state design is a critical component for developing your list of requirements (features & functionality). Design a future state to solve for those current pain points, leveraging best practices and your knowledge of available recruiting solutions on the market. If you’re uncertain about future state, or unsure of the recruiting solutions available, find a consultant to help you. With this added support, sharing future state vision with leadership will help you get the necessary buy-in and budget for any updates or implementations. From here you may complete an RFI process with the baseline requirements to narrow the field down to a manageable number of vendors in order to go to RFP.

From here, send a list of your needs to vendors to solicit their response. The RFP document should include all of your requirements, identifying each priority as follows:

  1. HIGH (have to have)
  2. MEDIUM (strong desire)
  3. LOW (nice to have)

We also recommend including a column for vendors to respond with:

  1. Meets Requirement
  2. Custom Modifications or Development Required
  3. Planned for Future Enhancement (within next 6 months)
  4. Not Available (does not exist and is not planned for the next 6 months)

In addition, ask vendors to provide a list of relevant references – two weeks should be enough time for their response. At this stage, we suggest updating your Legal/Procurement team ahead of potential contract negotiations.

Once responses are received, you’re ready to analyze each vendor response and perform an in-depth review to determine who makes the cut. Tackling the vendor qualification and review process can be time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth it to ensure the product offering meets your business needs. You’ll want to assess and identify vendors who most fulfill the requirements gathered in future state design. At this point, determine your top three prospective vendors and get ready to take a deeper dive into their offerings and functionality.

We’ll talk more about this in part two – stay tuned!