How To Write An RFP For Recruiting Software [+ Template!]

Posted 4 weeks ago by
RFP Recruiting Software

Looking for the right recruiting software can feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. There are heaps of different solutions on the market and new providers keep popping up.

So, where to start?

By defining the challenges you’re facing and the improvements you want to make, for example.

Once you’ve done that, you can start looking for vendors that offer a solution for your problems – which brings us to the topic of this article: the request for proposal (RFP).

It is very likely that at some point in your quest for the perfect recruiting software you will have to write and send an RFP to a selection of vendors to get a clear picture of what exactly they offer and how this can be beneficial for your organization.

But how do you write such an RFP?

We’ll give you 7 aspects to keep in mind when writing a request for proposal and – it gets even better – we’ll even provide you with a template you can use!


What’s in?

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What is an RFP?

A request for proposal is a document that asks for – what’s in a name – a proposal. An RFP is often made through a bidding process by a company that’s looking to procure (in this case) recruitment software.

An RFP is different from an RFQ – a request for quote – in that the latter is sent when the customer is simply looking for a price quote. It also differs from RFI – a request for information – which contains a few basic question and is usually sent to multiple vendors.

Requests for proposal are often used when the request demands for a certain level of technical expertise, specialized capabilities, or when the product or service that’s requested doesn’t exist yet and the proposal might require research and development to create whatever the customer is requesting.

Recruiting Tools BudgetRecruiting software comprises a significant part of your recruitment budget. A comprehensive RFP enables you to get the best solution and thus optimize your spending.


What should an RFP for recruitment software include?

In your RFP, you want to be as thorough as possible. This means that you want to address your company’s specific expectations and requirements because this will help you save time in the future.

Now, how to go about writing your actual RFP?

The easiest way to do so is to create a spreadsheet so that the vendor can reply directly in the same document. Divide your RFP into different tabs that correspond with your specific requirements and then break them down into as many sub-specifications as you can.

This will make it easier for the vendor to clarify what they can and cannot offer and hence make your RFP more comprehensible.

Alright, let’s dive into an example now!


1. Provide context

Of course, every company is unique. Therefore, each RFP is unique too, even if there are some similarities between one request for proposal and another.

Start by providing the vendor with a little context; what do you want to achieve with the use of recruitment software and by when, for example. You can simply give a brief overview of your company’s story on the first page of the document:

  1. A short introduction about the company, its name (obviously), number of employees, etc. 
  2. What are your objectives (try to be as specific as possible)?
  3. What is the timeframe you have in mind?
  4. What software & hardware are you currently using?
  5. Any other relevant business-specific context (are you currently going through a massive digitalization of the organization, are your hiring needs going to change drastically soon, etc.)


2. Explain your technical requirements

As we mentioned above, a request for proposal is, among other things, being sent when you have certain technical requirements. Therefore, it’s only natural that you include what it is you need from a vendor from a technical standpoint. 

Let’s say you’re looking to purchase pre-employment assessment software. Elements to think of in that case are:

  1. Whether or not the solution is web-based
  2. If it’s mobile-friendly
  3. The portals for admins and applicants
  4. The different levels of access and permissions
  5. The branded environment
  6. A potential ATS integration 

You’ll find a complete overview of potential technical requirements in our template. 

The Ultimate recruiment tech RFP Template

We’ve created the most complete template for a recruitment tech request for proposal. Simply download it and send it out.


3. Specify vendor criteria

This one is all about expectations. And since it’s important to clearly communicate what you expect from your vendor, this is where you specify your criteria.

If you don’t know what information to ask for, here are a few elements to help you get on your way:

  1. How long has the vendor been in business? Has their product been in production for at least 3 years?
  2. Have they done at least 3 implementations of recruitment software of similar size? 

Bear in mind that such questions are only relevant if you’re looking for an experienced vendor. If you’re looking to experiment or want to try an innovative recruitment tech solution that just came on the market, you can phrase your questions differently, of course.

More vendor criteria you should specify in your RFP include timeline, support, and scalability.

  1. Can they give you an estimation of the implementation time?
  2. What kind of support do they provide, during and after the implementation of the software?
  3. How scalable is their solution?

Technology in Talent AcquisitionFinding recruitment technology that fulfils the needs of your organization is challenging. You need to be specific in your requirements to find the best solution. That’s where an RFP helps.


4. Discover functionality

Let’s stick with our example of pre-employment assessment software for this one. If you’re looking to purchase a pre-employment assessment tool, there are numerous options to choose from.

There are solutions that include video interview options, various types of assessment modules (personality, cognitive ability, job-related skills like typing and multitasking, etc.) and realistic job previews, for example.

Based on your needs, you should include questions about the functionalities of the vendor’s solution in your RFP. Think of (among other things):

  1. Does it offer a video interviewing option?
  2. What are the available assessment modules?
  3. Is the solution customizable and if so, to what extent?

Your exact questions will vary depending on what your priority features are. 


5. Ask about administration

This is an important aspect of your RFP for recruitment software. In order to ask the right questions, you need to have a good idea of how the solution is going to be used within your organization.

Who will be using the software? Is this likely to change regularly? How will they be accessing the software (from home, the office only, etc.)?

Depending on the answers, you can ask the vendor for the following information:

  1. Does the solution support the simultaneous use of the tool on various workstations and in different locations worldwide?
  2. Is it possible to store the data for a minimum of 3 years?
  3. What are the data export options (.csv,.txt, etc.)?

Recruitment Software BenefitsThe right recruiting software helps your organization decrease time to hire, increase quality of hire and manage your recruitment budget effectively.


6. Find out about reporting & analytics

Regular readers of our blog may know this already, but when it comes to the automation of (a part of) your recruitment process, it’s important to track the results of what you’re doing.

It’s time to stop guessing and start measuring, as we like to say.

Still sticking to our example of pre-employment assessment software, recruiters may want to know what percentage of candidates who scored above average on multi-tasking is still with the company 5 months after they were hired, for instance.

Luckily, the vast majority of recruitment solutions already come with at least some kind of reporting & analytics function. Again, before you send out your RFP for a recruitment software, you need to determine your needs in terms of reporting.

Once you’ve got this all figured out, you’ll know (better) what to ask. A couple of questions to give you an idea:

  1. How do users at your company get the reports from the platform? And how can they access the results?
  2. If there is some kind of reporting & analytics dashboard, is this customizable and if so, to what extent?
  3. What exactly can you keep track of (and what not)? 
  4. Is it possible to extract this data and if so, in what format?


7. Pricing

Last, but certainly not least, there is the pricing of recruitment software. Just like for the other categories we talked about, you need to have in mind what your organization’s usage of the solution is going to be.

Because the pricing will depend on your usage for a big part.

How many people will be using the software? Will they use it on a daily basis or only during a couple of months a year? How likely is it that the number of users is going to fluctuate? How many applicants do you expect to have?

Going back to our pre-employment assessment software again, there may be periods where your recruitment efforts are peaking. If you’re in the retail industry, for instance, you’ll probably need to hire a lot of extra people ahead of the end-of-year holiday season.

As a result, you may have hundreds or even thousands of extra applicants flowing through the assessment software – which, if the vendor’s pricing is linked to the number of candidates that do the assessment, will have a direct impact on your recruitment costs.

Once you know (as accurately as possible) your usage, you can ask the vendor about their pricing:

  1. Is their pricing user-based? Or do they offer a subscription kind of pricing up to a certain number of users? Or both? Or is the pricing based on the number of applicants that go through the online assessment?
  2. How easy is it to adapt your usage – and therefore their pricing – in case your needs are changing?
  3. Do they offer a discount once you’ve reached a certain number of users?

ROI FormulaOne you have the information about pricing, you are able to do a preliminary calculation of Return on Investment on your chosen recruiting software.


How to structure your RFP for recruitment software?

It’s one thing – and an important one at that – to know what you want to know from a vendor, but it’s another thing to know how to structure your request.

Here are some practical aspects to keep in mind:

  1. If you’re asking the vendor to add their responses in your RFP document, you may want to add a column for them to do so.
  2. An extra column might also come in handy so the vendor can add additional notes or comments, for example, to explain certain aspects of their recruitment solution in further detail. 
  3. When it comes to your requirements, it’s good to distinguish between your ‘must-haves’ and your ‘nice to haves’. This will enable you to evaluate the RFP responses you get more efficiently – and hence find the right vendor faster.

RFP RequirementsReview the software requirements as a team and distinguish between the necessary functionalities and the feature wish list.


Wrapping up (and a little surprise for you)

Trying to find your way towards the right recruitment software and building a powerful recruitment tech stack isn’t an easy task. And once you’ve found a selection of vendors that could fit your organization’s bill, it is likely that you’ll have to send them a request for proposal.

Something that most of us don’t do on a daily basis…

However, if you keep the 7 categories we listed in this article in mind when you’re writing an RFP for a recruitment software, that should get you off to a good start.

Providing you have a clear picture of your company’s specific challenges, (technical) needs and requirements, of course. 

For those of you who don’t feel entirely comfortable writing an RFP from scratch, we’ve got good news. We’ve created a pretty awesome template that you’re free to use if you want to. The only thing you need to do is download the document below!

Happy requesting!

The Ultimate recruiment tech RFP Template

We’ve created the most complete template for a recruitment tech request for proposal. Simply download it and send it out.

Neelie

Neelie Verlinden is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Digital HR Tech. She’s an experienced digital HR & HR Tech writer, speaker, and entrepreneur with an international background. She has written countless articles on all things HR technology.