Finding the right software is just like finding the right person for your team. In fact, you could argue that software is an employee focused on improving processes, increasing productivity, and decreasing costs.
You’d like to hire someone who could do that, right? So, how do you find the right “someone?”
Software selection is no different than interviewing and hiring people for your team. In fact, if you followed the same process for both “hires,” I’d bet you’d significantly upgrade your team.
|Hiring a Super Star||Selecting the Right Software|
|Write job description||Define your requirements|
|Post job opening||Complete request form|
|Create candidate pool||Build long list of vendors|
|Screen candidates||Review product information|
|Create short list||Create short list|
|Interview candidates||Test trial version of products|
|Get referrals||Get reviews and testimonials|
|Select best fit||Select best fit|
Each and every step is important, but there are three big steps that make or break the “hiring” decision and lead to a successful match or failure.
1. Write the job description
You’ve heard it from everyone…and it can’t be stressed enough. Defining what you are looking for is the single most important step in getting what you are looking for.
How do you do this effectively?
Talk about it. Talk to everyone about it. Talk some more about it. Ask directly. Ask indirectly. Talk about the opportunities and pains.
Ask your team big, open-ended questions like,
- “If you could change one thing to improve your (productivity, effectiveness, happiness), what would it be?” Or,
- “If we could invest a million dollars on improvements, where would you spend the first one?” Or more simply,
- “What could we do to make your life at work better?”
Once you’ve talked to everyone about it, find the common pains, wants, needs, etc… You’ve just created your requirements and your job description.
Hire for core needs, not unnecessary wants. (Check out Alison’s post, Pimp My Software for some additional tips on identifying your software needs.)
2. Screen the candidates
The objective here is identify roughly five candidates that will go through your rigorous interview process. (You have one of those, right?)
Take your comprehensive, well-written job description and begin comparing it to the candidates on your long list. (You made one of those, right?)
Start with the 5-8 core responsibilities and make sure the candidate has proven experience in those areas. Eliminate those that don’t.
Next, include the secondary requirements and eliminate based on those. Secondary requirements include the skills, characteristics, and traits (= software features) that you want.
This is also a great time to ask an initial set of questions and test the candidates to help you get a sense of their character, values, and culture (start learning about the vendor too). Don’t discount this area. Remember, this will be a long-term relationship.
Continue to screen (use online research, emails, phone calls, etc…) until you have your short list of “A” candidates. If you don’t have at least 3–5, cast your net again and keep going.
3. Interview the candidates
Now the fun begins.
Before you start, make a commitment to yourself that you will:
- Set the bar high
- Start with “No” until you can justify a “Yes”
- Continue to look until you find a great fit
Interviewing is exhausting. You’ll want to “just pick one” at some point. Don’t!
Take a break. Walk away for a while if you have to but do not “just pick one!” It will cause you much more pain and money in the long run to do this.
Having made that commitment you are ready to begin.
I won’t recommend a hire unless I get a chance to meet them face to face, spend some quality time with them, and interact with them in multiple situations (formal office interview, conversation on the phone, lunch meeting, etc…)
I suggest you do the same with the software.
Do not buy unless you and your team have spent time with a fully functional trial version of the product.
Nothing else compares to using the system for a while to gauge whether or not it’s the right fit for your company. Remember, by now, all candidates have met your requirements. Now you’re trying to find the best fit.
Continue to remind yourself that it will cost more to hire poorly than it does to take the time and effort to do it right.
Finding the right person or software solution is tough. Luckily, you have plenty of resources available to help you with the process. Capterra is a great place to start with your software search.
Do you have a great “hiring” story? I’d love to hear it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.
PS. If you’re interested in outsourcing some of this software “HR” work, call us for some FREE expert guidance (1-855-467-6389). We’ll help you through the process and get you to a short list that you can use to find the right fit.
Looking for software? Check out Capterra's list of the best software solutions.