Beyond the Demo: 5 Questions to Avoid HR Tech Nightmares

HR technology demos can be dazzling. Slick interfaces, feature-rich functionality, and promises of improved efficiency all paint a rosy picture. But what happens after the demo ends and the implementation process begins?

Many organizations underestimate the complexity of HR tech implementation, leading to frustrating delays, unexpected costs, and even failed rollouts. This is where asking the right questions during the vendor review process becomes critical. By going beyond the surface-level features and delving into a vendor’s implementation expertise and support structure, you can avoid potential HR tech nightmares and ensure a smooth, successful transition to your new recruiting platform.

While taking proactive steps like conducting a hiring process audit and utilizing change management strategies can significantly improve your chances of success, another crucial element lies in the vendor review process itself.

Most buyers typically cover the basic questions about methodology and services (configuration, migration, etc.) However, going beyond these basics allows you to gain a deeper understanding of a vendor’s implementation strengths and how they approach partnering with clients. This deeper insight allows you to make a more informed decision and ultimately avoid potential HR tech nightmares.

Digging Deeper to Better Assess Vendor Implementation Strengths

While the standard questions about methodology and services play a crucial role in vendor evaluations, they only provide a glimpse into the implementation journey.  To truly “go beyond the demo” and avoid potential HR tech nightmares, you need to dig deeper and assess a vendor’s implementation strengths and partnership approach.  The following questions will help you uncover a vendor’s ability to adapt, overcome challenges, and work collaboratively to ensure a smooth and successful software implementation.

Based on your understanding of our objectives, are there any alternative strategies for implementation that should be considered beyond your standard methodology and approach?

I love when our team gets a question like this. We’re able to share examples of how we’ve adapted our implementation strategy to overcome unique client challenges and achieve successful outcomes. As a buyer, you’ll gain insight into what vendors have learned through their prior implementation experiences, how flexible they are in adapting to unique needs, and, most importantly, how well they apply lessons learned to their approach moving forward.

What are the most common challenges you’ve seen among customers when it comes to meeting their obligations for implementation success and how has your organization helped clients avoid these roadblocks?

This question might seem like it focuses on your responsibilities, but it’s actually quite revealing. By asking about past implementation challenges, you gain valuable insights into a vendor’s ability to set clear expectations. Strong vendors will not only share past obstacles, but also explain the strategies and tools they used to help clients overcome them. This showcases their problem-solving skills and ensures a smoother, more successful implementation for you.

Describe a time when your team encountered an unexpected challenge during implementation and how you overcame that challenge to ensure a successful on-time go-live?

Yes, this is stealing a page from the book of behavioral interviewing, yet the answers you receive are critical to evaluating vendor transparency and the depth of their implementation expertise. Given the complexities associated with any large-scale implementation, especially those requiring integration with third-party systems and tools, surprises often lurk around the corner. How vendors have not only responded to but resolved such unexpected challenges in the past will provide insight into the distinctions among vendors, guiding you toward selecting the right partner for a successful implementation.

What change management services do you provide that are specific to implementation?

As noted earlier, applying change management principles to the implementation process produces vastly improved outcomes. From experience, I can attest that this is particularly true to facilitate the widespread adoption of new software among all end-users. Look for more than the vendor’s philosophy regarding change management practices, too. Request samples of tools or templates they have provided to customers in the past along with an implementation case study that highlights how change management practices were applied before, during and after implementation to realize short- and long-term talent acquisition technology success.

How do your company’s leaders empower the implementation team to be agile and responsive, ensuring they can adapt quickly and effectively to ensure a successful outcome?

There’s no such thing as a perfect implementation. That’s why, at GR8 People, we go beyond simply having a skilled team. Our leadership fosters a culture of agility and collaboration—this means that you have access to an implementation that can respond to fluctuating needs immediately and change what needs to change quickly. Our leaders have always been committed to empowering the GR8 People implementation team in this manner, and one way this plays out is that implementation teams meet regularly with both our product and development teams to get to the root of the challenges and solutions fast. This collaborative approach is what sets us apart and ensures a smooth, successful transition for our clients, even when the unexpected occurs.

Success starts with implementation. While the HR tech itself is important, a smooth implementation is what unlocks its true value. By asking these key questions, talent acquisition teams can identify vendors who excel at tailoring solutions, overcoming challenges, and driving user adoption. This focus on implementation ensures a smooth transition and maximizes the impact of your HR technology investment, turning potential roadblocks into opportunities for success.

Get more implementation insights and tips—download our new eBook “Recruiting Software Implementation…Avoiding the Yellow Flags” today!