Defining your HRMS selection criteria to potential HRMS vendors

A key part of your HRMS RFP is the section in which you tell prospective vendors what your HRMS selection criteria are. Some people have been known to balk at this but take a moment to think about it. If you don’t tell a vendor the basis on which they and their product will be judged, it’s a little like inviting a potential employee to a job interview and only telling them the title of the vacancy. If you don’t tell them what the duties are or the skills that are required, they cannot prepare properly and you essentially set them up to fail. It’s the same principle with selecting a new HRMS.

In your RFP, you need a very clear statement of your requirements (both software and otherwise) and the relative importance of those requirements to your organisation. Your HRMS selection criteria will likely be grouped under the following headings or something similar. In a sense, this section pulls together, in one place, the items to be dealt with in more detail throughout the RFP document.

The system itself

These are the HR process-related requirements regarding functionality, i.e. what you need the system to actually do. Naturally, the essential criteria/requirements are must-haves and if a particular offering lacks one or more, that’s a dealbreaker. As well as particular functions and features, this heading includes issues such as data security, configurability, customisability and potential for integration with other business systems.

Support options

This is all about the level (or levels of support) available. The primary focus is likely to be the support package(s) that come with the software, frequency of updates and upgrades (including any downtime issues) and emergency support. Then there’s support available through the implementation process which requires a certain degree of expertise and experience which you may not have in-house. Consultancy support can come from an independent third-party supplier but the vendor may be prepared to bundle such assistance with the system.

Recommended Reading: HRMS Vendor Guide - Find HRMS vendors suitable for your HRMS selection criteria

Vendor viability

As previously mentioned, you need to be assured that the vendor’s business is stable enough to last as long as you intend, or are likely, to use the HRMS.


No vendor is going to provide negative references but careful discussion with even positive existing or past clients can elicit useful information about how the vendor deals with obstacles in the implementation process or handles unexpected system problems.

Additionally, you’ll factor in some of the ‘bells and whistles’, all the extras that the vendor throws into their proposal. However ‘shiny’ they are, these cannot turn an unacceptable option into a potential purchase, but they may help to differentiate between two or three front-runner vendors.

As for how to grade or assess performance against the HRMS selection criteria, one simple rating scale that may be used is:

  • 0 = does not meet requirements
  • 1 = partially meets requirements
  • 2 = fully meets requirements
  • 3 = exceeds requirements

Of course, there are risks in being overly ‘mechanistic’ in your assessment but such a scale can help ‘sort the wheat from the chaff’ and give an objective framework to your HRMS selection criteria.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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