What should be in your HRMS RFQ?

Maybe the first question should be “Do you even need to do an RFQ, or request for quotation, as part of your HRMS selection process?”

The answer is, yes and no. Yes, you should definitely be asking about price (which is what an RFQ is all about) but then again, sometimes that request is wrapped up in a more detailed request for proposal (RFP).

So, when to do a separate RFQ? An RFQ is usually appropriate when you already know exactly what you want. You’re not presenting vendors with a problem (your business needs) and asking what their proposed solution is. Instead, you’re saying, I know what the solution is , it’s X – now, would you supply X and if so, how much is it?

Read this guide for an overview of the HRMS RFI, RFP and RFQ processes

Furthermore, by this stage, you’re probably only sending the RFQ to vendors who you know offer and X-like product. In other words, the contents of an RFQ will be quite different to those of an RFP. What follows is a suggested template for an HRMS RFQ. Your version will differ, no doubt, but feel free to use this as a jumping off point…

Background and context

Describe your organization, broad business goals, the whys and wherefores of your HRMS projects, and anything else that might be relevant.

Terms and conditions

Lay out the way you want the RFQ process to work, including deadlines, opportunity for clarification questions, and format of replies.

Features and requirements

This is the space for your shopping list of functions and processes that you need your HRMS to handle. Given that an RFQ usually means you know exactly what you want, you should be able to be very specific in this section. The advantage of doing so is that it becomes very clear if a particular vendor’s product can deliver or not.


HRMS pricing isn’t necessarily straightforward and it helps here to provide a template format that inquiries about different cost elements, including licensing, monthly subscriptions, maintenance and upgrades, service package, and any personnel/consultancy costs of implementation.

Evaluation criteria

It’s good to be transparent with vendors, it helps them speak direct to your circumstances (and if they don’t, you have to wonder why not!) Outline here your evaluation criteria, which may include functionality, initial price, ongoing costs or total cost of ownership, and potential supplier risks (e.g. how established they are in the market).

An RFQ should be one of the more streamlined options during the HRMS selection process, focused as it is on pricing. As such it is an appropriate stand-alone option when you are crystal-clear on your technical needs – either because they are dictated by your current technology, or you have a degree of in-house technology expertise, or because you have already made previous inquiries to vendors via a request for either information or proposal, or both.

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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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