Example S.P.A.D.E.s

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ATS Selection

This is a real S.P.A.D.E. from my time at Square: We had to decide whether to keep or change our Applicant Tracking System (ATS).


What: Decide whether we should sunset VendorX and find a new ATS to better serve our recruiting needs. We want to optimize for functionality and cost (both real cost and switching cost).
Why: We have been on VendorX since the very beginning and have experienced various challenges with the system (i.e. reporting capabilities, UI, customer service, etc.).
When: October/November 2015


Responsible: People Tech Lead
Approver: People Lead
Consulted: Recruiters, Recruiting Coordinators, Hiring Managers, Interviewers (approx. 15 people)


Stay with VendorX
Cost: both VendorY and VendorZ are at least 2x – 3x more expensive that VendorX (we are an early user of VendorX and for now have special pricing).
Functionality: VendorX’s scheduling module is the best in comparison to VendorY and VendorZ. They are still working out their process and kinks.
Functionality: VendorY and VendorZ have some functionality that VendorX doesn’t have.
Switch to VendorY or VendorZ (top two contenders)
Both VendorY and VendorZ have features that would improve some of our processes
Switching cost: We are used to VendorX workflows and switching to a new system would be a big investment in time and resources to train and move over all the data and processes.
Evaluate at least three other options: VendorA, VendorB and VendorC
Pros: None
Cons: They are not as functional as VendorY or VendorZ, and not as cheap as VendorA.


Stay with VendorX for now, but keep conversation going with both VendorY and VendorZ (quarterly check-ins to hear about their new updates and new features).
Re-evaluate in 6-9 months.


The primary determinant was Cost. Overall, we (mixed group of about 15 users) did not feel that switching over at this time would justify the time, money and resources we would need to invest. We did not feel it would provide us with a huge improvement and resolve some of our current challenges at this point.
On the functionality front, though VendorY and VendorZ have more functionality, VendorX has some additional features coming out in the next 3 months that would allow for better reporting and some added features that we can benefit from (i.e custom referrals), and we don’t believe the added functionality justifies the much higher price point. We received mixed feedback on their UI – some users thought it was better and some didn’t think it was a huge improvement from VendorX. Finally, Some concerns about reporting capabilities in both and uncertainty that either system would provide any true value add in comparison to our reporting capabilities right now.


Demoed each product and decide on Top 2 to trial
Completed 30-day trial with VendorY and VendorZ (simultaneously), including members of the recruiting team, hiring managers and interviewers.
Spoke with companies who use VendorY and VendorZ to get their feedback. (i.e. Box, Pinterest, Airbnb, Twitter).
Collected feedback from all who were part of the trial.
Chatted with sales reps at VendorA, VendorB and VendorC to get a better sense of their functionality

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