An Open Email to HR Vendors

There are some great HR vendors out there in the world. And then there are the others. I am generally happy to talk to most vendors because I want to know what solutions are available. I want to know about changing technology and where my organization is falling behind or could leap ahead. I want to see where I could be doing better.

That said, I’ve also developed a low tolerance for vendors with bad salespeople. I received an email last week that just put my teeth on edge. Rather than deleting it immediately, I found myself brooding on it and finally wrote a response. But rather than chastise one misguided salesperson, I thought it better to turn it into an open message to all HR vendors. Who knows, maybe it will help someone with their sales approach. If any of us get just one less email or phone call like this one, I know the effort was worth it (ok, that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get the idea). I have not changed the original sales email other than striking out identifying information. My open response follows.

Hi Broc,

My name is XXXX XXXXXX and I am a Strategic Accounts Manager at XXXXXX. We met at the XXXXXX SHRM Conference in XXXXXX a couple weeks ago and talked briefly about your background screening program. I’m reaching out to see if you’re still interested in XXXXXX ‘s services. We are currently the #1 ranked employee screening company and have the industry leading client services team.

If you’re available for a call this week or next I would be happy to discuss your current program to see if you would be a good fit for XXXXXX’s Screening Platform.

I look forward to speaking with you!



I’m not sure what to say other than, I’m pretty sure we didn’t discuss my background screening program and I never expressed interest in your company or service so I find your approach misguided at best and dishonest at worst.

Also, I’m not at all interested in finding out if I’d be a good fit for your product. When I look to vendors, I look for solutions to problems I’m responsible for solving, not trying to join an exclusive club. The question is not whether I am a good fit for your product; the question is whether your product can solve my problems. The implicit arrogance in this approach makes me fear your company’s customer service would be horrific – I want to work with companies who want to help me, not ones wanting me to hope I’m good enough.

I share this because I suspect you’re merely using the tactics your company insists on. I am seeing more and more vendors using both of these approaches and am completely baffled by them. Perhaps they work for some people, but it makes me never, ever, ever want to do business with your company (or any other company using these approaches).

My response would have been completely different if you’d simply said, “I see from the attendance list you and I were both at the same conference. I work for a company with a very good background check service and would love to set up 15 minutes to explore how we might be able to help you do faster and more accurate background checks.”



What thinks you?


  1. Broc – this is spot on my friend !! It amazes me that people think a boilerplate response with an assumed contact request works. I’m with you. It has never, ever, ever worked and I can’t tell you when it has. Thanks for writing this. I am on board with you completely !!


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