IBM Kenexa Review

Configuring it is difficult. Changing the initial setup is even more difficult after you go live.


What is most valuable?

It has the ability to manage international postings. You can also move the candidate through the selection process. Kenexa does an extremely adequate job with this.

How has it helped my organization?

It allowed for truly global listing for all open positions. That is about it.

What needs improvement?

There are tremendous opportunities for improvement. Unfortunately, it would require a total scrapping of the existing system and completely building a new system from the ground up. Kenexa BrassRing (2xB) is a completely mediocre system that does an outstanding job of being completely average at doing all the basic applicant tracking activities. If you want cutting edge 1997 technology, then 2xB is definitely the tool you're looking for.

Configuring 2xB is painfully difficult. Changing the initial setup is even more difficult after you go live. Customer support is some of the worst I've ever encountered. In some ways, it is like a case study in how to provide world-class terrible, awful, slow customer and technical support.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product was so fussy to make any changes that we tried not to do anything different. Clearly this isn't a great way to support a business. I was not around for the implementation, but I had to deal with the outcome. Unfortunately, the system was slammed in without much thought to, well, anything. Cleaning up this mess was so difficult, it took weeks to get anything changed or modified, even for the simplest stuff. It was easier to live with what we had and work around it than it was to change it.

How is customer service and technical support?

Terrible, but not just terrible. World-class terrible. Truly the worst I've ever had to work with. It felt like someone knew exactly how to provide world-class customer service and purposely did the opposite. It felt like this was an experiment to see how much abuse and frustration their customers could take. My poor contact was stuck with way too many clients to support. He was put in a position where he had to rely on other Kenexa team members to do anything... and they were awful about responding to him. (I don't know why he didn't quit; it was such an awful job and position to be in.) This meant that it took WEEKS and MONTHS to get anything done. It is the WORST customer service I have ever dealt with in any vendor, either in my personal or professional life. Kenexa is the primary factor for leaving my previous employer and working for another company that does not use Kenexa.

How was the initial setup?

2xB is extremely complex and convoluted to set up. I joined the company after the implementation of 2xB. I had to live with the consequence of that implementation. From that perspective, 2xB was an admin nightmare. Their Benchmark tool required specialized training at significant cost. Documentation is spotty and filled with gaps. The Benchmark tool was not designed for customers. It was for developers, so there are fields and functionality in locations in the tool that don't make any sense as an Admin user. I would have to jump to three or four screens to do something simple. Even after the training, I only had 80% access to the configuration. The 20% required working with the account management / tech support contact (which was difficult, at best). Simple changes became month-long projects. Glitches happened where it would take weeks to sort out. It was generally one hot mess after another.

I did have the misfortune of trying to implement a garbage piece of software called BrassRing Onboarding or 2xO. 2xO was created by brain-damaged monkeys in front of keyboards. It was so buggy, so inflexible, so difficult to configure and so unfriendly to the candidate that it was literally faster to have the candidate fill out a piece of paper (not a PDF...paper) and mail it back to us than it was to use 2xO. IBM did virtually no development around this tool. It was an orphaned product that no one wanted... including any customer who tried to work with the product. Truly atrocious customer support did not help either. 2xO wins the award for WORST applicant tracking software of all time. 2xO should be and is an embarrassment for IBM. IBM should refund every dime and profusely apologize to any customer every laid eyes on this piece of... well, I'll keep this professional.

What about the implementation team?

An in-house team implemented it; however, it would not have mattered what was done. There is no way to fundamentally be successful implementing technology that is this fundamentally flawed. It is not designed for today's recruiting world. My advice: Don't buy or implement Kenexa. If you have bought this product, you have made a horrific choice and you should cut your losses now and start over. BrassRing 2xB is the equivalent of the rotary-dial telephone in the age of smartphones.

What was our ROI?

Don't buy Kenexa, even if it is offered to you for free. There is no return that will ever justify the cost of purchasing, implementing and the ongoing support required to use Kenexa.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not part of the selection committee that picked Kenexa; I used Kenexa after it was selected and implemented. However, I have selected and/or used iCIMS, Taleo Enterprise, Taleo Business Edition and Deltek Talent Management. iCIMS by far was the best ATS I've used and should be the one to seriously consider. iCIMS is reasonably priced, provides great customer support and stays up with technology (especially the social media tool). There are many, many, many other applicant tracking/talent management tools that are better priced, have more functionality, cutting-edge technology, provided better customer service and really streamline and positively transform recruiting. Kenexa fails on all these areas.

What other advice do I have?

DON'T BUY KENEXA. Literally any other applicant tracking solution is better. Well, one exception. I would encourage my competitors to use Kenexa. Diverting my competitor to burn up time, money and resources with no return on all this effort would give my company a competitive advantage. That would be the only scenario I would encourage to use Kenexa.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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