IBM Kenexa Overview

IBM Kenexa is the #9 ranked solution in our list of best Applicant Tracking Systems. It is most often compared to SAP SuccessFactors: IBM Kenexa vs SAP SuccessFactors

What is IBM Kenexa?
Kenexa provides business solutions for human resources. We help global organizations multiply business success by identifying the best individuals for every job and fostering optimal work environments for every organization.

IBM Kenexa is also known as IBM Smarter Workforce, Outstart.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Talent Management Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

IBM Kenexa Customers
Sweet Spot International (SSI), Leo Burnett Worldwide (LBW), Sika AG, Legacy Health, Apollo Group Inc., Regeneron, Transurban Group, National Health Service, New Zealand Police, Overland Footwear, Yealands, Johnson Controls, Allscripts, Kerry Foods, Masterpet, AMD, Balfour Beatty
IBM Kenexa Video

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Head Of Culture & Engagement at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We liked the high-performance engagement model and the relationship between emotional engagement and rational engagement.

What other advice do I have?

When I'm speaking to my peers and other organizations, what's interesting is that I get asked, "Can I see a copy of your survey questions?" As if that's the absolute answer that they kind of need. I always challenge them to say, "Well, not really. I don't really see that you're going to get much value from that. It's not about designing the perfect question. For us, you take a step back. It's, what do you want to know? The questions that I've got in my organization are aligned to my strategy, my objectives, my purpose, my vision and my values. They may or may not be right and relevant for your…
Experienced Full Cycle Remote at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
I like how we can copy a req as we have many duplicates.

What other advice do I have?

Customize it and then it is a good product.
Find out what your peers are saying about IBM, SAP, Oracle and others in Talent Management. Updated: May 2021.
509,641 professionals have used our research since 2012.
JB
Assoc. Specialist Talent Acquisition Solutions at a consumer goods company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
The support that we get from the CSMs is the most valuable for me right now. We're looking forward to using Responsive Apply.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely get onboard with the newest released versions, to stay current with all the different offerings. The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are data security and ease of contracting. Those are our two big pain points. My rating reflects the fact that I am still learning about the system and what it's capable of doing.
Director of HR Operations and HRIS at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Configuring it is difficult. Changing the initial setup is even more difficult after you go live.

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.
Global Employee Engagement Lead at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The most valuable feature of the survey is that it's a link we can use.

What other advice do I have?

Be open about what you want; be straightforward and challenge.
Talent Systems and Operations Analyst at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The reporting tool and configuration features provide a customized solution for applicant tracking.

What other advice do I have?

There is a need to have a dedicated resource for maintenance and training. The tool is configurable but can also get complex to understand, depending on how the recruiting process is designed.
Recruiter at a engineering company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
We create our own reports with the reporting tool. Internal errors have increased.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise other customers to link this solution to your other systems for a streamlined ATS.
Partner - Digital People Practice at Digital Works Group
Consultant
Data-agnostic analytics provide infographics and dynamic dashboards.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you work with the data scientists via your sales representative to examine your data set availability within your organization. If you are a mega multi-national, you could run into data protection regimes, pockets of isolated data that haven't been connected to global corporate data, and other similar challenges where systems are not fully integrated. Again – these are your hold ups – and the more you understand what a task it will be to unlock these data sets, the better. You will also need executive sponsorship to help support the implementation of this stuff across the…
SVP Organizational Development at a non-tech company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It's helped us align engagement information with business strategies and link addressing some of those issues to better business outcomes.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely consider it. I knew Kenexa before they were IBM, and at first I thought, "Oh no, here we go, get swallowed up by this big, mammoth organization." Now I think that being part of IBM just means that I've got a whole rich array of other things to choose from that can plug and play with some of the other solutions. I think there's been real value to having Kenexa be part of IBM, and I think the 2016 IBM HR Summit was one of them. I think they've got a smart solution. I want to see what else we can do with Kenexa, and I think that they're part of an outstanding culture of customer…
Senior Director Of Human Resources at a hospitality company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It standardizes all of the basic aspects of recruitment process management.

What other advice do I have?

Do your homework. Make sure you know your own organization, your own processes, your own needs, and that you make sure that the vendor that you're considering fully understands that, can embrace what you're trying to accomplish, can paint a picture for you of where you're going to go, and that they will be there post-implementation in a support capacity and a continuous planning capacity, etc. In my mind, it’s at the 80th percentile of the solutions out there. I think if there are 20% of solutions that are better, it's probably only because they were invented more recently and engineered with…
Sr. Manager, Recruitment Technology & Infrastructure at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The application tracking system has allowed us to automate mass-volume hourly processes. The lead manager tool is new and not advanced enough.

What other advice do I have?

Try to keep it simple. Don't over engineer things. Kenexa comes with a lot of customization ability, so it's easy to configure something that is highly complex and more complex than you need. It's difficult to undo some of that later. Make sure you spend plenty of time testing, because the tool is always evolving. There is always going to be room for changes or issues that you want to make sure you catch before you launch.
HRIS Business Process Manager at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
I like the level of configurability. I can use the same technology for different parts of my business.

What other advice do I have?

Know what you want, because when you are taking a look at a whole bunch of different companies, it all starts to look the same. You have to be able to ask those in-depth questions, and be able to probe and better understand what they're presenting to you, because it's a shiny object. Even with our other business partners, as we were going through this, they were distracted by the shiny objects. You have to dig behind those and understand. There have been people in the past that have said, “Oh, this looks like a great system. Here is the PowerPoint.” Unless I can actually look at a live demo of…
Vice President, Talent at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It has helped us begin to understand how our employees are feeling, and how engaged they are.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor to work with, I think the most important criteria, first and foremost, is that the technology has been well thought through. It's been tested. It's ready to launch. What's really important to me is the relationship side. Do we understand each other? Do we trust each other and are we on the same side, in terms of the values of both organizations and what it is we're looking to achieve?
HRIS Sr at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
I think the advantage of Kenexa is the degree to which we can configure to meet our specific needs.

What other advice do I have?

Look at maintenance as well as initial investment, and the ability to work with you after the initial deployment.
People Systems Partner at Biogen
Vendor
It gets candidates through the process quickly and cleanly, and maintains OFCCP-compliant documentation.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure it can fit your needs. Do a mapping and an outline of your end-to-end process, and make sure that BrassRing or Kenexa can meet those needs. The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor is compatibility with other systems; to be able to integrate seamlessly.
Human Resource Business Systems Administrator at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It can be individualized for each company’s needs and each of our different business unit’s needs.

What other advice do I have?

Kenexa definitely has the customization. The system works however you build it to work; when you set it up, it’s going to work the way you set it up. Generally, if there is an issue, it’s not a Kenexa issue. It’s a setting you have or the way you originally set it up to make it do something. If there is an issue, I would get with whoever your agent is to see a better way to do what you’re wanting to do, rather than looking for another solution in another program or something like that. The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is whether their product can be used…
Sr Manager, HRIS at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The automation tools facilitate automation and reduce the manual workload on end users.

What other advice do I have?

The best piece of advice I could give is understand what your users truly need and what they don't need. Don't buy the entire kitchen sink because it's hard to leverage all those tools until you've actually been able to test them in a sandbox environment and be able to do proof of concept. I think the product leads and the support staff at Kenexa are great at leading you down a path, so listening to that guidance as opposed to coming forth with your own vision and not wavering off of that is probably another piece of advice I'd give.
HR Business Analyst at a mining and metals company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Using the reporting feature of the recruiting tool, I can pull data and provide some analytics on it. Improvements can be made with the workbench.

What other advice do I have?

I think one the bigger advantages is that it is backed by IBM with the ability to bring in a bunch of tools to build an entire platform. It's not just one tool that does the ATS and another tool that does HRIS. Being able to have IBM that supplies all of those and create a platform is, I think, pretty useful. The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is definitely brand recognition. If you see other companies that are in your industry using the same tool, it let’s you know that it can be applied to your business. Something with a proven track record. There's…
Manager at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We can run reports that comply with federal government regulations. Sometimes it's a struggle to get changes fixed.

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely and highly recommend the applicant tracking system. It's a very good system. I would not recommend RPO, honestly.
Associate Manager of Employee Services at Best Buy
MSP
Our end-to-end application experience is fully mobile responsive.

What other advice do I have?

If you're going to purchase this, it's awesome, and it can do pretty much anything you could imagine. Don't over-engineer it. Start simple. Start clean. If you want to add more later, you can. I'd say that the ability to dramatically customize this tool is a blessing and a curse. If the people involved don't understand how to do it, you're going to do it wrong. Get the right talent on board to be able to do it right. During a presentation at a conference, somebody said, First optimize your process, then systematize it; don't systematize a process, that isn't ideal. Take that time, before you…
HRIS Analyst at Lockheed Martin
Vendor
It has the flexibility to be configured the way that you need it to work; with the various tools, offer letters, forms, and the way that the system's structured

What other advice do I have?

It's a great company to work with. I've been using the Kenexa BrassRing since 2007, so I've been using the product for quite a long time, and seen how far it's come. I just think it's a good tool, with great flexibility. I’m giving it a high rating because, whenever we do run across critical issues or things that we need to get addressed right away, they always seem to rise to the occasion, have our back, chip in, and do their part to help us get the task accomplished on time.
Director, People Intelligence at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It quickly brings together a lot of data and it joins that data.

What other advice do I have?

Don't be afraid to start. The longer you wait, the more money you probably spend on new people leaving. The biggest thing is, if you're looking for faster ways of getting information about your people, about your customers, I would say start with what you have and to grow it. A lot of people are scared to start because they don't think they have enough information. Their information isn't big enough for this to use but the fact of the matter is you can use this on any kind of scale. My rating is partly because I need to know more and learn more, and also I know there's some things on the…
Program Manager at T-Mobile
Vendor
By configuring through Workbench, you can manipulate the candidate experience to be something that candidates like and allows them to apply easily.

What other advice do I have?

Think about what your business needs, talk to your customers. What do your customers want? Do process mapping, do some Lean Six Sigma sessions with those customers and really find out what the core needs are. Then provide those to the customer. Kenexa may not be the option you want based on those needs, but I think it's very likely that it could be. I think stability is an important criteria when selecting a vendor to work with. How long have they been around? Who do they work with? You don't want to get somebody on their first shop or their first job. You really would like to have somebody…
Program Manager, Talent Acquisition at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The hiring system automates a lot of our hiring process and eliminates manual touchpoints​.

What other advice do I have?

Functionality, I think, is the number one criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with, but a very close second would be the customer relationship – really, the relationships and partnerships that we have as a client, and knowing that if we have a problem or a question, we'll have somebody that's there to answer it for us and to help us on our journey.
HR at a hospitality company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It helps us resource and search for candidates in an efficient manner.​

What other advice do I have?

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor are transparency, reliability, and also reputation. Basically, for what I use Kenexa, it's good for me for right now. It's perfect for me right now, if I have any opportunities as far as from a technical standpoint, I know I'm going to answer within a day or so.
Specialist, Talent Acquisitions Systems at a engineering company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The configuration and permission control possibilities provide the opportunity to automate and control processes that would otherwise be manual and/or not locked down.

What other advice do I have?

Two years after IBM bought Kenexa, we are really starting to see the system evolve for the better. It is the best ATS on the market, and IBM are one of the better vendors to work with.
Buyer's Guide
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