Evaluation/Assessment Stage

About the Evaluation/Assessment Stage

The Evaluation or Assessment Stage is focused on a structured evaluation of the vendors’ proposals followed by negotiations that result in a final shortlist of vendors for final contract negotiations.


Request for Information (RFI)

RFI, short for Request for Information, is a medium through which an organization can collect information about the prospective suppliers, their solutions, and how their products and services can help a company grow. As the name suggests, it is a request for information from the suppliers during the procurement and sourcing planning stage. PURPOSE: To collect the information about prospective suppliers when you are not sure about the solution that you are looking for. ASKS: RFI asks the prospective vendors to submit details about the business to stay informed about the possible solutions in the market. STYLE: The style for an RFI is casual and is more about asking for help from the prospective suppliers in the market. ADVANTAGE: An RFI is fast and easy to execute. It helps a business figure out the possible solution to business challenges.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

An RFP or Request for Proposal is a document that asks for a comprehensive proposal from the prospective suppliers that includes documents like a company profile, a proposal for delivering goods or services asked for, a client list, and financial details. An RFP is issued when the organization plans to evaluate the vendors on factors beyond pricing and find the best vendor to work on a project. PURPOSE: To evaluate the vendors on factors that range beyond price. ASK: RFP asks the prospective vendors to submit a comprehensive proposal in response, including an elaborate technical and financial proposal. STYLE: The style of an RFP is formal and direct. ADVANTAGE: An RFP offers a fair comparison between vendors, and a business can judge the best possible vendor based on its capabilities.

RFP Evaluation Criteria and Scoring

Request for proposal (RFP) evaluation criteria is a set of standards that guide the scoring of vendor proposals. When put into practice, your RFP evaluation criteria standardizes scoring and removes subjectivity from the process. Proposal issuers use criteria to organize the proposal evaluation process and select the right vendor for their procurement projects. Generally, both internal and external teams receive the RFP evaluation criteria. Specifically, vendors review scoring criteria as a part of the RFP documentation. And, your internal stakeholders who will participate in RFP scoring use it as a reference document. In addition to improving confidence in vendor selection, having clear evaluation criteria sets expectations ensures high-quality RFP responses and delivers fairness and transparency to the process. Scoring guidelines help to guide vendors to focus on the issues and areas of the RFP that are most important to you.

List of Interview Questions for Potential Partners

Asking the right questions is key to ensuring you get the answers you need and can successfully evaluate a potential provider to ensure they are a good fit for your organization. Build your list of partner questions and add to it this list throughout and even after the process – whenever you realize you don’t have the answer or information about something, create the question and save it for future reference. This is a great resource to maintain on file and reference every time you engage in the selection process of a new partner.

Standard: Communication Guidelines and Protocols

Communication throughout the process is imperative to ensure success and also so that employees will embrace the new dynamic. You are setting the bar early on in the process for what employees and stakeholders can expect to see in terms of communication from you, and also how you are handing questions and managing responses back to them. Begin with your selection of and communication to your Stakeholder Team. Once this team is on board, they become additional resources to provide input on a communications plan as well as drafting verbiage for each.

Example: Evaluation Form for On-site Partner Presentations

An evaluation form to assess the presentations against the criteria requested utilizing a numerical value is best and should remain consistent once in place for all vendors.

RFP Presentation Guidelines and Executive Summary

Guidelines for what you want to see in the vendor presentation should be sent to them in advance, allowing them time to review, gather and be ready as requested. This will also enable you to meet with your stakeholder team and discuss expectations and how to evaluate, well in advance of RFP presentations to ensure the team is comfortable with the expectations of the vendor and their role as the evaluator. Ultimately, this allows you to create an Executive Summary, which is a component of the overall partner selection process. A request for proposal (RFP) Executive Summary offers an overview of proposals, recommends the best vendor and seeks final approval to proceed.

Disclaimer: Although the HR Buyer Resource Toolkit has been composed with the utmost care, neither author nor editor nor publisher can accept any liability for damage caused by possible errors and or incompleteness in this publication.  It is provided with the understanding that it should not replace the use of a (internal or hired) legal or accounting service where applicable and information may be changed or updated regularly to reflect the most popular opinions, as well as resources available.