Having Trouble With Adoption? Try Solution Immersion

July 13th, 2017

Jon-Mark Sabel

Recruiting Teams


One of the most discouraging developments that can occur after purchasing a shiny new tech solution is seeing no one use it. It’s honestly kind of insulting - you probably spent months deliberating, researching, and allocating budget for a tool you know will help your organization. As they say: “great advice not followed is still bad advice.” The same applies for whatever tool, solution, or third party resource you choose to invest in. If no one uses it, all you’ve got on your hands is a shiny new dust collector. At our most recent Digital Disruption, Ernst & Young shared a innovate way to gauge and create buy-in across their organization: Solution Immersion.

What is Solution Immersion?

Solution Immersion isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. It does not involve forcing your organization to use the tool, it involves exposing them to it. Solution Immersion actually taps into a psychological phenomenon known as the “Mere-Exposure Effect.”

The Psychological Phenomenon that Drives Adoption

The mere-exposure effect was first investigated by the social psychologist Robert Zajonc in the 1960s. He noticed that the more study participants were exposed to nonsense words like “zebulons” and “worbus”, the more favorably they reacted to them. The nonsensical combinations of syllables became like old friends. Since Zajonc’s pioneering work on the topic, the mere-exposure effect has been shown to apply to almost any new experience, from paintings and pictures to abstract symbols and sounds. It even applies to social interactions - the more a person is exposed to a someone else, the more likeable that person becomes. Megan Goeltz, EY’s Candidate Experience and Strategy Implementation Leader, had the perfect opportunity to employ this effect with HireVue.

Leveraging Solution Immersion: Takeaways from HireVue Deployment

Rather than simply plopping the tool in the laps of recruiters, hiring managers, and other stakeholders, Goeltz started by building different business cases for the product. Each business case targeted key stakeholders, addressing their desires and needs. But instead of emailing each stakeholder a lengthy document or spreadsheet, Goeltz sent them invitations to take a HireVue on demand video interview. Every interview was created uniquely for each group of stakeholders: recruiters, hiring managers, and others all received their own distinct set of interview questions. The interview questions were designed with two goals in mind:

  1. Present the business case. Goeltz went so far as recording unique welcome videos for each stakeholder group, explaining why the technology was being adopted. These videos were created internally and showcased product champions who were already on board.
  2. Show off the solution’s functionality. HireVue on demand interviews do more than record video responses. They can also be used to deliver multiple choice or written-response questions.
  3. Get stakeholder feedback. Most of EY’s questions focused on receiving feedback. This allowed Goeltz to identify potential champions and potential obstacles.

By setting a hard deadline for these interviews to be completed by, Goeltz ensured the interview invitations wouldn’t be put on the backburner. After the due date, Goeltz scheduled live demos for each stakeholder to experience the platform from a recruiter’s perspective. By this point all stakeholders experienced HireVue both from a candidate’s perspective and a recruiter’s perspective.

Broader Application of Solution Immersion

In hindsight, a video interviewing platform seems tailor-made for this sort of adoption strategy. Of course! Send an on demand interview to those responsible for using it! Let them experience the solution from both sides of the table. So how can we apply Solution Immersion more broadly? Obviously not every HR or Talent Acquisition tool can be used to receive video feedback from key stakeholders within the platform. It may be helpful to point out that HireVue is twelve years old - and EY is the first to deploy Solution Immersion like this. What seems like an obvious application in hindsight isn’t always so obvious from the get-go. Let’s consider some (hypothetical) applications for Solution Immersion that don’t involve video interviewing.


Let’s say you’re thinking about purchasing a new ATS. Your old one is clunky, has poor integrations, and your candidates hate it - but your recruiters and hiring managers are so familiar with it, they can’t imagine using anything else. As you pilot a new ATS, ask your recruiters, hiring managers, and other stakeholders to fill out a basic job application on both systems. Make them compare the old, clunky application to the slick, shiny system you’re piloting. If you want to take it a step further, put your stakeholders in the candidates’ shoes, from application to offer. Have different stakeholders track each other through the process, and ask them to compare the new system to your existing ATS.

A New Sourcing Tool

There are lots of AI-driven sourcing tools nowadays. Some scrape applicant’s social media profiles in order to predict potential turnover. Others make use of proprietary candidate databases to identify candidates for specialized roles. As in the ATS hypothetical above, invite your stakeholders to “find” each other with your sourcing tool of choice. Compare this with more traditional sourcing methods, and watch them see how much easier it is to find potential candidates. You might even turn this instance of Solution Immersion into a competition, challenging stakeholders to find each other before their peers.

A New Assessment

If a particular role’s job duties are significantly changing, it might be time to update your pre-hire assessment. Do hiring managers trust the assessment? At Sonic Automotive (a Fortune 500 company with over 100 dealerships nationwide), hiring managers were incredibly skeptical of their pre-hire assessment. Since the assessment asked questions like: "Which is worse, a plane flying into a building, or a terrorist attack?", they didn't even take its results into consideration when making hiring decisions. If you're rolling out a new assessment, invite your hiring managers to take it. If they don't bother completing it, chances are high they won't even consider how well a candidate scores. When they do complete it, show how well your best employees scored - it should be obvious that top performers score the highest.

Small Investments Go A Long Way

In EY's example (and the hypothetical applications above), very little time is required on the part of those being immersed. In EY's case, stakeholders completed a 15 minute video interview. In the case of the new ATS, it should be clear that the new system is faster and more convenient than the old. It's these small exposures to new investments that help your frontline users overcome their fear of the unknown. You don't need to present a lengthy Powerpoint or Spreadsheet to drive a business case home - you just need a little Solution Immersion.

Interested in more details about how EY drove adoption and stakeholder buy-in?

See their session from Digital Disruption 2017 on demand.