The Best Departments to Start Implementing New Recruiting Technology

December 6th, 2017

Jon-Mark Sabel

News, Recruiting Teams


If you’re rolling out recruiting technology in a global enterprise, it makes sense to break the rollout into bite-size chunks. (Assuming, of course, it is organization-facing - a tool used only by recruiting staff does not need to be rolled out across the company.)

So where should you start? While it might be tempting to begin the rollout in your most successful and productive departments, this isn’t always the best strategy. If the ultimate goal is to build a robust business case for an organization-wide rollout, the initial implementation needs to be:

  1. Valid. A success in the pilot department must be applicable to the rest of the organization. If a lower-performing department looks at the use case, their first thought should be “We can do that!” 
  2. Trackable. You need quantifiable metrics (baseline and after-implementation) to show improvement, ideally on multiple levels. In other words, departments with easy-to-track performance metrics.

Whatever department you choose, you should be able to put the technology’s value in dollars.

These are two departments that will help you build a business case for a new recruiting technology:

1) Call Center/Customer Support

Call center roles traditionally experience high turnover. According to ContactBabel, a contact center analyst firm, 29% of call center agents turnover annually. This is more than double the 2016 average turnover of 12.8%. While not great from a business standpoint, this makes them perfect for validating any new recruiting technology you’re looking to roll out organization-wide.

This is the approach CenterPoint Energy adopted when rolling out HireVue. Since their call center was higher volume and experienced higher turnover than other areas of the organization, it was the perfect “proving ground.”

“We started with our customer service group, an area that’s fairly high turnover. They didn’t really believe in the technology at first, but then we had them demo the system - and when we started hiring 15 classes at one time, and the turnover rate began to decrease, they bought into it more and more.” Linda Graves, Talent Acquisition Manager, CenterPoint Energy

Call centers are also flush with trackable metrics, from Average Handle Time to Conversion Rate. Measuring the quality of your new hires - and putting their added value in dollars - is much easier than if you were hiring into, say, R&D.

The combination of high volume, (usually) high turnover, and the abundance of existing job metrics make your Customer Support center a prime option for validating enterprise TA tech. 

Putting the Value in Dollars

To put the value in dollars, you’ll need to find your average cost of turnover and compare the percent of new hires turning over to the number of old hires turning over.

Turnover cost: (number of employees) x (percent annual turnover) x (average cost to fill a new role)

So if the average cost to fill a new role is $10,000, your new hire turnover is 20%, your old hire turnover is 30%, and your call center workforce numbers 1,000:

Old Turnover Cost: 1,000 x .3 x 10,000 = $3,000,000

New Turnover Cost: 1,000 x .2 x 10,000 = $2,000,000

Annual Cost Savings: $1,000,000

You can also tie specific increases in call center metrics (like conversion rate and upsell) to dollars in order to build your business case, but since these are more organization-specific than turnover cost savings, you’ll need to work with that specific department to pin down the exact numbers.

2) Sales

Like Customer Support, the metrics that matter for a Sales role are easily quantifiable. A high performing sales hire makes an impact immediately, and trends in quota attainment are easy to track across hiring classes. 

While usually lower volume and lower turnover than Customer Support, Sales is unique in that success on the job is tied directly to revenue generation. If salespeople hired with the new technology are ramping faster and exceeding quotas, building a broader business case becomes much, much easier. 

There’s a less measurable benefit to getting your sales team on board: they’re gregarious, vocal, and won’t hesitate to tell you if something’s not working. On the flip side, if it is working, they’ll let the rest of the organization know. 

Putting the Value in Dollars

Measured in terms of revenue or cost savings, success in sales is less nuanced than in a call center. You can track the performance of every new class of sales reps against that of previous classes, and directly measure the increased revenue your new hires generate. 

Why It’s Not Always Best to Start with the Best

Finding success in already successful departments doesn’t mean much to the departments that need the most assistance. It’s like teaching a star basketball player to be good at lacrosse. Since the basketball star is already a strong athlete, you can get away with a different training regimen than if you were training a first-time player. The major legwork is already done - you can focus on specifics. 

Just like an athletic beginner is skeptical of training programs designed for gifted and experienced athletes, departments that historically struggle with change will greet the success of their consistently stellar counterparts with skepticism: “Of course X technology worked in that department - everything works there. Our situation is astronomically different.”

By putting the value of a technology into a universal language - dollars (or euros, or pounds) - you can bridge the gap and gain buy-in on a wider scale. The holy grail, of course, is finding a department that has quantifiable metrics and traditionally struggles. But in the absence of that winning combination, go with a department that lets you easily quantify your success.

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