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4 Ways to Avoid Failure in Your Recruiting Software Investment

avoiding failure with software investmentCongratulations! Your company has finally decided on a shiny new recruiting software vendor (also referred to as an Applicant Tracking System), and you’re implementing the new software in just a couple of short weeks. High-fives all around. The financial and time investment was significant, yes, but you feel good about your purchase and you’re excited about the fantastic results you’re sure to get.

What could possibly go wrong?

We’ve seen this scenario too many times before: Companies put so much energy into identifying, evaluating and selecting their software vendor, only to lose steam and ultimately lose out on one of the final and most important pieces of the whole process:  end-user training. To set your company up to succeed with your new system, you need to plan ahead with a well-thought-out training strategy.

Remember, new user adoption is one of the biggest obstacles companies face when migrating to a new recruiting software vendor—and often one of the biggest reasons for its failure. Don’t take this issue lightly and fall into the same trap as so many companies before you have done.

Instead, follow these four key steps to protect your new investment (and then, commence the high-fives).

1. Know Your Users’ Needs:

Be respectful of everyone’s time. If your recruiters will not need to know the CRM functionality of the software system, don’t make them sit through that portion of the training. Understand who your users are and make sure they’re trained to become software experts in the areas they need to know best. If some users are significantly less tech-savvy than others, take that into consideration as you plan your training. What could you do for those users to make their training more impactful without holding the rest of the group back?

 2. Create a Training Agenda:

In order to create a successful training agenda, you need to first have a conversation with your vendor contact(s). Nearly all recruiting software vendors offer some form of training as part of their implementation (and some vendors charge for training, some do not—so make sure you also have this conversation in advance to avoid any surprises). Once you know what types of training are available to you, consider which aspects will work best for each of your users’ needs, and at which time before, during or after the implementation process.

Something else to consider in your training plan is the speed with which the software will be rolled out. You want to create an agenda that get users comfortable with the new system and its interface right before or right when the software goes live for your company—but at the same time, you don’t want your training to be completed a week and a half before that go-live date. Don’t give your users an opportunity to forget what they’ve learned. Make sure you’re communicating with your vendor contact(s) and be aware of the exact launch date. In a perfect world, your users will complete their training just a day or two before or after the software is live.

3. Establish a Training Platform:

End-user training is always more effective when it’s catered to your company’s specific user groups–so avoid generic group lessons at all costs. The most effective training platforms may be determined by the types of training your new software vendor is willing to offer (and whether or not there is an additional cost). Common examples include:

  • Virtual Training.  Virtual, over-the-phone webinar training is by far the most common type of new user training.This training is nearly always led by a specialist working for your vendor (sometimes a training specialist, sometimes a salesperson, and sometimes an account manager). In most situations, recruiting software vendors offer one free virtual training session to all new users pre- or post-implementation. A select few may offer free, ongoing training for new users—but be advised that many do not. Be sure to have this conversation with your vendor contact(s) in advance, as this will determine how you intend to use your vendor’s available virtual training.
  • Onsite Training.  While onsite training is nearly always the preferred option, many software vendors will charge you for the expense to send one or more people from their company to train your team onsite (and possibly more on top of that). In some situations, companies are able to negotiate onsite training as part of the implementation cost, but all vendors handle this differently. Just know that additional onsite training (for both new user training and/or advanced training) will almost always come with a price. If you do choose an onsite training session, make the most of it by ensuring that all users are able to attend, and use the best possible training environment so your users can clearly see and absorb what they’re learning.
  • Online Training.  Online training is a great resource for ongoing and functionality-specific training–and it can be a great complement to your new user training. Video tutorials are the best type of online training, because users can see and hear an expert navigating through the features of the system. In addition to video tutorials, some vendors also offer online documentation that includes the necessary steps to perform specific tasks. Depending on how users prefer to learn, this can also be a valuable resource. If organized properly, online training can be especially great for those users who need a refresher on how to perform certain tasks or generate specific reports. Learn what kinds of online training are available with your vendor (specifics can usually be found directly on the vendor’s website) and create a plan for how you intend to incorporate the online resources into your overall training strategy.

4. Set Goals and Make Your Training Program Scalable:

As with any new project, it’s important to set clear goals. Write down, and then share with your team, what needs to be accomplished through their training and how you intend to get them there. Set realistic timelines and remember that these timelines will depend on both the volume of users who need to be trained and the resources you will be using.

Keep your training program scalable by thinking ahead. In addition to future new user training, what types of advanced training can you implement so your users are maximizing everything available within the system? At a minimum, schedule an advanced or refresher training with all users at least once per quarter.

Regular training can only further protect your investment in a recruiting software vendor. After all, your next new software purchase will ideally be your last.

If you’ve recently gone through a new software launch within your organization, what worked for you?

Follow Justin on Twitter (@CBHRTechnology) to stay on top of the latest news, trends and best practices in the HR technology & recruiting software industry.

About Justin Knepp

As the Integration Alliance Manager at CareerBuilder, Knepp identifies and develops strategic relationships with the company’s recruiting software and HR technology partners to deliver technologies and solutions that support growth objectives. He also owns and manages the business, technical and marketing initiatives surrounding CareerBuilder’s line of technology-driven integration products. Knepp began his career with CareerBuilder nearly 10 years ago, starting in sales before then leading a small marketing intelligence team. Prior to his current role, he was an Integration Solutions Manager for CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting division. During that time he was responsible for defining technical requirements and delivering custom solution designs for customers as it related to their recruitment technology and processes. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communications from DePauw University and after eight years living in Chicago, he now currently resides and works in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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