Beyond Onboarding

How HR staffing firms can improve the candidate experience with digital signature solutions

By Adina Sapp

Economic improvement over the past 10 years has led to new trends impacting staffing firms, and even more change is ahead. While unemployment has reached its lowest rate since 2008, the current high turnover rate of 18.5 percent¹ means that staffing firms are handling huge volumes of paperwork. Talent shortages also increase the time to fill open positions. Since 2010, the average time to fill an open position has almost doubled. This creates an extremely competitive landscape for staffing firms.

Julien Faure, senior product marketing manager for DocuSign, points out that moving to digital signature solutions that integrate with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and various Human Capital Management (HCM) applications will dramatically improve the candidate experience and cut the onboarding process, yielding immediate savings. Additionally, as staffing firms diversify lines of service and strive to become more strategic partners to corporate customers, building a digital System of Agreement will be fundamental.

Improve Onboarding

Providing a positive onboarding experience is crucial in this competitive staffing landscape, since all players are chasing a limited number of candidates, especially in technical, scientific and engineering fields. “Staffing firms lose their best candidates, the ones that are tech savvy (the easiest to place and that yield the most margins), when there are roadblocks during the hiring process,” Faure points out.

Sixty percent of candidates report having a bad hiring experience. Of those, 72 percent will publicly share their experience, negatively impacting those staffing companies. Conversely, 60 percent of candidates who have positive experiences will go out of their way to encourage their friends to apply.² If you’re looking to increase your NPS score among new hires, note that 47 percent of organizations with digital recruiting models report greater levels of candidate satisfaction, thanks in part to streamlined digital processes.³

Remove the Headache

Often, filing documents is the primary source of frustration for candidates. In-person signing requires travel or time off work. Mailing involves postage costs, driving to a store and sometimes printing incompatibility issues. Emailing has challenges too, due to varying system needs, application versions and attachment issues.

On the other hand, digital solutions inspire confidence by providing an easy process that can be completed remotely from any device. Recruiters can track digital progress in real time and candidates are able to sign and comment directly in the digital text. This frees up the staffing firm to spend more time recruiting and less time doing administrative work.

Providing a positive onboarding experience is crucial in this competitive staffing landscape, especially in technical, scientific and engineering fields.

Drive Savings

In addition to shortening the onboarding cycle and reducing the cost of open positions, digital signatures drive immediate document savings. While the amount ranges across industries, the average savings is $36 per document, and many firms report savings up to $45. This adds up quickly considering that each candidate must sign 10 to 15 documents. Even with a conservative savings estimate of $25 per document multiplied by 10 documents, a mid-size firm of 100 recruiters placing 50 candidates per year could save $1.25 million annually. “With all the staffing firms I’ve engaged with, the cost savings are between high and huge,” Faure states.

By switching to DocuSign in 2017, staffing firm Robert Half used 1 million fewer envelopes and saved $14 million in the first year.

Look Forward

The U.S. workforce is anticipated to be 69 percent agile (i.e., composed of temporary employees) by 2025, so having the right systems in place will be critical for staffing firms. A System of Agreement is foundational to feeding new lines of consulting services that will help staffing firms build differentiated value.

A digital System of Agreement is correlated to crucial insights into behavior.

Already, online job boards and recruiting portals have built strong market positions by collecting and leveraging rich datasets through user-generated content. With data as a source of competitive differentiation, staffing firms can target candidates more accurately with the right job offers and provide an increasingly personalized experience to job seekers. They can also differentiate by providing end-to-end or specialized services to their corporate customer accounts.

Both of those evolutions can be enabled and accelerated by a digital System of Agreement, which does much more than enable digital signatures. By storing and interconnecting the information provided through background checks, resumes and certification — while easily integrating with various onboarding, HCM and ERP systems — a digital System of Agreement creates a data-rich picture of the candidate profile. The information is correlated to crucial insights into behavior, such as the average number of iterations required to lock down a job offer, the average time taken to sign and the average number of document views before reaching an agreement.

“Based on the high rate and cost of churn, a digital System of Agreement will not only be foundational to providing a better candidate experience; it will help predict which candidates are likely to be a good long-term fit,” Faure says.

Staffing firms that start now to build their digital System of Agreement will have a solid foundation to enrich future lines of service.

To learn more about DocuSign, visit

1 Jennings, A. (2017). Employer turnover trends in 2017. Compdata.
2 RecruitingSocial (2015). “The Data Speaks: How to Ace Your Candidate Experience, with Gerry Crispin.”
3 KellyOCG (2017). Digital Recruiting: Disruption by Design and Not by Default.
4 Randstad (2016). Workplace 2025: Embracing Disruption in a Post-Digital World.

As the pioneer and global standard for Digital Transaction Management (DTM) and eSignature, DocuSign® is changing how business gets done by empowering more than 300,000 companies and more than
200 million users in 188 countries to send, sign and manage agreements digitally. DocuSign eliminates printing, faxing, scanning and overnighting paper documents to transact business online quickly, easily and securely—anytime, anywhere, on any device—with trust and confidence. DocuSign enables individuals and organizations of every size, industry and geography to make every agreement digital to keep life and business moving forward.