Thinking about replacing your recruitment technology? While a new tool might seem enticing during a sales call, you shouldn’t rush into any decisions. Before moving forward, consider this crucial element: the cost of switching.

We don’t just mean financial costs—we mean all of the switching costs. To help you make an informed decision and avoid potential setbacks, let’s delve into the various factors that contribute to the total cost of changing your recruitment technology. 

(Spoiler alert: You might end up spending much, much more than you bargained for.)

But First: A Note on the Capabilities of Your Tech Stack

Before we explore the cost of switching recruitment technology, we must emphasize how vital it is to evaluate technology with a focus on capabilities and efficiency. 

Some talent leaders seek to spend more on a new tool with additional features that would increase their team’s productivity. On the flip side, other leaders seek to lower expenses through cheaper technology alternatives.

Unfortunately, the latter often results in leaders evaluating a tool that’s lower priced yet comes with fewer features and efficiency improvements. (The rumors are true: you get what you pay for.)

Buying a lower-priced solution with fewer functionalities puts you in a lose-lose situation. When you account for all of the additional switching costs, you’re still spending a significant amount—yet now your technology has fewer capabilities than before. 

What’s more, by having your already stretched-thin team implement new software that is ultimately less efficient, you impede their efforts to hit their goals and risk employee burnout.

In short: don’t fall for the trap of lower upfront software fees. Reflect on the features, impact on efficiency, and hidden costs of switching to ensure you make a smart business decision.

Now, about those switching costs. What are they?

What Are Switching Costs?

The cost of switching refers to all the expenses and efforts involved in transitioning from one product or service to another. Switching costs are divided into two main types: hard costs and soft costs. 

Hard costs encompass the direct financial expenses incurred during the switch, such as licensing fees, onboarding and implementation costs, and training expenses. 

Soft costs include intangible investments such as time, effort, and the short and long-term impacts on productivity. You won’t find soft costs on a software invoice; they’re expenses that people typically don’t consider, yet they seriously add up. 

8 Factors That Impact the Cost of Switching

1. Pricing

Pricing is the most apparent cost when switching recruiting tools. It involves the cost of procuring the new technology, which typically includes an annual or periodic fee. 

Keep in mind that pricing can be deceiving. Initial discounts on new technology are often short-lived before the price is ramped back up. If the software you switched to has fewer capabilities, then you’re locked into a contract with a higher price tag for an inferior tool.

Beyond the cost of your potential new software, evaluate if it would deliver additional business value and revenue through improved capabilities and features. Would any cost savings be eroded by decreases in efficiency due to the loss of critical features?

Before making any decisions, it’s crucial to examine if the switch would yield a significant return on investment (ROI) and provide long-term benefits.

2. Efficiency Gains and Losses

One of the most significant costs of switching HR tech solutions is the loss of key features that your current technology provides. For instance, your existing tool may offer a user-friendly interface, automation, customization options, analytics, and other crucial recruiting features.

If the replacement technology lacks these capabilities—as is often the case when jumping to a lower-priced tool—it may decrease efficiencies, increase day-to-day operational costs, and cost you more than any perceived savings upfront.

Ultimately, when you factor in the significant savings gained through increased efficiencies, a tool with higher upfront costs and more features may actually be the most cost-effective option.

Compare the feature set of your existing technology to what the new technology has and doesn’t have. Are you willing to leave behind the capabilities of your current technology? How would this impact your recruitment goals, both long-term and short-term?

3. Time, Cost, and Effort of Implementation

While you might feel tempted to switch to a lower-priced solution, it’s crucial to remember the substantial time, effort, and money involved in the implementation process. 

Making the switch means not only grappling with the challenges of adopting new technology but also bidding farewell to all the hard work and resources invested in implementing your current system.

When implementing new technology, you must undergo data migration, integration setup, and training—not to mention paying for implementation fees. This is time-consuming, sometimes requiring a dedicated team to ensure a smooth transition. 

4. Workflow Disruptions

Switching technology providers can lead to operational hiccups that impact productivity and revenue generation during the transition period. Employees may need to adapt to new workflows and processes, resulting in a temporary decrease in output and quality of work. 

If your talent team is already overburdened, familiarizing themselves with a new tool becomes even more daunting. This is a reality for the majority of teams; according to the 2023 Hiring Insights Report, waves of layoffs impacted 65% of companies last year.

A chart using layoffs data from the 2023 Hiring Insights Report.

Amid these headcount and resource reductions, grappling with change management—without losing sight of hiring objectives—isn’t easy. This ultimately elevates the likelihood and impact of workflow disruptions. 

5. Learning Curve

Familiarizing yourself with a new interface and product features is a tedious process that impacts efficiency. Learning how to use a new product effectively requires dedicated time for training, which places additional demands on talent professionals.

You’ll need to divide your attention between learning the new technology and fulfilling your regular responsibilities on the hiring team. This can slow down productivity, lengthen time-to-value, and affect your ability to meet deadlines and deliver optimal results. 

Depending on the type of technology you acquire, external teams along with key end users, such as hiring managers, might also have to undergo training to use the tool. This could require you to create and disseminate comprehensive learning and development resources. Assess whether you have the time and capacity for the education that the transition phase requires.

6. Data Migration

Migrating data from your current recruitment technology to a new provider is complex and challenging. In some cases, data migration may not be permitted, or possible, or could be fraught with issues such as data integrity concerns or the loss of valuable historical data. 

Investigate the feasibility and implications of data migration before making the switch. Consider what data you would need to transfer, the level of effort, and the impact on ongoing operations. If you risk losing historical data, what is the value of this data to your team and the wider organization?

7. Loss of Integrations

Many recruitment technologies offer integrations with other tools and platforms, enhancing their functionality and efficiency. When switching providers, you risk losing these integrations, which can disrupt workflows and increase costs through manual, time-consuming activities. 

Examining the availability and compatibility of integrations with the new technology is essential to determine the impact on your recruiting process. Evaluate whether or not a potential new provider supports your essential integrations.

8. Future Proofing

Consider not only your talent team’s immediate needs but also their future requirements in an ever-changing economic landscape. It’s crucial to choose a technology that supports your team’s growth and adaptability in the long run.

The capabilities of your new tech should offer scalability for the future so that you can keep pace with the changing landscape while maintaining an efficient operation. If the replacement technology can’t scale as you grow, you risk incurring additional costs down the road due to efficiency bottlenecks that require more headcount, or other new tools, to overcome. 

Overall, a provider that prioritizes innovation, regular product updates, and feature expansions ensures the most long-term value in a shifting job market. 

Don’t Get Stuck With Buyer’s Remorse

The cost of transitioning to a new recruitment technology extends beyond the initial financial investment. Carefully assess all possible switching costs before making a decision.

And while pricing is important, remember: the capabilities of your tech stack are paramount. Strive for a comprehensive solution that elevates the productivity of your team and the effectiveness of your operations, now and well into the future. 

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About the Author

Rachel Heller

Rachel is passionate about creating and distributing powerful, engaging, and expert-vetted content. As the former Content Specialist at GoodTime, she covered the latest trends, insights, and expert recommendations for all things talent acquisition and recruiting.