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When Only the Best of the Best Hires Will Do


DocuSign Customer Case Study

The Goal

In pursuit of the crème de la crème of employees who embrace today’s digital age, DocuSign wanted to put its best foot forward by automating every aspect of the hiring experience. They turned to SkillSurvey Reference®, an automated reference checking process, to gain critical job-related insights on their account executive candidates.

ROI: Knowing what makes a candidate 5X more successful


Candidates with reference reports were
50% less likely to be terminated,
helping DocuSign reduce turnover

$1.05M SAVED

Avoided hiring candidates who would
not perform, avoiding $1.05 million
in potential turnover expenses


Account executives matching the profile of a successful candidate were 5X more likely to hit quota


Saved 1,702 hours reference checking for a time savings of 94%; DocuSign estimates it takes their recruiters minutes to enter candidates into SkillSurvey’s system, review the candidate reports and compare candidates vs. spending 30 minutes on the phone for each reference (at 3 references per candidate)


Minimized termination for cause—New hires with reference response rates of more than 80% had the lowest involuntary termination for cause


Saved $38,960 in recruiting fees: DocuSign hired 8 candidates who served as references, after they opted-in to DocuSign’s career portal. This saved the company at least $38,000 in recruiting fees as compared to the cost of a direct hire in the first 18 months of use

About DocuSign

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 and collect payment – fully digitally – anytime, anywhere, on any device with trust and confidence. An average of 130,000 new unique users join the DocuSign Global Trust Network every day.

Challenge – Recruiting a tech-oriented team with a tech-oriented hiring process

As one of the leading technology brands in the world, DocuSign needs top talent. The company’s pursuit of recruiting elite tech-oriented talent requires them to demonstrate that technology permeates everything they do. DocuSign wanted to provide a completely digital experience for candidates so their experience with their recruiters would be as easy as their products.

The HR team embarked on a plan to completely reengineer and digitize its recruitment process from start to finish so that it could not only improve its process and but support the business by improvident DocuSign’s quality of hire.

Solution – Profiling success and obtaining real insights from references

The team initially focused on sales hiring. DocuSign created a baseline profile based on their high-performing account executives, and then started to assess talent using this profile. As a next step, they wanted to confirm the quality of their hires. The team felt the best way to do this was to obtain reference feedback on how their candidates performed in prior roles. They begin searching for an online reference checking solution, and selected SkillSurvey Reference to help them learn more about their candidates before moving to the final stage of the interview process.

In some cases, references revealed additional information about candidates who performed well in interviews; in other cases, stellar reference feedback ruled people back into the process who would not have been considered following initial interviews.

According to DocuSign, “SkillSurvey helps us uncover critical, job-specific skills in candidates. Because the survey is scientifically validated, we can compare our candidates to thousands of others who have applied for the same role. We also get comments about candidate strengths and areas for improvement to help hiring managers during interviews.”

In fact, DocuSign’s Michael Mothersbaugh, VP of North America Enterprise Sales, won’t accept an interview request until he sees a candidate’s reference feedback. That feedback helps him and his hiring managers ask more probing questions, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and determine who to move forward in the hiring process. “The reference feedback on candidates is a critical part of our selection process. My team knows it’s required—and not just for individual contributors. We demand to see a feedback report for every level of sales hiring.”

By instituting this automated reference checking process, DocuSign has dramatically improved the quality of its hires. “After conducting regression analysis and validity studies of our model, we found that if the candidate matched our profile, they were five times more likely to hit quota.”

The HR team worked closely with key champions in the sales and lead generation teams to help obtain funding for SkillSurvey’s solution. As word of their success spread globally, adoption spread, and they are continuing to roll out this solution to other areas.

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