United Health Group


The internal talent sourcers and recruiters within UnitedHealthcare were supposed to use a database called “the pipe” to track all sourcing and recruitment activities. Managers also used it as a tool to judge their teams’ performances. Adoption of “the pipe” was abysmal because when recruiters could remember an ideal candidate, they still were unable to pull up that record.

“We could upload attachments, but we couldn’t search any of (them), and when we entered a contact, we had to create multiple fields,” said the recruiting manager. “If you were going to search for the contact later, you had to fill out all the fields. The ability to get out of it what you put into it was our biggest issue.

“You could put a candidate in there one month and go back a month later, and unless you remembered the candidate’s exact information, it was impossible to find them,” she said.

Furthermore, recruiters could not limit searches to candidates living within a reasonable distance of the job — a key data point for narrowing candidates. And with over 4 million candidates, scale was a concern.


UnitedHealthcare decided to move off “the pipe” and onto Salesforce with Kona, which provided a Google-like search that extended to every field, object, and list in Salesforce, plus attachments. Kona also delivered distance/radius search, as it indexes U.S. Postal Service data mapping ZIP codes to geographic (longitude/latitude) coordinates.


Following the system switch, the recruiting manager reported that adoption by their recruiters was high across the board. She sees Kona as a huge asset. “For my team, it’s a matter of efficiency,” she said. “They’re just better able to do their job. The increased access to information through more powerful search capabilities breaks down silos. It creates the ability for them to network within talent acquisition (and) it makes them more intelligent about what’s happening cross-functionally.

“It’s like, ‘Okay, I didn’t have a car before, and now I have one that runs,’” she said. “And with KonaSearch, it’s like, ‘Hey, we have a Bimmer [BMW] here, so hop on board!’”