Double Your Money

Upstairs in the exhibit hall, Ross Henry, PwC recruiting manager, tells me that merger and acquisition experts are his toughest jobs to fill right now. He’s “doing everything,” he says, including a three-country (Canada, New Zealand, Australia) ad campaign and offering twice the previous amount for employee referrals. “Double Your Money,” he’s telling employees.

Other notes, soundbites, quotes, and thoughts from this week’s ERE conference in Amsterdam:

Kent Kirch, Global Recruiting Director, Deloitte:

  • Deloitte’s experiencing more cross-border recruitment.
  • Its HR is moving from transactional to strategic. HR is also “getting out of silos.”
  • He uses cost-per-hire and cost-of-open-position calculations to measure the business case of he work, something that’s necessary in his firm. “I work with consultants and accountants,” he says. “They tend to be very skeptical people.”
  • It has moved its technology to one global platform; Kirch suggests you start with some areas rather than a “big bang.” Says Kirch: “Once you get success with that core group, everybody else wants in.” In 41 countries, its Taleo system is deployed (such as Australia, China, and India) or in progress (Russia, Mexico).
  • It has tailored its careers site for local areas. “In China you don’t see pictures of North Americans.” Deloitte gets 4.3 million annual visits, 596,782 applications, and 20,000 newsletter registrations.
  • Formerly, Deloitte had various names, logos, and other brand-drift around the world; it has gotten a handle on that problem, but now it’s working on developing a standard “employer value proposition” (why you work here) that can be used around the world, tailored to local marketplaces. Universum Communications is helping Deloitte with this challenge.

Keith Robinson, from EngageLearning:

  • “A huge amount of people go to job boards, go to job sites, and never hear a thing. To me, that is offensive. We have a huge responsibility to deliver on the hope that people have, even if it’s just saying, ‘no thank you, you’re not quite right for us right now.'”
  • Corporations can hardly imagine ignoring 90-some-odd percent of consumers who asked them a consumer-product question through the corporate website, but “in recruitment we deliver this experience to people who are potential consumers of our product and service.”
  • “A talent pool is a medium” — he says. It’s not a list of names of people you may want to hire someday. It’s a process of communicating with these people, of providing them content.
  • “We’ve made it all too easy to apply to anything, because we’re afraid we might just lose them if we make it more difficult.” Job-seekers will put in a little more effort if they’re treated a little better.
  • Candidates want to know that you “care about them, think about them, and respect them. ?  Job-seekers are consumers; consumers are job-seekers.”

Marc Drees, from MatchSupport:

“Everybody likes job boards. Or they hate them, but they still come back to them.” 

Peter Went, WCC Smart Search & Match and Gunnar Wass, Swedish National Labour Market Board:

  • Went: It’s easy to post a job and very expensive to show decency and respect when handling applications.
  • Went: Many of Europe’s largest job sites are run by governments. This is particularly true in Sweden, for example, where the largest public job site is far larger than the largest commercial site.
  • Wass: New, more conservative government wants to “let private market in” more.
  • Went: “Technology will have a very hard time matching culture and soft skills.”

Alexandra Schwarz, Degussa (a multinational chemical company) and Harald Herzog, Degussa:

  • Degussa needed to have a global employment brand that would work in America, Europe, and elsewhere. It asked three questions: What is unique about Degussa? What parts of the employment experience differentiate it from competitors? What can Degussa offer besides pay and career development?
  • In working on its employer branding program, it considered all people who have an interest in the brand: applicants, business units, employees, HR, R&D, universities, associations, students, shareholders, and customers.
  • In China, they’ve had 20,000 applicants for one job!
  • Among the headlines it has used to advertise jobs:

Seen the world yet?

Stop dreaming, do it now!

Santiago or Shanghai?

Michael Hernandey, Global eStaffing Program Manager, Agilent (19,000 employees, 2,500 hiring managers)

  • When selecting technology, it looked for usability, performance, quality, functionality, future direction, and price.
  • It asked recruiters what they liked about the current product, and looked for gaps. It did external benchmarking — asked the same question of other firms. These processes took four to six months, and all took place before contacting any vendors. It wanted to make sure recruiters worldwide had one place to go to in order to find candidates — a “global applicant pool.”
  • Agilent contacted eight to nine vendors, it did two-hour sessions with each. It asked for pricing information. It put together the business case and asked for executive sponsorship. All the while, it had a hiring freeze, but Hernandey felt his team had a “rock-solid ROI.” It cut it down to four quite easily, as some vendors weren’t prepared to handle a truly global implementation. IT and Procurement did a “scrub-down.” IT helped eliminate a vendor because the system, IT felt, wasn’t easily configurable. It held a focus group of most vocal hiring managers, and also with new hires. It had recruiters help in process; recruiters favored VirtualEdge.They got down to two vendors, and IT and Procurement took another look at those. It ended with VirtualEdge.
  • Customer satisfaction was a major issue — they wanted customers to get the same sense they get when they visit the Ritz-Carlton (where questions are greeted with the response “it would be my pleasure”). It wasn’t concerned with “bells and whistles” as much as whether it was configurable, with a good search, good reporting, good metrics. “We were focused on the basics,” he says.
  • He emphasizes that users’ opinions need to drive the choice of a system, rather than relying on C-level, VP-level input. “Get down to the user level,” he says. “Try before you buy.”
  • They implemented the system in April 2005; the process took six months. It rolled it out around the world at the same time, rather than what some companies do, region by region. However, it did do a phased approach, starting with the more basic parts of the system. Moving over existing data was the toughest part.
  • It held weekly open forums for people to dial in from around the world and ask questions about the new system’s implementation. It trained people remotely via webex, but he recommends training in person if you can. People from around the world are sharing best practices with each other.
  • User satisfaction increased 20%; costs decreased 50%; two full-time employees were eliminated; and “excellent” performance from Palo Alto to Penang, he says. It’s now eyeing on-boarding as an add-on.

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