Automation is critical to an organization’s ability to streamline hiring processes while navigating COVID-19 talent challenges successfully. Here, three talent acquisition trailblazers from Pivot Physical Therapy, Talbots and Teradata answer three questions regarding how they used automation to overcome their challenges, lessons learned and why it all comes back to candidate experience.
What was the primary hiring process challenge your organization faced and how did you use recruiting automation to solve it?
• Lisa Hyder, Director of Talent Acquisition, Pivot Physical Therapy: We hire physical therapists, who are still in high demand, so attracting and retaining them remains competitive. However, like many employers, we had to delay start dates for our spring PT hires due to COVID-19. Recognizing the need to keep these new hires engaged, we launched an automated nurture campaign that highlighted why they chose Pivot in the first place while reminding them that Pivot was thinking of them and excited for when they would be fully onboarded.
The campaign consisted of 10 messages sent through multiple touches to reassure new hires through consistent communications. We were able to tap into existing content resources to develop our messages, which covered topics such as Pivot’s mentorship program, the Pivot Cares Foundation and how they can get involved in helping the communities we serve, and Google reviews of the facilities they would be working in. We even sent a message that included a LinkedIn cover image they could use to brand their personal page once they were fully onboarded. In the end, all of our messages were read and new hires are completing their onboarding according to schedule.
• Laura Velasquez, Recruitment Specialist—Stores, Talbots: After several months of limited hiring activity, our talent acquisition team was asked to lead a major customer service center staffing initiative and to secure candidates for interviews ASAP. Due to COVID-19, an onsite hiring event—which is how we typically fill these roles—just wasn’t possible. So, the team responded by recommending a virtual hiring event, complete with dedicated interview slots and pre-screening functionality. To attract attendees, Talbots relied primarily on a pay-per-click program that promoted the event and included the associated event registration link.
With our traditional open houses, we begin promoting them two weeks out and hope that 15 people will show up. With the virtual event, we started advertising on a Friday and by Monday morning we had 48 out of 50 event interview slots filled (after the July 4th weekend, no less!). The use of pre-screening knockout questions, including shift availability, improved candidate quality while self-scheduling functionality ensured the registration process was seamless and efficient.
• Sarah West, Business Technology Analyst, Teradata: Our challenge was that our average time to fill was too long. We do a lot of tech hiring, so it’s essential that we keep candidates moving through the hiring funnel as quickly as we can. In order to streamline the hiring process, we turned to automated notifications and reminders for both hiring managers and candidates.
On the hiring manager side, we send out reminders for approvals and feedback that are tailored to the unique workflow of our jobs. For example, if a candidate is not acted upon in 24 hours, a reminder to the hiring manager is triggered. Additional reminders are triggered if there is no response in three days and then five days. At nine days, we notify the hiring manager that the requisition will be put on hold. Typically, the initial reminder elicits response. On the candidate side, Teradata automates all communications so that they are aware of their status at each phase of the process. We also offer automated self-scheduling to candidates, which has eliminated unnecessary delays due to the back-and-forth nature of traditional interview coordination. The combined result is that we’ve reduced average time to fill from 60 days to 45 days or less—a 25% reduction, which is significant from a process perspective.
Do you have any lessons learned or tips for success to share with your talent acquisition peers?
• Lisa Hyder: Document your process to ensure consistency. Just because it’s automated and housed within the tools doesn’t mean your team won’t benefit from written documentation of each step. Given the success we’ve realized in terms of engaging new hires we plan to continue our new hire nurturing campaigns even when the pandemic is over, so having the process mapped out gives us a model to follow and adapt as we evolve these efforts for various audiences.
• Laura Velasquez: Our "ah-ha!" moment is that we can now promote an event on a Friday and start interviews that following Monday. Virtual recruiting events allow us to compress two weeks into two business days. Also, take time to really think through your pre-screening knockout questions as this will lead to better candidate quality and, ultimately, conversions.
• Sarah West: It helped that our automations went hand-in-hand with a service level agreement (SLA) that came from senior leadership. They set the tone that people were going to be a partner in this and held accountable—if they weren't going to respond then we weren’t going to keep the req open. Plus, it’s nice to let the reminders come from the system as opposed to the recruiter having to be the “nudge” all the time. The dynamic shifts and you’re seen as more of a partner and everyone working towards the same goal.
Candidate experience remains extremely important, especially as organizations will be judged by how they treat both employees and job seekers during difficult times. How has your use of recruiting automation supported a positive candidate experience?
• Lisa Hyder: We saw incredibly high engagement, and the experience was extremely positive. No new hire was “lost in space,” and we personalized all communications as much as possible. We always want every touchpoint with candidates to reflect what it’s like to work for Pivot.
• Laura Velasquez: Candidate experience is always at the forefront. If people don’t pass the pre-screening requirements we still want them to know we appreciate their time, so we send an automatic invite to our talent community. This was our biggest fear going into a virtual process—that we wouldn't be able to maintain a good candidate experience but the system did everything for us.
• Sarah West: Our top priority was candidate communication, too. We hire at a high volume and automation is essential to keeping a candidate in the loop throughout the process. For Teradata, that starts with an immediate thank-you notification on apply, as well as a timeframe of the next steps in the selection process. Each subsequent step, such as a recruiter accepting a candidate or reviewing an application, triggers an update to the candidate. And, if at any point the candidate is rejected, we send a notification immediately. Nobody is ever left in the dark.
View our on-demand webinar to get additional insights from Pivot Health Solutions, Talbots and Teradata—access Recruiting Automation to the Rescue: Real Trailblazers. Real Stories. Really GR8 Ideal to Steal.