Recruitment 2.0, ‘home stadiums’ & social media

I was having a conversation about optimised and socialised career centres recently and remembered back to what I delivered for G4S in 2010/11. I found some of the press articles of the time, and was fascinated to see how current this thinking still is from all those years ago. It attracts millions of unique visitors now so the stats are dated but the rest still stands up! Changeboard article below.

Wembley Stadium

Colin Minto, head of resourcing at security solutions group G4S, explains how he is consolidating more than 100 websites to create a streamlined candidate experience and applicant tracking process.

Global recruitment strategy

With an average of 54 applicants per role and 100’s of positions advertised each month, how did Colin Minto embark on centralising 135 corporate websites in 36 different languages into one global career portal, within just 14 weeks?

G4S is one of the world’s largest private sector employers with a global workforce of 630,000 employees, operating in 125 countries. Minto was hired as a consultant in November 2009 and asked to review the company’s overall global recruitment strategy – encompassing corporate career websites, social media usage, print advertising and recruitment agencies.

Five weeks later, Minto presented his findings back to the group’s HR directors in the form of an 86-page report. He was immediately offered a full-time position by Andy Hanscomb, director of HR and resourcing, which he accepted – agreeing to deliver the recruitment strategy he had outlined. after implementing two application tracking Solutions and introducing a range of online media solutions, he focussed on the company’s career websites. In a matter of 14 weeks from conception to completion, a single one-stop shop career website was launched and rolled out globally on 23 November 2010.

Minto has since won two accolades for this achievement. He was winner of Onrec Personality of the Year 2011 – for the most effective contribution to development of the online recruitment industry over the last year and also received the Onrec Candidate Service award for creating the best services available to the job seeker. So how did he manage to convince a handful of technical innovators to pull it all off?

Online recruitment knowledge

Prior to G4S, Minto was managing director of Brainhunter UK, where he was responsible for offering job board and applicant tracking solutions. as he’d also previously held the position of acting technology director at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, he understood the world of recruitment well.

“G4S utilised multiple recruitment technologies with separate databases that worked in silo to one another. For the candidate, this meant having to register multiple times to apply for various roles across G4S’s business units and territories. A career centre also needs to capture the imagination of the audience and if you create a large pool of candidates but don’t engage with them, the brand experience is poor and the talent pool stagnates. Today, recruitment has to be about managing candidate flow,” says Minto.

He continues: “Our HR professionals and operational hiring managers are not all recruiters by trade. Some of our corporate career sites had their own career page, while other sites had limited career content and those HR teams handled all their recruitment via phone and email. We wanted to get smarter about using online software to consolidate the recruitment process and make it consistent globally.” Minto wanted to deliver a software solution that would allow the recruitment process to become partially self-serving while also delivering an excellent candidate experience.

Technical innovation

On 23 November 2010, the game of recruitment within G4S changed forever. It was to be a significant milestone for the business. Minto worked with recruitment technology specialists including Talent on View, RecruitActive, Kaonix and Monster TMS.

He explains: “I mapped out my vision, proposed the architecture andfunctionality suite and then said: ‘OK, let’s do something groundbreaking and establish what we need to do technically to bring it all together’. This turned out to be a ‘crowd sourcing’ session to problem solve. I call the team of suppliers I assembled the ‘A-Team’ because collectively we specified the solution and agreed the API integration points within a three-hour meeting.

“Technology development and functionality moves at a tremendous velocity these days, so I knew I needed to work with gifted developers. The best part of working with these innovators is their ability to twist and turn and embrace a problem rather than be hindered by their existing technological architecture.”

According to Minto, G4S is the first corporate employer to embark on such a comprehensive end-to-end recruiting technology solution encompassing multiple ATS integration, advanced matching and community functionality. It has resulted in outstanding success – job seeker and hiring manager feedback has been extremely positive, and the business is already tracking significant time and cost efficiencies.

Delivering candidate experience

At the front end of the portal, Minto has also added a job board platform. Now, all G4S jobs can sit in one central place and every job is highly optimised so that job seekers can find the actual role they are interested in when searching Google.

A CV builder tool allows candidates to upload their resumés and have content stripped out by parsing technology, which then plants it into a custom-designed CV profile template. The tool works intelligently so that on average 80% of the work is done automatically and users just have to check and make minor adjustments. Minto explains: “The benefit to candidates is that they have a sophisticated, well-structured CV profile that they can take away as a PDf document. In effect, candidates are getting a CV created for them.

“In essence the profiles we create are more detailed than the CV itself because users can add to the profile in real time. For those without a CV, the ‘profile creation tool’ produces one for them once they have completed it,” he comments. “Not everyone will get a job at G4S at the first time of asking, but if we can contribute positively to their current job seeking activity and help them into gainful employment, this will stand us and the G4S employer brand in good stead when we do have an opportunity for them. It’s all about engaging with every candidate fairly and treating them with respect. If someone isn’t successful in their application, it’s imperative they receive some take-away value.”

Once candidates have filled out their profile, the database files them away. The website also has an in-built matching system which uses semantics and artificial intelligence, so that if a suitable job arises in future, it will match candidates with relevant skill sets against various job descriptions.

Minto argues: “If you just focus on a handful of candidates that make it through, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Our database provides us with a future talent pool that our hiring managers can tap into – we have access to a more diverse network.”

In addition, the G4S website now hosts community forums and groups where candidates can interact with G4S. Job seekers also have access to career advice content, which includes video tutorials and articles offering tips on tasks from writing a CV to effective job seeking.

Local languages and destinations

The G4S Career Centre is multilingual and rolling out in several countries this year. This includes some of the company’s European operations, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Minto adds: “We have the capacity to roll out a local language version in four weeks, and the remainder of this year and 2012 will ensure almost every G4S job advertised globally will be displayed on a version of this Career Centre aggregated to the original Global Career Centre.

Each site is designed to achieve maximum Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). By hosting a version in each country of operation, each will get the best SEO benefit and traffic, while the creation of highly optimised child sites ensures the Global Career Centre continuously benefits from content and linkage.

Social media strategy – home stadium

Minto admits to using all social media channels to cast a wider net to draw in candidates, but likens G4S’s career centre to the ‘home stadium’ because that’s where the brand lives. “Our career centre is the main front doorway into our brand. We don’t want to be at the mercy of the commercial and development strategy of sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. We use social media as a tool to make new connections and want to control that space by making sure that when we’re playing away from home, everything we do points back towards base. Many employers tend to focus externally rather than internally,” he says.

He believes that if you create a dull, flat, career centre, you disappoint the candidates. For example, on every G4S job advert, you will find Facebook ‘like’ and other share buttons. G4S recently ran a Facebook advertising campaign to recruit stewards for Wimbledon, reaching more than 1.4 million people during a three-week period. This resulted in over 2,000 applications.

There is no doubt that social media channels have huge audiences. As people experience the daily, hourly or minute-by-minute innovations and functionalities that are released, these channels can yield impressive candidate flow. However, it’s important to use them correctly for business application, following a clearly defined social recruiting strategy that focuses on content provision, conversation-seeding, engagement and proportionate moderation.

G4S recruitment – the results

Before launching the Global Career Centre, G4S experienced 40,000 absolute unique visitors per month to its 135 career centre locations. This single site is now attracting more than 100,000 absolute unique visitors, as well as the following:

  • 1.2 million monthly page views
  • 10 minutes average time on site
  • 100,000 registered users
  • 1,666 job postings since launch
  • 93,242 job applications since launch
  • 2,069 forum posts since launch

Battling for the best talent

  1. Understand that technology is an enabler not a disabler, so make it work hard on automating the elements that need no human intervention.
  2. Make sure the technology you use is fit for purpose and aligned with your strategies.
  3. Go social. Career departments need to start thinking how to staff this function, so enrol a community manager as part of the team responsible for conversation and content.
Colin Minto

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