In the run up to the RPO and e-Recruitment Summit taking place in London on 20th September 2012, we caught up one of the speakers – Adam Templeman, Head of Resourcing, RWE npower to find out what he’ll be discussing.

After little more than a year with RWE npower, Adam led the launch of an entirely new recruitment model for his organization, including significant upgrades to technology. Here, he tells us how he convinced people to use it, and why a seamless candidate experience, which encourages conversation is key to achieving your talent agenda.

What was the catalyst for changing your recruitment model?

I knew when I started with the organisation that they wanted to improve their recruitment processes. Our processes were disjointed, some parts of the business had their own hiring resources, some didn’t—it was decentralised and a conscious decision was made to look more closely at it.

Ultimately, they wanted a service that would improve the quality of hires, reduce costs and increase efficiency.

At that point in time, we were about 90% reliant on agency hires, now we’re down to about 15 percent.

How did you get buy-in to your new model?

Operationally, it is always difficult to get approval to change hiring processes because it’s low on people’s agendas. Talent may be high on CEOs’ radars, but getting that message across to hiring managers is difficult because they are focused primarily on doing their day job.

So, we knew from the outset that our service had to be slicker, faster and cheaper than the hiring community had already been using. We had our sights set on:

  • achieving significant cost-savings;
  • improving technology;
  • tightening the governance around recruitment; and
  • improving the candidate and hiring manager experience.

So, we had to demonstrate that we’d done all these things to get people to switch over, and we used consultants to help us develop this new model.

In the end, if you deliver a better service, people will use it. Then, you start to change the behavior of the hiring community, which gets them to adopt the talent agenda without even noticing that they’re doing so.

How do you manage the recruitment of contingent versus permanent talent?

Talent means different things for different organisations and recruitment needs change as strategic direction does. So, we just knew that our recruitment model needed to be flexible.

Any model needs to support the differing contingent and permanent workforce needs, and it had to be robust enough to help managers understand what they need, as well as how best to engage it.

The only ideal ‘mix’ of contingent and permanent workers is the mix that’s right for your business at that point in time. You just need a recruitment process (and technology) that is flexible enough to help you adapt.

What channels do you use to support your recruitment process?

We’ve opened up plenty of social media channels, but our aim is always to make sure the candidate experience is seamless.

Yes, we use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. We also use QR codes at events that can take people through to our mobile site, but we make sure it all integrates well. You don’t want a situation where you have a fantastic careers site, but the channels that feed into it are clunky and don’t represent our brand.

Our channels are about engaging candidates, not just pushing content. Talking to people and letting them talk to us. That feedback loop is what we’re trying to achieve.

We want to get candidates interested in our business, but this has to carry through—in terms of language, branding, technology—all the way to the application process. It’s great to have a fantastic-looking careers site, but we can’t have the user experience ‘falling off a cliff’ as soon as they apply for a job with us. Continuity across all platforms and channels is key.

What challenges still lie ahead?

When it comes to contingent workers there is often less importance attached to the hiring process. People see it just as ‘hiring a temp’ for a few weeks yet the impact of contingent workforces from a governance perspective is very significant. The legalities of these sorts of workers present different challenges and our model needs to be flexible enough to cover these.

Now, we’re about refining and improving the model. So far it has proven that it can reduce costs and raise the quality of the candidate experience, the hiring managers’ experience, and deliver the kind of talent that the organisation deserves. Now it’s just about taking that to the next level and ensuring we’re using all our channels optimally.