An iRecruitment Odyssey

 Too many companies do recruitment in a not dissimilar way that would probably have happened around the time that Homer wrote his famous Odyssey poem back in 850 BC. Exaggeration – maybe a little, but consider someone needs a person, they advertise, interview and the person gets a job. Want another person, repeat the same process. That’s the way it happened three thousand years ago and it’s still largely unchanged today for too many companies.

Now the 20th century has added some refinement to the recruitment process, but it still left an awful lot to be desired. Your average organization still posts into newspapers or into the (almost) 21st century job boards on the internet. Your average applicant will have a nice shiny resume to send.  Your average organization will still process the same loser that you’ve rejected twenty times on each application. In short, recruitment still remains for most companies, a very intensive process indeed with many non-value added processes involved.

Our organization was somewhere between 850BC and the 21st Century in terms of recruitment, although probably leaning to the former rather than the latter…….

This led to some pretty serious problems for our organization:

  1. Recruitment cycles were incredibly slow
  2. Adverts cost a lot and don’t really hit the correct audience most of the time
  3. Good candidates were lost for future positions as it was all paper based. There was no corporate memory of candidates
  4. There was no option of pro-active recruitment, unless you looked through millions of papers in filing cabinets
  5. By the time you get the process going, the candidate is not available
  6. Candidates rarely find your organization, unless they read the right newspaper on the right day – recruitment is not a process, it’s a chance encounter between the applicant and the organizations advert
  7. Processing large volumes of candidates was slow and time-consuming as the HR department was swamped by job seekers
  8. After going through 200 resumes, you work out that 90% of those are not even relevant, but you still need to check every resume just in case………
  9. For staff away from the office, it was difficult to apply as paper submissions were required

In 2008, our organization decided something had to give. We were in major expansion mode needing considerably more staff (around 20%), but our recruitment processes could simply not support the business need. The case for iRecruitment was born and the odyssey began.

Our project followed the typical standard AIM lifecycle model, with the usual BR.100 Setup documents, MD.050 Functional Designs, etc.

 

We won’t dwell on the lifecycle model as its standard Oracle AIM. But what we did find was that for an average iRecruitment implementation, it could be achieved in 6-9 months, giving a pretty fast win and an even faster ROI.

Pre iRecruitment, our recruitment process was pretty archaic (and probably familiar to way too many readers…….)

  1. HR writes a job specification
  2. HR asks web developers to post job specification on organization website (and many don’t even have this today…..)
  3. Web developers enter this into the website
  4. Contact the newspaper with the specific advert, even though you have no idea if the adverts actually get you candidates or if it’s just a waste of your dollars or yen or euro……..
  5. Applicant views jobs either from website or by chance in the newspaper
  6. Applicant downloads a form from our website
  7. Applicant fills in form
  8. Applicant emails form to our organization’s HR Department
  9. HR Department files form in a very large room with millions of other forms – if you remember the scene from Indian Jones when they put the Ark of the Covenant in a huge warehouse never to be seen again. That’s kind of what happens to a lot of job applications……
  10. HR Department types form details into Oracle HRMS – the form is hugely complex and we needed teams of people to do this. Even more interesting was that only a fraction of the details were ever recorded and many details were wrong……….
  11. HR Department reviews each applicant
  12. HR retrieves forms from filing cabinet for shortlisted candidates
  13. Shortlisted candidates are kept in an Excel Spreadsheet
  14. Unsuccessful candidates aren’t told anything as processing 100 rejections would take too long. The impact here is that candidates think your organization doesn’t really care, so they won’t bother applying again
  15. HR prints short-listed candidate forms and sends to relevant department through internal mail
  16. Department Co-coordinator gets forms one week later
  17. Department Co-coordinator sends forms to relevant person one week later…….
  18. Person reviews forms, writes comments manually and gives back to Department Co-coordinator
  19. Department Co-coordinator sends forms back to HR department, where they manually update the comments into HRMS (sometimes……)
  20. HR arranges interviews with the person (if by this time they are still available)
  21. Department wonders what is going on as this process can take weeks
  22. Department finally gets all the forms back in triplicate for applicant interview
  23. All the other applicants are wondering what is going on as nobody informs them of progress of vacancy
  24. Interview takes place – notes are all paper based
  25. End User Department informs HR of the results
  26. HR validates the results
  27. HR send offer to candidate (via email)
  28. Candidate accepts or rejects
  29. All details are then typed fully into Oracle HRMS
  30. If someone wanted to find the same skills in the future, the process either had to be repeated or someone had to look through millions of pieces of paper or someone had to remember that two years ago they saw a really good resume…….not exactly a good process…….more a recruitment lottery than process.

This was a long and extremely painful process for the Applicants, the HR Department and the End User Departments requiring the resource.

By bringing in iRecruitment there was a very radical shift, both in terms of process, but also in terms of the mindset of everyone involved.

 

With the new process 100% online, we reduced the overall process by more than 50%…..

  1. HR writes the job spec and presses a button to enable on the website
  2. Applicants fill out their own details online, directly into HRMS
  3. HR reviews the applicants online and presses a button to refer to the End User Departments
  4. End User Department shortlists online, with full visibility to the HR Department
  5. HR arranges the interviews, with candidate automatically informed of status of either interview or rejection with regrets at all times during the process
  6. End User Department interviews
  7. HR validates results online
  8. HR Department sends the offer
  9. HR Department changes the Person Type in HRMS to Employee with no other changes required

10.  It’s a wrap!!!!!

The advantages of this process are very obvious indeed:

  1. Immediate savings by removing the need for a team of people to type in potentially 60,000+ resumes per year, with all the mistakes that entails
  2. Electronically link your advert to either your website or job sites, all under the control of your HR Department
  3. Removal of over 1 Million pieces of paper per year – good for the planet and good for your business
  4. Candidates are kept in the loop at all times and this shows your organization in an extremely positive light
  5. Reduces the need for expensive newspaper adverts
  6. End User Departments have far quicker access to Candidates
  7. Reduces the recruitment cycle time significantly, giving you the edge in recruiting the best people
  8. Massive online, searchable resource database that allows pro-active recruitment
  9. Reduces significantly the amount of HR time spent on recruitment
  10. Online referrals
  11. Apply anywhere, anytime and attract candidates GLOBALLY
  12. Hugely flexible model can be applied to centralize the HR process and federate the recruitment process

The biggest challenges and pitfalls we faced were on the Change Management and some issues very much specific to putting Oracle ERP into the outside world:

  1. The Technical Team (DBA Group) had to become very familiar with the DMZ Configuration to allow iRecruitment (and effectively therefore your ERP) to be put into the big, bad internet world.
  2.  Keeping up to date in terms of security patches in Oracle ERP is key. A prime example of a security flaw reported can be found on the following link.
  3. Keeping up with the latest ATG (Technology Patches) is critical, as you are now moving from your nice “my company has these PC’s with this Windows version” to “any candidate with any device (PC, Apple Mac, Ipad, etc) running any O/S with any browser wants to use your site”. The only manageable way to do address this major technology issue is to let Oracle Corporation do it for you: watch Steven Chan’s column, watch My Oracle Support and make sure you keep reasonably up to date on ATG Patches. Plan carefully as some of these patches are massive and although generally very good with limited impacts to your ERP, care as always with Oracle patches is mandatory. 
  4. The concept of a support team for external users was not really there – although iRecruitment saves a huge amount of resources, someone still has to answer the user calls. A solid user support structure must be in place and it’s a real grey area whether this is an IT or Business Responsibility. Our HR Department took the lead in this. Supporting a massive global user community is very different from internal support. 
  5. Our biggest User Support problems were related to:
    1.  Character Sets (make sure you have a multi-byte character set on the database, otherwise cut and paste from Word, etc fails……..This will cause support chaos and I am sure some companies are still running without multi-byte character sets)
    2. Login issues (Make sure you have very clear Quick Guides)
    3. Browser issues (make sure you are on the latest ATG Patches and keep updated)
    4. General User errors (good User Guides are essential)
  6. What was actually most difficult about this process was really getting the HR Department to let go of non-value added functions. This required a huge amount of Change Management effort and even 9 months on we are still not there. Letting go of functions that have been performed for the last 40 years is understandably very difficult, even when they add no value (and actually detract value from the process). 
  7. The other aspect of iRecruitment is again on Change Management. It really is a revolution to go from passive recruitment (wait for people to apply) to suddenly having a massive database of resumes that you can actively search on. This hasn’t really quite hit home yet in terms of changing mindsets within our HR area. Suddenly they have a resource pool of 40,000+ applicants, 2,500 staff and 20,000+ Consultants available to search at their fingertips with highly advanced resume search capabilities. 
  8. Customizations were required which ideally would have been better avoided. However the iRecruitment module is pretty flexible in this respect.

What we also found is that there is a wealth of companies out there using iRecruitment. We learned a lot simply by trying some of the sites and looking at their Help Guides. You never know, I may even get a new job with one of the registrations 🙂

However as the statistics show, the rollout of iRecruitment has been a huge success, with a massive and very active user base.

iRecruitment Statistics
Months Live Applicants Database Growth Per Month Vacancies Applicants Per Vacancy Successful Recruitment Paper Saved Process Reduction
9 Months 45,000 5,000 700 73 241 1M+ Sheets 50%

 What is amazing is the real global reach of systems like iRecruitment. A quick look at our statistics shows applicants from 85 countries from countries across Europe, the US, Asia and Africa. Countries as diverse as Philippines, Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, Vietnam, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Tonga,  Russia, Iraq, Jamaica, Peru and South Africa to name but a few.

Great talent is in every culture, race, religion and every corner of the planet. iRecruitment allows you to very effectively tap into that huge wealth of human talent, wherever it may be.

All of the above of course can lead to some interesting support issues that you will not generally encounter in your average day to day support of internal Oracle ERP systems.

Of course we’re not there yet. So what does our future hold in terms of iRecruitment?

  1. Upgrade of the database to support documents in Microsoft 2007. This support comes with 11G and above.
  2. Questionnaires to filter out the 90% of unsuitable applicants so that resumes don’t even have to be reviewed. A sample is shown below.

 

3. Skills and Competencies – a very advanced feature that will allow you to match Job Specification skills and competencies to that of the candidate (including both internal and external resources)

4. Rollout to 28 countries worldwide to support our other offices across the globe (happening in September 2010)

5. At some point upgrading to 12.1.3 or above to take advantage of the extensive interview functionality available.

6. Finally persuading the HR Department to let go of the short-listing and let candidate details go straight through to the End User Department, to allow our HR personnel to move from low value added activities to pro-active recruitment

7. Assess Oracle Business Intelligence iRecruitment, to allow our HR personnel to move from low value added activities to analysis and improvement of the process worldwide

 

 Looking back, our iRecruitment project certainly had some fairly unique challenges, given this was dealing with a very large outside user base. However, overall our iRecruitment Odyssey was a short journey, relatively painless and low-cost with huge rewards at the end.

This was definitely a journey worth undertaking.

Other Resources

There are a huge amount of resources on the Web that is interesting for any company implementing iRecruitment. My thanks go to the generous authors and organizations that make these resources available to all.

For those with Oracle Open World On Demand access, the following may be of interest from 2009:

End to End Talent Acquisition in Oracle iRecruitment 12.1

How to achieve High Volume Recruiting with iRecruitment

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8 Responses to “An iRecruitment Odyssey”

  1. Pranav Muley Says:

    Very good one.

  2. Sridhar Krishnamurthy Says:

    A serious subject, very nicely presented, with some humour in it. Even for a layman like me (I am very new to Oracle HRMS), understanding this wouldn’t be difficult. Kudos! Regards/Sridhar

  3. Liandra Says:

    Very well written. Lots of great info and links on the site. Very useful. Thanks a lot!

  4. oracle tutorial guy Says:

    A terrific guide you explain everything pretty clearly,I will have to share this with my network.thanks

  5. Leonard Mong Says:

    I truly adore the design that you happen to be using, is it custom built?

    • irroberts Says:

      Actually I have zero design capability….it’ll all down to the genuises that made wordpress. It’s so easy that, well even I can do it……

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