Nestlé cites keeping candidates ‘warm’ as key to recruitment success

Nestlé has revealed the secret behind its successful recruitment strategy – keeping potential employees ‘warm’ for up to a year until suitable jobs come up.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Recruitment and Retention conference last week, Fionna White, head of recruitment for the international food giant, said Nestle’s ‘candidate relationship management’ had in one example reduced cost-per-hire down to £700 per person, a significant saving.

“We had a case of a candidate being kept warm for a year, and when a job was finally available, we rang them up and they accepted – in effect, a 24-hour turnaround from offer to acceptance. You can’t ask for more than that,” she told Personnel Today.

White received £5,000 to recruit for a particular role – the equivalent of hiring one person through an agency – and used it to create an area of the firm’s website advertising potential positions not yet available, but likely to come up. Of 300 people who registered interest, 25 were rated ‘excellent’, and eventually seven appointments were made. “We saved the equivalent of £50,000 on agency fees, so in terms of investment, it’s a very good strategy,” she said.

The HR department’s use of websites specifically for registering interest helped prevent recruiting managers “drowning in the talent pool”, she said, and also allowed the team to get on with their day jobs.

“Even if this isn’t the future for HR globally, it has definitely changed the function of my team,” White added.

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