Streamlining the hiring process

HR services call centres are not new but a call centre dedicated purely to
the recruitment process is still a little more novel. DIY store giant B&Q,
known for its commitment to diversity when it comes to staffing, is crediting
its Recruitment Response Centre (RRC) in Tannochside, Glasgow, with not only
saving time and money but also leading to greater staff suitability and
stability. This is not due to just the bricks and mortar, it is also because of
a streamlined intranet-based recruitment system that it has in place.

B&Q has more than 25,000 employees and expects this figure to rise to
28,000 within the next year. To speed-up and streamline the recruitment
process, it leased a fully functional and maintained call centre from hosting
specialist Port@l.

It meant B&Q did not have to invest heavily in buildings and equipment
or the ongoing cost of replacement and updating, explains centre manager, Ella
Harkins: "In addition, we get only one annual bill for services, IT and
telephony instead of half a dozen, which makes budgeting far easier."

The RRC now handles all B&Q’s shop floor staffing requirements and last
year recruited over 6,000 personnel.

Jobs are advertised through the usual channels and when an individual
applies, personal details are collected and logged at the call centre. The
candidate is given a freephone and PIN number for the next stage – a
52-question telephone interview with a call centre employee, designed to assess
suitability for the job and cultural fit with B&Q.

Successful candidates are contacted by letter and then complete a form for
scanning into the recruitment database.

Branches can then view applications via their intranet. "They only see
certain details about the person so they are only making a judgement on
suitability, skills and experience, not factors like age or gender,"
explains Graham Ferguson, assistant manager at the centre. This is of course
important in the light of B&Q’s employment practices, such as its over 50s

Ferguson, who was involved in the design of the system, claims it removes
nearly all the administration work and allows them to focus on getting the
right people. It also makes it easier to monitor recruitment advertising and
identify where and in what medium its recruitment adverts are most effective.
The system is straightforward to use and B&Q is also designing a 30-minute
e-learning programme to teach managers how to use it. By November, it should
also be possible to conduct the telephone interview online.

"The new centre reduces the number of candidates that stores have to
interview – on average they now see three, rather than up to 20 in the past.
Furthermore, centralised administration ensures consistency and quality,"
says Harkins.

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