Ascena Retail Group was building a shared services center and needed to hire 28 professionals in 60 days. The Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) – Laura was charged with saving the company $90 Million by the CFO. To hit this target, she needed 28 professionals (Analysts to VP level) who fit both technically and culturally and could hit the ground running. The HR team insisted they could complete this project, with no problem.
The Shift to Expert Recruitment Strategies:
Thirty days into the project to Laura’s dismay there were not any candidates presented that met her requirements. She inquired with HR to learn they had done what they always do, post the positions online and wait for applicants.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Laura knew there was a much faster and better way to acquire the top-tier talent she needed and reached out to ASCENT Select for insight on how we would propose completing this project with great talent quickly that met her requirements. After a discovery conversation to learn exactly what Laura was looking for and to share with more info on our innovative, holistic search strategy, focus on quality not quantify, and candidate evaluation processes, Ascena Retail engaged ASCENT Select to complete this project.
ASCENT Selects search had a multi-pronged search approach:
- In-Person Meeting: On our dime, we met with Laura and her current team in Columbus, OH. Boots on the ground helped us be a champion of the company and quickly sell the opportunity.
- Discovery Conversation: Following the “Diagnosis before Rx” methodology, we conducted an in-depth Q&A session with Laura on each role to include our proprietary 22 questions on technical and cultural fit beyond the standard job description.
- Cultural Ambassadors: Instead of simply filling roles based on skill and subjecting the stakeholders to make hiring decisions based on a “gut” feel, ASCENT Select set out to find ‘cultural ambassadors’ – individuals who not only had the required skills but also resonated with the company’s values, and team culture. This also sped up the interview and hiring process.
- Curated Talent Pipeline: Utilizing our talent pipeline we identified 200 professionals we believed would be interested in the role. Those who were not interested referred other high performers to us to contact.
- Multiple Reach Outs: Most recruiters only make 2-3 attempts to talk to prospective candidates. We made up to 7 attempts to reach our list of 200 via phone, text, and email – upwards of 1400 total attempts. This resulted in a bevy of candidates.
- People Hire People (PHP): Unique to ASCENT Select, we believe people hire people, not paper. We put all the candidates through our proprietary system of extensive evaluations including 1-2 hours of interviews with video, verbal and written evaluations, and other processes to ensure the candidates presented would be a great fit both technically and culturally.
- Restaurant Hours: We worked our standard 8 a.m. to 11 pm EST Monday through Friday. Sundays as well.
Twenty-eight positions were hired in under sixty days. ASCENT Select placed exemplary professionals who not only fit technically but aligned culturally. The shared services center was built in record time and the team went on to save more than $100 M. Now that is a cost savings! The team worked like a well-oiled machine, was extremely loyal to their boss (Laura), and the shared services center was the envy of the entire company.
Relying on human resources to recruit salaried positions in many instances is wasting time and money. No disrespect to HR but their primary responsibility is not recruiting. They are specialists in compliance, new employee onboarding, helping leaders manage team members, evaluating insurance, and many other important value-added services to the company but not recruiting.
Using job boards is a one-pronged approach to recruiting and while they have a vast reach pulling in a plethora of applicants, they often lure a mixed bag of candidates, many of whom lack the specific expertise or cultural alignment an organization needs. Sifting through this avalanche of CVs to unearth a suitable candidate is not just daunting; it’s tremendously time-consuming and is why Ascena Retails HR / Talent Acquisition team was not progressing quickly enough for Laura.
Furthermore, these applicants are typically funneled through an applicant tracking system (ATS) and sifted out based on keyword matches to the position which despite it being somewhat automated can be a daunting and time-consuming task in its own right. When they find a match, they have a quick phone interview and then pass the candidate on to the hiring manager. I admit that a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while, but at what cost?
Hiring a recruitment firm can actually be a cost savings – How so? The Cost of Vacancy (COV) includes lost productivity and/or revenue, employee overtime for others asked to do the work while a position remains open, cost of you and your peers taking time out of your daily schedules to interview unqualified or subpar candidates, costs associated with travel expenses for bringing candidates in for in-person interviews, employee morale decreases, and you may have turnover.
Laura’s story underlines the profound impact the right recruitment firm and strategy can play a crucial role in helping a company or department secure substantial savings by circumventing time to hire top-tier high performing team members whether one at a time or multiple people. A “boutique” firm ASCENT Select who did what’s right, not what’s easy to get this project done on time and under budget. We created a trusted search partnership based on a flat fee and is rarely the case with most other recruiting firms who focus on a % fee they get for each placement.
Recruitment firms such as ASCENT Select have one job, talking to people all day and that is why we can make 1400 attempts to talk to passive, high-performing professionals who are not actively applying to job postings. For businesses navigating talent acquisition and strategy, wanting to build high-performing teams and future-proof their organizations, hiring an innovative, high-touch recruitment firm will enable your company to experience exceptional growth and results.