Hire and higher

Luxury goods retailer, Paris Gallery will have to recruit nearly 100 people a month to meet its growth target over the next few years. It is a task it can no longer do manually if it is to control recruitment costs and hire the right people. ACN reports.

  • E-Mail
By  Colin Edwards Published  March 5, 2006

|~|elali200.jpg|~|El-Ali: One of the problems faced was that not everyone has internet access.|~|Paris Gallery expects to double its staff complement from 3,000 to 6,000 over the next three to four years. During that time the company plans to open another 40 retail outlets within its existing UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia base as well as move into Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman.

"It became increasingly clear that the business needed cutting edge systems and solutions to attract and retain high quality employees to drive Paris Gallery's growth and to maintain their quality positioning in the market," says Mark Van Reeth, group GM - human resources, Paris Gallery and Alfahim Enterprises.

The company opted eight months ago to use a talent management system from Sniperhire running on a Web-based hosted system at Dubai-based The Hiring Solutions Company. This allows applicants to apply for a vacancy online.

While such a system sounds a simple one - and is for the job seeker according to Paris Gallery - the benefits the company derives from the solution are sophisticated and directly impact the bottom line in terms of productivity gains within the HR department and reduced costs. The indirect benefits include better management of the entire recruitment process and access to a broader range of applicants. These are what make the use of Sniperhire ATS so worthwhile, says Dina El-Ali, HR generalist at Paris Gallery.

"We get thousands of applications a month. Everything was manual and took a lot of effort. We were losing good people because of things like bad faxes and especially poorly transmitted black and white photographs," she says.

To help hiring managers 'weed out' unqualified resumes, Sniperhire utilises software tools to focus in on qualified applicants. For every profile that enters the system, Sniperhire calculates on a percentile basis how well the candidate matches a given job and its specific criteria. Recruiters can then construct profile based searches to process more resumes in less time and with a greater degree of accuracy.

Today, all recruitment at Paris Gallery is online. Application acknowledgments that took time to process are now generated automatically with a professional letter sent to the applicant; pre-screening that once took days in terms of scanning applications and follow-ups now takes seconds based on suitability scores generated by the system; applicants are sourced globally without the expense of advertising or contracting employment agencies; and, whereas previously it was difficult to find applicants for whom there might not have been an immediate vacancy, today all applications are kept in the database and can be retrieved easily should a suitable vacancy arise.

"It makes a big difference to our recruitment team in terms of the pre-selection process. Instead of us spending time and effort scanning applications and talking to them on the phone - and then often ending up with the wrong candidate - we're able to process applications quickly," adds El-Ali.||**|||~|jajeh200.jpg|~|Jajeh: Being a hosted system meant Paris Gallery did not have to invest in new hardware.|~|While this is a direct business benefit, the company is getting much more from the system in terms of reports and is likely to get even more as the system is integrated with Paris Gallery's core systems and an internal job application processing capability is deployed.

This Internal Mobility Platform for internal use is currently under development and will be installed once the company has deployed its intranet. Once implemented any vacancy will first be posted on the intranet with applications processed online as with the external system. The vacancy will not be advertised externally until existing staff has been considered.

"Our aim is to increase the retention rates of the star performers we already employ," says Van Reeth.

As far as reports are concerned, the system allows HR staff to drill down into key data. Basic core reports include statistics on aspects such as the number of applications over a period, how long individual members of the recruitment team take to process an application or how long it takes to close a vacancy.

However managers can drill down and get key data such as the gender break-down of applicants the areas in the region and globally they come from, the effectiveness of advertisements and recruitment agencies in generating good qualified applicants and which departments within the company are experiencing high staff turnovers.

Being a hosted system meant that Paris Gallery did not have to invest in new hardware and infrasturcture. It was easy to deploy Sniperhire as the entire infrastructure was being hosted by The Hiring Solution Company, according to Tarek Jajeh, web developer, Paris Gallery, who is involved in the development of the company's intranet and future integration needs.

"There was no need to make any changes to our own hardware and software infrastructure and yet it's still very easy to integrate with our core systems in the future. It has web services, XML and very advanced technologies compared to other systems we looked at," he says.

The Sniperhire database also stores candidate resumes, interview notes, and manager records, so that in the event of a member of the team leaving or away sick, another member of the team is able to take up the application and continue to process it.

While the system is said to be simple from both the applicant's and the recruiter's perspective, making the change from manual to automatic was not an overnight process. One of the problems was that not everyone has internet access so the company had to let potential candidates know they could use internet cafes.

It was also important to ensure the application form was easy to complete. It now takes less than 10 minutes even for first-timers.

"I've had to evaluate the system and while there is room for development, overall it's a good system. Of course, no system will ever be perfect. In some way it will need to be customised and changes made in terms of technologies or the needs of the candidate or business. The good thing about Sniperhire is that they are flexible. They ask for suggestions and they accept suggestions and implement what they can," El-Ali says.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code