Wholesale Distributor Replaces On-Campus Interviews, Enhances Brand With Video Interviewing

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Background

Ferguson, the top-rated wholesale supplier of commercial and residential plumbing supplies, has almost 22,000 employees at 1,400 locations across the United States. But the company is more than plumbing. Over more than 60 years, Ferguson has grown into a diverse distributor that includes HVAC/R, waterworks and industrial, with customers throughout the US, Caribbean, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

"We are still going to all the same campuses. This wasn’t about cutting our travel costs, but about efficiency and what recruiters can do best with the time they have. This allows them to spend more time on each campus promoting our brand, and focusing on the great candidates. Not all candidates, the great ones.”

- Jennifer Lassiter, Operations Manager for Talent Management


Business Concern

Ferguson needed to meet a number of critical issues with solutions:

  • Lack of brand awareness on college campuses
  • Limited staffing and time resources
  • Need for increased efficiency among recruiting team

Every year, Ferguson undertakes an extensive campus recruiting effort to hire an entry-level group of trainees. Prior to the recession, a team of 17 recruiters and operations managers were dedicated to the task of recruiting and hiring 1,200 college graduates each year. Like many other companies in the building industry, the recession had a significant impact on Ferguson, and they reduced the number of trainees hired each year. The size of the recruiting team shrunk as well, as team members moved on to other opportunities. As Ferguson came out of the recession and started to ramp up its college graduate hiring, a recruiting team of five was now responsible not only for campus recruiting, but all experienced hires as well.

The team faced an additional obstacle – lack of brand awareness on campuses. “It’s a challenge when we hit college campuses,” said Jennifer Lassiter, operations manager for talent management at Ferguson. “Every year we have to reinvent our brand with the next round of recruits.” With limited resources, it was important that recruiters had enough time and energy to build the brand on college campuses. Finding a way to increase efficiency, leverage technology and ensure that recruiters utilized their time on activities with the most value was paramount.

"It’s a challenge when we hit college campuses...Every year we have to reinvent our brand with the next round of recruits.”

- Jennifer Lassiter, Operations Manager for Talent Management

Strategy

The team’s previous campus recruiting strategy included a phone interview with each applicant -- nearly 1,800 phone interviews each semester. With only one recruiter dedicated to campus recruiting, the old strategy needed to be updated to create efficiency and build up audience awareness of the Ferguson brand.

To improve their process, Ferguson brought in Montage's on-demand video interviewing to replace the initial phone interview. By leveraging this technology and accomplishing campus recruiting with video interviewing, Ferguson could bring a coolness factor to its campus recruiting efforts, eliminate the time involved in conducting so many interviews and give recruiters the time they needed to build the brand. The team tweaked the hiring process, ensuring that it was still high touch and focused on effective communication. Recruiters continued to reach out to candidates prior to sending them the on-demand video interviewing link, telling them what to expect. But, they also had more time to spend on activities designed to spread the Ferguson story on campus, including classroom presentation, meetings with professors and more.

The team took its learnings from its use of and success with on-demand video interviewing and added live video interviewing to replace the in-person, on-campus interview.

Montage Results

Montage’s video interviewing solution has helped Ferguson generate strategic results:

  • Completely replaced on-campus interviewing with Montage
  • Extended candidate reach and improved quality of candidates
  • Recruiters’ time freed up to focus on brand-building

The Ferguson team has completely replaced on-campus interviewing with video interviewing while expanding the reach and bringing in quality candidates for the third and final interview. “Our recruiters’ time and energy isn’t spent going from campus to campus to campus, but on the front end pushing the brand and getting people to apply,” said Lassiter. “We actually get more candidates this way, and better candidates as well.” Since bringing video interviewing on board, Ferguson has seen an increase each year in both the number of candidates that are invited to interview, as well as the number of candidates who complete the first on-demand video interview.

"We actually get more candidates this way, and better candidates as well."

- Jennifer Lassiter, Operations Manager for Talent Management

“We are still going to all the same campuses; this wasn’t about cutting our travel costs, but about efficiency and what recruiters can do best with the time they have,” said Lassiter. “This allows them to spend more time on each campus promoting our brand and focusing on the great candidates. Not all candidates, the great ones.” Ferguson has also been using video interviewing in other areas of the company, including using live video interviewing with its customer insights group, and on-demand video interviewing with internal applicants. “There are a lot of different ways to use this technology,” said Lassiter, “and we’re excited about trying them.”


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