Consider this. When making a decision about renting a car, it’s safe to say most customers will likely buy on price (and we can’t blame them). However, when a number of companies are offering the same discounts and packages, other variables inevitably come into play – things like customer reviews, previous experiences, online journey… the list goes on. It’s not enough to simply advertise the product.
This same idea applies to people choosing where they want to work. Where there are job descriptions with similar salaries floating about, an organisation’s employer branding is what will set them apart and win them the candidate.
Tell us about Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and what you do there?
I am the Director for Talent Acquisition here at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, we see ourselves as the world’s largest vehicle rental company and in the UK we see ourselves as one of the leading mobility providers so there’s a little bit more to us than just renting, going in, wanting a car for the weekend so you can, if you want to, rent an electric car for the hour, you could hire a Maserati for the day, or if you needed one you could hire a refrigerated van for a year.
What are your objectives and challenges?
Yes, so for the talent acquisition, one of the things that we really want is to making sure, like most companies, we’re hiring the brightest and the best. We’re slightly different to a lot of businesses because over 90% of our promotions actually come from within.
So from that, you can probably gather that it’s vital that we do bring in the right talent initially into the business, because they’re going to be the future business leaders down the line, so we need to make sure that we’re getting that right talent and we’re looking in the right places for that talent. One of our public key strategic initiatives that we do have is, a lot of what we do at universities and on campus is really building these relationships up with the universities to make sure that we’re getting the opportunities to speak to and talent spot on campus and then we’ll start with a really successful employer referral program as well which brings in over 35% of our hiring actually.
What is the key to effective talent acquisition in the rental car business?
I think for us it’s really understanding what is success in the business, so what does make, you know, a successful employee. Really understanding what competencies you’re looking for at the onset. We’re very, very customer-service driven so it’s really important for us to find people that can deliver the right customer service to our customers.
We also endeavour to be very transparent about everything that we do regarding our recruitment process; on our website there’s as much information as you can possibly find about Enterprise, and ensuring that you’ve got good stories to tell, I think is really important. So because of that, we do get in front of people, we do try to sell that way, so it’s about having really good stories about success within your business and what that looks like. And employees that are able to talk about their own success and career path as well.
What lessons have you learned the hard way?
I’ve got plenty of personal mistakes that I’ve made. One mistake that we’ve looked at maybe five or six years ago I think, we treated talent acquisitions as a little bit as an administrative function and they were just looking at processing people through the system.
But over the last five or six years since I’ve been in this position, I’ve really worked with the business to ensure that people see talent acquisition as very much as a sales role, and we are constantly selling to both candidates, to universities as well as selling to our own employees in the business about our candidates that we’re bringing through the process.
What digital channels are most important to Enterprise?
We are very active on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn. We’re doing a bit around Instagram as well, we just started doing some stuff with Snapchat, so we do try a lot of, we know candidates are looking at a lot of very different places where they can find information about Enterprise so you really need to be there and make sure our brand is consistent across all of those different channels but Twitter is one where we do get a lot of good engagement.
As I say, I think five, six years ago there was always that reticence from your own employees to be sharing information, sharing success stories on Facebook, but yesterday we had a great event at our office and every employee was really proud about sharing that post on Facebook, which was great to see, because that in turn then will help from an employee referral standpoint.
I think we’re using LinkedIn both to really search for candidates and find candidates that could come in and work certain positions in the business as well as using it as a branding tool, as a branding exercise. And everything that we do is all linked back to our graduate recruitment site as well. So that we see as our hub and that’s where we really host and hone all of our different blogs, career path stories, anything that we’ve done, it all sort of drives people back to that hub on our website. And we’ve seen a lot of success from that.
What campaigns are you especially proud of?
I know that I’m personally quite proud of a lot of the work that we do around diversity. I think that we’ve really like I said earlier, it is a brand that would not normally attract, I don’t think, a diverse audience all the time. So we’ve done a lot of work around female attraction, we do a lot of work around LGBT, so some of the work we’ve done around the Pride events. We were involved in National Student Pride this year. We’re also involved heavily in different initiatives around disability.
We’ve worked within the Social Mobility Foundation and we’ve been really lucky to have won two awards for advancement in Social Mobility within graduate recruitment.
What’s the ROI on digital for Enterprise?
Okay, so in terms of digital stuff that we’ve done, we’ve been successful and we’ve won awards for some of the social media work that we’ve done and for example, we were one of the first companies to really start using our own website as its hub for blogging. One of our blog posts which was about the great questions to ask, was still one of our most popular posts that we’ve done out there and little things that I think around interview questions, we’ve appeared on the first page of Google when people were doing the search around interview questioning and for an employer to be on that first page is a massive accomplishment and we were ahead of a lot of graduate job websites and information boards and things like that.
So definitely the work we’ve done around our SEO work and had a similar experience with assessment tips and when you Googled a well-known employer for assessment answers, our blog appeared on the top two of Google because it was that popular. So we’ve seen some really nice success with that piece, so that’s something else that I’m particularly proud of when it comes to the work of our blogging and hosting of our blogs on our website.
What technology do you use for talent acquisition?
We do have an ATS which we use, which is iCIMS, an American-based one but the data that we get, as well as being great for the candidates is also great for us as a business. The data that we can pull from that is really beneficial to us, it works really well with our website, so it’s really a two-way thing which works hand-in-hand.
We also have a really great data-capture app, which works through SEO, which works through events that we’re doing on campus, which let’s us not only capture that detail but rather than just sending out a general box-standard email we’re really able to tailor and make it personal so that’s one thing that we’ve learned over the past couple of years. We did a campaign around personalizing emails and making sure that the information that we’re actually delivering to future candidates is relevant to them so it not just sending them out a blog on internships when they’ve actually graduated. So that’s something that we’ve really worked hard on.
We’re trying to integrate text messaging and WhatsApp system into our ATS as well, you know as good as email communication is, there’s a lot more immediacy around what students and candidates want so you know, they’re used to going on to ASOS, purchasing something at midnight and it being delivered at 8am in the morning and they’re wanting the same things when it comes to their job applications.
Follow Ashley on Twitter @gradu8recruiter.