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Annie Hayes



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Case Study: E-recruitment gets Nike on track


Keyboard and hand

The Nike employer brand is extremely powerful in attracting potential talent to the business making the process of handling applications and supporting the resourcing process effectively and efficiently critical to business success; implementing e-recruitment was identified as the way to solve this businesses hiring problems.

The issue
Nike currently receives around 800 CVs each month. It has on average 100 to 120 open positions at any one time at Nike’s EMEA Headquarters (HQ) in Hilversum, the Netherlands.

These volumes used to place considerable pressure on the resourcing function to reduce the administration and lead-time in the recruiting process. Handling the inflow of applications became challenging as the regional HQ grew dramatically in size. This resulted in high numbers of CVs circulating in the business whilst the company had little capability of tracking their progress or handling enquiries from job applicants.

“We have a firm policy that each applicant is a potential employee and customer and so we must respond appropriately, in an individual letter where possible,” commented Rolien Hoogers, EMEA staffing manager at Nike.

“With only four people on the team, we were finding it increasingly hard to do that, and we were losing track of where CVs were in the company. We became concerned about how well we were protecting applicants’ personal information, and there were mistakes, such as us calling someone in for an interview who was already due to come in later that day.”

The action
These problems led Nike to review their HR processes. The assessment demonstrated that the company had to standardise its HR processes in an attempt to reduce duplication of effort.

Reducing the cost per hire and improving the overall quality of talent hired into the business were key goals. Nike felt that achieving these objectives and improving effectiveness would help to boost the company image.

Faster response times to applicants together with consistency in handling the administration associated with each appointment would lead to improved internal effectiveness and efficiency.

The solution
Jobpartners provided Nike with an e-recruitment solution, ActiveRecruiter, which has been designed to help companies manage the entire recruitment process more effectively and quickly resulting in a better relationship between the company and its candidates.

The solution was chosen by Nike as it offered flexibility and simplicity, was cost effective and could be easily integrated with the existing programmes from PeopleSoft.

A number of avenues are now open to candidates who wish to apply for jobs at Nike. External applicants can apply for specific roles or for more general speculative job opportunities directly via the Nike website.

Electronic links have also been established with external web-based recruitment organisations including Monsterboard.

Conventional resourcing processes including newspaper advertising and head-hunting , particularly for more senior positions supplement these e-methods.

Nike employees can also directly apply for jobs posted on the intranet.

The majority of applicants apply to Nike via the web site ( and can attach their resume after filling in their profile enabling line managers to review applications online. Paper copy CVs are no longer required.

ActiveRecruiter makes the first match between the job requirements and the competencies and experience of the candidate. The system then retains a pool of applicants on file, which ensures Nike has a readily available supply of CVs for open positions.

The number of CVs currently held on the database is in the region of 8500. Each registered applicant is automatically asked to update their CV every six months in order to remain active on the system.

The system is then able to search an expanding database of future interest when open positions arise. This helps to reduce the costs of recruitment. ActiveRecruiter also provides the ability to search for specific competencies when a short-listing for open positions is being run. This ensures a better quality of candidate.

The result
Hoogers comments: “Savings of around 54% in recruitment costs have been identified since the system was first introduced in July 2002, and there has been far less reliance on external recruitment and search agencies due to the ‘future interest’ database.”

From June 2003 to May 2004, a total of 556 positions were filled with 235 internal Nike candidates, 144 from the Nike database, 60 through the internal referral bonus programme, and 35 via headhunting organisations. The remainder came from job adverts and recruitment consultancy, Adecco.

The average time to fill vacancies has fallen from 62 days to 42 days. The cost per hire has also been reduced.

Nike believes that ActiveRecruiter has given a return on investment in just six months.

Lessons learnt
The three key learning points identified by Nike during the process of change management include:

  • 1.The importance of involving recruiters in the development and implementation process from an early stage.

  • 2. The benefit of ensuring that recruiters have a place in the project to help get buy-in

  • 3.The role of communication. Internal customers and users of the system have to see benefits, not just to the business as a whole, but also in terms of helping them to achieve their recruitment targets by attracting quality people with the necessary skills and attributes.

Future Trends
Nike feels that even greater potential exists in improving the quality of the overall resourcing process as ActiveRecruiter is developed further in the EMEA region.

The vision for ActiveRecruiter at Nike is for it to become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for quality recruiting. This will help ensure that increased time can be put into improving the capability of line management in interviewing techniques, and that the resourcing group can be freed up to play a more consulting and advisory role.

Nike is planning to continue to measure and improve the effectiveness of its resourcing processes, which can only enhance its employer brand in the market place.

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Annie Hayes


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