When you rent a car, do you think about the brand that provides it to you? Or do you just go for which ever desk has a decent car within your price range? Imagine if you’re considering working for a rental car company, what makes them different?
Tell us about Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and what you do there?
Well, the names gives it away. 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. So there’s a lot of diversity in the products that we’re offering to customers at the moment.
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. I started as a management trainee in Loughborough, and was the first in my family to go to university, grew up in a pub and then have been able to do four or five different jobs within Enterprise. And now, 15 years later I’m a director working, bringing in the best and brightest talents.
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. So there are two key things that we really make sure that are helping us to get that right talent in initially, we’ve got the right talent within the business in order for them to get promoted, and work their way up to, you know, senior levels within the business.
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. So that’s something that we knew from the onset, that we need to find people that have a passion about service, and in fact, that is linked to promotion, so you can’t get promoted unless you have a customer-service score that is above a certain line. I mean you’ve got to be clear on what your objectives are, what training development you’re going to have in place when you do bring the employees in. It really is going out and, I think one of the challenges or so that I didn’t touch on before is, people think that to join us as a business you have to have studied business, or have a business-related degree and it’s just about being very open, very clear about, you know, we know that top talent comes from anywhere, so don’t really limit the talent pool that you’re going out searching for.
So that piece also with very transparent about everything that we do, about our recruitment process, on our website there’s as much information as you can possible 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 made 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. And we say that in which we learn from was really turning that talent acquisition piece around from that administrative function into a more sales piece. Because our talent acquisition team is the first point-of-contact for a lot of people with Enterprise Rent-A-Car if they’ve never used us as a consumer. So it’s really making sure that we have the right people coming in those positions to be going out and selling our opportunities in the business.
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.
But we know that we can’t just go out and post stuff and job opportunities and things like that on the social media sites, it’s really about building a community, it’s about having two-way conversations with them, thanking people for posting stuff or sharing stuff and making sure that it is interactive. And we’ve just learned that people take more and more want it to be real and we’ve just done a recent video which was done through SnapChat. And it just seems more authentic, it seems more believable, because one of our employees did it himself rather than something that has that corporate feel about it.
So we’re trying those different routes to see if that can help and we’ve seen a lot of change, I think over the past couple of years. Especially within the world of recruitment and you know blogging is big. Using different, not necessarily celebrities or celebrity endorsements, but trying to reach out to people who have got great YouTube channels or lots of subscribers that students are following or related to, and using them as part of your marketing tool. Which we haven’t done yet but you’ve seen companies like Nestle do that part successfully as well.
— Enterprise Jobs (@ERAC_Jobs) October 5, 2016
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.
And then for me personally, I talk a lot about when somebody goes to university, that they’re the first in their family to have gone to university, you don’t always necessarily understand the rules or how it works or what do you do when you graduate. How do you get a job? And we do a lot of work in that social ability field as well. So work, we have hired from over 100 different universities. We really don’t narrow our target of universities to 15 or 20, we believe that top talent goes to everyone, so we’ve done a lot of work there.
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. So there’s two things there that I’m really, really proud of that we do and the reason that we’re able to do that and have successes is that we’ve recently surveyed, every year we survey our senior leadership team within Enterprise and over 50% were the first in their family to go to university so they’re able to talk about it and people new into the business or people that we’re trying to attract into the business see that we don’t just talk about it. We’ve actually got real life examples and when they come into the business that’s a great way to start mentoring, working, etc., and I’m particularly proud of that whole piece that we’ve done around Social Mobility.
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.
How do you work with employer review sites like Glassdoor?
I like to keep an eye on Glassdoor. It’s the TripAdvisor of recruitment, so you need to make sure that you are keeping an eye on it and using it. For us, it’s about making sure that it is transparent, it is getting a balanced approach to what people like or, you know not everyone’s going to have a great time with their employer, so you are going to find negativity about it but you can’t hide from that. You’ve got to be upfront, you’ve got, to be honest, so we do a lot of work ensuring that we’re keeping up-to-date. And I think Glassdoor is very, very big in the U.S. and we are a U.S.-based company so I think we’re maybe two or three years ahead of what the rest of Europe is with regards to Glassdoor but it is growing so we feel that we’re a bit ahead of the game, we’ve been working with Glassdoor for a couple of years to be honest with you. And so that scenario, if people are job-hunting and rightly so they should be looking at different review sites to see what people think.
There’s another review site called RateMyPlacement, I call it the Bible for interns and placements and again, it’s making sure that you have your employees go on there, whether they’ve had a good experience, bad experience, just to really highlight what is good. Because I think if you go out there and you paint everything as being amazing and brilliant and it’s the best company to work for ever, it is to some people. But to everybody, it’s not, I mean my first job wasn’t the best thing for me. You’ve just got to make sure that when they come into the business they’re not getting any surprises or any shocks and things like that so that’s when I go back to really being transparent and be that face-to-face or be that online or through your website, and I think that’s a great way to do that.
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 just hired a new digital recruitment manager into our business, that’s the first time that we’ve done that, and that’s really exciting for us cause he’s come from a very consumer-based background within digital, so it’s about really looking at our website and treating it as more of a consumer site, so what is the candidate’s journey. Where do they drop off, which pages do they start visiting, where do they come from, where do they go to next, what do they think of our website, so asking them questions. Why did they not continue with an application, why did they choose to start it but not finish it. So that’s something that we’re really excited to be looking at, and I think there’s a lot out there on the back-end, and a lot of employers are now starting to look at this in terms of there’s a lot of candidates that will start an application but never actually finish it, and it’s that application a bit and it’s a great pool of talent, that we’re maybe not going out and utilizing and following up with enough, so that’s something that we’re really working hard on, so to make sure that people who do start the application process, we’re giving them enough opportunity to finish that.
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. You really can’t wait two months to get back to somebody and we need to be treating it, as they would expect to as they would when they’re a consumer. So that’s something we’re looking at as well. And also making sure that when candidates are coming into the business and joining as an employee, we have got the data, we’ve got the iPads, we’ve got stuff that they’re able to use and it’s not antiquated. So it’s really making sure that the technology that our business has then and they’ve got that when they join us as well.
What brands inspire you on digital?
Well, a personal inspiration is the Leicester City brand as we were primary champions last year. Apart from that, there’s a couple actually, as it primarily industry based and I’ve seen them over time. Skoda is a brand that I think is very interesting, I think, because when I was growing up, it was very much a brand that was associated with maybe our older generation of drivers. And I think over time it’s really become quite a credible manufacturer and a car that actually people are quite really proud of driving today. And also Sky is a brand, I really think they revolutionized and changed the face of sports and I really like what they do around bringing in talent from a young age into their business.
Follow Ashley on Twitter @gradu8recruiter.