Ferguson, the top-rated wholesale supplier of commercial and residential plumbing supplies, has almost 27,000 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.
Each fall and spring, Ferguson undertakes an extensive campus recruiting effort to hire entry-level trainees. For years the company’s lean recruiting team faced a lack of brand awareness on campus, but recently, high candidate volume has become the challenge. “We have so many applicants we’re bogged down trying to get them through the process,” said Jamie Forte, College Recruiting Team Lead at Ferguson. “In the past, we were lenient on screening, tried to make it as simple and smooth as possible, not make it too hard for candidates, then do phone interviews to dive in deeper. We don’t have that kind of time anymore. With three times as many applicants, our goal now is to have a great candidate experience but reduce candidate volume to where our recruiters can keep up.”
Finding a way to engage more efficiently with candidates, leverage technology, and ensure that recruiters spend more of their time with qualified candidates was paramount
“With three times as many applicants, our goal now is to have a great candidate experience but reduce candidate volume to where our recruiters can keep up.” – Jamie Forte, College Recruiting Team Lead, Ferguson
Ferguson’s previous campus recruiting strategy included phone interviews with about 1,800 applicants each semester. To adapt to the changing campus recruiting environment, the team transformed its process – and its candidate experience – with Modern Hire’s singlesolution platform. It replaced the in-person, on-campus interviewing portion of its process entirely with ondemand text and on-demand video interviews.
“Our initial goal with text interviewing was to gather information we’d normally get from candidates via email in order to cut down on our manual work,” said Forte. “We’ve taken it to the next level by incorporating true interview questions to better evaluate candidates in the first round. We also ask which division of Ferguson they’re most interested in to help candidates know what all we do. We ask what stands out to them about our culture in two sentences or less so we can understand what candidates want and what makes them tick. We also ask about salary expectations and start date. With text interviews, we can efficiently identify candidates that we should not move forward.”
Qualified candidates are invited to complete an ondemand video interview, and those moving forward use Modern Hire’s automated scheduling to self-schedule a live voice interview. Recruiters can dive deeper in these phone screens, and record the interviews in the platform. From there, final candidates are invited to a day of live interviews at a regional Ferguson location, which the team holds once each semester. Since Ferguson pays to fly the candidates in, it’s extremely important that the right candidates are there.
Efficiency became a key advantage of Ferguson’s new process, which now handles about triple the candidate volume, and significantly reduces recruiters’ time spent on interview scheduling. Ferguson’s team has doubled the number of phone interviews they do and are confident they’re engaging with highly qualified candidates. While the team has always had success in bringing in quality candidates and achieving offer rates in the mid-90s, with Modern Hire, it’s faster and easier to meet those goals.
“We are still going to all the same campuses,” said Forte. “Modernizing our process was about efficiency and what recruiters can do best with the time they have. Modern Hire allows us to spend more time on each campus promoting our brand and focusing on the great candidates. Not all candidates, the great ones. Our goal is to continue to reduce the number of candidates in each stage of the funnel so we’re only moving the right, qualified candidates forward.”