Roche Diagnostics is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a leader in personalized healthcare, Roche focuses on advancing people’s lives and finding the right treatment for every patient. 70% of clinical decisions are made using diagnostic products in prevention, identification, and treatment.
In 2020, Roche was active in over 100 countries with more than 100,000 employees worldwide. Roche was also the first company to offer a COVID-19 PCR test for high-volume use. COVID-19 significantly shifted everyday life while also impacting the way Roche approached hiring.
Each year, Roche recruits interns directly from universities for a 10-week “Summer @ Roche” intern program and associates for a 2-year Accelerated Development Rotational Program. The intern program, which accepts sophomore-level students through rising seniors, targets business and STEM majors. Roche uses a project-based approach to determine the best role for candidates who make it through the final rounds.
Roche has always been committed to building rapport with students on campus. Previously, campus recruiting involved traveling to on-campus networking events where students could learn about the roles available. Roche worked with a third party to help facilitate on-campus interactions, but feedback from students showed they wanted to speak with team members directly from Roche to get a better feel for company culture.
Once candidates applied, the labor-intensive administrative work began. Recruiting teams would have to manually review applications, screen candidates, and schedule interviews. This manual process only allowed for a fraction of reviewed applications to be screened. “The process was very administrative, laborious, and tedious. We would devote time to students on campus, and logistically that was a heavy lift,” said Jamie Wright, Talent Acquisition Manager at Roche.
Roche flew each candidate to a designated location for traditional final round interviews to meet with recruiting teams. Coordinating schedules and travel costs took valuable time and disrupted candidate’s busy schedules.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing most campuses to shut down, the traditional methods for acquiring top talent had to change. Roche created a University Redesign Team to overhaul the company’s recruitment process and find a solution that worked for the new reality.
Roche and Modern Hire worked together to create a process that leveraged technology. Using technology early in the process helped to achieve long-term objectives, make hiring more efficient, and expose the Roche brand to a wider funnel of candidates.
Traditional phone screenings were replaced with On-Demand Video Interviews where candidates recorded themselves answering pre-determined questions. Hiring teams no longer had to coordinate phone calls with candidates, saving valuable time and administrative work. Candidates had the flexibility to complete their interviews at their leisure—a great option for busy students. Roche branded foyers were created for the On-Demand Video Interviews, allowing candidates to get a glimpse into company culture.
The Roche team wanted to ensure it created a personal connection, even when moving to a virtual setting. On-Demand Video Interviews allowed Roche to select a variety of employees to be featured in the interview process. Different team members recorded interview questions to ask candidates during the On-Demand Video Interview. This not only added company culture throughout the process, but also gave candidates the chance to form connections with current employees. Candidates were allowed multiple takes for each interview question, ensuring the opportunity to show off the best version of themselves and enhancing the candidate experience.
Candidate self-scheduling was also implemented for the live interview process. With this technology, hiring managers could easily coordinate with each other to form panels for interviews. Once these scheduled slots are created, candidates chose the live virtual interview time that worked best for them. The self-scheduling system removed the hassle of back-and-forth email coordination, simplifying the process. It also removed the administrative burden for the hiring teams and set teams up for success with early career hiring strategies.
“Technology was a game changer with the entire strategy we employed to hit some key milestones.” – Jaime Wright
Roche even created their own virtual hiring events. With over 100,000 employees, the alumni network runs deep. Virtual hiring allowed Roche to visit new universities and pull candidates from across the country—something that was not able to be done before due to geographical barriers.
With distance out of the equation, Roche was able to network and establish relationships with Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), greatly widening the diversity of their candidate pool. Roche began implementing intentional inclusion throughout their hiring process by connecting with universities that put an emphasis on minority students.
The first phase of implementation introduced a diverse hiring network within the company to review submissions. Roche selected a variety of employees at all different levels to help ensure the diverse candidate pool would have a diverse panel to review their applications.
With any significant change, especially technology, it can be difficult for teams to adopt. Roche’s University Redesign team found that many hiring managers were worried about the impact of the new technology on candidate experience and had hesitations about the ease of use.
Demonstrations and tutorials about using Modern Hire’s platform were provided to the recruiting teams to show how user-friendly the platform is. Hiring teams also received access to view the platform from the candidate’s perspective. This ensured those with hesitations that the platform was extremely user-friendly and provided candidates with a great experience, all while meeting—and exceeding—objectives.
“That whole experience was introduced to our extended hiring team. And I think we were great promoters of Modern Hire at that point because I saw feedback that team members wanted to use the platform more widely across the business in areas we had not explored yet,” said Brianna Peak, Accelerated Program Development Associate at Roche.
The results from Roche’s overhaul of their hiring process exceeded expectations. The most significant result was the number of candidates the recruiting teams were able to screen. In 2019, Roche reviewed over 1,800 applications and were able to screen around 300. With the Modern Hire platform, in 2020, Roche reviewed 2,000 candidates and were able to screen 600. The process was efficiently transformed, saving time for both the hiring teams and the candidates.
The virtual hiring platform gave Roche the opportunity to partner with universities they likely would not have for geographical reasons. Roche widened its candidate pool, attracting a variety of diverse candidates from across the globe. The 2021 Intern class saw 57% diversity opposed to 42% in the previous year.
The hiring process was expedited, with total time from when roles went live to onboarding being around 10 weeks. This created a much shorter selection cycle and allowed for more candidates to be screened.
Results at a Glance
- In 2019, Roche Diagnostics reviewed 1,809 applications and screened 304 candidates for 55 opportunities. During the current recruitment initiative, the Roche team reviewed more than 2,000 applications and screened more than 600 candidates. The team expected to hire 62 interns for the 2021 class.
- 57% diversity represented by Roche’s 2021 new graduate hires, compared to 43% in 2020.
- Roche’s 2021 interns represent 28 colleges and universities nationwide, including seven colleges from Indiana.
- 42% of Roche’s 2021 internship cohort are diverse students, compared to 29% in 2020.
Roche and Modern Hire were intentional around collecting feedback from students using the platform. Students left feedback comparing their experience with Roche to other hiring experiences and noted how streamlined and user-friendly they found the Modern Hire platform.
The customization of the platform allowed Roche to give their candidates the same, if not an enhanced, experience of in-person recruiting. Candidates can see and hear from more members of the team through pre-recorded interview questions as well as live video interviewing with a panel. The personal touches added to the virtual recruiting process gave candidates an inside look into company culture at Roche.
Roche will continue to provide virtual opportunities for candidates to experience the look, touch, and feel of the company culture throughout the interview process. Roche plans to continue to put the candidate in the driver’s seat during the hiring process and provide flexibility and efficiency for both candidates and recruiters.
“There is no going back. This is the way forward for Roche. We owe a huge thanks for our partners at Modern Hire who showed us the value in a platform like this that can totally streamline our processes to make it simple and sustainable.”-Brianna Peak
Modern Hire’s virtual hiring solution allows Roche to be anywhere in the world. There is no longer a geographical restriction on hiring. Roche plans to make this the standard by accepting applicants from as many universities as possible, giving visibility to students across the globe.