Manchester Conference – Kathryn Pendlebury – Q&A

Kathryn Pendlebury Strategic Talent Acquisition Partner at Sodexo, answers our audience’s most burning questions following her talk at our 2019 Manchester Conference.
Assuming you chose to invest in TribePad over other equally important tech for other talent acquisition issues. Why was scheduling/onboarding the priority?

This is an area that causes a lot of ‘noise’ from the business, I could see an immediate efficiency saving which would ultimately affect resource levels meaning we would then actually save money in the long run meaning we have more money to invest long term. This was also something I knew we could mobilise quite quickly.

Can you see data on candidates that visit the self-booking page to confirm an interview and don’t complete? Or drop off?

It is worth noting that if candidates don’t book within 48 hours we would always follow up with a phone call just in case emails haven’t been checked etc.

Do hiring managers complete the offer template or the recruiters?

If you mean the offer template in Tribepad that is the recruitment admin team, If you mean the ‘RTH Offer’ form that is completed by the hiring manager and sent to recruitment. The next stage will be to build this form into the system so the amount of information the recruitment admin team need to complete will reduce further.

If you’re moving forward with more automation, when do you introduce the personal person2person touch points to add to your candidate experience/journey?

In all honesty, for the majority of our roles it is mainly at interview, for some roles there will have been a telephone screen but not all roles. We use candidate nurturing within Tribepad which is automated but can open up dialogue with a candidate if needed

What about candidates who are not comfortable using technology?

I would question if we want them to join our business. In all roles within Sodexo there is an element of technology so I would be concerned that somebody is not comfortable using technology, they will also have used this platform to apply for the position so the navigation etc will be familiar. If it was a genuine reason as to why a candidate couldn’t/wouldn’t use the platform we would issue the offer letter and contract using the old process. I don’t feel the technology is particularly challenging to use so I would encourage the person to use the platform and would ask the support team to talk them through it over the phone – may sound harsh but I think everyone expects to use technology these days….

Do you think the reliance on tech and lack of human interaction e.g. offer calls removes some of the positive human sides of recruiting/getting a new job?

I do yes however, I think if we free up time by using automation for some areas it will actually mean we have more time to have conversations and positive interactions in the long run.

What was the justification (costs) for introducing an onboarding system? Which measures are you expecting to see improvements in?

A lot of the justification was around the business as we get a lot of complaints about the current process so that started the journey of this project, the main measures are reduction in time of – offer being produced, offer being returned, candidate being set up onto the payroll system. If all these time frames improve- I will be happy!

In terms of digitally accepting a contract how do you record that should you need to refer back to it?

It is recorded using IP address, date, time and device used – basically like what happens when you complete your car insurance; this is all downloadable.

What happens if and when systems fail you or your candidates are not computer literate?

We would always have the current process to fall back on as we would still keep contracts and offer letters in word/PDF format.

Can you set up group assessment centres and have multiple candidates book for one full day?


Has your pre-boarding changed the decline rate? Do candidates still decline after they have accepted electronically?

We haven’t launched it yet so I can’t comment, personally it is very rare that we have a candidate decline our offer after verbally accepting, I do know that originally Tribepad had the option to decline an offer or request changes to offer – we made the decision not to use this functionality however it is available.

What made you pick Tribepad over other suppliers?

They supply our current ATS and we have a great working relationship, Tribepad understand the complexities within Sodexo and in all honesty never say “it can’t be done” no matter what challenge we throw at them they come up with options, they are also really receptive to feedback and like to work with us to develop better candidate, manager and recruiter experiences. We did not engage with any other suppliers with this project.

How do you work to not deter candidates that aren’t “tech- savvy” ?

I think it is all about being careful with the wording of emails so candidates know that they call you if they prefer. I think I have answered this above as well

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