With more than 4,500 hotels spread across nearly 100 countries and more guest rooms than any other hotel company in the world, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
does its fair share of hiring, to put it mildly. In fact, the organization filled 436 corporate roles in the Americas during 2011 alone, along with hundreds of additional jobs throughout its hotel locations.
“Talent isn’t always local, which makes it necessary to provide travel arrangements for corporate candidates,” says Francene Taylor, IHG’s Director of Resourcing for the Americas. “As you can imagine, that’s an expensive proposition. We estimate that each in-person interview costs us an average of one thousand dollars when the candidate isn’t local. Plus you have to factor in the time and effort our HR people and hiring managers invest in making all of those travel arrangements and setting up the interviews. The whole process was becoming more costly and complex.”
Taylor and her team began searching for more efficient and cost-effective alternatives to in-person interviews. They immediately ruled out telephonic and recorded video interviews, however, due to their lack of immediacy. Taylor says that IHG wanted to retain the personal interaction captured during a live, face-to-face conversation. Telephone interviews only allow this interaction to a limited degree and recorded interviews eliminate it completely. So they began looking into live virtual interviewing, which uses web-based technology to host real-time interviews online.
IHG explored several free video chat products but quickly dismissed them. “The audio and video quality simply weren’t acceptable,” Taylor says. “IHG and its brands stand for quality, and that includes our employment brand. Our candidate experience needs to reflect our commitment to quality in every way.” Aside from reflecting poorly on the brand, the free options also provided no customer support and would have required candidates to download an application from the Web, which made Taylor and her company uneasy.
The Solution: Going Virtual
In late 2010, Taylor and her team found what they were looking for: GreenJobInterview’s
live virtual interviewing platform, which enables employers to conduct live interviews with job candidates worldwide via secure, browser-based technology and support services.
Taylor says that IHG was instantly impressed with the quality of the GreenJobInterview platform. “The quality was outstanding, the platform itself was extremely easy to use, and it required absolutely no infrastructure investment on our part,” she says. Equally impressive was GreenJobInterview’s commitment to providing an exceptional candidate experience, including answering candidates’ questions, helping with any technical issues and providing friendly support. “And there was no need for candidates to download software or anything like that,” Taylor points out. “In fact, GreenJobInterview will even ship a webcam to candidates who don’t have one.”
IHG initially launched a six-month pilot of the GreenJobInterview platform, using it to fill a significant number of roles spread across the company’s U.S. locations. Taylor says the pilot was a resounding success and the GreenJobInterview platform performed impeccably in one-on-one interviews as well as group settings in which multiple IHG team members interviewed a candidate together.
When the pilot was complete, IHG solicited feedback from its staff members who had used the platform. “Obviously, everyone appreciated the convenience and cost-savingsit delivered,” says Taylor. “It was a huge time-saver because it enabled our HR people and hiring managers to schedule and conduct interviews with greater efficiency—and to reschedule them when necessary. After all, it’s much easier to reschedule a virtual interview than it is to redo travel arrangements and get everybody’s schedules to line up again.”
Another aspect of the platform praised by IHG users was how it allowed them to retain a tangible level of “personal contact”—the kind that can only result from a face-to-face meeting—even though the interviewers and candidates weren’t in the same physical locations. Maintaining this personal element is extremely important when seeking talent in an industry based on guest service.
Recruiting Global Talent at a Fraction of the Cost and Effort
After the success of the pilot, IHG rolled out the GreenJobInterview solution for use throughout its Americas region and has since made it available for use in the other global regions. It is now used to hire individuals at all levels of the organization including a significant number of management positions and field-based roles such as revenue managers and regional controllers.
Taylor estimates that IHG has saved nearly $70,000 in the first three quarters of 2012 alone, thanks to the GreenJobInterview platform. “And our Senior Recruiters strongly believe in the platform’s capacity to reduce our time-to-hire, especially since it’s so easy to find an hour for a candidate and a hiring manager to meet in a virtual interview as opposed to setting up travel arrangements and coordinating schedules.”
IHG also is pleased with the feedback it has received about GreenJobInterview’s solution from the candidates themselves. “As I said, creating a quality candidate experience is particularly important to IHG, and the individuals we’ve interviewed online have told us they feel that we respect their time and their busy schedules,” says Taylor. Because candidates can plan interviews at their convenience, Taylor says it reduces their stress and enables them to attend to their other work-life obligations with minimal disruption. “That says a lot about an employer and how they treat their people.”
One unexpected benefit of using GreenJobInterview’s solution, according to Taylor, is that it made the company “look pretty cool” because it was conducting its interviews virtually. More important to IHG than projecting a hip image, however, is being a responsible business and reducing its impact on the environment —especially since it’s a global employer of literally thousands of people. GreenJobInterview has enabled IHG not only to significantly reduce its own carbon footprint but also the impact of its job candidates, who no longer need to travel to meet hiring managers for the first time.
In today's global business environment, a growing number of employers must find ways to bring talent from around the world to their doorsteps more efficiently. For IHG, virtual interviewing was the answer and GreenJobInterview's solution offered the right set of advantages: a high-quality candidate experience; significant time savings; the ability to interview individuals at a fraction of the cost; and reduced environmental impact. "We want to treat our job candidates with the same respect we treat our guests," says Taylor. "And virtual interviewing is a truly respectful way to ask candidates for their time."