The richest, most extensive recruitment data source requires the best search application
Hudson is one of the leading specialist recruitment and talent management companies in the world. The company employs more than 3,300 professionals, serving clients and candidates in more than 20 countries. Hudson prides itself on providing unparalleled service and value to its clients. From single placements to outsourced solutions, the diversity of Hudson’s assignments, client base and global presence has enabled the company to build the richest, most extensive recruitment data source. This is particularly true for the Australia and New Zealand–based business, which, over eleven years, has evolved a complex data repository that holds records for more than 2.6 million candidates.
FAST Search now powers ePro, Hudson’s custom-made front-office application. Previously, the search had interrogated around 20 relational database tables along with the resumé itself. While this approach was efficient to begin with, the queries slowed down considerably over time with growth in data volumes.
||Our investment in FAST Search has breathed new life into our existing data assets and has been like a shot of adrenalin for the business. This investment enables us to fully exploit the power of our sophisticated information sources in order to drive business performance.
Chief Information Officer, Hudson
“The quality of our intelligence is a major competitive advantage for us. Our strategy is to develop innovative technology in order to maximize this asset," says Atul Thapar, Chief Information Officer for Hudson.
The previous ePro search capability was felt to be unresponsive and inflexible. The architecture of the application was such that each query would scan the entire database and simply return key word hits rather than intelligent linguistic recognition. If a consultant’s query was incorrectly constructed, they might receive zero results and the system offered limited ranking capability.
When results were returned, the system simply provided a list of candidates that then needed to be laboriously clicked through individually to expose any detailed information.
“Our search capability did not match our position in the market. We were not mining our corporate data to extract its maximum value, and for this reason, we wanted to take action," says Thapar.
Hudson's Application Services and Development teams, with the support of local senior management, carried out a full review of the Enterprise Search market in order to rigorously and impartially examine the available options.
“We undertook a review of the Enterprise Search market which included a detailed examination of several leading vendors and the execution of a proof of concept, with a shortlist of three. Across our entire list of criteria, FAST proved superior to the competition,” says Thapar.
Benefits and Results
Return on investment
Having completed the implementation, the FAST Search application has received an enthusiastic response from front-line consultants. In addition, the company’s senior management has also recognized the positive impact that this investment has had on the business.
“The FAST Search application enables us to provide a superior service to our clients by enabling consultants to minimize the time it takes to effectively fill vacancies with the best available candidates,” says Thapar.
Time to fill vacancies
This industry metric is of great importance to clients who are eager to fill vacancies. The Application Management team has received feedback that the improved search facility has reduced the time it takes to fill open positions.
One example that has been given to the team was of a new consultant who, having been given an overview of the system, managed to fill three long-term vacancy positions in just four hours. This level of success will play a significant role in improving staff engagement and reducing staff turnover in an industry that is extremely competitive.
“Speed, Quality and Innovation” is one of Hudson’s strategic themes, and the Application Services and Development teams are conscious of their role in supporting and driving innovation throughout the business.
“One of the innovations our consultants have found particularly valuable in the FAST application is the ability to search across integrated structured and unstructured data. Consultants can now mine information contained in CVs and detailed interview notes alongside structured database records in a much quicker and more efficient manner,” says Thapar.
The FAST Search application has dramatically reduced the time it takes to return results. Consultants previously could expect to wait up to three minutes to receive their search results. Now, using FAST Search, they consistently receive a subsecond response. This means that while carrying out their numerous daily searches, Hudson’s consultants can expect to save minutes and even hours each day, which they can invest in securing additional placements, working with clients, or in meeting new candidates.
Hudson’s previous search facility offered very limited control over the relevancy of results. With “time to fill a vacancy” a key metric, finding the right result the first time was crucial to any investment.
“Having the ability to control and tune relevancy algorithms was an important element of our decision to buy FAST Search," says Thapar. “Being able to modify the algorithms not only improves the user experience, but also allows us to recognize and meet the needs of a variety of audiences.”
A consultant searching for an executive with a very detailed role, skills, and professional specification will have very different ranking priorities than the consultant searching for a candidate to fill an urgent temporary position.
The Application Management team wanted to recognize this difference. For example, the consultant seeking to fill an executive post may require results to be ranked according to a predefined list of companies that a candidate may have previously worked for; whereas, the results ranking for the temporary assignment is likely to be driven by the candidate’s availability. FAST Search recognizes these disparate priorities and ranks and filters results to meet the needs of different assignments.
The team now uses consultant feedback and the analytics provided within the product to further tune and enhance the relevancy models and ranking.
Improving the user experience
The Application Management team has been able to take advantage of other features of FAST Search to improve the user experience. FAST Search offers synonym suggestions when a search is executed. For example if a consultant enters the term “BA,” the system will offer options such as Bachelor of Arts, Business Analyst, or British Airways.
This contextual intelligence is also useful when a consultant’s search requires information about a candidate’s professional qualifications. If a consultant’s criterion is “Finance Degree,” the index holds a range of recognized qualifications allowing the consultant to filter the results and find the most precise match to the client’s needs.
In a fast moving and highly competitive industry, Hudson was delighted that the first phase of the implementation was successfully completed in just two months. The highly collaborative relationship between the teams at FAST and Hudson ensured the on-time delivery of the project.
The Application Management team is now investigating ways to further enhance the system through the use of additional features, such as proximity matching. By using Bing™ maps for enterprise, consultants will be able to define candidate searches by highlighting areas on a map or entering proximity radii.
“Our investment in FAST Search has breathed new life into our existing data assets and has been like a shot of adrenalin for the business. This investment enables us to fully exploit the power of our sophisticated information sources in order to drive business performance,” concludes Thapar.
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