RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

Giving RPO a Booster Shot

MedImmune expands recruiting engagement after cutting costs by $10 million through a partial-cycle outsourced process.
By Andy Teng
Like any biopharmaceutical company, Gaithersburg, MD-based MedImmune relies heavily on its staff to discover and develop the new products that are pivotal to growth. But until just last year, the wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca spent an inordinate amount of effort on recruiting candidates for important positions, relying on hiring managers to perform the bulk of the work. That meant not only were they distracted from focusing on core activities, but they were also unintentionally placed in the recruiter’s seat as a second job.
As any HR professional who shoulders the burden of recruitment knows, screening candidates and arranging interviews can eat up enormous time, especially when specific skill sets are being sought and when dealing with a high volume of applicants. So to rely on hiring managers to sort through potentially piles of resumes for a position was hardly an efficient use of time. Not only were MedImmune managers saddled with such an overwhelming task but also the geographically dispersed footprint of the company made it difficult for HR to offer much help. The company of 3,000 employees also operated disparate processes for hiring, which further complicated the task.
And when it comes to cost per hire, the company was besieged by agency spend—understandable because hiring managers needed recruitment expertise to quickly fill openings. However, it was a costly model compared with organizations that either had centralized recruiting functions or on-site support for the managers.
“MedImmune’s recruiting process is decentralized, which requires hiring managers to take an active role in the sourcing and recruiting of their open positions talent.  Prior to initiating our RPO solution, a high percentage of hires were made through contingency agencies,” explained Max Donley, senior vice president of HR. “This process required a significant utilization of internal resources  and was inefficient, expensive and not scalable."
Donley and other HR leaders were eager to address the deficiencies of their old model and in 2008 contracted RPO provider The RightThing Inc. (RTI) to assume a partial-cycle outsourced solution to serve its North American hiring needs. Recently, that engagement has expanded to include Europe through a partnership RTI has set up with London-based Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS). The partnership now covers MedImmune’s recruitment needs in its biggest markets.
MedImmune expanded the scope of its contract after realizing that RPO, even in a partial-cycle engagement, could produce results. Under its contract, MedImmune outsources requisition creation and posting; sourcing and recruiting; phone interviews; and presenting qualified resumes to hiring managers. The company retained functions like interview scheduling and offer generation, but by offloading steps in the recruitment and screening tasks, hiring managers are able to more quickly get their needs met.
“RTI has relieved MedImmune of this burdensome effort by taking care of the sourcing and identifying of viable candidates up through the phone screen process. Hiring managers can now review prescreened resumes of only qualified candidates, which speeds the process considerably,” said Donley.
Specifically, the company reported improvements in process quality and efficiencies that were the result of RTI implementing an automated delivery model; developing a detailed reporting and metrics system for hiring mangers that provided up-to-the-minute tracking; and enhancing candidate communication through its proprietary RecruitPoint technology. Additionally, the provider has set up a passive candidate pipeline to ensure the company has access to talent in the future. These steps have led to tangible results.
Donley said the engagement has transformed the recruitment process. “Our partnership with RTI allows us to utilize state-of-the art Internet sourcing strategies and tactics. RPO applicant tracking capabilities and legal compliance practices to provide a much needed improvement to past practices,” he said. “Client relationship managers at RTI screen all candidates before submitting candidate slates to hiring managers. RTI maintains a centrally tracked database of candidates that can be used to fill MedImmune positions in the future.”
The company has expanded deal scope to include Europe, where AMS is RTI’s partner provider. Although the services are similar, MedImmune has not yet integrated the different solutions. Donley said that will likely be completed in the future since he sees clear benefits from such a move. “There are certainly synergies that could be gained by integrating the process globally, which we hope to achieve in the future. Because the current processes being administered by RTI in the U.S. and Alexander Mann in the EU are very similar in nature, it should be fairly easy to integrate and utilize both RPOs seamlessly on a global basis.”  

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