With a respectable 26 years of HR experience under her belt, Michelle Murray describes herself as “not a recruiter by nature, I’m a recruiter by need.”
As the Senior VP for Global Human Resources at Market Force, she heads up recruitment for offices in the US, Canada and Europe. And needless to say, it's a role that brings its own unique set of challenges.
“When you’re hiring as many people as we are, it’s a chicken and egg situation—do you take time to stop and fix things so that they move faster later? Or are you too busy getting things done in the first place, you never get the chance?"
As a leader in customer experience management, Market Force serves over 250 clients, including Fortune 10 brands. Think fast-paced, high-volume recruitment. Responsible for over 600 employees, Michelle’s HR team is a lean machine of only four people (and two of them are based outside the US). So, yeah. No pressure there.
Michelle gave us an inside peek into how she uses automation to unify her team, fill more positions faster and why recruitment always needs to be a two-way street.
How did you know it was time to change your hiring system?
Working for a multinational company means I have managers all over the place — there’s one person in Canada, one here in the US and another in the UK.
The system we had when I first arrived was problematic—I had to tap everyone into it manually and we all had to have licenses. It was very expensive and not at all flexible. One time I went to use it and it just didn’t do what I wanted it to do. I knew I needed a better tool.
Breezy did exactly what I was looking for. It’s really collaborative—you can easily add somebody as a hiring manager, give them access to the job, work on that job together, see each other’s emails and know what’s going on. So, if you have a number of us working on various jobs and something happens, I can go into a job and pick it up. If one person calls in sick and another person asks, ‘What’s going on with the interviews for that day,’ I can easily pull up the job and see all the communication with the candidate. I know when interviews are scheduled and can handle it from there.
How have your hiring workflows changed?
We had a full-time recruiter and that person left and we were like 'Oh, it's OK. We're not gonna be recruiting a ton’ and then it exploded. We wouldn't have been able to manage it if we didn’t have a tool like Breezy in place.
There’s four of us for about 600 people and we’ve been recruiting a ton. So, the fact that we can do reference and screening questionnaires, like immigration questions is great. I've worked with other ATS tools, but Breezy is just better.
Also, things like automatically sending an email asking for availability for an interview help a lot. I really like the level of transparency it provides—not just within the HR team but with the hiring manager we're working with, too.
All these things make it faster and easier to make a hire. For example, there was a time when my person in Canada was swamped and I’m like ‘I’m gonna pull up and just do it.’ And it was fine because everything was there—I could easily do that thanks to Breezy.
What are your hiring goals and how do you track them?
At present, we’re hiring a lot of administrative, clerical type positions and a lot of customer service positions and then we kinda re-did our software design group, so we've been hiring a lot more as well. So, these are split up—I have a Director role I’m recruiting for that group and a Senior Developer role.
We try as a team to go through and see what postings are there. Who’s taking with which one, does anyone need help, does anyone have additional bandwidth to help—these are the kind of conversations we have.
I don’t really track time to hire as I can screen people within 48 hours of them applying and it then takes two weeks for a hiring manager to get back to me.
I do use Breezy to look up where we’re getting our applicants from to figure out where to spend recruiting dollars. In terms of advertising resources, I review what’s been successful for us and what hasn’t. I’ll look at the reporting overview—mainly to see where we’ve had peaks in applications and things like that.
What are your favorite insider tips for engaging with candidates?
I try to be personable with candidates and approach it as a conversation. So, I say it’s not an interview but rather a dialogue.
I also try to be very transparent—I say to them ‘Listen we are assessing whether or not if you’re right for us. But you're assessing us if we’re a fit for you.’ I want us to find out if there’s a mutual interest to move forward. And, that’s as much their decision as it’s mine.
It’s important to me that candidates receive communication throughout their journey. I like that they get acknowledgment when they first apply and acknowledgment, when their application, isn’t moving forward, and those two things are very important. With Breezy, if you don’t like someone for the role, you simply drag their details over, the system fires off an email and it’s all done.
What do you like best about Breezy and why?
I very rarely curse at Breezy. And I’d say others on my team would say the same.
And set-up hasn’t been difficult at all. I’d say to my managers ‘Okay, I’ve set you up, give me call and I can walk you through the system’ and they’re like ‘I don’t need you to walk me through the system, it’s so easy.’ And my hiring managers like it a because it's so easy to use and has such great visibility.
When you have lots of people all looking and working on the same platform, you know exactly what’s going on. For instance, I can just ping whoever and say, ‘Hey dude, look at this candidate.’
When your inbox is stacked and your juggling multiple jobs, easy automation and transparent communications are non-negotiables to have in your toolbox. Even more so, for a multinational company like Market Force, straddling coordination across different timezones.
If you want to work smart, you need a responsive, reactive and intelligent system. This way, winning becomes the norm, not the exception.