Interview with Jethro DiMeo – How applicant tracking system was chosen in Gebauer & Griller

Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?

My name is Jethro DiMeo and I am leading the global Talent Acquisition & Employer Brand function at Gebauer & Griller (GG), a premier global manufacturer of automotive, elevator and industrial technological solutions. We are one of the leading suppliers of electric cables and cable harnesses, as well as wires and alloys headquartered in Vienna, Austria where I am based. We employ over 4500 employees across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

You have a quite recent experience with selecting an applicant tracking system for your organization. Could you give us some insight into the selection process?

I’ve actually joined GG at a very exciting time, when the organization was just about to begin their HR digital transformation journey. I was of course tasked with digitalizing our recruitment & onboarding processes. I started with building the project foundations, which included analyzing the needs of our internal & external stakeholders. Afterwards I worked on due diligence to see what exactly we already have in place, how is the recruiting team working, how do the processes differ from one location to another and started mapping the external vendor market to see which potential vendors could be a possible fit for our needs and expectations.

Since this was the first time our organization has decided to invest a significant amount of resources into digitalizing our processes, not only within the HR function, it was important to build up a proper business case by truly understanding the market and do the evaluations properly to support our final decision. This is why I have longlisted 45 different ATS vendors, with all of whom I have had a first prospect call to check their functionalities and create a touch point analysis between what they offer and what we need.

I have created an evaluation sheet with 10 main evaluation criteria and over 70 sub criteria which I evaluated system by system in order to be able to make the best possible shortlist for our company. The main criteria I’ve identified were stability & reputation, implementation, ongoing support, pricing & flexibility, applicant attraction, user/candidate experience, applicant management, requisition management, analytics and security, which is crucial to our business as an automotive supplier, which has to adhere to complex security standards and regulations which our organization takes extremely seriously.

This is where I’ve completed the shortlist of the top 8 vendors, with which I’ve done a live demo. Once I’ve evaluated the shortlist, I’ve sent the top 8 shortlisted vendors to our IT & Chief Information Security Officer for a compatibility & security test. Four of those vendors successfully passed and were invited for a final round of demos at our global headquarters in Vienna.

For the round of presentations I invited several recruiters, HR Business Partners, Hiring Managers, IT, Legal, Marketing & of course my manager, our Global Head of HR / CHRO to join us in order to get some feedback and opinions from our internal stakeholders and future key users. After the final demos, each participant was asked to fill out a vendor evaluation survey. The results of these surveys greatly contributed to making our final decision between the top four vendors.

What organizations should consider getting or changing the applicant tracking system?

Technology is exploding across all areas of our lives at the moment – driving exciting new ways of working. With that being said, any organization that is hiring people should have some sort of an applicant tracking system. Organizations that are growing or transforming and discover their current system isn’t sufficient, isn’t compliant or isn’t able to keep the pace with their change should be reevaluated and possible changed.

What are some key features you appreciate the most in an ATS?

To be honest, I prefer talking about a Talent Acquisition platform rather than a stand-alone applicant tracking system. For me a talent acquisition platform is the ideal solution, because it doesn’t include only an ATS, but also a CRM (candidate-relationship management) and ideally an expanded marketplace of possible third party integrations.

A good talent acquisition platform should not only manage every step of the recruitment process, but also provide a personalized, engaging and measurable user experience. It should further help us improve the candidate experience, enhance our direct sourcing strategy, enable us to utilize video, visual and social media in our recruitment process, increate the return on investment of our recruitment advertising spending, optimize the ATS and our processes, implement a digital referencing strategy, build great onboarding experiences and of course offer rich recruitment analytics.

This is why we decided to go with TalentLink by SABA-Lumesse, which offers intuitive user experiences,  multi-device flexibility and a consumer-led design. Our recruiters can create jobs in just a few clicks. Easily view, track and manage all recruitment activity in one place and communicate individually and directly with each candidate. We are able to organize and manage interviews in TalentLink through an Outlook integration, which is a great time saver!

What I personally really enjoy is the ability to monitor our recruiting performance with consumable and configurable reports, which are really easy to use. Thanks to TalentLink we’re able to bring our offline recruiting online through CV scanning, by capturing and parsing CV data directly from our mobile devices.

I could go on and on about the various features which I appreciate the most, ranging from multiposting, sourcing to predictive analytics, however what I truly enjoy about our system is that it emphasizes team collaboration, insight-based decision making and is optimized to be worked on any device, at any time.

What were some key learnings for you, when you were selecting a provider of ATS system? What do you find important in terms of the profile of the provider?  

Mutual trust – sales representatives will always try to sell you miracles, but don’t believe it until you see it firsthand. Find a  counterpart that you can trust to be honest with you, who recognized that you are potentially in it together for the long run and this will be only achieved if you have trust for one another. Also, involve your internal stakeholders, especially IT/Security and Purchasing as early in the process as possible in order to present a united front and run your project course smoothly.

And the last question, what is your favorite quote?

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Henry Ford


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