ACCO automates hiring process with iCIMS talent acquisition software

Global manufacturer ACCO Brands has leveraged iCIMS' talent acquisition software to improve its hiring process.

It's no secret that any manufacturing operation is only as strong as its employees and that hiring the best and brightest is of the utmost importance. The value of reliable and flexible talent acquisition has become clear to ACCO Brands Corp., a large global manufacturer of office supplies including Mead, Swingline and Five Star brand products. But its long experience also shows why merely selecting talent acquisition software isn't enough; manufacturers must be willing to fully cut the cord of a paper-based hiring process.

ACCO has been an iCIMS -- or Internet Collaborative Information Management System -- user for more than a decade, first purchasing the talent acquisition suite in 2002. When Irma Long, director of global talent acquisition, joined ACCO in 2005, she was surprised to find that the iCIMS system had not yet been integrated into daily use. ACCO had not yet made the switch to a paperless environment because of a lack of in-house talent acquisition specialists, she explained. Long made it her mission to finally implement and encourage use of the software.

Manufacturers must be willing to fully cut the cord of a paper-based hiring process.

During the implementation process, iCIMS provided an account manager and a project leader, according to Long. The project leader helped develop the project plan, timeline, delivery date and expectations, on top of working with payroll to integrate existing software -- mainly the A-Check background check system -- with the iCIMS system.

"I think the project implementation went well," Long said. "If you have an aggressive timeline, I would just stress [that deadline], because with any implementation, [vendors] usually already have a timeframe. If you need to expedite something, [you need to provide] clear expectations and open communications."

Talent acquisition software eases candidate selection process

ACCO has continued to update its talent acquisition system over the years as iCIMS has released new features; most recently, it adopted the iCIMS Onboard module. According to Long, ACCO currently uses practically all of the modules available from iCIMS, but the talent acquisition functionality that comes with the Connect and Recruit modules is most important for ACCO's applicant-tracking needs, she explained.

"We're using the module as a repository for resumes, for reporting and metrics, for compliance and for onboarding," Long said. "We have an end-to-end solution. From the minute the applicants apply, all [the data] goes into a paperless environment."

One of the most useful features of the iCIMS talent acquisition system is using dashboards to help with the recruitment process, Long said. For example, ACCO uses dashboards in iCIMS Connect and iCIMS Recruit for candidate assessment and personality testing. When candidates apply for positions online, the iCIMS software is able to automatically assess their qualifications for certain positions.

"We're able to really do everything in a very efficient way," Long said. "For those who don't meet the minimal qualifications, we send them letters through the system. Those who do meet the qualifications go into a bin in the system." She added that the iCIMS talent acquisition software is also integrated with ACCO's background check software, A-Check; when a job offer is extended through iCIMS, it automatically initiates a background check. "All the recruiter has to do is click on the link and [the information] is right there, tied to the candidate and the requisition," Long said.

Beyond hiring: Other uses for talent acquisition software

Besides streamlining the recruitment process, the iCIMS modules also free up recruiters to work remotely. "Everything that they need -- policies, toolkits, templates -- is all housed within iCIMS," Long said.

ACCO's use of the iCIMS software extends beyond recruitment to onboarding, the process of training new employees and helping them become familiar with their job and company.

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"The onboarding portal is fully branded. One of the good things about iCIMS [Onboard] is that you can customize it," Long said. Accepted applicants automatically receive job offers through the system, along with instructions to accept and onboard. The onboarding process includes a self-service element, where candidates can create and update an employee profile in the system, enter contact information and receive all the necessary pre-employment paperwork: citizenship verification, direct deposit instructions, tax forms and corporate policy agreements. Because all the information is stored in one central location via iCIMS, the applicant has the option of saving his or her progress and coming back to the documents later, Long explained. Once the hiring process is complete, we can use iCIMS as a direct link to payroll, she added.

While ACCO is happy with iCIMS performance, the company would like to see some improvements made to the software, Long said. She pointed out that while iCIMS's specialty is talent acquisition, the addition of performance management capabilities could make the software richer, she said. The highly-customizable functionality of the iCIMS suite could also be used to make company-specific performance management possible, she added.

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This was first published in May 2013

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