Regional Project Recruitment (Sourcing)

Situation

Our client was awarded the contract to manage half of one of Australia’s major energy distribution networks. It was a 4.5 year contract  beginning on 1st January and covering an area of 1000 square kilometres, 104,000 poles, 6,500kms of wire and 320,000 customers. Our client was responsible for delivering on all areas of power distribution, expanding from the traditional areas such as line work and cable jointing to new areas such as dispatching, customer projects and maintenance management. The requirement was for 200 hires across 52 job groups.

Approach

The recruitment team were distributed across each capital city in Australia. This approach mirrored the HR service delivery model with senior staff located in Sydney and HR leads in each state. This project was delivered by a Melbourne based recruitment team.

Mobilising a workforce from scratch, with a start date of New Year’s Day, and ensuring that the power was kept on during the festive period was a challenge. There was no transfer of business in place with the incumbent contractor so all staff had to be recruited externally.  Due to the large volume of recruitment required we held 4 open days in close proximity to the 2 regional depots the client was taking over.  Interviews were held off site, with 4 teams interviewing concurrently, handling up to 12 interviews per day. We created a dedicated microsite for candidates to express an interest in attending the open days as well as applying for positions. We also held similar road shows across Western Australia and Tasmania.

Challenges

  • Screening the vast numbers of responses in a timely manner whilst verifying their trade tickets and qualifications at the same time.
  • Interviewing sometimes up to 12 candidates face to face (or by phone) in a day and processing the outcomes through the recruitment administration (references/medicals/statutory declarations.)
  • Managing not only a large number of applicants but also a large volume of positions, we had 200 positions to fill across 52 different job titles.
  • Keeping a large number of applicants from the initial road shows engaged in the recruitment process over a 4 month period.
  • Sourcing Lineworkers in general, and particularly from within the Victorian region as it is a highly competitive market.
  • Working with a moving organisation chart. As some of the elements of this contract were new to the client, they were unsure of the number of roles needed and their job titles.
  • Competing with other contractors who are working on a similar roster with similar pay conditions, and as such trying to give the candidates a USP (e.g. Potential for longevity of positions)

Results

  • 100% new hires commenced on New Year’s Day as per project delivery plans
  • Over 200 people attended our roadshows, with the first roadshow at Mornington having around 100 people attend – 60% more than we estimated.
  • We recruited in excess of 200 candidates for the contract, which was a mixture of internal and external, blue collar and white collar.
  • We contributed to keeping the “power on”, even with a difficult start date and a storm within the first week.
  • For a large mobilisation such as this we have been able to keep a low attrition rate. Currently it sits at around 5%.