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The ROC Amsterdam: ‘We have had exceptionally little fuss’

The ROC Amsterdam offers more than 300 programs, located in 9 college institutes for secondary vocational education. The organisation employs more than 3,000 FTEs and is constantly looking for new talent to provide the best education to its more than 39,000 pupils and students. The educational institution chose the Ubeeo recruitment system after a tender process. We asked Nella Melker, Head of HRM Recruitment & Career at ROCvA, about her experiences.

‘Previously there was nothing’

She immediately confesses that there was actually very little to begin with. And therefore the question was not if there had to be a recruitment system, but it was more about who would be able to deliver. To set up the work processes more efficiently and set up the Candidate Experience properly.

“We did not have the records in order. Our inboxes regularly overflowed and we failed to respond to candidates on time. It was too much manual work, which meant mistakes were made and a lot of work was left too long,” says Nella. “That obviously did not contribute to a good experience for that candidate…”

Knowledgeable and experienced

The ROC Amsterdam – Flevoland consists of several MBO colleges, all with their own recruitment departments. “That works differently than, say, a central department, which immediately eliminated many potential suppliers for us.” The project team, which included both Nella and a president of an mbo college institute, director of HRM, several recruiters, a buyer, ICT employee, functional manager of AFAS and communications officer, made a shortlist and then had talks with 3 potential suppliers.

“The three companies were all able to deliver. We looked closely at the product and especially its usability ” They didn’t have the unanimous vote of her or the project team yet, but Ubeeo was still invited for a presentation. And that one made the difference. “Barbara knows the recruitment process in detail and Leon proves his excellent technical knowledge with everything he says. Moreover, the Rotterdam mentality of rolling up your sleeves ad getting to work, appealed to us enormously, even here in Amsterdam.”

Custom blueprint

“We enjoyed the project very much. Ubeeo uses a kind of blueprint, which was completely adapted to our specific needs. We noticed that previous work had been done for a decentralised organisation like ours, so the set-up went very smoothly.”

Nella describes how their involvement in the process and the examples of possibilities that were provided were massively appreciated. “To not have to reinvent the wheel, when of course we could have everything completely customised. And without there being any stupid questions, because we felt the freedom to really be able to ask anything.”

The ROC Amsterdam – Flevoland involved as many stakeholders as possible, to develop a system they would work with based on their wants and needs. Both executives such as the decentralised recruiters, the central recruitment department, job applicants and even interns gave their input and thus formed the order request as presented to Ubeeo.

“That worked extremely well and basically anything turned out to be possible, although we focused mainly on getting the basics right first. Now that we are working with that, we are taking the time to adjust it further to our liking so that the changes are not too drastic for those involved.”

‘Not in the first work week’

As to whether she would approach something differently next time, she has to think for a moment. “We wouldn’t go live again in the first work week of the year. That worked out well in the end, but it required a huge extra effort from us as well as Barbara, Leon and the rest of Ubeeo. Especially the integration with Kennisnet turned out to be extremely difficult, and in the new year it already takes some getting used to being back at work.”

The level of commitment, and honesty when answering questions were key things ROC Amsterdam – Flevoland appreciated enormously. “Sometimes Ubeeo would state that something isn’t feasible. Later it would turn out that it needed to be assessed carefully first to see if it was possible and realistic. An honest and clear answer, which we really liked.”

Excellent implementation with no fuss

Nella finds it difficult to speak of big results yet, since the ROC of Amsterdam – Flevoland is in the middle of the busiest recruitment period of the year. She does notice that the process is working more efficiently, even if some are still yet to get accustomed to the system.

“We have conducted our own workshops for the decentralised recruiters, who have had remarkably little trouble implementing the new system. Of course there will be questions about how something works and where to find it, but it has generally been very smooth.”

Moreover, she appreciates the short lines of communication with Barbara, Leon and the rest of the team. “It showed in everything that they knew exactly what they were talking about. No hard sell or slick sales pitch, just genuine knowledge of the business. We also found that Ubeeo has a clear vision and keeps innovating. For example, when it comes to the implementation of the GDPR regulations and in the use of video job applications and communication via video calls.”

The ROC Amsterdam – Flevoland is happy that the foundation is in place, to now improve it further by keeping track of what employees encounter and what can be done more efficiently. To provide candidates with the best experience during every step of the process. “We actually noticed very little of it during implementation, which says a lot as far as I’m concerned.”