Crawley Council automates online recruitment process

Crawley Borough Council has fully automated its online recruitment process for job vacancies using Firmstep’s AchieveForms intelligent e-forms, part of the suite of solutions delivered on the Firmstep Platform.  The solution has streamlined the council’s recruitment process, enabling job applications submitted online to be processed in a more efficient and cost effective way.
Each year, Crawley Borough Council receives approximately 2000 applications for its vacancies.  Having traditionally relied on a manual, paper-intensive system for processing applications, the council wanted to introduce a user-friendly electronic shortlisting process to remove time-consuming paper shortlisting and eliminate inconsistencies in the way managers select potential candidates. The council also wanted to automate and improve communication with applicants, keeping them informed on the progress of their applications at all stages and making it easier for managers to provide feedback for unsuccessful applicants when required.
Firmstep’s Platform has enabled Crawley Borough Council to redesign its recruitment process to deliver a tailored e-form for each advertised vacancy, an online applicant shortlisting tool, and an automated response system for applicants. 
Alison Hunt, Web Services Manager at Crawley Borough Council, said: “Since the new solution went live in July 2013, our HR staff no longer need to print or photocopy applications, letters or interview packs, which has already reduced print overheads by around £4,000 per year. 
“The HR department has also been able to reduce the number of HR assistant level staff hours with no negative impact on service.  With Firmstep, we have created a recruitment system that is quicker, more accessible and more secure. The feedback from managers has been very positive and we look forward to working with Firmstep on future projects,”
The new application e-forms now feature ‘filter questions’, which automatically eliminate any applicants who do not meet the key requirements for a particular vacancy, for example those who do not hold a current driving licence or work permit. Managers are also able to add up to four ‘competency questions’, the answers for which give a much better indication of a candidate’s suitability for the role.
Application forms that successfully pass through the filters now arrive on a custom-built ‘shortlisting screen’, which gives an overview of all applicants for a particular vacancy. From here, shortlisting managers can flag candidates as ‘reject’, ‘interview’, ‘favoured’ or ‘possible’. The list is automatically ranked to make the decision-making process easier. Previously, managers would have to wait until a job had closed before searching through a printed pile of applications under a tight deadline. Now, with, managers are able to log in to the shortlisting screen to view applications and add relevant notes.
With the automated response functionality, all applicants –whether they have been rejected or shortlisted for interview- receive appropriate notification by email. An additional ‘rejected candidates’ screen also stores unsuccessful applications for easy reference should an applicant request feedback.
Following the success of the service, Crawley Borough Council now plans to extend its use of Firmstep’s Platform to enhance operations in other areas and improve internal approval processes. The Council is also looking into automating Taxi Licencing management across the Borough, using the Platform to streamline workflow for council staff.

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