Celestica decreases time-to-hire through remarkable efficiency plays
Celestica (TSX: CLS) (NYSE: CLS) is a leader in design, manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain solutions for the world’s most innovative companies. It brings global expertise into partnerships with brands in aerospace and defense, communications, enterprise, health tech, industrial, capital equipment, and smart energy to deliver solutions for their most complex technology challenges. Beyond creating innovative platforms to enable the world’s best companies to realize better outcomes and greater value, Celestica has also been named one of Canada’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens for its ambitious environmental, social, and governance goals. “So it’s a remarkably exciting company to work for—not just from an innovation standpoint, but from a culture standpoint,” says Jaime Schmitt, Talent Attraction Manager for North America.
“Our equipment goes inside your laptops, your smartphones... but we’re not a household name. We weren’t getting the number of applicants we needed in this hot market because of that brand awareness challenge. And our recruiters were trying to source, but they’d get so caught up in other daily urgencies that they’d send off a single email, and that was it.”
Talent Attraction Manager for North America
As “the brand behind the big-name brands,” Celestica isn’t a household name. The team struggled with brand awareness and with getting applicants for very niche engineering roles in a very hot market. They needed a solution that would support automated follow-ups, help build their talent brand through outreach, and give them analytics so they could understand what was working and where they needed to optimize.
Results with Gem:
A dramatic decrease in time-to-fill: within the first 30 days of using Gem, Celestica was filling positions that had been open for over a year—hiring nine engineers across three different countries.
In their first 90 days of using Gem, the team extended 808 offers, seeing a remarkable 87% offer-accept rate. Gem’s top-of-funnel data allows Recruiting to show the business how hard it’s working, which is impactful when it comes to asking for additional resources.
With Gem’s Forecasting Calculator, Recruiting can now give more efficient—and confident—timelines for when a role will be filled.
The visibility hiring managers have into their open reqs has allowed for a whole new level of investment and collaboration.
Celestica is using Gem Forms for its global campus recruiting initiatives, using QR codes to automatically route applicants to Projects for outreach rather than managing invite lists in spreadsheets or CSVs.
Yet one of the challenges Celestica faced was talent attraction. “We’re designing and engineering really impressive products,” Jaime explains; “but we’re a brand that people don’t necessarily know. Our equipment goes inside your laptops, your smartphones, the devices you’re using day-to-day; but we’re not a household name. We weren’t getting the number of applicants we needed in this hot market because of that brand awareness challenge. And our recruiters were trying to source, but they’d get so caught up in other daily urgencies that they’d send off a single email, and that was it.” Celestica’s recruiting org hires very niche roles—“power engineers, signal integrity, hardware engineers”—talent that demands more than one reachout. They needed a solution that would support automated follow-ups, help build their talent brand through outreach, and give them the analytics they needed to understand what was working and where they needed to optimize.
“We needed a tool urgently,” Jaime says. But much of what they saw on the market “didn’t address our specific needs; there were a lot of bells-and-whistles features.” Jaime describes Gem’s approach as “a consultative one. We said: ‘Here are the issues we’re having.’ Gem mapped our process and brought data to the table: ‘Here’s how much time your team is spending on sourcing and outreach. Here’s what’s possible in terms of time-savings and efficiency.’ It wasn’t ever a sales pitch, but we got a bird’s-eye view of what was great about our process, and where we could be even better. Gem ended up being our only option.” Celestica uses SuccessFactors as its ATS, and the team was an invaluable beta partner for that integration. “Gem hadn’t worked with our ATS before, but there were no hiccups in the onboarding process. We had two or three meetings with our HRIS team, and there was little else that we needed to do. Gem said: ‘Here’s the integration, here’s the training,’ and we were off and running.” Celestica’s team scaled quickly, launching initially in the U.S. and Canada, bringing on Europe and Mexico within two weeks, and Asia just a month later.
“Within the first 30 days of using Gem, we were filling positions that had been open for over a year”
Jaime says the team saw Gem’s impact immediately: they were suddenly able to fill some business-critical roles they’d been struggling with. “We couldn’t believe what we saw in the first 30 days of continuous outreach and follow-ups,” she says. “The majority of outreach gets lost in prospective candidates’ inboxes. Second messages always see more responses; by the third and fourth message you’re capturing more than twice the talent you captured in that initial outreach. So our time to fill has decreased dramatically. If niche roles are open longer than 90 days, we know it’s no longer our outreach or lack of candidates and we can recalibrate on our requirements and expectations and adjust.Within the first 30 days of using Gem, we were filling positions that had been open for over a year. In that first month, we hired nine engineers across three countries—talent we’d still be waiting on active applications from if it wasn’t for those follow-ups. In fact,” she adds, “we just hired someone who finally responded to our fifth outreach. That person starts next Monday.” When new roles open at the organization now, “they’re open for 30 days—two months tops. If something is open longer, we can look at the data and make adjustments on our end.”
Data gives Celestica’s recruiting org new visibility
In their first 90 days of using Gem, the Celestica team completed 2100 first-round phone screens across 20 recruiters. They extended 808 offers, 705 of which were accepted—a remarkable 87% offer-accept rate. (Offer-accept rates for technical roles across Gem’s customers were 71% during that same timeframe.) “What we can show—which we’ve never been able to show before—is: ‘This is how hard our team is working,’” Jaime says. “That data is incredibly impactful when it comes to asking for additional headcount or resources. When the company has metrics that show we’re outgrowing our business, we’re all the more likely to get immediate support.”
The data has also been critical to Celestica’s diversity hiring efforts. “We can say to our internal customers: ‘Here’s our outreach; here’s the activity our recruiters are engaging in at the very top of the funnel; here’s the candidate pool we’re actively trying to bring in.’” With Gem’s diversity data, the hiring team has a bird’s-eye view of what the candidate pool looks like and how diverse it truly is. “It’s another way to reaffirm the work our team is doing,” Jaime explains. “And it’s really impactful when you have those numbers and can see the work that’s being done to ensure an equitable pipeline.”
“With Gem, efficiency and quality of hire aren’t mutually exclusive”
The team’s consistent follow-ups with prospective candidates—which they don’t have to manually track on spreadsheets, thanks to Gem—has meant an increase in quality of hire. “For one, we have the bandwidth to tailor our approach now. For another, Gem keeps track of outreach, so we’re no longer going back to the candidate pool—or into our ATS, which gets really chaotic with data over time—and pulling in anyone we can find,” Jaime says. “We’re making very targeted selections, digging into our Gem database to unearth previous runners-up, and finding the best candidates in the profession for the roles we’re supporting the business in.”
What’s more, Recruiting can now give more efficient—and more confident—timelines for when a role will be filled. “What used to take us a year to fill is taking us a fraction of that. The team can handle higher req loads since Gem is doing so much of the work for us. Prior to Gem, we weren’t able to source much or do follow-ups. With Gem, we can set up the sourcing for each req when we open it and let it do its thing. The responses come right into our inbox and we set up phone screens. This is critical to scaling, but also to maintaining efficiency. And it means we can tell our internal customers, with a great deal of certainty: ‘Based on recent data for similar roles, we’ll likely have this role filled for you in 40 days.’” That data is pulled from Gem’s Forecasting Calculator, which helps hiring teams better plan for the number of interview hours they’ll have to put in, and the number of candidates they’ll need at each stage of the funnel in order to make a hire.
“Visibility ensures investment”: hiring manager engagement and experience
Gem has positively impacted not only the candidate experience at Celestica, but also the hiring manager experience. Jaime says that hiring manager engagement noticeably increased when the team brought Gem on. In part that has to do with the data they can now share with internal customers: “Here’s how many people we've reached out to; here are the response rates; here are the specific URLs talent is clicking into, the content that’s getting them excited.”
In part, it also helps that hiring managers can actively go into Gem when they’re curious about what’s happening with a particular req. “We bring hiring managers into the recruitment process from the very beginning,” Jaime says. “That’s part of the hiring culture here. We sit with them during intake sessions; we do some sourcing together so they know exactly the kind and caliber of talent we’re reaching out to. So managers are integrated into the process early on—but the visibility they have with Gem has allowed for a whole new level of collaboration.” Hiring managers can go into Gem and see who responded and who the team is talking to. “It’s fun for them,” Jaime explains; “they get to experience the same excitement recruiters feel when someone responds. Sometimes a manager will even reach out to the team and say, ‘Oh my goodness, so-and-so got back to us!’” Even internal teams sometimes experience hiring managers’ lost interest, but “visibility into Gem’s data ensures their investment,” Jaime says—not to mention it makes updates during syncs more efficient.
Campus recruiting: “We’re living and breathing Gem Forms at the moment”
“Right now it’s campus season,” notes Jaime. Celestica hires several hundred interns, globally, every year. So the Gem feature her team is using most often is Forms, which automatically routes talent into a Gem Project for outreach—no CSV uploads or separate spreadsheets required. Initially, Jaime thought she’d have to bring on another recruiting solution. “I was on a call with Erik [Smithson, Enterprise AE at Gem] and telling him: ‘I’ve got to look at software for career fairs; I need some way to track these participants.’ And Erik said, ‘Oh, we can do that. We have Forms, at no additional cost.’ I canceled the rest of my demos right away. Given I could keep all that information in one place—and given I already knew I could wholly rely on Gem’s functionality—it wasn’t even a question.”
Campus recruiting can be notoriously overwhelming, with the classic difficulty of managing invite lists in spreadsheets or keeping folders of CSVs after a conference. But “we’re living and breathing Gem Forms at the moment, and the internship capabilities it offers us are so easeful,” Jaime says. “We take the QR codes onto campus or into virtual career fairs. Applicants click in and upload their information, attach their resumes, and suddenly we have this great source of candidates from an internship perspective. We see several hundred candidates per career fair so it’s safe to say we’ve saved ourselves 4-5 hours of follow-up and organization after each fair. The candidates are also in our database so we can stay in contact with them. It’s no longer just a one-time meet-and-greet; we’re able to build relationships with them for future roles. That's been incredibly impactful for us.”
“We get updates on new features regularly. It’s like every day is Christmas.”
“If I had to summarize Gem in one sentence,” Jaime says, “I’d say it’s a robust tool that makes your recruiters more efficient, gives you the data and analytics you need to optimize your process, and allows you to become a better business partner to your teams.” She adds that there’s a lot to say about Gem’s people as well. As a beta partner for SuccessFactors, Celestica was able to ask for and give a lot of feedback at the integration stage. In that process, they learned that “the Gem team is fantastic. If you search Gem on LinkedIn, you’ll see tons of posts with customers speaking highly of them. Every product feature I’ve asked for, the team has come back and said, ‘Guess what? Here it is.’ We get updates on new features regularly. It’s like every day is Christmas.”
Jaime adds that she feels Gem offers “the best of both worlds. As a customer and partner, we get a product that looks like it came from a huge company; the Gem team strives for the best possible user experience. But we also get a small business feel. Reps are easy to get ahold of. We can call them, text them, or send them an email; they're very quick to jump in. And what’s really amazed me is if someone's on PTO or otherwise out of the office, the rest of the team knows exactly what's going on, and they don't miss a beat. It's some of the best customer service I've ever experienced.”
“At some point the floodgates will open and you will be hiring”
Even in this market, Celestica is in a huge growth mode, “and that new business is so exciting to think about,” Jaime says. “Even more exciting is watching us grow our pipelines, becoming proactive recruiting partners rather than reactive support members. I’m watching it happen before my eyes. We’ve always had the team mentality to make it happen, but we now have the technology to support it.”
Jaime adds that, while Celestica is seeing lively growth right now, this is the time to bring on a solution like Gem even if your company isn’t hiring. “Because at some point the floodgates are going to open,” she explains; “and you want your team ready when it’s time to step on the gas. I think every recruiter would love to have a hundred people ready to go for a niche role, or even for entry-level positions. There’s no time to do that when it’s go, go, go. Take this slow time to implement a system, learn it, build a candidate pipeline, and really get talent excited about your brand. So when you are back to hiring, people know exactly who you are.”
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