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How ICRC successfully digitalized and automated its recruitment process

November 15, 2020
iCIMS Staff
3 min read
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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a 150 years old independent and neutral organization that intervenes in conflicts and armed violence around the world. Due to the nature of its activities, human resources and recruiting must be efficient and flexible.

The recruitment teams are made out of 12 people hiring for the headquarters and expatriates and are spread out between Geneva, London and Manilla. How have ICRC optimized their recruitment process and candidate assessments and how does it improve both candidate and recruiter experience?

Automating the pre-screening phase with the on-demand interview video

The ICRC hires in pools instead of campaigns, meaning they hire several people for a given position they will deploy in different areas and the offer stays open over several months. Because of this, the ICRC receives very high volumes of applications each year. Last year alone, they have counted 35,000 application and over 1,200 different interviews. Automating the pre-screening phase was the first step to a more efficient process for both recruiters and candidates.

Indeed, in the context of humanitarian work, employees and candidates’ (who are often already in another job) time is precious. They cannot spend too much time agreeing on a slot, having the interview, analyzing all the candidates, giving feedback, etc. Additionally, many professionals are in war zones where the internet connection is not always optimal and urgent unexpected incidents take priority.

It was important for ICRC to integrate the on-demand video interview into their process to be more efficient and provide recruiters on the field as much detail as possible on candidates from the start. The on-demand video interview allows defining profiles better. The hiring teams work beforehand with talent managers (who deploy talent locally) and technical experts to define required competencies to assess at different stages of the process and which skills can be easily evaluated before the first face-to-face interviews.

Digitalizing candidate assessments

Candidate assessments at the International Committee of the Red Cross are taken very seriously as people are sent to dangerous places. It is crucial they master the skills they claim to have for security reasons for themselves but also for people around them. For instance, fluency in a certain language is essential to negotiate with local authorities or pass a checkpoint. Other technical skills linked to rebuilding habitations, working on water networks, etc. cannot be faked.

To optimize this process, ICRC also digitalized and automated their candidate assessments. The iCIMS online language tests allow candidates to take their test in just 20 minutes, on mobile or desktop, anytime and anywhere they like. Recruiters receive the results in 48 hours and can easily advance in the process. For technical assessments, the organization developed their own customized tests. For each position, a specific test. The candidate takes the test when works best for her. Recruiters are not limited by time zones; they do not need to arrange a time slot and do not need to wait around for the candidate to submit their test.

Digitalizing candidate assessments reduced the administrative burden, allowing recruiters to focus on added-value tasks and communicating with candidates. Automation helped with the recruitment timeline of ICRC. Having positions opened for long periods of time and hiring in pools means getting new applications every day and having to keep track of each application and the progress of each. Integrating the on-demand video interview, Easyspeaking and Test Builder to their HRIS allows them to have everything centralized and easy to visualize. Timelines are shorter and the administrative burden considerably reduces.

Using digital tools for diversity and inclusion

The on-demand video interview has been a great tool and great help in ICRC’s diversity and inclusion mission. They get many applications of motivated people who may not be perfect on paper, missing some of the qualifications or experience, yet still catch the attention of recruiters for reasons sometimes hard to explain (perhaps we could call this HR intuition). Thanks to the automated process and time-saving, these atypical candidates can be invited to interviews and the teams can have great surprises and find rare talent in profiles that were not the most obvious choice at first.


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