Analysis of Effective Job Recruiting Tools for Chemical Engineers within Dow Chemical Europe




Andrea Ferrari, Anna Postol, Jeong-Hwan Choi, Joanna Izdebski, Philipp Frickhinger, Rustam Vagabov
Remigiusz Smolinski

Jahnallee 59, D-04109 Leipzig
Tel. (+49) 03 41/98 51 60, Fax (+49) 03 41/4 77 32 43
Internet: http://www.hhl.de

July 2005



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Increased interest in restocking corporate talent pipeline has created a “War for Talent” among employers. Companies need to attract talented and dynamic people who will become future leaders within their organizations. 
In order to do this, companies must create HR strategies that recognize the critical role played by Universities in training and providing these required talents. Organizations should also critically assess which other marketing channels, apart from direct marketing at the university level, can be used.
This paper is based on the assumptions that resources are limited and that companies can gain a substantial competitive advantage by effectively and strategically allocating their HR budgets. In fact, knowing what recruiting channels are the most efficient avoids wasting time and money on other unnecessary or unimportant marketing methods. 
A team of students from HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, with the assistance of Dow Chemical Company, has carried out a 7 months project which is divided in 4 main phases and attempts to answer the following questions:

1. Information gathering phase: what are current trends for the relevant labor market? in which ways are other competitors in the chemicals industry trying to attract the best students? Can we identify best practices and learn from them?
2. Cost analysis phase: what are the average costs of existing marketing tools?
3. Efficiency analysis phase: what is the efficiency of these marketing tools in reaching the target students and in increasing the overall number of “quality” applications at Dow Chemical?
4. Marketing plan phase: what is the most cost-effective portfolio of marketing activities that can deliver the best results within Dow budget constraints? What is the optimal budget allocation? What is the most appropriate time frame for each marketing activity?

In phase 1, the team carried out a thorough benchmarking analysis in order to assess Dow Chemicals position in comparison with its competitors.  A special section covered an analysis of competitors’ web sites and suggested improvements for Dow’s Internet home page. In fact, as it can be seen from the results of the efficiency analysis, this is a particularly important channel for job seekers.
This benchmarking analysis serves as a valuable source of information and can help in learning from ‘best practices’.
In phase 2, the team collected offers and quotations from several sources to calculate the average cost of each marketing activity.
Phase 3 made use of the results of questionnaires which were received from 40 Dow Interns as well as 156 students from key universities. The Interns database for this study was supplied by the Dow Chemical Company while the team took care of contacting directly the students at key universities. Feedback from the questionnaires was crucial in testing the effectiveness of recruiting activities.
In phase 4, the team  came to the conclusion that HR budget should be allocated among 3 main budgeting levels (European Central budget, Country based budget, Key University based budget) and accordingly developed a portfolio of marketing tools including 2 new recommended initiatives (Dow Fellowship and European Contest). The budget was allocated taking into account the concept of maximizing return on investment with the support of a linear mathematic model.

In conclusion, the major findings of the research are:
•Having tighter and stronger relations with the universities is of strategic importance for Dow. In order to achieve this, important tools are: on-campus presentation, contacts with professors, field trips, posters at campus;
•Internet is a strong major recruiting channel and funds should be allocated for the improvement of Dow home page;
•Career books and professional magazines are not important channels and should not be used;
•There are considerable differences among different universities and countries that make necessary a ‘tailor-made’ approach.
Posted by Jeonghwan Choi

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