WestRock

MWV and RockTenn are now WestRock, a $15 billion global consumer and corrugated packaging company focused on customers, innovation and operational excellence. They make packaging that gives their customers a winning edge in the global marketplace, partnering on everything from beverage packs and pizza boxes to trigger sprayers and fragrance pumps. Every day their 42,000 team members combine practical innovations and rigorous execution in about 275 operating and business facilities across North America, South America, Europe and Asia to deliver products and services that answer unique local needs.

Context

WestRock regularly recruits for a variety of roles and disciplines across Europe. The span of the positions hired ranges from entry level jobs to Director/VP functions or candidates for the WestRock global Leadership Associate Program. The combination of the market and the role defines the search strategy and media that is targeted. WestRock uses a mix of online job boards some print and primarily professional online networks e.g. LinkedIn or Xing to identify and find candidates.

In general, their spend on job posting is diminishing, while their usage of Social Media (SoMe) platforms is increasing. The candidates’ direct approach (especially for specialist and management roles) is driving part of the hiring process. WestRock’s own talent research team identifies potential candidates who are then proactively contacted – acting a little like in-house head hunters.

Key Findings

  • Higher Quality Screening
  • Higher Involvement from Hiring Managers
  • Aligns with Core Values
  • Facilitates Global Recruitment

Some of the Highlights

“Many of our recruitment projects involve hiring teams sitting in different parts of the world; it’s very seldom that the hiring manager is based in the same location as the candidate. Sonru has proved an invaluable tool in accommodating our international recruitment needs.” – Cezary Wasiak, Manager Talent Acquisition Europe

Traditionally, the selection process involved multiple stages generally beginning with a review of paper applications followed by a thorough phone interview. Then, the shortlist of candidates (and notes) would be passed on to the relevant hiring manager who may also conduct a further phone interview before inviting the candidate to a face-to-face interview.

Sonru’s introduction to WestRock has proved very popular with the hiring managers for two reasons.

First, according to Wasiak: “the message you’re sharing with hiring team is very powerful. Sonru is ideal in terms of being a supporting step for the recruitment effort. When we present candidates to the hiring managers, it’s no longer just “the recruiter’s impression,” but we have proof which we can share. It’s very tangible and they can verify the impressions for themselves.”

Second, the feedback from hiring managers has been very positive. They’re happy to be more involved in the initial screening: “Sonru has given us the criterion to involve hiring mangers into the selection process earlier – enabling them to watch the candidates’ responses to questions which were created with their help and are tailored for the roles they want to fill. Sonru has helped us to drive the project at the highest excellence level possible.”

 

“The video presents the strengths of particular candidates more than a paper application and phone conversation. Some candidates that looked great on paper confirmed their attractiveness while others were excluded. Conversely, a “weak” CV didn’t automatically mean you were out of the process if your video interview was very good.” – Cezary Wasiak, Manager Talent Acquisition Europe

WestRock recently extended the network of top European University MBA schools to recruit for an internal global Leadership Associate Program. Typically they receive a lot of applications for this program from students across a wide variety of backgrounds e.g. technical, banking, sales etc. Due to time and resources limitation of screening all applicants, they have previously been more pre-selective on who to invite to an on-campus interview. By way of piloting Sonru, they decided to invite all Leadership Associate Program applicants to a video interview and observed that “some candidates that looked great on paper confirmed their attractiveness while others were excluded. Conversely, a “weak” CV didn’t automatically mean you were out of the process if your video interview was very good.”

Wasiak added that “often candidates from different industries (not related to our business i.e. packaging or FMCG) weren’t always considered, but now with Sonru, we have a powerful instrument to get fair and quick preliminary assessments on all candidates for the program.”

“With a similar investment into the selection process, we are able to improve the quality of the final output by getting an additional dimension in the evaluation and screening process of the candidate. This [Sonru] gives us a much better foundation to make the right decision to invite the candidates to a face-to-face interview.” – Cezary Wasiak, Manager Talent Acquisition Europe

Although the Sonru video interview was an additional element to WestRock’s selection process, Wasiak is convinced that this additional time investment has helped the company shortlist the very best candidates to bring forward for the face-to-face interviews, adding “With higher quality in the process, we can decide on candidates we had doubts about based on their communication strengths / weaknesses, or missing compliance with one or other of our competencies we are looking for.”

“When speaking to someone on the phone, there may be language issues, a bad connection, or the interviewer might be distracted or entering the conversation with some biases. All this risk is removed with a standardised process which is respectful and fair – all candidates are asked the same questions in the same manner – there is no difference how we treat candidates.” – Cezary Wasiak, Manager Talent Acquisition Europe, WestRock

Wasiak also highlighted alignment with WestRock’s attention to corporate core values, such as respect for the individual, and views Sonru as strong element in safeguarding their standards.

WestRock explains to candidates that they are being invited to the Video Interview because they think the tool is delivering a high standard and have yet to receive any negative feedback.

The flexibility offered in viewing the interviews has also meant the hiring team can fit recruitment into their own schedules according to Wasiak: “Sonru grants a lot of flexibility; otherwise I’d have to compromise on time to make calls, which now I can use this time for other tasks. But more importantly, the tool offers flexibility to our candidates who are often working and only available in the evenings/weekends. Sonru gives them elasticity to record their interviews when they want – they don’t have to fit with our schedule.”

On a final note, Wasiak commended the ease of use of the Sonru application stating that “the functionality itself very intuitive and easy to navigate.” 

Conclusion

“The message you’re sharing with hiring team is very powerful. Sonru is ideal in terms of being a supporting step for the recruitment effort. When we present candidates to the hiring mangers, it’s no longer just “the recruiter’s impression,” but we have proof which we can share. It’s very tangible and they can verify the impressions for themselves. Sonru has given us the criterion to involve hiring managers into the selection process earlier – enabling them to watch the candidates’ responses to questions which were created with their help and are tailored for the roles they want to fill.”

Cezary Wasiak, Manager Talent Acquisition Europe