SmartRecruiters Blog

Recruiting in Finance, What we can Learn from a French Firm Who Thought Global

When a growing management consulting company needed an applicant tracking system to handle its global business, there was only one choice for the HR Tech that could meet and surpass their myriad needs.

Co-founded in 1999 by Matthieu Courtecuisse, the firm started out in Paris in the financial services industry before developing expertise in energy, telecommunications and media, transportation and logistics, and government. 

From day one, Sia Partners’ ambition has been to become a global consulting firm, working on cross-border engagements. Their first-ever assignment was with the World Bank, for a project in West Africa. In 2006 they opened their first international office, and have always pushed forward innovation. As the pioneer of Consulting 4.0, Sia welcomes the disruption of AI, invests in Data Science, and develops consulting bots. As a firm with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Sia Partners launched its investment fund, Studio, in January, 2017. Their current portfolio includes Big Moustache, Livsty, and Cleep.

What parts of the world is Sia Partners the most active, and which industries are most prevalent in those regions?

The Group has an international presence with 20 offices in 15 countries, and employs people of over 40 nationalities. The two biggest markets are France—with offices in Paris and Lyon—and the US, with offices in New York, Houston, and Charlotte. Our international expansion has lead us to innovate our recruitment process, and we have developed several international programs to attack and retain new talent.

We created the first-ever international Gap Year Internship program in the management consulting industry, which gives students the opportunity to do their one-year internship in two locations. First, a six-month period in Paris, then New York, Hong Kong or Dubai for another six months. Our consultants also have the possibility of international mobility through our Associate Program, which allows consultants the possibility to work for three years in three different Sia Partners offices (one office rotation per year).

How long was it before the focus became truly global, and what did that do to your hiring process?

In a certain way, Sia Partners has always been a global-focused company. Since its internalization in 2006, we’ve recruited employees in each office through the VIE contract.

For VIE programs :

Collaboration between Paris (HQ) and offices for the sourcing and screening steps and, later, within the recruitment process to link each stakeholder

Impacts on the hiring process :

  • An increased exchange of information between offices to build a global vision of recruitment
  • Becoming global helped Sia Partners to develop international mobility thanks to new international programs. We moved from a local vision of recruitment where each office handled its own process to a collaborative approach.
  • New opportunities for our consultants: Sia Partners developed a structured yet dynamic international mobility policy through innovative programs such as our Open Track, Associate Program, and International gap year for students.

What was the TAS/ATS you used before SmartRecruiters? Can you walk us through what your sourcing and hiring were like before?

We had no TAS/ATS before going live with SmartRecruiters—every step of the recruitment process was done manually.

  1.      Job Posting: manually post the job opportunities on various job boards (around 20 job offers for France): LinkedIn, JobTeaser, CareerSite, and university websites.
  2.      Screening/Sourcing: a generic email address gathered all the applications. When a candidate applied, he or she received a confirmation by email. Regarding the number of applications received, we were not able to respond to each applicant individually when the application was declined.
  3.      Selected candidates’ profiles were shared by email to the Partners.
  4.      Interview steps: once again, interviews were manually planned by email. There was no shared agenda to help recruiters through the process. As a consequence, a lot of time was spent checking each stakeholders’ availabilities by email, and the candidate experience was negatively impacted.
  5.      Job offer internship: when the offer was accepted and the contract drawn up, all the information was transmitted by email. Recruiters, the HR team, and Partners used to discuss the details regarding the new employee and its arrival by email.

Joining the SmartRecruiters community was a huge and major step towards increasing our efficiency. We were able to gather all the information regarding our candidates and easily share them with our community and coworkers. The ability to post multiple open positions contributed to making Sia Partners’ presence on job boards continuous and more efficient. In fact, recruiters spend less time posting job opportunities and are able to focus on high value-added tasks.

What Smartrecruiters did to our hiring process :

  • Help the recruitment team build a complete automation of the multiposting process
  • Increase each recruiter’s autonomy and visibility on their scope
  • Improve candidate experience in various aspects:
    • Thanks to the SmartRecruiters portal, candidates can apply for a job, refer friends, modify and even withdraw their profile.
    • Every candidate now receives a reply to their application—and the response can be customized
    • An increased responsiveness to candidates’ solicitations
  • Data centralization, which helps Sia Partners to be compliant to new regulations (GDPR, for instance)
  • Ability to create and track analytics
  • Create a real community: all stakeholders are highly engaged along the recruitment process
  • Reinforce the collaboration between offices: recruiters are able to share candidate profiles and information between offices

What was the process of implementing SmartRecruiters?

Sia Partners went live with SmartRecruiters in November 2016, in France and also in our 20 offices across 15 countries. We worked in collaboration with the SmartRecruiters team, who helped us construct a personalized and intuitive tool that was implemented seamlessly within three weeks. Every user (around 100) was trained during that same period in France and in every Sia Partners office around the world. Sia Partners’ team developed communication tools to gather everyone around the implementation process as fast as possible.

The major result, by far, is the time saved posting job offers, and having centralized all information on a unique platform. Thanks to Smartrecruiters, the recruitment process became smooth and engaging, not only for recruiters and managers but also candidates who are now able to fully take part in their own process. Since November 2016, more than 40,000 candidates have applied through SmartRecruiters. Last but not least, SmartRecruiters also increased collaboration between offices and made the global hiring success at Sia Partners a reality.

What is something unique to hiring for Sia Partners that SmartRecruiters has made easier?

We significantly reduced our time spent on the overhaul recruitment value chain, which helped us to be focused on more added-value projects. As an intuitive tool, SmartRecruiters engaged everyone in the process and created a relevant recruitment track for candidates. Finally, it allowed us to share information and optimize processes that increased stakeholder reactivity.

Peter Braun