Trek turns to ATS, CRM to quickly, efficiently handle high-volume recruiting

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Trek Bicycle is one of the top brands in cycling. The privately held company, known for its high-end specialty racing and mountain bikes, has approximately 2,100 employees—and a big need for a lot more talent.

So far this year Trek has hired more than 600 new employees. And that’s with just two full-time recruiters—“soon to be three,” says Jeremy Ryder, talent acquisition manager. A big help, says Ryder, has been hiring technology from Jobvite.

Jobvite has enabled Trek to better manage the recruitment process, cutting the time it takes to bring a new employee on board—“from initial point of contact to offer accepted”— from 45 days to around 20 days, Ryder says. That efficiency is due in large part, he says, to “having one system we can use throughout process.”

Jobvite offers hiring tools in the software-as-a-service model. They include an applicant tracking system (ATS), which provides workflow and scheduling throughout the application process, and a candidate-relationship manager (CRM), a database for cataloging and referencing candidate data. Launched in 2006, Jobvite has 200 employees and around 2,000 customers, according April Rosten, marketing communications manager, including such recognizable names as Dollar Shave Club, Hulu, and Zappos.

When Ryder, an avid cyclist, came to Trek in 2016 from Sapient, a business consulting firm, the bike maker was negotiating with Jobvite over its annual contract. Ryder considered alternatives, such as Greenhouse and IBM’s Kenexa, but decided to stand pat. Money was a factor: one alternative cost “two-and-a half times” what Jobvite was charging, Ryder says. Another factor: Jobvite was familiar and entrenched—there was “lots of [hiring info] that sat in that system already,” he says.

The determinate, though, was the tight integration of the Jobvite tools, including its ATS and CRM and also a video interviewing tool and an onboarding system. About 300 managers have access to the Jobvite system, and it lets Trek “automate administrative tasks that otherwise slow down the hiring process,” Ryder says.

The tight integration “allows us to collaborate as a team—review resumes, communicate with candidates, schedule interviews—all without jumping out to Outlook or [third-party] scheduling tools,” he says. “We can take interviews in there, share interview notes, send offer letters,” he says. At the back-end of the process, the onboarding system lets Trek create “a single candidate record—all the way to the hiring contract and the tax documents,” he says.

Today, Trek has about 110 open positions, 40 of which are at headquarters in Waterloo, Wisc., according to Ryder. The HQ jobs represent a variety of skills, from customer service and distribution to engineering, financial, and IT.

The other 70 open positions are related to the company’s increasing presence on the retail side of the bicycle business. “That’s where the [hiring] volume starts building up real quick,” Ryder says.

The bicycle industry has been in a slump the last couple of years, which has led to a number of independent bike dealers closing up shop, says Lynette Carpiet, editor of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. (The slump was not a factor in a Trek restructuring earlier this year, the company says.)

Trek has sought to bolster its retail channel by opening new shops—in Berkeley, CA, and Redmond, WA, most recently—and by acquiring struggling ones. For instance, in May Trek acquired 11 retail stores in the Philadelphia area from dealer Bike Line. Trek then advertised for 100 new positions in Philadelphia.

It’s why Ryder is “focused on high-volume recruitment” these days, he says. Still, whether recruiting a bike mechanic or a design engineer, Trek is looking for common attributes: “a willingness to grow, good energy—somebody who cares about our customers’ experiences,” he says.

That’s where another Jobvite tool, called Jobvite Refer, could play a part. The tool lets employees post company job openings on their own social media pages—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter—with links back to the Trek’s hiring page, where the company can track the referrals. Trek is considering “growing our adoption” of the tool over the next year, Ryder says, “as we look to encourage our employees to join us in recruiting the best for the company.”

A characteristic of Jobvite as a vendor Ryder appreciates is its willingness to work closely with Trek to make the most of its technology. For instance, Jobvite designers helped Trek construct its engaging candidate portal, which features employee testimonials and humorous skits, and is hosted on Jobvite’s servers. “Trek created the content, and Jobvite built out the site,” he says.

That close partnering was noted in a recent marketplace report by IDC, where Jobvite was tagged as a “leader” in “Worldwide Modern Talent Acquisition Systems.” “Jobvite is highly responsive to the technology needs of their customers, and also partners with them to facilitate successful, long-term adoption,” said Kyle Lagunas, Research Manager for Emerging Trends and Technologies and author of the report, in a statement accompanying the release of the report.

Perhaps the strongest endorsement of Jobvite is that Trek recently re-upped its annual contract. Jobvite has “allowed us to create a hiring experience that benefits everyone involved—candidates, managers, and Trek,” Ryder says.

Proving, once again, a solid vehicle can help navigate a rough road.

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HR Technology Recruiting Employee relations Employee communications