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Unisys on Recruitment

Date: September 30 2001

Unisys has developed a full-service global recruiting function that is distinct from, but strongly integrated with, all other HR disciplines. Following is a case study on Unisys recruiting.

At Unisys, faced with the challenge of dramatically reducing costs while simultaneously improving services, David O. Aker, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources & Training, implemented a "disaggregated model" to build deeper skill sets in specialty areas (See: Interview: David Aker on HR Structure at Unisys).

The global recruiting group at Unisys is one of the centers of expertise in the disaggregated model. It is responsible for recruiting between 5,000 and 7,000 people a year, 80 percent of which are information technology (IT) professionals. At any given time there are approximately100 recruiters working to fill jobs.

"A lot of companies have a recruiting function which is part and parcel of the HR team," says Dan Guaglianone, Vice President, Worldwide Recruiting. "What is slightly different with the disaggregated model is that Dave Aker challenged me to build the best recruitment function in the world. Although it was to report to HR, if being the best meant being separate and distinct, that would be fine. But the processes had to be tied together so that we are not working in silos.

"This gives me a lot of leeway to build a team of recruitment professionals who are the best at what they do. The basics of recruiting will always be relationships and networking, and that´s what we focus on. "

What It Takes To Be A Recruiter With Unisys
Many recruiters have a different skills profile than your typical HR person, and Unisys has capitalized on this to make its recruiting team more effective.

"I don´t want to say that traditional HR people can''t be good recruiters, but it requires a different set of competencies and skills. Our recruiters have to be business-oriented to understand the disciplines they are hiring for, and their skill sets may even look like those of sales and marketing people. Because recruiting is a sale; you are marketing and selling the corporation to potential employees.

"Another item that factors into recruitment today is the use of technology. We have to be as good at recruitment technology as anyone in the business, so our recruiters have to be really tech-savvy. This means that for Unisys, recruiting is a very high-tech and high-touch discipline.

Unisys Methodologies
Today''s HR technologies are enhancing the way we manage recruiting, and Guaglianone says that his recruiting group excels at leveraging various software programs, applications and databases for decision making, data sharing and transactions, resulting in high-quality recruiting service delivery. .

"The foundation of our technology is PeopleSoft, which we´ve implemented globally. We´ve also identified all the roles in the organization and all the key competencies for those roles. This gives us a strong and immediate insight into the types of candidates we´re looking for. This information follows through a Web-enabled network and is used in everything from our job postings to our requisition process.

"The thing I think we´ve done so well at Unisys is integrate technology so that each discipline of HR benefits from the collective information and resources. I benefit from the technology that we use in the corporate university. I also benefit from the technology that´s being used, and the work that´s being done, in skills development. Having everything linked together just makes my recruiting team all the more successful. Rather than using a shotgun approach for recruiting, it´s a laser-guided missile. In addition, the use of common tools, systems and processes reduces my maintenance, training and other related costs."

The Unisys recruitment team is able to use PeopleSoft as an automated requisition system. Every requisition for open positions all over the world is inputted into the system. Resource deployment experts can look at the skills required, and determine whether those skills are already present in house or whether they need to be brought in.

Unisys then uses an applicant tracking database from HireSystems, which is linked to its requisition system, to post a job on the Web sites that have the target population Unisys is looking for. Responses to a posting automatically go into the folder for that job. Meanwhile, the recruiters are on the phone drumming up more passive candidates and building a network.

"In the past people spent a lot of time running ads, whether they were paper ads or Internet postings. That whole process is now so automated for our recruiters that the technology is doing all the work. The recruiters are spending much more time building the networks out among the passive population. They keep the talent relationship management piece ongoing, keeping certain candidates warm until we have appropriate openings for them."

Selecting The Right Candidates
The Unisys recruiting team uses behavioral-based interviewing techniques, along with other methods depending on the level of job and skill sets required to bring people onboard.

"If we´re going to bring someone in at principal level, we have a certification process where two very experienced senior-level professionals interview and assess the knowledge base of that individual within that specific discipline. For entry-level consultants that we might hire off college campuses, we are more interested in their leadership, abilities and grade point average.

"Where in the past people looked specifically at skills and abilities, I think as we progress the real value becomes electing for fit. I want the whole person to fit into the organization. They´ve got to be able to feel comfortable in the organization and deliver quickly, because picking the wrong people wastes valuable resources and an awful lot of money."

"We try to pick the right people today through our behavioral-based interviewing. But before we ever get to the behavioral-based interviewing, we also try to provide the recruiters with a great deal of education and understanding about the area that they´re recruiting for, so that they know the kind of people that are successful in that business.

"We have found that you have to keep recruiters connected with the specific businesses that they´re recruiting for - it´s the only way they can make an informed judgment on a candidate.

Global Recruiting At Unisys
Unisys recruits around the world, but what sets it apart from other companies is that it has a more specialized model for recruiting. All business units operating in a country have one person who has knowledge of all activities.

"It really enables us to move people. Sometimes a recruiter will say, ´This business unit is looking for this kind of person, and over here this business unit has too many of those kind of people. So let´s make that connection.´ I think that´s been another strength for us.

"Within the EU, cross-country recruiting also works well. Globalization is impacting the European community significantly in that way. If we were looking for someone to run a practice in Europe, we would not hold the search to a single country - we would be looking across borders to try to find the best person."

Issues For The Future
Guaglianone says that even though the economy has slowed, the demand for IT professionals continues to exceed supply.

"I think a lot of people are recognizing that recruiting has slowed down, but we see this as very temporary. The continued pressure to hire IT professionals globally has not diminished much. Additionally, the aging population in the United States workforce is a big concern. And recent graduates also are demanding opportunity for exceedingly rapid career growth and development and have a need to stay abreast of state-of-the-art technology. We´re going to need to find a way to produce technologically savvy professionals at a greater rate in the U.S. That is going to be an ongoing issue for us.

"The New Economy and its attendant demands have created new challenges and opportunities for the corporate recruiting function. With our recruiting model and technology solutions, the Unisys recruiting organization is prepared to enhance support to the line businesses, reduce delivery costs and develop new services to meet business demand."

Unisys is an e-business solutions company whose 37,000 employees help customers in 100 countries apply information technology to seize opportunities and overcome challenges of the Internet economy. The company offers a rich portfolio of Unisys e-@ction Solutions for e-business based on its expertise in vertical industry solutions, network services, outsourcing, systems integration and multivendor support, coupled with enterprise-class server and related technologies. For more information, visit


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