How SIBUR, one of the largest petrochemical companies, automated selection process at production sites
Specializing in gas processing and petrochemicals significantly influences many business aspects, including the staff management. Our 26 production sites are spread throughout the country. This means we make a huge regional selection of specialists in a narrow area.

Denis Samokhvalov
Director, HR Management, Performance management,
Last year we decided to optimize the staff selection system and introduced several tools at once. Before our process of interaction with candidates looked like this:
- the CV overview;
- short telephone interview (helps to reveal mutual interest and initial match);
- Talent Q abilities test (for all specialists involved except workers);
- a professional and personal questionnaire (only for managers);
- interview with a recruiter;
- interview with the manager.

These innovations completely changed the recruitment approach in our company. They helped to reduce the workload of HR-specialists and to close each vacancy six hours faster than earlier on average.

The first step: shared service centre

Searching for candidates and carrying out the initial analysis takes a significant amount of time and resources of the recruiter. We launched a shared personnel service centre in Nizhny Novgorod. It cooperates with the applicant during the first stages. HR-specialists of the centre do the following:
- publish job advertisements;
- analyze CVs and select candidates relevant to the requirements of the application;
- conduct an initial telephone interview;
- request the written manager agreement for the candidate's participation in the vacancy competition (if we are dealing with an internal candidate);
- explain the refusal motives to the applicants who did not pass because of their CV or an interview;
- provide the labor market analysis on complex vacancies.

After the shared service centre recruiters supply us with a new number of suiting candidates, we start working with applicants more carefully.

The second step: video interview

SIBUR is recruiting personnel at different parts of the country: for example, the Amur Region, which has a six-hour difference with Moscow time. This factor significantly slows down our communication: for example, in order to conduct the interview, work schedules need to be carefully synchronised. That is why we decided to pay attention to such a new instrument as a video interview. There were not so many suggestions on this at the Russian market and we chose to use VCV platform. It works according to the principles of online-interview but does not require the recruiter's and candidate's simultaneous presence. We became one of the first clients of this service and had to take this path independently while introducing the new way of interviewing to our applicants.

Younger generations adapt to such innovations faster so we used this type of interview while searching for student interns. Moreover, we started recruiting the administrative and management staff (lawyers, financiers, buyers, secretaries etc.) by using this tool. Now we are gradually implementing video interviews while searching for technical specialists and R&D direction candidates.

We send the applicant a link to the digital platform after a short telephone interview. The candidate records a video interview online. Usually we ask from seven to ten questions, which are divided into two groups: motivational and professional. If we are looking for people without mandatory work experience (trainees or interns), we ask them only the first set of questions. Our company is interested in how well the candidate is preparing for the interview, how important it is for him to work with us and whether one can quickly react in a stressful situation (video interview is always a small challenge).

Motivational questions example:
- Name the factors that matter to you the most at choosing the job.
- What do you know about SIBUR?
- What are you striving for?
- Tell us about your hobby.

Experienced specialists also answer the second group of questions as:
- Tell us about your duties at the last workplace.
- Tell us about your experience on working with projects.
- Why did you quit your previous job?

In order to make such specific questions in the right way, our recruiters ask for the managers' assistance. Department leads get the interview links later to assess the professional level of the candidates and to make a decision.

Video interview helps us to come up with a first impression of an applicant and to understand whether one has the minimal amount of required skills. However, you cannot check the deeper competence of the candidate just with a video interview as well as it is impossible to understand if one matches our corporate culture and is ready to follow our values — all of this recruiter finds out during the personal meeting.

Certainly, at first we were following the applicants' reaction with anxiety. But most candidates eagerly recorded the video. The percentage of those who declined was not over 5%, and gradually it decreased: the recruitment world is becoming more technological. The most problematic for the candidates was not the process of recording itselves, but the lack of feedback. "I answer the question and I do not know the reaction of my invisible interviewer - complained the applicants, - I would rather prefer the Skype interview."

We explained patiently why the video interview saves more time than the Skype one - and eventually our applicants agreed with us. The video interview did increase the number of selection stages, but it also reduced the time consumption. We calculated that for one vacancy.

- 133 CVs are considered at the beginning;
- we speak with 40 candidates on the phone;
- 15 people are offered to record a video interview;
- 7 people come for a personal interview.

1 video interview = 15 minutes
1 personal interview = 75 minutes
Obviously, video interviews let us to reduce the number of personal ones by half and save more than 6 hours for each vacancy.

Moreover, we reduced the cost of Talent Q testing. Before all the candidates took it after the telephone interview, but now we give the test only to the ones in whose basic knowledge we are sure.

We use the VCV on all production sites nowadays and close about 80% of vacancies in the Corporate Centre. Some managers treat the new service with caution, but the ones who have already tried it mostly give us positive feedback. They noticed that VCV is a convenient tool for those on business trips: you can watch videos at any place at any time. In addition, the video interview allows you to quickly get the answers to professional questions and to understand whether to invite a candidate for a personal meeting or not.

The third step: audiobot

We got inspired by the positive result of the video interview and decided to continue implementing IT in the recruitment process. Recently we launched the audiobot in a test mode. Before that the recruiter had to call the candidate several times: to tell that one was invited to the next stage, to explain how this stage will pass and to carry out the interview. Now all of this is done by the robot.

We indicate:
- the first and last name of the candidate;
- the phone number;
- the time at which the system calls.

The audiobot:
- calls a candidate;
- asks if it is convenient for him to speak (yes, the system can recognize the voice);
- invites the applicant to the next stage;
- finds out whether one agrees;
- tells in details how to pass the next stage and what to pay attention to;
- asks if the candidate wants to listen to the information again.

Our auto-dial system works only in Moscow at the moment, but we plan to use it in all areas and for all stages that require prior information.

These three steps to optimization of the selection process help us in saving time for recruiters and in considering each candidate more carefully. In addition, digital innovation makes our company more progressive and technological and attracts young specialists to the petrochemical and gas processing industry.