A journey to becoming a strategic recruitment operation

A journey to becoming a strategic recruitment operation

Lee Franklin, Recruitment Strategist at Roke in conversation with Jill Edwards, Continuous Improvement Consultant at Jobtrain.

When Lee Franklin joined Roke’s recruitment team, the ambition was to push the recruitment to evolve into a strategic operation that played a prominent role in Roke’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Building confidence in the business towards recruitment and our ATS System was key to the success. By working with their dedicated  Continuous Improvement Consultant, Jill Edwards; Lee, the recruitment team, and the wider business were able to achieve this and much more.

“Jobtrain has gone viral at Roke”



Part of the Chemring Group plc, Roke is a leading UK innovator in science and engineering. For over 60 years, they have been improving the world through innovation by combining the physical and digital in new ways. They began their journey in defence and now also invent and engineer technically advanced data and communication systems in national security and for Fortune 500 companies. From Hawk-Eye (most famously used in tennis and cricket to track the trajectory of balls) to Iris, Roke’s ANPR system (Automatic Number Plate Recognition), they all began at Roke.

They are a growing organisation, going from 400 to 600 employees in just 2.5 years.

“Time, Trust and Freedom”

Roke employees operate by the mantra:

The TIME to work on your craft and hone your skills

The TRUST to self-manage your working days

The FREEDOM to take on projects that mean the most to you

A recruitment process that was no longer working

The nature of Roke’s business and the niche roles they must recruit, means the availability of candidates is limited to a very small and competitive talent pool. This results in Roke’s recruitment team being under enormous pressure to operate a rapid recruitment process to capture the very best candidates in a competitive candidate market.

This fast-paced recruitment process sometimes resulted in recruiters not always recording each step of the process in the ATS, therefore hindering the ability to report meaningful data and insights and being able to involve Hiring Managers in the process too.

It was clear that their current recruitment process was simply not working as it used to. With agreement from Roke’s Senior Leadership Team to take on the new project, our Client Success team and Roke began work on the re-implementation project.

What were Roke’s objectives?

Ultimately, they wanted to achieve from the project:

  1. An improved candidate experience from the application stage through to start date.
  2. For all internal recruitment processes to be recorded in the applicant tracking system.
  3. Increase efficiency. Use all the available features in Jobtrain to free up Recruiters from mundane admin tasks so they’re on hand for more strategic and human-to-human interactions.
  4. Bring Roke’s Hiring Manager population into the recruitment process.
  5. Produce meaningful reports and data for Roke’s Board and SLT on key indicators. In particular, time-to-hire and identifying bottlenecks in the process.
  6. Online Onboarding to increase the speed of bringing new hires onboard using online signatures and documentation.
  7. Changing mindsets and perceptions within the business of recruitment and the ATS.

What did the re-implementation project consist of?

Beginning with a deep dive and full end-to-end review of the recruitment process, we worked with Roke to understand what was and wasn’t working. Then, through regular review meetings, every element of the recruitment process was carefully considered and assessed and the ATS database cleansed. With the flexibility of our ATS System, we were able to adapt it to suit Roke’s new recruitment process to work exactly as they needed it to.

Refresher training, initially from our team, and internally by Roke, ensured each user of the platform knew exactly what was expected of them. With the added accountability to each user for their own jobs and tasks, “it’s allowed us to have ‘one source of truth’ at our fingertips.”

“It’s been a journey”

Lee openly admits it has been quite a journey to reach this stage. From an internal point of view, installing discipline in the recruitment team to record in Jobtrain and establishing the new processes were key – and throughout the project keeping the SLT, and latterly Hiring Manager forum, updated with progress.

“The application process is good – the biggest bonus has been exploiting status changes in Jobtrain to speed up the process for candidates”

A key piece to the success of the re-implementation was taking full advantage of the flexible application forms and workflows available in the ATS. Using tailored application forms and processes on a per job basis, has helped Roke create bespoke application experiences for candidates where only information relevant to the job being advertised is collected, making the process more appealing and speedier for candidates.

How have Roke’s Hiring Managers been involved in using the applicant tracking system?

A key reason Roke has been able to speed up the candidate journey is involving Hiring Managers much more in the recruitment process. They have greater accountability now – they manage their own applicants, moving them through the process using simple status changes (with the addition of notes for recruiters’ visibility) that trigger automatic, but personalised, emails to candidates.

“Quick and easy to navigate”

With their own tailored and relevant access to the system, Hiring Managers are also responsible for alerting Roke’s recruitment team when they want to invite candidates to interview. Often the first time Recruiters see the progression of candidates through the process is when Hiring Managers have started the invite to interview process using status changes in Jobtrain.

35 hours saved. The number of hours Roke saved per month in email administration. The equivalent to one FT member of staff one day per week. Roke stat

“Auto emails are fantastic and save an incredible amount of time. Status changes and auto-emails has seen productivity for recruitment increase.”

Lee Franklin, Roke

The addition of our mobile app, JT Mobile, will further benefit Hiring Managers to review applications quickly on the go, ensuring the swift pace of the recruitment process is maintained.

“The Jobtrain process has enabled easy management of the candidate journey, line manager accountability and allowed us to have ‘one source of truth’ at our fingertips, proving the worth of the recruitment function to business.”

Lee Franklin, Roke

Increased accountability and responsibility now with Hiring Managers has given Recruiters the freedom to work on pro-active and strategic recruitment projects within the business. The productivity of the recruitment team has increased, and they are much more focused – and all previous email traffic has disappeared now that everything is captured in the applicant tracking system.

Real-time reporting for the Senior Leadership Team

Another key objective was the ability to produce meaningful data and insights for Roke’s SLT. Now that processes are bedded in place and each team member understands their responsibilities, the Reporting and Advanced (BI) Reporting Suites available in the platform have allowed Lee and his team to collate meaningful data in minutes on areas such as bottlenecks in the process and time-to-hire – proving the true value of both the internal recruitment function and Jobtrain to the business.

“The feedback has been incredible – it’s opened eyes of the business”

Lee discussing how Jobtrain is now seen by Roke’s SLT

As our applicant tracking system is rolled out across the business to Hiring Managers, the feedback Lee and his recruitment team hear from the business is glowing. Lee said “Jobtrain has instilled so much confidence in the business, it is selling itself.” Feedback from other users across the business has been very positive.

“I am so happy – what a painless process it is.”

Support is always on hand

Throughout the relationship, our support team is always on hand, available for Roke’s employees and the recruitment agencies Roke have on their PSL. It’s not often Roke need assistance from the Support team, but when they do Lee said:

“There’s nothing the Support team won’t do for you. They are always open and honest with you – if something’s not working as it should then they’ll be open with you. I hear really good feedback from our PSL (Recruitment Agencies) too.

They’re my best friends in the world”

What’s next for Roke?

Lee and his team are looking forward to rolling out the JT Mobile app to their Hiring Manager population. Because of the work that Roke does, Hiring Managers don’t always have their mobile phones with them in the workplace, but during lunchbreaks and time off site, the app will help them stay on track with their open positions.

Using images and videos in job adverts is the next step for Roke, using the media rich job adverts facility in our ATS. This feature will help bring their job adverts to life and really stand out from their competitors.

Online Onboarding and Welcome Hub are features that are in the pipeline to roll out in Roke’s recruitment process. Online Onboarding will increase the speed in which a new candidate is hired – and Green Room Onboarding will keep those new hires warm, engaged and excited ahead of their start date.

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