Ascent International Group is comprised of six specialist recruitment brands, each a leading provider of tech talent acquisition and placement services. Collectively, Ascent’s services cover permanent, contract, and executive search in a range of technology sectors, including IT & digital, big data, sales, immersive tech, and mobile.

Wrap-around care, personal attention, and deep expertise in global technology markets make Ascent stand out in the industry.

The challenge

Ascent had been a Bullhorn customer since 2019 and was already working on optimizing their use of Bullhorn’s platform. In addition, the company’s leadership team knew they wanted to find a more efficient, technology-driven approach to the recruitment process. They realized that compliance and other administrative tasks, while essential for the business, took too much time away from consultants’ skill sets.

“We wondered if we could do more to add value to our recruiting technology,” said Shayne Simpson, Ascent’s Managing Director. One of the biggest selling points of Bullhorn Automation was the ability to automate and remove previously time-consuming manual tasks while increasing the team’s efficiency.

The solution

When the pandemic started, Ascent saw over 90 percent of their jobs vanish. “We furloughed our consultants with no idea when they would come back,” Simpson said.

Even though many businesses were not making investments during that time, Simpson took the opportunity to implement Bullhorn Automation. “Automation was exactly what our group needed,” Simpson said. “It gave us a way to do more with less while nurturing personal connections, which is what sets us apart from larger firms.”

Key results

  • 85% of placements secured from the Bullhorn database
  • Automated almost 1 million actions 
  • 89% higher placement rate for candidates engaged in automation
  • Reduced time-to-fill permanent positions by an average of 10 days
  • Saved 15 hours of consultant time per week

Bullhorn Automation helps consultants maximize time while building meaningful talent relationships

Using Bullhorn Automation, Ascent has saved 15 hours of consultant time per week, which translated into hundreds of hours per month. At the same time, the firm strengthened sales and spent more time nurturing relationships with candidates and clients. 

“We automated almost everything, from posting jobs from Bullhorn to our website, the applications process, and the journey to developing a shortlist of candidates,” said Simpson. “At the last stage of the process, our consultants personally reach out to qualify and submit candidates to our clients. The value we add is that human touch.”

Simpson said that automation has “completely transformed” their recruiting process. “Everything we’ve done with Bullhorn’s Automation tool has been to allow people more time to focus on the quality of their sales process, the quality of their conversations with candidates, and enhancing compliance. We’re adding to our sales figures, too. That’s because our consultants have time to headhunt rather than just sending emails,” Simpson said.

Automation has helped candidates feel they are top-of-mind throughout the recruiting process. “Bullhorn Automation triggers emails and text messages based on a candidate’s status updates,” Simpson said. “For example, we can send a text at 7:00 a.m. on the day of an interview to say, ‘Good luck today. Don’t forget to call me.’ Candidates love that.” Simpson points out that the automated messages also serve as a helpful reminder and a buffer in case the candidate needs to reschedule.

Automation enables consultants to work more effectively

Bullhorn Automation helps the Ascent team maintain consistency to a high standard across the firm’s communications, as well as keeping controls in place that support compliance. At the same time, there is enough flexibility to allow room for consultants to be creative.

Ascent saved so much time with Bullhorn’s automation solution that the firm went to a four-day workweek in July 2021. “People burn out in recruitment because the hours are so long,” Simpson said. But Simpson estimates that Automation saves each consultant about three hours of administrative work each day. That adds up to almost two extra days’ worth of time per week. This helps consultants enjoy a more balanced workweek and more control over their time.

Building in multiple, automated touchpoints with candidates at every stage of the recruitment process is an important part of Ascent’s strategy to be a trusted leader and advisor to clients. “Our candidates offer meaningful market intelligence throughout our engagement,” Simpson said. “Knowing what’s going on in their world when they’re applying for jobs helps us to work with our clients to ensure they secure top talent.” 

Bullhorn Automation fuels Ascent’s growth

Ascent uses Automation to routinely collect a net promoter score (NPS) from each candidate at the conclusion of each engagement. “There’s a lapse of about 40 days between the initial engagement and when the candidate is placed,” Simpson said. 

By using automated communication to stay in touch, Ascent has received significantly more five-star reviews and higher NPS scores. Not only does that reflect the exceptional quality of their services, it also serves a longer-term purpose. “Satisfied candidates eventually become clients,” Simpson said. 

Automation has helped attract talent to the firm. Recruiters have expressed appreciation for Ascent’s automated systems, especially how Ascent favorably compares to firms that require recruiters to manually handle their communication and placement process.

Simpson said, “We’ve attracted lots of people to join the business based on our automation and the way our technology ecosystem works together.” 

Bullhorn supports an exceptional talent experience

Ascent has started to leverage Bullhorn’s Connected Recruiting strategy. Designed to deliver an exceptional talent experience, Connected Recruiting helps firms engage candidates at every stage of the recruiting cycle.

“The thing that sets us apart is our database,” Simpson said. Ascent has successfully optimized the use of Bullhorn’s platform to surface the right candidates for the right positions. In fact, they make 85 percent of their placements with candidates already in their network. With automated, regular updates, their talent pool is always current and actionable. 

Simpson and his team appreciate how easy it is to add applications to Bullhorn’s platform when they want specific functionality. “We find an app in the Bullhorn Marketplace, switch it on, and it’s running the next day. I don’t think you can get that kind of plug-and-play responsiveness anywhere else,” Simpson said.

Navigating uncertain times with Bullhorn

Bullhorn’s solutions will help Ascent navigate through challenging economic times ahead. Simpson said, “Automated communication to time zones all over the world saves our consultants from having to be up at all hours, or working long days, to cultivate relationships with global customers.”

Even in a market where it is difficult to attract talent because of candidate shortages, “we’re going to be successful because we’ve got a robust CRM and we’ve learned to use it well,” Simpson said.

For companies looking to secure a future in successful recruiting, Simpson believes that automation is the key. “I don’t like to use the phrase ‘no-brainer,’ but companies of every size can add so much value to their services by implementing Bullhorn tools like Automation.”

With Bullhorn, we’re constantly improving because we’re measuring our results and impact. That means people have a better experience with us.
ShayneSimpson
Shayne Simpson Managing Director at Ascent International Group

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