Graduate explains Ford hiring rethink

March 2, 2001

A high-flying graduate from Queen's University, Belfast, has revealed how Ford motor company reformed its graduate recruitment to improve the "mediocre" acceptance rate of job offers.

Rose Mary Farenden graduated with a BEng in 1985 and is now director of global salaried recruitment for Ford in Michigan. She returned to Queen's to give its annual enterprise lecture.

Although Ford centralised graduate recruitment in 1997, she said each company department operated independently and often ended up competing for the same students.

"Instead of going to the campus, interviewing the candidates and bringing them in one at a time for further interview department by department, we decided to... bring all the qualified candidates in, not department by department, but in a cross-functional group," she said.

Candidates take part in a "leadership conference", attend mandatory sessions such as interviews, and then choose which areas they are interested in. Each has a "Ford buddy" of a similar age and with similar interests who tells them about the company.

Satisfaction with the recruitment process has reached a high of 88 per cent, while Ford's image as an employer climbed to 95 per cent, Ms Farenden said.

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