SmartRecruiters Blog

Customer Success: Olsson Associates

For a lean recruiting team to find the most entrepreneurial engineers in the US, only the slickest TA suite will do.  

Olsson Associates is in the business of civil engineering, both consulting and design, for multidisciplinary public and private infrastructure projects. What makes Olsson different is that it’s employee-owned, which means workers are more invested and the stakes are higher. So when Mandy Wehner, the company’s HR specialist, started shopping around for a new TA Suite, it didn’t take long to find, and ultimately choose, SmartRecruiters.

Thanks for chatting with us today, Mandy. Can you give us a brief history of the company?

Olsson Associates was founded in 1956 by John E Olsson, an East-coaster who decided to attend the University of Nebraska – Lincoln for engineering. Our headquarters are in Lincoln, and we have around 1,100 employees in eight states, and over 25 offices.

When did you join, and what attracted you to Olsson?

I became a part of the Olsson family in March 2015. What attracted me the most was how the organization fostered entrepreneurial thoughts, innovation, and encouraged employees to come to the table with new ways to solve problems. I love waking up every day knowing I get to make decisions, take ownership of my actions, and bring in new ideas to drive Olsson forward.

How did you find the hiring set-up when you arrived?

When I started at Olsson, the hiring was a bit different. In 2015, we had maybe 50 positions open at any given time. Since late 2016, we’ve had 90+ open positions to fill continually, and I don’t anticipate that slowing down at all. Our Human Resource team is starting to have some employees specialize in recruiting, so they’re really taking the lead in the ATS, knowing it inside-out and able to take the reins on the candidate experience.  

What were your biggest challenges, and victories, as you settled in and got things going?

Some of our challenges were being creative in trying to fill some challenging positions, creating talent pipelines, and building recruiting plans. Victories would include implementing a new ATS to help us become more efficient at our jobs, and more efficient with recruiting. We’ve been able to maintain better contact with candidates, and thus make their candidate experience enjoyable, with SmartRecruiters.    

How long was it before SmartRecruiters came into the picture?

We’d used a couple of ATS vendors before transitioning. We are still fairly new to SmartRecruiters, only having implemented the system in late September 2017.  

Was there a eureka moment that made the transition to SmartRecruiters a reality?

As we continued to grow, we realized we needed to upgrade our ATS to a system from which we could send emails, offer letters, and other documentation. Our old system just didn’t have that functionality. Our HR team is lean, and they were working too much outside the ATS, and it was taking too much time to complete tasks.

Did you know exactly what you needed to, or did SmartRecruiters come as one option of many?

We knew that we needed a new ATS, that was not a question. I had been doing a lot of research and SmartRecruiters actually was never on my list. It wasn’t until we were looking into onboarding systems (Clickboarding) that SmartRecruiters was mentioned, and when I looked into it, I was interested immediately.

What made you go with SmartRecruiters in the end?

Our HR group enjoyed the demo, because it was personalized for us. We felt the sales team really took the time to use our logo, and personalize the presentation to include our values, mission, etc. The functionality was top-notch compared to what we had before, and we felt SmartRecruiters would go the extra step to be a great vendor and to really work with us to get the most hiring success out of the ATS.

How long did it take to implement, and when was that?

We signed the contract to implement in July 2017, and we were up and running the end of that September. It was a very quick turnaround time for us, so we were really proud of the quick progress we made. The hardest part was getting our data out of our old ATS, but implementing SmartRecruiters was pretty painless.

Did you find any ways to make the software work for you that you hadn’t anticipated?

We have found that SmartRecruiters has new functions we didn’t initially anticipate using, ones around which we continually evaluate whether or not we should change our process. We especially like that SmartRecruiters has regular rollouts of updates – we didn’t have that with our old ATS so that is very promising.

What is the biggest thing SmartRecruiters has allowed you to do that you couldn’t before?

SmartRecruiters has allowed us to take a look at integrating our background check and drug-screen companies into the system. We’ve been able to save time and energy by completing tasks within SmartRecruiters that we couldn’t with our old ATS. We love the functionality of the system and look forward to continued improvements.

Peter Braun