Babilou: recruiting in the “social age”


Today’s digital revolution is an opportunity to rethink recruiting practices… Whilst the idea’s not a new one, we’re currently seeing a raft of initiatives in this area. And for those who might think it’s the exclusive preserve of digital businesses, Nathalie Servier, HR Development Director for Babilou (a corporate and community nurseries group) shows that, contrary to expectations, this revolution constitutes a chance for anyone with the ability to seize it.

At Babilou, we soon realized that it was no longer enough just to publish job adverts on specialist websites in the hope that some of the 3,000 or so applications we receive per month would prove an exact profile match for our vacant positions. Faced with a lack of candidates possessing the qualifications to match the business’ values and expectations, the group decided to review its practices and to enhance its overall appeal. How? By investing in social networks, with the aim of establishing prior links with potential applicants to stay one step ahead.

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Two years ago, we created our own business page on Viadeo, France’s leading professional social network. The idea behind it is to encourage recruiters and employees to get actively involved in the network in a bid to ramp up the appeal of the Babilou brand, and use it to enlist new talent. “This approach is very different from the traditional one of collecting CVs, processing them and hiring the successful applicants,” emphasizes the HR Development Director. “We’ve had to take the time to train recruiters to adopt a new approach to their work and, at this point in time, we’re still combining both approaches.”

Several months later, Talentsoft introduced Nathalie Servier to its latest application, Hello Talent, designed to identify and categorize applicants on the internet and across all social networks, using a search tool and a Chrome extension. “A social recruitment tool, Hello Talent trawls social networks like Viadeo, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, collecting data to build shared talent pools.” Impressed by the potential of Hello Talent, she decided to form a pilot team comprising HR project managers and recruiters, with a view to trying out the solution in beta version.


The tool’s intuitive character, its ultra-ergonomic interface and the fact that it can be accessed from a single page have earned it considerable support amongst the team. “We scrutinized the experience from both the customers’ and the applicants’ point of view, before finally considering the HR experience!” smiles Nathalie. No more Excel spreadsheets cobbled together by hand! Hello Talent can be used to assemble a series of profiles into one community that can then be shared (if desired) with colleagues.

Every single active or passive talent profile sourced online can be saved and stored using the application’s integrated search field or the Hello Talent Google Chrome extension. This extension enables online users to retrieve public information from a particular profile (photo, telephone number, job title) in just one click. To encourage collaborative recruitment and gather opinions and comments, users can invite any co-recruiters and managers they choose to join their communities!

Another of the solution’s major assets is its collaborative ethos. Nathalie Servier enjoys being able to interact with the team for the purposes of categorizing profiles using generic or activity-specific “tags”, or “job profiles”. Eventually, she hopes to bring more employees on board this new recruitment process. The group is planning to recruit 600 new employees in 2015, with all of the successful applicants being required to share Babilou’s core values of kindness, team spirit and commitment. What’s more, the HR Development Director hopes to use co-opting to boost recruitment in order to cultivate talent communities within the application. As she puts it: “Who better than our employees to identify profiles that share the same values?”


Babilou’s team firmly approves of the solution in its trial version, and was particularly impressed by the application’s ability to categorize talent pools collectively. “The tool’s functionalities and flexibility in terms of customization, as well as its user appeal, were big contributory factors in its adoption,” Nathalie Servier acknowledges. All that remains now is to define the modus operandi and to make the tool accessible to all employees, who are itching to play their part in a more effective recruitment system!