HRC International is making its way towards a fully automated process.

The journey towards a fully automated candidate journey began for Floris Drabbe, CEO of HRC International, with an article about pizzas. The pizza itself wasn't what stood out to him, but rather the numerous points of contact surrounding the order. On average, you receive notifications about the status of your pizza order six times. "And that's for something as trivial as a pizza. For a life-changing event, like a job change, you sometimes have to wait two weeks to hear anything," Drabbe said. He believed that needed to improve. And it did get better!

Efficient processes in every possible way

"We've been a client of OTYS since 2013, and I've always been on the lookout for innovation," says Floris Drabbe about the start of the automation project. "Candidate experience is especially important, and it's only become more crucial in recent times. The current generation just wants things fast, fast, fast. They want all processes to be as efficient as possible, and it's no longer acceptable for things to take so long. They want to hear something within two minutes." Since 1995, HRC International has been connecting hotel chains with interns and young professionals. Initially, it was only between European candidates and American hotels, but over the years, HRC International has expanded its operations worldwide. An internationally oriented company like this comes with quite a few complex processes.

However, complex processes don't pose a challenge for the software solution XA Flow. Since 2019, the automation platform has been a partner of OTYS Recruiting Technology, seamlessly integrating recruitment software with various other applications through connectors. "We're very flexible in incorporating things for the client. And there can be quite a bit of complexity in that," says Yannick de Vries, project manager at XA Flow. In a company like HRC International, the candidate journey for an intern or young professional might begin with a job application on the website, but it doesn't end until they've returned from their foreign internship. HRC International wanted to fully optimize and automate this journey. Floris teamed up with Bernhard Peters, Consultant from OTYS, and Yannick from XA Flow to further develop this process.

"We are very flexible in incorporating things for the customer, and there can certainly be some complexity involved."

Yannick de Vries
Project Manager XA Flow

A candidate journey in three modules

Floris was far from unprepared. Armed with several pages of notes, he eloquently explained the intricacies of HRC International's process. This was important because every action has implications. An offer letter, for example, could be accepted or rejected, leading to various branches. "What XA Flow did very well was visually represent that workflow," says Floris. "That was very pleasant to work with. And then, we had catch-up calls every week with the three of us." This eventually resulted in three different "modules": 1) the application module, 2) the documents module, and 3) the synchronization module. "We tried to automate everything we could," says Yannick about HRC's modules. "From the point of entry, such as through the website or a vendor management system, to the end where we send someone to the next system, which in their case is Orion. We try to automate all the steps in between."

Yannick: "We do this, for example, in the form of reminders, so that the 'sending messages part' takes up less time for consultants, and they can focus on conversations and candidate sourcing. And what makes XA Flow unique compared to other platforms is that we can work with multiple platforms. We can send both emails and WhatsApp messages. This way, HRC International can tailor the candidate journey precisely based on their candidates' needs." HRC consultants can now initiate follow-up actions based on specific candidate and procedure statuses. This could involve sending an initial invitation for an introductory call, requesting documents, or even transferring an accepted candidate to their other software package along with corresponding actions. XA Flow's workflow, in turn, keeps the consultant informed about the current status.

Proud of the initial results

Recruiters immediately embraced the first (application) module, according to Floris: "With what we've done so far, the consultants already notice significantly fewer drop-offs. Previously, candidates would receive a confirmation of their scheduled introductory meeting, but now they also get a message in the morning saying, 'Hey, don't forget. You have your introductory meeting with Gerrit today.' They then receive an additional reminder 20 minutes and 2 minutes beforehand. While recruiters used to often sit at their computers waiting for someone to show up, this happens much less now. The conversion from application to the first introductory meeting has significantly increased."

The focus of the first module is primarily on candidate interaction. Floris says, "The fact that we're communicating more again is already great!" But when asked what both of them are most pleased with, they both mention the documents module. "I think that document manager will save a lot of time. Now, through a multiselect within OTYS, you can indicate which documents we need. That's usually very labor-intensive. You had to keep going back to the candidate. 'Did they upload something? No, still nothing.' Now, with a reminder flow, you automatically remind the candidate each time. And hopefully, they upload what they need to."

A part of this flow that Yannick labels as 'perhaps less glamorous' but technically interesting is the calendar option wizard (COW). This is OTYS's appointment scheduler, allowing the candidate to schedule an introductory call in the consultant's calendar. "We extract the scheduling link from the email and send it to the candidate via WhatsApp. We save it, and then three days later, we check if an appointment has been scheduled. If not, we send the link again and ask if they could please schedule an appointment," says Yannick. "A technically intriguing puzzle!"

A successful triangular relationship

The project's success is largely attributed to the harmonious relationship between the three parties. "It was truly a triangular relationship. The technical aspects were mostly between OTYS and XA Flow," says Floris. "And that comes with its own challenges. Because you have a certain number of available hours and the flexibility of people's schedules. Everyone is busy, and you're highly dependent on each other. But it's better to take more time and be thorough than to rush it."

On the side of HRC International, the expertise of OTYS and XA Flow is highly praised. Yannick, in turn, applauds the work Floris has done. "It often involves finding a balance between what's technically possible, what's perceived, and what colleagues think. Floris, for example, doesn't work with OTYS daily," says Yannick. According to him, this makes it even more impressive that Floris had thought out the steps a candidate and consultant go through very thoroughly.

"But, what can be challenging," Floris adds, "is when you're testing and you come across something and think, 'why are we doing it this way?' Then you find out that you agreed on that three months ago." With a laugh, he adds that fortunately, Yannick kept track of everything well in emails and notes.

"The fact that we're communicating more again, I find really cool! I think that document manager will save a lot of time. You can now indicate yourself within OTYS which documents we need. Normally, that's quite labor-intensive. Now, with a reminder flow, you ensure that the candidate automatically receives a reminder every time."

Floris Drabbe
CEO of HRC International

This leaves us wanting more

If it's up to Floris, they're not done with automation, and there's still a lot of potential to be tapped in the future. "The funny thing is, during the process over the past year, your business naturally changes. There are certain steps now that I didn't include in my initial flow, which I'd like to add." Additionally, he adds that if the other modules are received with the same enthusiasm as the first one, he definitely wants to automate the process for their visa division as well. "When someone is hired by the client, the candidate is sent to Orion. Then, from Orion, an entirely new flow begins, including signing internship documents, scheduling consulate visits, and more. So, it's actually a bit strange that the WhatsApp flow stops when they're hired, and the email communication starts again. It makes sense to align that in the future!"

For recruitment agencies or other businesses, Floris still has a tip to share. Namely, "make sure you have the time for it. Ensure that you and other people can truly dedicate time to the project. Naturally, you need to test the project from different perspectives and viewpoints. As the receiving candidate, but also from the client and career consultant perspective. It's quite a lot." But then, you'll have something!

"I always find it wonderful when we can save people a lot of time on things they don't enjoy doing so much. Or things they weren't necessarily hired for. That the less pleasant work now happens completely automatically," says Yannick.

Do you want to free up more time for your consultants like HRC International? Do you want XA Flow to work with your company to find ways to save time and simultaneously enhance the candidate experience? Then get in touch with us, and we'd be happy to sit down with you. You can do this by sending an email to