Cranfield University is one of the top research-intensive universities in the UK. Cranfield has a global reputation for inspirational teaching and research, industrial-scale facilities and superior links with industry and commerce and is the only wholly postgraduate institution in the UK.


With 4,000 students, 2,000 staff and a turnover of £170 million, Cranfield University is one of the top research-intensive Universities in the UK with a global reputation for inspirational teaching.

Cranfield is seen as unique within the Higher Education (HE) sector, with its positioning in the market being between traditional universities, business and industry. It is a wholly postgraduate university, specialising in science, technology and management and is research-intensive, therefore combining the normal academic learning and long-term perspective of a university, with the commercial and business focus of industry. Cranfield needs to be able to address real-life challenges and compete in highly competitive markets.


Attracting the best talent

To maintain and improve its global reputation the University needs to attract and recruit the best talent. With this in mind the centralised recruitment team decided to streamline and improve the efficiency of its recruitment processes.

The team investigated a number of Applicant Tracking Systems, looking for flexibility and the ability to maintain and control the system independently.

Ruth Gardner, HR Systems Manager at Cranfield University said:

“We were very clear in what we wanted the system to deliver; candidates needed to be able to apply and track their applications electronically, it needed to provide time savings for both the central recruitment team and recruiting managers, and it also needed to help raise the profile of the University.”

After a rigorous review and selection process, Cranfield University selected Hireserve ATS, a software as a service (SaaS) recruitment solution, and ATS supplier with experience in implementing Higher Education Applicant Tracking Systems.

Ruth explained:

“We chose Hireserve ATS because we felt that it is the most flexible, intuitive solution available and offers the most cost effective long term investment. It can also integrate with other platforms to extend processes, where appropriate, into other functional areas like HR and finance.

Hireserve made sure that we had a comprehensive understanding of the solution before go-live and the implementation itself went incredibly smoothly.”

User-friendly solution

The Hireserve ATS web interface meant that it was easily configured to adopt the style and branding of the University website which the University use to advertise approximately 200 roles a year. The solution, which is also directly integrated into the website, allows the University to provide a superior service to candidates from around the globe by providing quick and easy registration, configurable search criteria and application progress tracking so that candidates can take complete control of their own application process 24/7, 365 days a year.

For Cranfield’s internal recruitment team, Hireserve’s intuitive design and simple to use functionality enables them to manage the screening, selection and hiring process. For academic roles the recruitment process is complex and requires detailed application questionnaires to be completed and extensive supporting documentation to be submitted by candidates. The configurable application form within Hireserve ATS has unlimited structure and sections, supporting these complex and extensive application forms. The central document management feature provides a single, convenient store for all required candidate documentation and the reporting tool provides quick, accurate and sophisticated real time reporting.


The benefits

Through the implementation of Hireserve ATS, Cranfield University has enhanced the candidate experience and improved and streamlined the recruitment process.

Ruth explained:

“We have over 200 Hireserve ATS users who can now access a short-list of candidates from anywhere in the world. Candidates are also having a positive experience with easy to fill in application forms, online tracking of their application and the facility to apply for multiple positions using just one form. As a recruitment solution, Hireserve ATS has more than lived up to our expectations and helped us meet all of our key project objectives.”

Not only has this project brought about significant time savings and operational efficiencies, it has also made Cranfield more competitive in the race to attract and recruit the very best talent, which is key to building upon its world-class reputation.

Jo Catterill, the University’s HR Projects Manager concluded:

“The recruitment of the best possible staff is vital for the University’s drive to continue to improve its position as one of the leading postgraduate research centres in the world. Hireserve ATS is fundamental to the University achieving this.”


“As a recruitment solution, Hireserve ATS has more than lived up to our expectations and helped us meet all of our key project objectives.”


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