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Stewartson Resourcing Solutions

Case study 4 - Field & Switch Technician Recruitment - Assessment Centres and Outsource Partnering

The client was a mobile telephone operator which was requiring the expansion of its operations staff by 70 heads within three months. The resource planning phase identified that some could be recruited by promoting or training from within, and some by converting contractors to permanent status over 70% would need to be recruited from the external market, either at the trainee/entry level or at the experienced hire level. Attrition in this area had traditionally been high, with a large fall out in the initial months where individuals failed to meet the required pass level after their technical training. Additionally line-managers were dissatisfied with the low ratios of people meeting with them and getting through the assessment centres.

We raised the bar on the selection criteria but front-loaded the initial checks before the line managers met the candidates. More rigorous and robust selection and questioning was done through telephone interviews, to understand more fully the candidate's motivation, commitment and basic technical knowledge. The existing assessment centres were demanding of the line-managers time but many candidates fell out of the process through not meeting the level required with areas such as communication skills, problem solving or analytical abilities. We redesigned to Assessment Centre so that these shortcoming could be identified early on at telephone selection stage or first interview stage which now incorporated elements of the old assessment centre - one-to-one interviewing, some competency based interviewing, verbal, numerical, spatial and analytical reasoning tests. Only successful candidates meeting the criteria, were invited back for a further Assessment Centre with the line-managers. At these we undertook more in-depth technical interviews, further competency based interviews to understand other capability or behavioural styles, a group discussion to understand further their team playing and communication competencies together with a tour of the office and opportunity to meet the team in a less formal setting.

CV to Offer ratios were improved considerably. The ratio of candidates meeting line-managers to those offered rose from a mere 30% to over 80%.

The change in the approach increased the success rates for the line-managers but was resource hungry at the front-end. Given other forecasted recruitment activity it was recommended that this area be outsourced. In parallel with the redesign of the Assessment Centre and Selection strategy a tender process was undertaken and the successful Outsource Partner identified before the first new assessment centre was rolled out, initially these were facilitated by ourselves with “on the job” training, given to the Outsourcing Partner before the volume piece really commenced and the entire operational activity handed over to the Outstourced Partner.

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