Our client, a leading social housing provider, needed to recruit 12 new heads for its restructured customer service centre with the aim of ensuring it was fully staffed in time for the busy winter period.
This goal was made considerably more challenging by the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally the sought-for recruitment had been set to take place at the start of the financial year, which would have allowed the new team six months to bed in and gain vital experience.
However, a face-to-face assessment centre, designed by Reed Talent Solutions’ Consultancy+ experts, had been placed on hold due to the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
In September 2021, when it became clear people would not be allowed back into offices in time to complete face-to-face recruitment before the end of the year, our client set us the challenge of translating the original assessment centre to an online model, ensuring the required 12 roles were filled by the beginning of November 2021.
As part of the process, the housing association required us to look at their traditional skills-based interview, which was operating ineffectively in a virtual environment and was not assessing the required competencies, behaviours, and values of interviewees.
The client was experiencing significant challenges presented by the implications of virtual recruitment:
Their interviewing did not assess candidates in a thorough or standardised way
They did not have any exercises that would effectively measure candidate potential in the form of values and behaviours
Their process was not robust or defined, which resulted in significant candidate dropouts
They were experiencing a high-volume of applications which resulted in a slow turnaround time, perpetuating the issue of dropouts
They wanted to elevate their recruitment process and increase their employee value proposition (EVP) by running an engaging event that would mitigate the impact of high-volume applications
Reed Talent Solutions’ first action was to make sure the initial 2,528 applicants to the first adverts were kept engaged.
This was done via the use of artificial intelligence to provide a comprehensive chatbot. The programme was designed to project a positive image of the client among the talent pool, protecting their employee value proposition and engaging job seekers in what were very uncertain and worrying times.
Consultancy+ were engaged to convert their face-to-face assessment centre model into an online version, designing a plan for the format, assessments and required manpower.
This was done against the backdrop of a challenging timeframe, via the use of six assessment centres each held over two hours. Six applicants were assessed per session, with a contingency day put in reserve for another 12 applicants if they were required.
Twenty-two of the client’s assessors were used to allow for candidates to be assessed by more than one hiring manager and to provide the widest possible feedback on each candidate’s performance at event wash-up sessions. Despite the fact many of them had never taken part in online assessments, Consultancy+ were able to deliver comprehensive training to help them do so and to instruct them in role-play assessment.
The best-performing candidates were then put through a personality test, which formed part of the final scoring matrix.
The online assessment sessions were hosted on Zoom, followed by post-assessment wash-up sessions to collate scoring and identity successful candidates.
Across the sessions, we had an 86% attendance rate, with our client able to identify 13 highly suitable people.
Following the assessments at the beginning of October 2021, all of those who were offered jobs accepted them, and our client was able to go live with their induction and programme in the middle of November.
This meant the housing association was able to enter their busiest period confident that their vital customer service function was fully staffed and ready to deliver a first-class service.
Reed Talent Solutions, through the adaptability and input of Consultancy+, were able to deliver a bespoke online assessment centre, while providing vital assessor training, despite the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the process, all the candidates – irrelevant of their success –sent evaluation surveys, with 93% of them reporting they had been left with a good impression of our client and saying the assessors and organisers were friendly and helpful.
Those who took part in the assessments from the client organisation were also sent surveys, with 100% of them saying the event had given candidates a good impression. They also gave Reed Talent Solutions top marks for organisation and called Consultancy+ friendly and helpful.
Below is some direct feedback from candidates who went through the process:
“The event was well structured, informative, fun and gave me a good understanding of the role.”
“The event felt special, particularly getting to see others involved and converse with them and the team members running the event.”
“It was a great way to get around current restrictions, I especially enjoyed participating in the role play.”
Feedback from some of the managers from our client organisation also followed a similar suit:
“The event was clear, efficient, and engaging. I am glad we have systems in place that allow us to adapt to the ever-changing recruitment market.”
“It was well organised and structured, allowed candidates to see each other and know what was expected on the day, gave an overview of the business, and let candidates see and ask questions to team members.”
“I was given enough training beforehand and a thorough explanation as to what will be happening. I felt I was supported, and that event was well organised.”
Recruited12customer service roles
Ran6virtual assessment centres
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