The greatest candidate experiences have the power to both enhance an employer’s brand and secure the very best talent. Nestlé UK & Ireland and Zurich explain how they transformed candidate experience through assessment.
The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) got together with early career experts, Fiona Samouelle and Carmel Blair, from Cappfinity; Evelyn Bate from FMCG giant, Nestlé UK & Ireland; and Michelle Ransome from insurance specialist, Zurich to deliver a webinar on transforming the candidate experience through assessment.
The organizations explored ways that digital assessments are used to share culture, brand, and values during the recruitment process to build an authentic connection with potential talent and enhance the candidate experience.
What were the drivers for change?
A key driver for Nestlé UK & Ireland and Zurich was to ensure the assessment process was not only still measuring what it needs to, but that it wasn’t having any adverse impact on diverse candidates.
At Nestlé UK & Ireland, a legacy process had been in place for several years. This included a strengths-based assessment and a numerical reasoning test for every type of role, including some that didn’t require a mathematical mindset.
The business found that a lot of ethnically diverse candidates were opting out of the process at this stage, meaning a lot of potential talent was being lost.
Zurich’s drivers for change were fuelled by misconceptions about what roles in the insurance industry look like.
This was particularly relevant to younger talent whose only experience of insurance might be buying travel insurance or insuring their first car. Candidates could not see the exciting projects they could get involved in or the wealth of roles on offer.
Zurich wanted an assessment process that would showcase what working in insurance can look like.
What does the new candidate journey look like?
An in-depth analysis to identify the attributes needed for success at both organizations was conducted using Cappfinity’s Futuremark. This focuses on strengths and skills, the company’s strategic direction, and talent needs, based on stakeholders’ input.
Eight core strengths (the things someone does well and enjoys), were identified as important for employees throughout Nestlé UK & Ireland.
These are assessed during the stage one Capptivate assessment, followed by a job simulation using Cappfinity’s Simulate for stage two, to assess the differential strengths required for the specific role applied for.
Candidates who pass the first two stages, finally attend an assessment centre which includes a strengths-based interview, and one other exercise to ensure all strengths are assessed twice.
Nestlé UK & Ireland has woven the aims of its Force for Good campaign throughout the assessment. This includes sharing the values and aims of the business and the positive difference it strives to make to people and pets, the planet, and communities.
The application process was updated to include a shorter application form, with updated demographic data capture to support ease of reporting.
A demographic dashboard enabled Nestlé UK & Ireland to monitor applications at a role level. If there were fewer applications from those with diverse backgrounds, the recruitment team could immediately respond by adjusting the attraction activities.
Zurich followed a similar path in the creation of its new candidate journey. Futuremark was used to identify the key criteria for success across their early career roles.
Along with its initial drivers, Zurich wanted to measure the potential of candidates by creating a shorter and more straightforward assessment that did not require prior expert knowledge of the industry.
Zurich’s stage 1 Capptivate assessment was used to assess the core strengths required for all roles at Zurich. A job simulation assessment replaced the previous case study assessment, which used a 27-page information booklet and interview.
Stage 2, the job simulation, was delivered using Simulate to give candidates a flavor of what working in the insurance industry could look like and break down some common misconceptions. Two job simulations were created with each focusing on specific areas, one for general business focus and another for more technical roles.
The final stage is a strengths-based interview.
Why was it important to convey the organization’s culture?
Zurich wanted to convey its culture to break down misconceptions about careers in insurance, to showcase the types of projects employees get involved in, and the wealth of roles available.
The immersive nature of the new assessment was an opportunity to show progression opportunities by including real employees in video footage. For example, a former graduate recruit who is now a board member.
Nestlé UK & Ireland wanted to attract talent that was representative of the world around us, and that had a genuine interest in the aims and values of the organization.
Its Force for Good campaign was a hook and a theme that ran throughout the process. Candidates could decide first-hand whether they identified with those values and felt a connection with the organization.
Both companies know that understanding the culture of an organization is important to Gen Z. So, providing an engaging assessment process that showcases workplace culture was a real win-win.
What advice would both organizations give to employers who want to change their assessments?
We would suggest thinking about what the new process needs to achieve and taking stakeholders on that journey with the early career recruitment team. Also, identify the right people to be involved and engage them at various parts of the process.
Getting buy-in can be difficult, especially if some are reluctant to change a process that they don’t see as broken. Some may question how it’s possible to achieve a balance between skill, ability, and strengths, but it’s important to remember that in early careers, recruitment should be focused on potential.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time and energy it will take to deliver a project like this. Ensure adequate resource is available to offer support. The experts on this webinar recommended between 9-12 months prior to the anticipated launch date for the next early careers recruitment drive.
Remember, the recruitment team are the experts, but be prepared for some challenges and pushback. Ultimately, the results will speak for themselves.
A recording of the full webinar is available here.
This blog was originally posted on the ISE website here.