Graduate Recruitment Mock Assessment Simulation
Smart Resourcing Solutions delivered a Mock Assessment Centre to 20 Retail & Leisure Management students at Leeds Beckett University.
The students attended a one hour workshop introducing them to the assessment simulation. They were given a deadline to complete an application form, online screening tests and prepare a presentation. One week later, the students attended a mock assessment centre to deliver their presentation, take part in a group exercise and interview.
Students benefitted from a one to one feedback meeting to discuss their performance where they also received a written report. Their performance was measured against employer benchmarks at each stage of the process so that students received accurate and valuable feedback that they were able to apply when applying for real graduate jobs.
Graduate Recruitment Assessment Simulation
Smart Resourcing Solutions has delivered an Assessment & Selection simulation programme for the Manchester Fashion Institute (part of Manchester Metropolitan University) since 2014. The event has seen up to 850 students each year attend the programme. The aim is that the students reflect and learn from their experience of the day and become inspired to confidently apply for, and secure graduate jobs and high-quality placements in the future. Due to the size and complexity of the event, the Etihad Stadium is hired to provide the students with a seamless end to end experience that is closely aligned to the live environment.
Students take part in three exercises and collect their feedback on the day. Results show that there has been an increase in students securing Industrial Placements and Internships as well as being more confident with the larger corporate graduate employers. There has been a noticeable shift in students securing placements with desirable employers such as Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Primark, Boohoo, ASOS, John Lewis and House of Fraser as the university reports a rise in confidence and aspirations.
All assessment materials and exercises were designed by Smart Resourcing Solutions, who worked with the university to ensure relevance to the curriculum as well as being in line with techniques used by employers of choice.
Smart Resourcing Solutions supply over 40 assessors to run the mock assessment centre element. Each student sees a different assessor for each exercise, ensuring the feedback received is valuable and useful to develop their employability skills. We’ve developed excellent relationships with employers who provide and make up some of our assessor resource – to the point where employers now contact us to ask to take part!
Caroline Herz, Head of Placements & Employability is our contact at the university and said this:
“We feel that it has now become a necessity to prepare our students for this method of application and working with Smart Resourcing Solutions has provided us with the support and level of professionalism that is now expected more than ever in the workplace.
Smart Resourcing Solutions went beyond our expectations in terms of the planning, delivery, and marking of the project, and we have been able to work collaboratively at each stage of these processes to accomplish our goal. Indeed, SRS have been a pleasure to work with, and from our side, as Academics we have also learnt so much from this experience”.
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Following the successful pilot in 2016 with 400 business students from the University of Hertfordshire, Smart Resourcing Solutions organised and delivered yet another fantastic event in 2017 which saw over 1,000 students attend an innovative, exciting and realistic mock assessment simulation.
The event was hosted at Watford Football Club’s Vicarage Road Stadium and all assessment materials and exercises were designed by Smart Resourcing Solutions. We worked with the university to ensure relevance to the curriculum as well as being in line with current techniques used by employers.
Students took part in three exercises and received their individual feedback on the day. The objective was to encourage students from the Business School and Humanities in applying and competing for industrial placements.
Judith Baines, Head of Careers commented: “Smart Resourcing Solutions really understand students and recruiters and organised a comprehensive Assessment Centre simulation which was tailored to suit our budget, our students and the venue available to us. Sophie was extremely professional and patient with any setbacks or delays that we presented her with, and proved to be an excellent trouble-shooter when dealing with issues beyond her control. We were so pleased with the event and feedback from the students and academics that we grew the event from around 400 students in 2016 to over 1,000 this Autumn. I would highly recommend working with the team.”
The university plan to grow the assessment simulation even further in 2018 to include another three faculties.
Graduate Recruitment Assessment Design
Smart Resourcing Solutions redesigned the assessment and selection process for Boots UK Graduate Finance Programme. We looked at the current process and performance and held various focus groups to understand the aspirational objectives for the programme. This resulted in the design of an accurate graduate profile. The desirable skills and attributes were highlighted and tested in the end to end process.
A revised application form and telephone interview script were written and used across all programmes followed by a bespoke Finance Programme Assessment Centre. Relationships with the Finance function were excellent and regular and effective communication converted their ideas into measurable and effective exercises at the assessment centre.
The internal assessor pool were trained on the assessment techniques and the new materials. A mock assessment centre took place using existing graduates to test the materials before they were used in the live environment.
The HR department at the university asked us to design assessment materials to be used for their intern recruitment. We looked at the roles they were keen to recruit and came up with a suite of exercises which could be used by the hiring managers. As flexibility was important to them, the materials were designed to be used with either individuals or in a group context. A handbook for the hiring managers was created to provide additional support along with a familiarisation session. The HR Department were delighted with the materials and have been using them with great success for the last two years.
Graduate Recruitment Outsourcing Assessment Design
Smart Resourcing Solutions have delivered a variety of projects for Marks & Spencer.
We introduced and designed a telephone interview script to support the Retail Management Graduate Programme in 2015. We also delivered a mix of 500 telephone and video interviews to identify the most effective method – get in touch with us to ask us what our thoughts were! The candidate profile was designed with the desirable skills and attributes highlighted and tested in the interview. This supported M&S in securing a stronger calibre of candidate attending the assessment centre and improved the conversion rate at offer stage.
A similar project was delivered to support the HR Graduate and Industrial Placement programme. This time a video interview script was designed to ensure that candidates have every opportunity to promote themselves positively, while providing M&S with required measurements for identifying a strong candidate. Our Occupational Psychologist played a key role in this project, ensuring the materials were valid, authentic, robust and reliable.
Helen Alkin, Head of Early Careers commented: "Smart Resourcing Solutions immediately appealed because of their proven track record within graduate recruitment and the retail industry. They were quick to recognise the challenges facing us as a business and the requirements that we had around what a successful retail candidate would look like. They made recommendations that demonstrated they had considered how to minimise impact upon our limited team resource, whilst ensuring the candidate experience would be enhanced. The end to end process of working with Sophie and the SRS team was a complete joy and we would not hesitate to use SRS again in the future."
Smart Resourcing Solutions delivered Application Form Screening for the Dunnhumby Graduate Campaign. The process commenced with a review of the application form questions and scoring matrix. Recommendations for amendments were made and accepted. The Management Information suite was designed and agreed and once the campaign opened, the applications were screened within the Service Level Agreement without exception. The results were returned with the weekly and cumulative campaign reports. A thorough Post Implementation Review was completed when the campaign closed and an objective report provided a detailed review of the campaign to assist Dunnhumby in their planning for future campaigns.
Expedia needed some short term support to get through the telephone interviews for their internship campaigns. We were able to respond at short notice, providing excellent assessors and ensuring that candidates had a great experience. This resource allowed the team at Expedia to attend more campus events and respond more quickly to candidates, progressing their applications in an effective and efficient way.
We have enjoyed supporting a large insurance company with the outsourcing of their graduate and internship recruitment campaigns since 2014. This involves organising the logistics of their careers fairs so that all their kit turns up on time and is set up ready for the team when they arrive at each campus event. We also do the necessary but time consuming job of posting their vacancies on all the university job portals. This allows the team to get out on campus and talk to students rather than be stuck at their desk. We then screen the candidate application forms, respond to feedback requests, administer the online tests and screen the video interviews. Our assessors are the highest quality screeners around with years of relevant experience at a high level in the recruitment industry.
We operate within a tight service level agreement which we always achieve, enabling the client to get great candidates to assessment centre efficiently and before their competitors.