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Digital AssessmentDigital Assessment
calendarJune 20, 2023
calendarNicola Fine

Virtualising Graduate
Recruitment at Sellafield Ltd

Covid-19 challenged the graduate recruitment team at Sellafield to quickly transition their in-person assessment centres to a fully virtual experience for both assessors and candidates. Having successfully made the change to virtual has acted as a catalyst for digital innovation, showcasing the fact that virtual doesn’t have to mean distant when it comes to providing a rich and effective candidate experience.

Sellafield Ltd are responsible for the safe and secure operation and cleanup of the Sellafield nuclear site. From cleaning-up the country’s highest nuclear risks and hazards to safeguarding nuclear fuel, materials and waste, their mission is clear – to create a clean and safe environment for future generations.

The Objective
Contact-free Graduate Recruitment

The graduate recruitment process is a flagship programme for Sellafield Ltd, selecting between 60 and 70 talented individuals every year, to work across the business. As such, it has always been a high touch experience for candidates and assessors, providing shortlisted applicants with the opportunity to meet the team, learn about the culture of the business and what it means to be part of the Sellafield community.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, the business was understandably concerned about whether they could deliver an assessment centre experience as rich and two-way as the face-to-face option. In contrast to many businesses, the pandemic did not slow down operations, and the target number of graduate hires remained the same.

The virtual assessment centre solution needed to address two key concerns:

  • Reassurance for candidates and assessors that a virtual process would be easy to use, interactive and offer the right support for effective decision-making.
  • Designing a virtual candidate experience that offers the same level of engagement, insight and opportunity to meet key stakeholders and demonstrate their talent.

The Solution
Robust and Engaging Assessment Centres

We were extremely proud that Sellafield selected our platform to host their virtual assessment centres. The technology can be deployed in a face-to-face setting, or in conjunction with video conferencing technology (Zoom, MS Teams etc) for a fully virtual assessment experience. Candidates and assessors can interact with each other in the same way as an in-person event.

The Virtual Assessment Centre platform allows all aspects of scheduling, assessment, data capture and reporting in one cohesive, secure solution. For Sellafield they were able to transpose their assessment centre methodology onto the platform, quickly and without having to compromise the robustness of the decision-making.

Working in partnership with the team, Sova provided support, training and resources to ensure the onboarding process and launch worked as smoothly as possible.

In line with the Sellafield’s green agenda, we’ve wanted to switch to paperless assessment centres for some time. Covid-19 forced us to make that switch to a fully virtual experience and now that we have been able to prove that it works, we are thinking carefully about how it features in our hiring processes in the future. Our assessors have valued the fact they haven’t had to travel away from home, fully confident that the virtual platform allows handle hiring with greater care and efficiency, whilst retaining the quality of decision-making.

Ross Gardner, Branding & Attracting Advisor (Resourcing)

The Result
An efficient process with low environmental impact

The team at Sellafield have successfully hosted 14 virtual assessment centres and have filled all vacancies with additional reserves. They feel confident that they have been able to deliver an outstanding experience for all. Feedback from candidates has been overwhelmingly positive:

Thank you again for inviting me to the assessment centre this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can't commend you enough on the smoothness with which the sessions were delivered. The virtual nature of the day didn't take anything away from what I was expecting as a candidate.

For assessors too, the experience was also smooth and significantly reduced the amount of time taken transcribing notes and inputting scores. One assessor noted:

I liked the Sova system, it was easy to use and allowed direct inputting of information & scores into the system.

The virtual assessment centre solution has delivered many benefits to the team and wider organisation including:

  • Significant cost savings – running a fully virtual experience removes the investment in venue hire, accommodation, and travel, delivering a cost saving of 50% in comparison to running in person. This saving is likely to increase year on year, as there will be less up-front work to do.
  • Faster hiring decisions – virtual assessment centres are less onerous logistically and can be scheduled irrespective of venue availability. This results in faster time to hire and allows Sellafield to make their offers early to allow their candidates to continue through the on-boarding process, such as achieving security clearance before starting their roles in September.
  • Low environmental impact – building a clean and safe environment is a central to Sellafield’s mission, so the transition to virtual closely aligns with this agenda. No travel and a paperless deployment significantly reduced the environmental impact of the graduate recruitment programme.