Associated British Foods (ABF) is an international food, ingredients and retail group with 137,000 employees in 50 countries. They run a graduate recruitment scheme across various divisions. Katie Davill, Graduate Recruitment Officer for the Grocery Division at AB Foods looks after the scheme, which attracts 2,500-5,000 applications for 15-20 positions annually.
AB Food’s aim is to recruit the very best graduates onto the 2 year program to develop them into future leaders for the business. The team needs to assess a high volume of candidates rigorously and effectively to ensure shortlisted graduates have high future potential, learning agility and key skills whilst also having a good culture fit.
We assessed verbal and numerical reasoning and personality, which gave some data to benchmark for initial screening but no detailed indication on a candidate’s future potential, culture fit, development needs but no candidate reports were produced.
There was no correlation between the old way of testing and our graduate competencies so we lost valuable candidates. We have a focus on social mobility and diversity although the previous tests were only good at identifying learnt skills, with a big correlation between the University, private or state school attended and how well candidates did on the tests. We wanted to use testing that allowed everybody to have an equal opportunity to perform and measure their true potential.
hfi presented the PeopleFactors leadership assessment platform, an online tool we could use to automatically assess applicants at different stages in the process, collecting and storing data at every stage and allowing us to understand in detail each candidate’s ability, future potential, culture fit and development needs.
Reports were easy to read as the system does the interpreting of the results and interview questions are generated based on the results, rather than the line manager having to come up with them. Each candidate received a report, which we had excellent feedback on and meant they were getting additional value from the process. Successful graduates received a development report immediately so felt engaged and saw we were investing in their future before they even start with the company.
hfi tailor-made the solution to AB Food’s needs, linking to our graduate competencies and allowed us to get a huge amount of data as well as truly understanding potential, regardless of background or education.
Candidate feedback has been amazing, the reports
they have received have been easy to understand, have delivered high candidate
engagement and successful graduates felt more valued.
Line managers have found the reports easy to understand with in depth insights into each candidate, their potential and development needs allowing them to start investing in each graduate’s development plans even before they have joined us, accelerating their development and effectiveness in the business.
HR have become increasingly data driven as a result and the accuracy to which we can pinpoint the key traits for success in the business is far better.
The new platform integrated into our process is a much more cost effective, fairer and a quicker way to find the highest quality of future leaders, it really has transformed our Graduate selection process.
Reports form a big part of our assessment and interview process. They also form great conversations during an interview so it’s important to interpret the reports properly. With PeopleFactors our Managers were able to interpret the reports easily, where previously you had to be an expert in understanding them.
In August the line managers will meet the Graduates and have that first conversation stemmed from the in-depth development report, highlighting their development needs and strengths. It forms a really nice process and adds value compared to what we did before, adding another layer of great conversation between the line manager and the graduate before they start.
We will continue to gather more and more data using PeopleFactors across a wide range of success criteria to hone in on ever more accurate success profiles for roles specific to our business. The data is fed back into the solution on an ongoing basis, creating a bespoke solution for graduate selection, with greater accuracy as to the type and abilities for future hires.
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