SSE was facing the challenge of hiring 1,500 Smart Meter Installers in the next year. The role requires successful candidates to demonstrate a high standard of technical and practical knowledge.
The company’s existing recruitment process was time consuming and was almost impossible to scale to meet the huge increase in candidates.
Working in partnership with TMP Worldwide and Tazio, SSE moved their practical tests online, which streamlines their recruitment process and improved the quality and consistency of new hires.
SSE was formed in 1998 following the merger of Scottish Hydro Electric and Southern Electric.
Today SSE remains the UK’s largest generator of renewable energy, in keeping with its historic aim to provide safe and reliable energy for all.
Previously, an essential part of the recruitment process was a practical test completed at one of the company’s 61 regional depots. Candidates had to identify a list of faults on a Gas or Electricity meter.
But with an enormous increase in candidates, up to 500 per month, the existing test process was unable to cope with the expected volumes.
With tests being conducted by regional managers in over 60 locations, another challenge was maintaining a consistent standard of scoring.
The company needed a way of assessing the practical knowledge of a high volume of candidates, without requiring them to travel.
Working in collaboration with SSE and TMP Worldwide, we created a bespoke online assessment in two parts.
The first, a theory test consisting of 20 multiple choice questions drawn from an item bank of around 80 questions. This reduces the chance of candidates becoming aware of the questions in advance.
The second part is the practical assessment which displays a high resolution image of either an electricity or gas meter. Candidates are able to zoom in or out, rotate and tilt the image, so they get a full 360 degree view.
On an adjacent image, they place a pin where they believe a fault is. They then enter a description of the fault “Cable should be blue” for example.
Candidates that pass the automatically scored theory test, then have their answers to the practical assessment marked against a scoring framework defined by SSE.
Since going live in October 2016 almost 1,900 candidates have successfully completed the tests, of which 593 passed. SSE are extending offers to around 50 candidates per month, with 289 already started.
The new process has delivered a number of significant benefits. Firstly, the application to offer ratio has fallen from 20:1 to 10:1. Time to hire has been reduced to around 65 days from application to offer.
The new process has saved hiring managers a huge amount of time as they no longer conduct the candidate tests. In some cases, the first time they meet the candidate is the day they start.
Candidate feedback has also been positive, many commenting on how easy the process is. However, the overiding benefit has been the consistency and increased quality of candidates identified through the new assessment process.