Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
24 Apr 2014

Graduate selection spotting the future leaders

24 Apr 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Candidate experience

Ernst & Young’s overall aim is to find and hire talented graduates who will become the future leaders of the business. As a recruiter seeing more than 19,000 candidates every year – including at least 1,000 interns and graduates – I believe it’s important that we provide a really good candidate experience, even to those we reject.

Back in 2009, the candidate drop-out rate between application and acceptance was rising and the competency based approach was too formulaic and disengaging. This meant that at first interview stage too many candidates were being put through to the assessment centre – at a significant cost of time and resource.

Strengths-based interview process

There was nothing in Ernst & Young’s process to differentiate it from the other graduate hiring firms, such as investment banks and the other three of the ‘Big Four’ professional services firms (KPMG, PwC and Deloitte). Following a strategic review, we decided to make the shift from the traditional competency method by turning to Capp, a people management consultancy, which introduced a strengths-based interview process. To date, this has resulted in a 15% increase in the number of graduates deselected at first interview and a 12% rise in those accepted at assessment centre.

Better able to recruit

This has also reduced the amount of time spent interviewing and assessing candidates, which frees up more client-facing time, plus there’s been a measurable improvement in the candidate experience with more candidates accepting our offers.

In May 2012, as record numbers of graduates applied for placements and to strengthen the recruitment process even further, Ernst & Young introduced Capp’s Situational Strengths Test. The aim is to screen out candidate applications from 19,000 to 800 over the course of the current graduate recruitment cycle, which ran from July 2012 to June 2013.

The online tool helps prospective graduates get a realistic job preview by gaining a real sense of what life is like at Ernst & Young and understanding success in-role. This is followed by a process designed to identify, assess and select the strengths that would deliver this performance. This approach allows us to be better able to recruit across all degree disciplines, social backgrounds and other diverse groups.