Department For International Trade: Securing the UK’s Future Trade Deals

Department For International Trade: Securing the UK’s Future Trade Deals

The Department for International Trade (DIT) commissioned PeopleScout to help them recruit professional candidates to staff the new Trade Remedies Authority (TRA).

1,600 Applications Generated
92 % Assessment Center Attendence
48 % of Applicants were from Minority Ethnic Backgrounds


In preparation for Brexit, the Department for International Trade (DIT) in the UK needed to create a Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) that would govern and monitor the UK’s future trade deals with the rest of the world. DIT commissioned PeopleScout to help them hire 75 exceptional lawyers, investigators and economists to join them in their new Reading, England office.

These roles hadn’t been seen in the UK for over 45 years, which created a complex challenge. Firstly, many candidates might not know whether they were qualified to do the jobs as these opportunities were unique in the market. Secondly, we had to populate a department that could operate post-Brexit, taking into account changing immigration laws. Thirdly, we faced an extremely tight deadline.


Full-Cycle RPO Solution

We provided a dedicated account team that was responsible for every element of the process including:

  • An attraction campaign
  • Application management
  • Assessment and selection material
  • A microsite
  • Candidate management
  • Interviewing
  • Offer negotiation
  • Onboarding including BPSS security check

Crucially, our team was media trained to deliver approved messages, receiving explanations of what they could and could not say in case journalists tried to apply for the roles to find out more about this high-profile organization.

Creative Candidate Attraction & Engagement

Our approach was two-fold. We combined free and paid-for advertising with a strong social media campaign. At the same time, we undertook market mapping and candidate identification whereby we engaged with key candidates directly. All activities ultimately directed candidates to our carefully crafted microsite which detailed the uniqueness of the roles.

Bespoke Tools

As these roles were brand new in the UK, we developed a “Match Me” tool that helped candidates understand the role that would best suit their ability, skillset and experience. We also devised a tailor-made application process that included screening questions, an online ability test that evaluated numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning, a telephone or video interview, and a face-to-face assessment. Throughout the campaign, we provided DIT with weekly updates.


Overwhelming Interest

We generated a staggering 47,522 visitors to the microsite with 1,597 applications submitted. Candidates remained engaged throughout the process with an impressive 92% assessment center attendance.

Exceptional Candidates

DIT were spoilt for choice with 43% of candidates passing the assessment center. They eventually made 93 offers, are 75 of those were accepted. As a result, they now have 75 high-caliber members of staff who are committed to governing and monitoring the UK’s future trade deals.

Enhanced Diversity

Diversity was very high on the priority list for both DIT and PeopleScout, and while we didn’t have specific targets, we did track applications. To everyone’s delight our diversity statistics were extremely positive, with 38% of applicants identifying as female and 48% identifying as a person of color.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing
  • ANNUAL HIRES: 75 professional roles including lawyers, investigators and economists
  • ABOUT DIT: The Department for International Trade (DIT) was a department of the UK Government responsible for trade agreements between the United Kingdom and foreign countries. The department was replaced by the Department for Business and Trade in 2023.