Redesigning the Early Careers Assessment Process for a UK Construction Leader

Redesigning the Early Careers Assessment Process for a UK Construction Leader

Redesigning the Early Careers Assessment Process for a UK Construction Leader

One of the largest construction, property and development companies in the United Kingdom engaged PeopleScout to design and build a new assessment center to boost diversity amongst their early career talent.

93 % reduction in candidate pool through new situational application sift stage
81 % pass rate after bespoke assessment center


Over the past several years, this privately owned development, property and construction organization have increased the hiring of early career talent across multiple functions and departments. With a focus on increasing diversity and inclusion across their business areas, the early careers intake process was identified as an important way to achieve this. They wanted to create an assessment center that was unique, created a positive candidate experience and delivered quality, diverse talent who demonstrate behaviors in-line with their culture.

This client’s early career schemes recruit for a large variety of roles in many different business areas. However, they needed all candidates to go through the same assessment center, so the new assessment design needed to balance the needs of all departments and efficiently assess individual people. Plus, they needed adaptable exercises and scoring which could be appropriate for both apprenticeship and graduate scheme applicants.

This organization wanted the assessment center to create an excellent candidate experience and for candidates to feel like they gained a valuable experience in the process. The format needed to be engaging and fun, showcasing their values and the kind of work they do.


We took a phased approach to our assessment design solution for our client.

Discovery Phase

Our discovery efforts consisted of gathering information from stakeholders across the company. We ran focus groups with current early careers talent and conducted visionary interviews with senior stakeholders. We also facilitated focus groups with the internal early careers recruitment team.

Through these sessions, as well as carrying out desk research on the job descriptions, we gained an understanding of skills and experience required from early careers employees. Then, we defined the key issues in the current assessment framework and came up with the concepts for the new assessment center to better the client’s needs.

Through the discussion it was decided to have three distinct exercises which followed the same story but didn’t rely on each other. In the previous assessment center if candidates didn’t fully understand one exercise, it would have a knock-on effect on their ability to carry out the next one.

We decided on an overarching fictional project scenario to thread throughout all exercises at the assessment center which was applicable to all business areas. It would also act as a realistic job preview.

Design Phase

We designed a new assessment framework consisting of:

  • A bespoke new situational application sift process
  • A new video interview stage
  • A bespoke assessment center

For the assessment center, we designed a new group exercise, a case study presentation exercise and an interview. We designed a unique group exercise and case study exercise for apprentices and graduates and the interview was applicable for both.

I addition to the designing the exercises themselves, we created scoring guides and candidate briefs for all exercises. Plus, we generated a timetable for the day of the assessment as well as[PG2]  a briefing presentation so the client could inform candidates at the beginning of day of what was coming.

Testing Phase

We started with a pilot assessment center to test the new process. Members of the PeopleScout assessment team facilitated a virtual assessment center day, during which internal stakeholders acted as the assessors and current employees played candidates. This was hosted on TopScore, so the client was able to stress test their virtual platform of choice.

After the pilot, we ran focus group feedback sessions with a group of the assessors and a group of the mock candidates to gather insights and perceptions on the materials as well as anything which could be amended to aid understanding. Finally, we held a debrief session with the members of the company’s early careers team to get clear on what amends we would make.

We implemented our client’s feedback and sent the finalised materials to the client, ready for the real assessment centers. We ran a “train the trainer” session for their assessors so they could execute the assessment center going forward.


This organization received over 3,800 applicants for their early careers programme, and the new application sift stage allowed the client to filter down their candidate pool to 239. They also felt confident in the quality of the candidates who made it through to the assessment center, with 81% passing. Plus, when looking at pass/fail ratios, we saw no adverse impact at assessment center for gender, ethnicity or disability.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: One of the UK’s largest construction, property and development companies

Early Careers Recruitment Success for an Australian Construction Giant

Early Careers Recruitment Success for an Australian Construction Giant

Early Careers Recruitment

Early Careers Recruitment Success for an Australian Construction Giant

PeopleScout embarked on a strategic project to revitalize the graduate recruitment program for one of Australia’s largest development and construction companies. Through our early career talent expertise, we brought in more innovative approaches to candidate engagement and elevated the graduate recruitment experience, cutting renege rates in half.

18 Weeks Cut from Time Spent of Recruitment Activity
50 % of Graduate Hires Identified as a Woman
50 % Reduction in Candidate Drop Off & Reneges


One of Australia’s largest development and construction companies had a graduate recruitment program consisted of a short burst of marketing and campus engagement (six weeks), two recruitment phases in March (16 weeks) and August (12 weeks) and a long “keep warm” period. This approach heavily impacted their HR and recruitment teams as well as a line manager resource. Plus, the long recruitment process and keep warm periods resulted in drop off or renege rates of up to 30%.

They engaged PeopleScout to help them create a more efficient graduate recruitment process, while ensuring they connected with bright emerging talent.


Seeking to strengthen the connection with students and to drive more efficiency, we executed an early careers talent solution that shifted the focus of the campaign—adding more meaningful campus engagement (24 weeks) and one short, sharp recruitment window (10 weeks).

Laying the Foundation

The first step PeopleScout took in updating the program was to conduct in-depth job analysis interviews with a variety of stakeholders including: high performing graduates and interns, their line managers and visionaries across the business. This allowed us to develop a robust success profile, which defined what good looks like now and into the future.

Then we reviewed and updated the early careers value proposition and updated the campaign materials to tap into candidates looking to build a purpose-driven career. We also tailored our approach to ensure we connected with the client’s target diversity groups.

We created an always-on expression-of-interest portal for the client which allowed us to build a talent pool for the whole academic year. With the Affinix™ Student Engagement Platform, we delivered tailored content and shared employee stories showcasing ‘a day in the life’ and career journeys. This helped us to drive interest and change minds about a career in construction and property by myth-busting common misperceptions.

Campus Engagement

Recognising the importance of genuine and authentic communication, we identified graduate ambassadors across the breadth of the business. Moving away from pure reliance on careers fairs and job boards, our campaign involved the delivery of 38 student engagement events, including site tours, “meet the team” sessions and panels with female leaders leveraging our ambassadors.

Recruitment Process & Candidate Assessment

Now, having driven engagement with the target student population, it was important that the recruitment process was also effective, efficient and engaging. Our client had been following the traditional path of online testing, group assessment centres and hiring manager interviews to deliver their graduate program. But there was opportunity to ensure the process amplified their brand, provided candidates a realistic job preview, and levelled the playing field for all, enabling candidates to demonstrate their potential.

Using the insights from the internal client stakeholder interviews during our discover phase, we implemented the following changes:

  • Completely redesigned the assessment framework.
  • Adopted a CV-blind approach which helped to reduce unconscious bias.
  • Implemented a skills assessment in place of previous cognitive tests, which provided a more holistic view of the candidate, tapping into their motivation, cognitive strengths and behaviours, and measured the candidate against the client’s success profile.
  • Provided candidates with meaningful feedback reports, giving candidates an overview of their strengths and areas for development.
  • Revamped assessment centre exercises to bring the client’s construction project world to life, with candidates working together to deliver solutions involving the client’s core areas of focus, like community and sustainability.
  • Used our virtual assessment centre technology to encourage participation, especially for working candidates, rural candidates or those unable to afford the travel who previously experienced barriers during in-person events.
  • Leveraged our technology to improve accessibility for candidates with a disability and for those with ESL requirements.


  • Reduced time spent on recruitment activity from 28 weeks down to 10 weeks.
  • Achieved client diversity targets, with 50% of graduates hired identifying as women (compared with 15% of graduates with construction and engineering degrees identifying as women) and 3% of graduates hired identifying as First Nations (compared with 1% of graduates with construction engineering degrees identifying as First Nations).
  • Reduced candidate drop off and reneges from 30% to 14%.

“The process was very well run, and we had strong candidates. Thank you for the hard work and efforts with this program. It was a very thorough process with great results.”

Client Feedback

The enhanced engagement and innovative approach to assessment had an amazing impact on the client’s candidate Net Promoter Score (cNPS) with candidates rating their experience at 65, which is considered great. Candidate feedback was incredibly positive with a sample of feedback below:

  • “Very modern and innovative approach to the regular interview process. Allows busy applicants to complete in their own time.”
  • “The interview process was very innovative and provided additional insight into the role.”
  • “Overall has been a great experience. The assessment provided me with feedback that I can take into account in the future.”
  • “Very user friendly interface and didn’t feel demeaning or intimidating.”
  • “Thank you for making it such a smooth application process. I really appreciated all of the support provided, and I’m looking forward to working in such a supportive work environment. I also really appreciated the quick turnaround time for my application.”

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Large development and construction company
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Affinix

Driving Diversity: Transforming Graduate Recruitment for Road Maintenance Company

Driving Diversity: Transforming Graduate Recruitment for Road Maintenance Company

Driving Diversity: Transforming Graduate Recruitment for Road Maintenance Company

A prominent UK road infrastructure organization partnered with PeopleScout to develop an early careers recruitment process that would boost diversity.


Our client faced a decline in overall applications from graduates, raising concerns about the availability of diverse talent, especially in the engineering space. To address this challenge, they partnered with PeopleScout to develop a recruitment process that would prioritize diversity and inclusion amongst graduates hires. The objective was not only to attract exceptional talent, but also to engage and nurture candidates from various backgrounds, ensuring an inclusive and representative workforce. 


PeopleScout collaborated with the company to design a successful early talent campaign strategy. One key focus was to target the ‘Gen Z’ demographic while actively reaching out to a diverse array of candidates from different locations and backgrounds. To accomplish this, our recruitment experts executed a process designed to reduce adverse impact for all ethnic groups. The candidate attraction campaign also utilized inclusive language and imagery in the media strategy, ensuring that the campaign resonated with candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Utilizing Media for Outreach

Employing their employer branding imagery, the campaign leveraged social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat as well as the Google Display Network. With images that represented various groups, the campaign generated an impressive 29,000 clicks, effectively driving traffic to the career site, which produced over 42,000 total click-throughs to view available roles.

Mitigating Adverse Impact

After candidates applied and completed assessments, an adverse impact analysis was conducted, particularly following the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) stage. The analysis aimed to ensure that the benchmarking process did not negatively affect any ethnic group.

SJTs, known for their robustness and unbiased assessment experience, were used to screen a high volume of candidates. The automated scoring process helped reduce bias compared to traditional methods like resume CV evaluations. They also have lower adverse impact compared to other selection methods, such as cognitive ability tests.

This assessment method, combined with ensuring the recruitment coordinators who managed the candidate journey did not receive any ethnicity information about the candidates, helped eliminate unconscious bias and resulted in greater diversity of the candidate pool. 


The collaboration and communication between PeopleScout and the client yielded remarkable outcomes. Throughout the campaign, the PeopleScout delivery team handled over 2,000 calls and emails. Among the 2,656 applications received for the graduate scheme, 54 offers were made, with 39% of these offers going to female candidates and 36% to candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The successful partnership has significantly transformed their graduate recruitment process. By placing diversity and inclusion at the forefront, the company has paved the way for a more representative workforce. As they strive to achieve their strategic goal of 5% of their total workforce coming from early careers talent by the end of 2024, they continue to work with PeopleScout as their recruitment partner, ensuring a future that is diverse, inclusive and innovative.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Road infrastructure company
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ANNUAL HIRES: 50+ early careers positions

Holcim: Total Workforce Solution for Building & Construction Recruitment

Holcim: Total Workforce Solution for Building & Construction Recruitment

Holcim: Total Workforce Solution for Building & Construction Recruitment

In a highly competitive talent market, Holcim, a building materials supplier, partnered with PeopleScout for a Total Workforce Solution that blended project RPO and MSP to hire both white- and blue-collar roles for a major infrastructure project in Perth.

Successfully sourced building and construction talent during critical skills shortage
Successfully sourced building and construction talent during critical skills shortage
Campaign incorporating recruitment marketing and passive candidate sourcing
Campaign incorporating recruitment marketing and passive candidate sourcing
Collaboration with vocational training program helped reduce competition with other sectors
Collaboration with vocational training program helped reduce competition with other sectors

Holcim is one of Australia’s largest integrated suppliers and manufacturers of building materials and solutions. Their partnership with PeopleScout started with a national recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solution, through which we recruited personnel across their entire organization including corporate, technical and blue-collar roles in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.


Following this success, Holcim came to PeopleScout for a project talent solution to support building a team to staff a major infrastructure project for the Western Australian Government. The key location was Metropolitan Perth, which presented challenges for the recruitment team:

  1. Australia was experiencing a worker and critical skills shortage following the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced migration and an ageing population. This was making recruiting in the building and construction industry particularly hard.
  2. In addition to the national labor shortage, Perth is the main hub for the WA mining sector and the FIFO workforce, which means Holcim was competing with the top mining companies for talent. Given that FIFO wages significantly outstrip metro-based roles, our team had their work cut out for them to attract the talent Holcim required.

Holcim needed to source 20 permanent roles across white-collar, engineering, workplace safety and supervisory roles. In addition to the permanent roles on offer, our team was tasked with sourcing a contingent workforce of 35 blue-collar roles including welders, production operators and machine operators.


First, PeopleScout made the strategic decision to approach this like a true project recruitment activity. We dedicated a full-time resource to focus on the project with our project manager working towards specific timelines and taking an agile approach to sourcing and strategy. Our project leader and Holcim stakeholders met weekly to review and re-evaluate how the project was tracking and where modifications needed to be made to meet project requirements.

Holcim’s requirements fluctuated, and at times our team was required to quickly speed up or slow down the recruitment activity due to the dynamic nature of the infrastructure build. To increase our agility, PeopleScout invested in a significant amount of planning when tackling the Perth labor market and assessing the best sourcing strategies to use.


Our flexible sourcing approach targeted both passive and active candidates. We ran a campaign incorporating traditional recruitment advertising, internal referral programs and strategic sourcing for passive talent via LinkedIn and Seek databases.

A collaboration with a government-funded vocational training and placement program was instrumental in helping Holcim to fill the contingent blue-collar roles and meant that we did not have to compete with the mining sector to source this talent. PeopleScout team managed the relationship with the placement program and completed all vetting activities before the hiring manager interview, leading to faster fulfilment rates and reduced the burden on the Holcim hiring managers.


With the help of PeopleScout’s total workforce solution, Holcim has been able to meet timelines for infrastructure project, and from a recruitment perspective, we are ahead of schedule and under budget.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Holcim Australia
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Managed Service Program, Total Talent
  • ANNUAL HIRES: 20 permanent roles across white-collar, engineering, workplace safety and supervisory roles; 35 contingent blue-collar roles including welders, production operators and machine operators
  • ABOUT HOLCIM: Holcim is a global leader of manufacturing and supplying building materials and solutions. Locally led, Holcim supplies aggregates, sand and concrete products to build homes, towns and cities across Australia and New Zealand.

Talent Attraction in the Building and Construction Industry in Australia

PeopleScout has over 10 years of experience working in partnership with our clients in the building and construction sector. Our Australian footprint covers metropolitan, regional and remote locations supporting multi-national clients with varied requirements including:

  • National infrastructure and transport projects
  • Property development
  • Telecommunications
  • Remote site construction
  • Building and construction materials distribution
  • Renewable energy development

PeopleScout is an end-to-end recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider delivering strategic talent acquisition solutions across the building and construction sector. Our deep understanding and insight led approach to the delivery of project-based workforces will allow us to transform your approach to talent acquisition. We can partner with your existing team or deliver standalone projects to provide surge capacity and allow you to gain the competitive edge in the acquisition of talent.

The Talent Attraction Recipe for Success

The building and construction industry has weathered an incredible amount of change and challenges over the past decade and PeopleScout has been a trusted and strategic talent partner with a number of tier 1 and tier 2 industry leaders throughout this period, taking on lessons and continually refining our process. Over this time there are a few standout learnings we can share which have made a major impact on securing talent in this sector.

Industry Insights – Project Driven Forecasting for Balancing Skilled Labour

We have developed a deep understand of project-based recruitment across the building and construction industry, which includes the development of candidate source and attraction strategies aligned to project cycle and location. PeopleScout recruitment teams is involved from the bid stage of our client’s major infrastructure projects which allows us to start forecasting when the demand for certain skill sets is due to pick up and when there will be available workers ready to start planning for their next engagement.  

Workforce Partnership Planning – Forecast Planning

We partner closely with our clients to workforce plan against their project pipeline and the phases of the projects currently in play. One of the most impactful workforce planning tools is the forward mapping of your internal and external pipeline talent pools to your client’s future workforce requirements. PeopleScout’s CRM technology, Springboard allows our team to proactively manage our talent pools and keep them informed of opportunities on the horizon. Springboard helps our team to keep talent engaged with our clients and facilitates a seamless application, screening and onboarding process to ensure we maintain momentum with our talent and have them ready to start as soon as a project receives the green light.  

Employer Value Proposition – Including Community Engagement

Construction projects do not happen in isolation from the community they operate within and leveraging your EVP to build your brand within the local community is an integral sourcing strategy for this sector. Even more so when the projects you are sourcing for are based in regional and remote locations. PeopleScout works with our innovative Talent Advisory team to design sourcing campaigns that will resonate with the local communities our clients are working within. Our recruitment teams work directly with community groups, educational institutions, and industry partners to promote local pathways to work and support the diverse needs of our communities.

Talent Sourcing Insights

PeopleScout is an insights-led business, we use the data gathered via our business intelligence platform Springboard to analyse every aspect of the recruitment process both retrospectively and in real-time to ensure our campaigns are as effective as possible. Our insights tool interfaces with all the leading ATS platforms used by our clients and is fully integrated with our proprietary Talent Solution technology – Springboard. which allows your teams:

  • Access the real-time ROI on advertising and social media campaigns allowing your team to immediately pivot from avenues that are not yielding results and ramp up investing into the strategies delivering the greatest impact.
  • Access data analytics has been instrumental in achieving our client’s diversity goals; we enable your team will monitor the progress of applicants throughout the recruitment process and our data analytics will identify any key dropout points in the process. The PeopleScout team will assess what is causing applicants from certain demographics, to not proceed with the application and redesign the application process to stop this in its tracks.
  • Access to a dedicated talent insights team who conducts candidate market deep dives, to understand what the candidates career motivators are and where the best talent is for your organisation. We use these Market Benchmark Insights to develop candidate personas which we validate and use to design our go-to-market strategy.

As an example, PeopleScout partnered with a client, who is a leader in technology, industry, infrastructure and transport for over 11 years. Our solution features an onsite strategic sourcing business partner whose role is to source the hard-to-fill positions and provide overflow recruitment capability for the in-house team.

The Result?

PeopleScout is one of the leading outsource talent partners in the building and construction sector. We have over 10-year knowledge on how to support clients in the mobilise workforces for major infrastructure projects across ANZ. If your current talent solution is not meeting the demands of your project pipeline, PeopleScout as the technology, skills and experience to transform your talent acquisition team. The outcome of which will be a strategic function aligned to project and workforce needs. that decreases time to mobilise and provides you the competitive advantage you need in a tight talent market.