Openreach Leadership Program: Finding the Directors of Tomorrow

Openreach Leadership Program: Finding the Directors of Tomorrow

One of the world’s largest communication organizations, Openreach, turned to PeopleScout for a sourcing-led recruitment solution including talent assessment design to find eight to 10 future directors for a brand new leadership program.


Openreach approached PeopleScout to help them stand up and deliver a new senior leadership program which would allow starters to rotate through a series of roles to provide them with the skills needed to be successful in a director position. The roles included:

  • Senior Engineering Area / Regional Manager Fibre Network & Delivery (FND)
  • Chief Engineer – Senior Operations Manager
  • Senior Area Manager – Service Delivery

Openreach wanted PeopleScout to drive the talent assessment process and to source candidates for the program, presenting a list of the most suitable.

The aim of the program was to improve diversity and innovative thinking within the business. The business was concerned about a lack of gender and ethnic diversity, and most of their employees came from a telecoms background. Openreach wanted to bring in candidates from diverse backgrounds with experience managing large operational teams outside of the telecoms sector.

Openreach also wanted to improve career pathways within the business. So, our second aim was to support internal mobility by introducing a new step stone between senior management and director levels.

Our team were given a short time frame of just four weeks to create a solution and design the process. Plus, we then had to present candidates to Openreach for interviews in a competitive market.


Our team were tasked with attracting and sourcing candidates, designing and supporting the assessment center and completing the recruiter screening.

Advertising Plan

To start, we interviewed senior leaders and heads of resourcing to understand the transferrable skills they were looking for. From this we were able to make a target list of industries and organizations which had similarities. These included field operations and management, logistics, and engineering as well as consumer-centric operations such as retail.

With this intel in hand, we developed a solution which included a candidate attraction marketing campaign, including writing job copy and building a microsite.

Our team devised an inclusive and effective advertising plan. This involved creating a tailor-made job advert and a microsite containing relevant and exciting content about the opportunities available. Using imagery and quotes from their current directors, we brought the Openreach story to life and showed what real employees’ roles looked like. We supported our diversity goal by using both female and male directors in the attraction content.

The microsite played the biggest part in telling the story, taking potential leadership program candidates through their first few years at the company, detailing where they’ll end up.

We partnered with Openreach’s media partner for the campaign strategy for which LinkedIn was predominantly used. Posts from employees were used as well as brand-led posts that recruiters leveraged to highlight roles. We again drove our diversity objectives by using more women in our social media posts to amplify their voices.

A Sourcing-Led Approach

To begin, the recruitment process was sourcing-led, focusing on the candidate experience and the thorough qualification of candidates. We also specifically targeted passive candidates from the industries we identified with key transferrable skills. In order to help bring the roles to life, we directed candidates towards the microsite and video content that PeopleScout created for the campaign.

Talent Assessment

Our team worked with Openreach senior leaders to design an assessment solution, involving job analysis and a competency assessment framework. This enabled us to create a stepwise assessment process to evaluate candidates through cognitive testing and personality profiling. The penultimate stage involved a competency-based interview to identify a shortlist of candidates to present to Openreach for final interviews.

The assessment design included a feedback report from the interview panel for each candidate as well as a feedback interview for candidates who completed the testing stage.


PeopleScout’s assessment design for Openreach led to:

  • Improved diversity amongst new program joiners. Amongst the new joiners, 25% identified as female and another 25% identified as Asian or Black. All selected hires scored highly in both the online test assessment and the interview.
  • 3:1 interview-to-offer acceptance rate. Our detailed assessment process was a good predictor of success. From the 81 candidates who were screened by recruiters, 34 candidates were selected for assessment, with 23 advancing to final interviews. Out of the 23, 10 were offered roles with eight acceptances.

The overall process from start to finish included a collaborative relationship between all teams at Openreach and PeopleScout to successfully deliver a brand new program.

Ten months on from the candidates’ start dates, we can confirm they have all successfully passed probation and are all actively working towards a director position.

“PeopleScout were really thorough, understood our requirements and ensured that they were able to accurately represent our business and the specific roles we were recruiting for. Communication throughout the process was excellent and they delivered the end result we were looking for.  When we surveyed our new joiners about their pre-hire experience, without exception they all held PeopleScout in high regard. We would have no hesitation in using PeopleScout in the future.”

Katrina Baillie, Head of Resourcing, Openreach

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Openreach
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing
  • ANNUAL HIRES: 10 future leadership program candidates
  • ABOUT OPENREACH: Openreach Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group. The telecomm provider maintains the copper wires and fibre cables that connect homes and businesses to phone and broadband.