SSE: Online Assessment Module

The Government’s Energy Company Smart Meter roll out, gave SSE a talent challenge; hire 1,500 Smart Meter Engineers in a short time-frame at the same time as every other energy company.

When the pressure’s on, the right talent solution is critical. A solution SSE knew TMP could deliver. We were brought in to understand all aspects of the candidate journey, apply the right processes to hire the best candidates, whilst using resources efficiently. We needed to relieve the burden on SSE Hiring Managers, with the help of new assessment tools to significantly reduce the recruitment process whilst selecting great talent.

The Challenge

As part of the UK’s Smart Meter initiative the government has instructed energy suppliers to install smart meters in every home in England, Wales and Scotland by 2020. To achieve this SSE needed to hire 1,500 Smart Meter Engineers.
SSE realised the gravity of the task at hand and very quickly came to the realisation that they had no capacity internally to manage all of the streams involved in this scheme. They also found that their existing process was subjective and inconsistent. Traditionally, SSE’s hiring was carried out by multiple Operations Managers across country without a defined process or clear model of what the best candidate looked like.

The main challenge from a TMP perspective was converting SSE’s existing and very technical face-to-face assessment and interview process into an online test. Due to the scale of this initiative and the challenging timescales, we had to come up with an easy-to-access, robust yet time-effective assessment model. The second aspect of this challenge was to secure SSE’s hiring community’s agreement with what the “correct” answers should be and gaining a consensus across the UK. This was of crucial importance because of the impacts of inconsistent decisions made previously by the business.

The Solution

We designed an integrated online test in order to assess the Smart Meter Engineers that SSE had to recruit – one test for Gas Engineers, one test for Electric Engineers.
The candidates view 3D, digital representations of gas and/or electric boilers online via the assessment module that TMP designed, and are tasked with highlighting any potential faults onto the display module by dropping pins and entering descriptions of the faults into a free text box. The test is fully integrated with the ATS, so that candidates have a smooth journey from application to test, and throughout the process.

The advantage of the online test that we have designed for SSE is that it removes the need for a face-to-face interview. The benefits of this are plenty, in terms of time saved for hiring managers, positive experience for candidates, cost-saves in terms of time and travel for both hiring managers and the candidates. If candidates are successful at the online testing stage, they progress to telephone interview stage where they face a more robust verbal examination of their abilities by our dedicated telephone interview and screening team. If candidates pass this stage they then progress straight through for offer approval.

"TMP have helped deliver a modern and rigorous assessment and selection process, which has delivered both high-quality candidates and cost-effectiveness. The project represented a significant reputational issue for West Midlands Police and it needed to maintain the trust and confidence of the Community. TMP have approached the project in a true spirit of partnership and the relationship developed between ourselves has added real value to this very successful campaign."
Chris Rowson, Head of HR, West Midlands Police

Benefits and Results

  • Time-to-hire massively reduced as candidates can do online test at own leisure – c. 50%-60% of standard RPO time.
  • Our new assessment approach removes the operational strain to SSE, nullifying the need to secure assessors and host large assessment events.
  • One team is now scoring results, therefore no subjectivity will be applied to candidate answers around potential faults, in turn meaning a potentially safer workforce.
  • Installers are more culturally aligned due to the assessment at telephone interview stage.
  • The candidate experience is enhanced as they can complete tests around schedules and those who are self-employed/contractors don’t need to take time off work etc.