nucleargraduates is the sector wide graduate programme for the nuclear industry. Established in 2007 by the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, the graduate programme currently has 73 graduates on the programme across two years in direct engineering and scientific disciplines. The programme caters for applied engineering roles in heavily regulated parts of the industry e.g. mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. Further sponsors of the programme now include the Environment Agency, Office of Nuclear Regulation, Magnox, Rolls-Royce, Sellafield, Jacobs Limited, International Nuclear Services, Low Level Waste Repository, Radioactive Waste Management Limited and Energy Solutions.


Receiving so many applications for limited graduate places is no small undertaking for a team of just 1.5 recruitment/HR professionals.”  Anna Byrne, nucleargraduates’ Recruitment & Selection Lead and Samantha Scott, a HR Officer who works part time.

The screening of so many nucleargraduates applicants from all over the UK translates not only into a potentially costly recruitment process but also a considerable administrative burden. With eleven programme sponsors in over 25 sites across England, Scotland and

Wales, video interviewing has proved most valuable.

Candidates passing the online application are invited to complete a series of online tests and are then further shortlisted to complete a Video Interview. Two staff in nucleargraduates review and select candidates for the Assessment Centres where the hiring managers from the sponsor companies are involved in the recruitment process for the first time. Offers are made after the centres.

Key Findings

  • Consistency of Recruitment Process
  • Quality of Candidates Brought Forward 
  • Candidate Experience
  • 80% Reduction in Admin Costs

Some of the Highlights

“Sonru has directly replaced the telephone interview from our recruitment process. The end result – the video process is better than the telephone process.

So we’re seeing fewer and better candidates from the Video Interviews at less Assessment Centres (one less than last year) with higher conversion rates than we had previously which is great.” – Anna Byrne, Recruitment & Selection Lead, nucleargraduates

Anna Byrne, nucleargraduates’ Recruitment & Selection Lead maintains their usage of Sonru has enabled them to reduce their administrative costs by 80%.

More importantly, eliminating the phone interviews from the recruitment process has enabled them to maintain the recruitment function in-house by no longer having to outsource the phone interviews.

Although Samantha Scott, HR Officer at nucleargraduates, is new to the team and has only ever used Sonru, it’s the ease of use that emerges as her favourite benefit: “it’s just so user friendly.”

”While we originally signed up to save money and to bring recruitment back in-house, we’ve stayed with Sonru because it gives us more consistency in our recruitment process, every interview is exactly the same. We couldn’t get that consistency before with so many interviewers.

Using a matrix of our scoring criteria, two of us watched the video interviews independently and we both arrived at very similar scores, you could never have that level of consistency with phone interviews.” – Anna Byrne

More consistency in the recruitment process and better candidate selection now outweigh the original cost saving benefits. “It’s also a much fairer process because you can watch the video interviews more than once if you need to clarify anything,” adds Byrne.


“The process provides a robust test of a candidate providing evidence of their suitability for the roles in terms of technical and behavioural competencies.” – Debbie Harrison-North, Head of Recruitment, Office for Nuclear Regulation

“We’re recording better conversion to offer rates from the Assessment Centres with the improved selection process. Candidates cannot present themselves as well on the phone. A lot of it comes down to organisational fit and behavioural which we can see in the videos.” – Anna Byrne

When asked of her favourite benefit, “the innovative nature of the interviewing system and the flexibility it offers to both candidates in choosing when they complete their video interview and the freedom it offers us in choosing when to view the interviews. The fact that we can see the candidates no matter where they are in the world, one of our candidates completed a video interview from Australia – a phone interview would have been a nightmare to schedule and conduct given the time zone difference.”

“We recruit for 11 customers who are more than happy with how we present candidates for assessment centres – it’s always a challenge to keep such a large number of clients satisfied, Sonru enables us to do just that,” adds Byrne.

“Flexibility is key especially as our candidates are in their final year. They have a lot on with coursework, part-time work and exams, being able to access our recruitment process in their own time is an enormous boon to the candidate experience. 

We can talk all day about what I love about Sonru but that doesn’t really matter as long as our candidates and eleven clients are happy with Sonru – that’s the main thing.” – Anna Byrne

Candidate Feedback

“Much more enjoyable than other video interview experiences”

“Very easy to use and more pleasant than phone interviews.”

“Interesting. I never did it before but I liked it.

– Candidates


With a completion rate of 81% (above the Sonru system average) and almost 90% satisfaction with the overall candidate experience, nucleargraduates are “extremely happy with Sonru. When we looked at budgets for next year, the first thing we decided on was maintaining Sonru. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t using Sonru but the longer that continues, the better for us as it gives us a competitive advantage in the war for graduate talent.”

Anna Byrne, Recruitment & Selection Lead