UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks distributes electricity to almost 8 million customers in London, the East and the South East of England. UK Power Networks is owned by the Cheung Kong Group (CKG) which has a proven pedigree in running high-quality utility companies, and a track record of wise investment and long-term plans. It already successfully operates electricity distribution businesses serving communities in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Altogether, there are 170,000 kilometers of underground cables and overhead lines and more than 130,000 substations.

Context

UK Power Networks used Sonru for their hugely popular graduate recruitment schemes – the Graduate Engineering Programme and the Business and Commercial Management Graduate Programme. The Graduate Engineering Programme offers 9 graduateships to candidates with an electrical engineering degree or an engineering degree with electrical modules while the two places on the Business and Commercial Management Graduate Programme are open to graduates of any discipline demonstrating keen business

acumen. The scheme was open for applications between October and the end of December 2011 with final offers made in April 2012. Although the scheme was advertised on Gradcracker and TARGETjobs, the main emphasis was placed on a Campus Campaign where they targeted specific universities giving presentations and holding skill activities as well as advertising the graduateships on the Universities’ careers sites.

Key Findings

  • Preliminary Screening Back In-House by Eliminating Phone Interviews
  • Time Savings
  • Positive for Employer Brand

Some of the Highlights

“If nothing in our recruitment process changed other than taking away Sonru, our whole process would collapse. We haven’t got enough time or resources to do anything else pre-assessment centre that would be as efficient.” – Audrey Bevan, Recruitment Advisor

For both the Engineering and the Business Graduate Programmes, UK Power Network’s recruitment cycle entails receiving applications, inviting candidates to complete a Sonru Video Interview, hosting an Assessment Centre, conducting face-to-face interviews and making an offer to the suitable candidates.

The first stage of the screening process involved the completion of an online application form which included competency based questions which were scored from 1 to 5. Successful applicants were then invited to the Sonru video interview. The candidates’ video responses to four competency/motivation based questions were scored between 1-5 and applicants scoring highest (with minimum of 12/20) were invited to the Assessment Centre.

“It was a lot more fun – Sonru was much appreciated as it’s easier to play back the video interviews than interact and set up phone interviews.” – Audrey Bevan, Recruitment Advisor

This is UK Power Networks’ first full graduate recruitment drive having previously been part of EDF Energy Corporation up to 2010. In EDF, the phone interviews were outsourced to external agencies with the recruitment team having no involvement in the preliminary screening only taking over when they received the shortlist of applicants selected for Assessment. UK Power Networks were in a transition period in 2011 and managed half of the recruitment programme so effectively “2012 is the first year we have had the entire campaign in our full control since our time as EDF Energy Corporation. Replacing phone interviews with Sonru video interviews has helped enormously in terms of managing the whole process,” claims Audrey Bevan, Recruitment Adviser at UK Power Networks.

“The feedback from the candidates we selected has been very positive. The candidates who were selected for Assessment thought it was quite innovative, ‘really new’ and liked being able to choose the time of their interview.” – Audrey Bevan, Recruitment Advisor

“The introduction of Sonru to the UK Power Networks’ Graduate Schemes has proved very popular with both the recruitment team and candidates alike. Seeing a demonstration of the Sonru tool in action during an open day, the managers and directors thought it was a really good tool however it was most welcome from the recruitment team themselves as it “spared” them the headache of telephone interviews.I think this stage was quicker than it used to be with phone interviews which are so time consuming and prone to problems – candidates not picking up, no connection, rescheduling and so on. It’s tricky scheduling phone interviews with students and not to mention finding the people to conduct the interviews. The feedback from the candidates we selected has been very positive. The candidates who were selected for Assessment thought it was quite innovative, ‘really new’ and liked being able to choose the time of their interview.” – Audrey Bevan, Recruitment Advisor

Commenting on the response rate of over 80% from both graduateships, UK Power Networks were “happy with the numbers, they reflect natural attrition from such a lengthy time frame and not the selection process itself;” concludes Bevan.

Conclusion

Sonru’s Video Selection tool worked well for UK Power Networks’ Graduate Programmes with time savings being cited as the number one benefit.
UK Power Networks, through their strategic use of technology, successfully automated an outsourced stage of the recruitment process without compromising on the quality of their graduate recruits.
“Sonru definitely saved us time during the campaign. Although the length of the actual process is fixed and standard across most graduate recruitment drives, the selection process during the campaign was smoother with less headaches and fewer surprises.”

Audrey Bevan, Recruitment Advisor