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HRD Q&A: Making Lebara’s recruitment process fit for the digital age

Assessing behavioural role and cultural fit, and new tools such as video have been key

Naleena Gururani joined Lebara in 2010 as head of international recruitment and was recently appointed global HR director.

What was the recruitment process like when you joined?

"It was fairly conventional – after reaching out to market through traditional channels we would conduct the process with an initial phone call and two face-to-face interviews in a ‘question and answer’ format. We would also support our hiring managers in making the right selection decisions."

Why did this need a revamp?

"We wanted to be sure of improved quality of hire and avoid early attrition given our digital ambitions when hiring for Lebara’s new telephony, media and financial services businesses. The organisation evolved its consumer-facing brand and rapidly expanded its customer proposition into new territories. Our employer brand positioning and traditional resourcing methodologies using agencies and job posts became archaic, and the selection process was too rigid, wasting time and resources. To attract talent in new areas it was clear that we needed a flexible framework that focused on the candidate experience and quality of hire, as well as better reflecting the consumer brand and internal values."

How have you improved the process?

"We have created a competency interview framework that directly supports our new performance management programme. We enlisted specialist partners to give us deeper insight into our prospective candidates and their capabilities beyond their competencies. Specifically, we wanted to improve how we assess behavioural role fit (psychometrics), cultural fit (situational strengths) and what we call ‘sharpness’ – candidates’ ability to work logically and analytically. It was also important that we equipped our hiring community to follow a more consistent recruitment process, as well as being more confident in their interviewing and decision-making.

"Implementing the behavioural psychometric tests involved a number of the HR team being trained in the new assessment practices as well as reaching out to hiring managers to explain their part in the tests. The situational strengths and sharpness tests were designed and developed with an external partner, tailored specifically to our requirements. We wanted it to be reflective of our business and culture, and therefore we invested significant effort in running focus groups and validation exercises ahead of launch.

"We’ve also introduced additional optional methods of interviewing, such as video, to increase time and cost efficiencies. Though a digital and online approach has significant benefits, it shouldn’t be used exclusively. Having a complementary induction and on-boarding process is just as important."

What have the results been?

"It is still early days, but we now have a robust set of online tests that are easy to use, and don’t take our candidates an exhaustive amount of time to complete. We have trained more than 75% of our managers in the new process and have worked hard on focusing on quality of hire as our key metric. Our success measures are attrition rates and performance ratings. So far feedback from internal and partner stakeholders and HR teams shows they have welcomed a framework that helps them make better-informed decisions."

What now?

"We are in the process of monitoring results from the new assessments and building more robust metrics in each job grade. Once we have done this we will look at tailoring selection approaches within specific talent segments. We want to ensure we continue to be granted the ‘Diversity Corporate Champion Award’, having been recognised by the International Diversity Mark three years in a row."