BEIS commended for use of games and algorithms in recruitment

Written by Suzannah Brecknell on 22 July 2022 in News

Department is first-ever recipient of innovation accolade from Civil Service Commission

Credit: athree23/Pixabay

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been commended for its use of new technology to help improve diversity through recruitment.  

The Civil Service Commission, an independent body charged with ensuring recruitment into the civil service is fair, open and on merit, launched its Mark of Excellence this year to recognise recruitment campaigns that show outstanding innovation and commitment to improving diversity across all civil service grades.  In becoming the first recipient of the accolade, BEIS beat 17 other shortlisted entrants, with a campaign that included game-based assessments and video interviews scored by algorithms.  

Natalie Campbell MBE, a former civil service commissioner and chair of the commission’s judging panel, said: "The department trialled this approach as an alternative recruitment experience for certain roles, aiming for a wider candidate field and reducing the ‘time to hire’ which can often result in the loss of good candidates. They also made excellent use of HR analytics and data visualisation software, giving them new insights into the journey of a diverse range of candidates throughout a campaign.”  

Five other departments or agencies were highly commended by the judges: the Office for National Statistics, Scottish Government, Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service and HM Revenue and Customs.  

Campbell said that BEIS stood out thanks to its clear strategy and wide-ranging approach to improving diversity.

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"We were really looking for applications where you could see there was a coherent strategy, with actual outcomes," she told PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World.

As well as setting out a "really comprehensive application", she said BEIS "were very clear about what comes next across their strategy”.

She added that the judging panel wanted to champion truly innovative work rather than projects which would fit within a department's business-as-usual work.  

"Where departments are driving a [recruitment] agenda that's aligned to that their bread and butter policy function, so we didn't necessarily see that as wildly innovative," she said, explaining that the education department would be expected to do a lot of work on apprenticeships, for example.

"BEIS were doing a whole host of things that weren't necessarily related to their policy drivers," Campbell added, including supporting carers, a prison-leavers scheme and an Autistic exchange.  

The judging panel included first civil service commissioner Baroness Gisela Stuart, Ministry of Justice permanent secretary Antonia Romeo, Cross Government Social Mobility Network founder Gerri Clement, Civil Service Disability Network vice chair Paul Willgoss, and Senior Civil Service Race to the Top Network co-chair Roxanne Ohene.  

Winning organisations can display the award logo on all their recruitment advertisements for one year and will be taking part in an online event to share their approaches with recruitment teams across the civil service in the autumn.  


About the author

Suzannah Brecknell is editor of PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @SuzannahCSW.


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