Case Study: Graduate Recruitment


Mendas worked with a graduate recruiter who were facing several key issues. They were starting to receive significantly higher numbers of graduate applications, and yet in a post credit-crunch environment ­they needed to know that the graduates taken each year would be the right fit for the organisation. Not only did they need grads that were capable now, they needed those that would offer the best potential for the future. They also needed a group of graduates that would be able to cope with the sort of financial data that they routinely deal with.

Our Approach:

After interviews with the organisation found that off-the-shelf psychometric tests often failed to indicate candidates' true verbal and financial skills in a workplace context, Mendas launched this project by designing our bespoke Financial Reasoning Test (see link here) to be taken by candidates during the application stage. We then followed candidates through the entire selection process, developing telephone interview assessments, assessment centres and second-stage interview processes.

Such was the high number of graduate applications (more than 1,200 in total), the first cut had to remove a significantly high number of applicants. The Financial Reasoning Test was designed to implement a resource that efficiently and effectively sifted out the recruitment process. This meant that designing the right level for the Financial Reasoning Test became extremely important.

The client wanted to ensure that the graduates who remained in the process wanted to work specifically for them and not another organisation. We therefore included key questions to highlight an important attribute – motivation – that all test passers had to have as well.

As candidates continued through the process, we re-tested these areas and other key competencies needed by employees working there. We analysed the progression of those who just scraped through the financial test to see what progress they eventually made.

We tested all the different processes to make sure only the best were carried forward. Such is our belief in testing that if we don't think a process adds value, we won't include it again. Based on the previous years' selection process we decided to drop the telephone interview stage altogether. We found that the interviews only whittled out 30%, not a large enough number to make this stage of the process cost effective and worthwhile.

A two stage assessment centre was designed by the psychologists at Mendas, following consultation from individuals working for the client. We wanted to understand what behaviours they would expect to see from graduates working successfully in the role. From this understanding, we created exercises to assess these.

Our assessment centres consisted of a written and group exercise and a later Case Study Analysis exercise, followed by a face-to-face interview. Although the assessment centres were facilitated and quality assured by Mendas, we recognized that the businesses themselves had key knowledge and were vital in their role in selecting the process. We trained people from the business to work with us to ensure that the right calibre of graduates was selected.

At the end of the process, our delivery of verbal feedback to those who had been unsuccessful in the process ensured that those who fell at the final hurdle left the organisation with a positive experience and useful feedback to aid their future development and applications.


Our involvement in the delivery and design of the assessment process has resulted in massive reductions in the number of candidates seen at final stages, reducing the number of hours needed by business assessors. The quality of candidates at this stage had been so high that of the last 84 seen at the most recent final assessment centre, 60 job offers were made.

But this only tells part of the story. Not only have they achieved amazing ROI (see below), the process has had a positive impact on their commitment to attract and select diversity in the organisation.

All in all, we and our client were pretty proud of what was achieved:

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