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  • Publish Date: Posted about 3 years ago
  • Author: Adrienn Prezenszki

​Next Phase has placed over 200 individuals with a Biopharmaceutical company on the South Coast since 2006. Many of these placements have been in individual one-off vacancies. However, over the last 2 years the company has gone through 4 larger-scale recruitment projects, with a need to hire 4-5 individuals in one go, in lab-based QC and Development roles.

Most recruiters would agree that the ideal ratio of interviews to placements is 3:1. For hiring managers to feel like they have met the strongest possible range of candidates in order to make their selection, and for a successful hire to be made, it is best for 3 good candidates to be interviewed. This is fine for an individual one-off vacancy; but to fill 5 or 6 positions it would be impractical and time-consuming to interview 15-18 candidates, especially if each person had to come in separately for 1-2 hours each. The recruitment process could take weeks, running the risk of delaying offers, losing quality candidates and making it hard to manage all parties over a long period of time.

The Next Phase Solution

For each of the 4 larger-scale recruitment projects across 2018-2020, we have hosted an onsite assessment centre. This particular case study focuses on the most recent assessment centre, in February 2020, which was for the recruitment of 5 staff to form a new QC team.

From the very moment we began discussing the recruitment project in January, we agreed the date for the assessment day, 3 weeks in advance. This then gave us time to search and advertise for suitable candidates, then conduct our initial interview assessments. After 2 weeks, we provided a shortlist of 13 candidates who we felt would be the strongest for the vacancies in question. Each CV was accompanied by a detailed summary of the candidate’s technical skills, personality, personal circumstances, availability and salary expectations. The Hiring Managers selected 11 of these candidates for the assessment centre, as well as a couple of internal candidates.

Alongside coordinating the initial screening of relevant candidates, we sent two Next Phase recruiters to the assessment day to help Hiring Managers run the day smoothly. We sat in on interviews with Hiring Managers, talked with the candidates during breaks at various points throughout the day, and participated in the feedback session at the end.

The day began with a presentation by the Head of QC, welcoming everyone to the company. The candidates were then split into two teams for a group exercise, where they were given a scenario and had to work through this together. This was not only a great icebreaker but also helped the managers to see how each person behaved in a group situation.

The candidates then rotated around different assessments, including a 45-minute interview, lab tour, practical lab exercise and written test, with breaks between them. In total, the day lasted from 9am until 3pm; and after the candidates left we had a 1-hour discussion with the hiring managers to talk about each of the applicants and start making decisions.


As a result of the tailored recruitment solution that Next Phase provided for this client, they successfully filled all of the 5 positions. There were a number of positive remarks about the day, including about the candidate experience and how they got a very good impression of the company and how well-organised they are. The hiring managers felt that they had had a chance to get to know the candidates well over the course of the day – far more so than they would have done in a series of 1-hour interviews with no other assessment. Whilst an assessment centre means a greater investment in time in one block from the hiring managers, everyone agreed that this was better than them having individual interviews every day for a couple of weeks.