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Adapting recruitment processes to avoid bias and support applicants

At Siemens Digital Factory Process Industries and Drives, it is crucial we recruit the best apprentices. In an ever-competitive market place, it’s vital we take on the top talent to make sure we are developing the first class skills and knowledge for the future.

What we did.

  • Feedback from the applicants showed that approachability, being personally accessible and responding quickly to queries made a huge difference in putting people’s minds at rest.
  • Siemens DF PD Apprenticeship Co-ordinators bring another layer of communication to potential apprentices, adding to the formal applications process. By keeping the application process calm, chatty and relaxed at every stage, we found that all applicants, and particularly women, benefited.
  • When we reviewed the recruitment process, we found that the standardised procedure within Siemens DF PD excluded certain applicant groups. Instead of automated screening we moved to manually reviewing all applications – and this widened the applicant pool significantly.
  • We also looked at our psychometric testing and limited this to verbal and numerical reasoning – the only skills essential to the apprenticeship.
  • In addition, and more importantly, we found the interests and extracurricular activities of the applicants have proven to be a better gauge on suitability for the role.
  • In our selection process, we start the assessment centre with a presentation to help put everyone at ease. Senior apprentices, including women, were on hand to help with a site tour and we include women on the interview panel as well.
  • Following selection and offer, we keep in touch with the apprentices before they start to reassure them, keep them engaged and looking forward to starting work. They know when they will start, where they will start and what will be expected of them which helps them between offer and start date. We also have apprentices start early with Siemens DF PD so they can receive their laptop, PPE (female specific) and start to get to know their teams two weeks before they start their training.

What we learned.

  • Siemens DF PD are very proud to say that we achieved 50% women in the 2016/2017 cohort of electrical engineers and have repeated this for the 2017/2018 cohort as well.
  • Following an update to the advertising wording and imagery, we are still sitting at only 10% of female applicants. However, overall, the number of applicants has doubled, so we’ve attracted twice as many young women to apply for our advanced and degree level apprenticeships than before.
  • Jade Skelland and Helen Brindley, two of our apprentices who started in 2016, said, “the fast response, relaxed atmosphere and professional approach from Siemens DF PD really helped put us at ease throughout the selection process.”
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