Recruiting Brilliance for Liberty Global and Virgin Media – Assessing the talent of the future

Jacqueline Healey

Head of Assessment Consulting

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Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband and communications companies. Liberty Global connects 11 million customers through operations in six countries across Europe subscribing to 25 million TV, broadband internet and telephony services. It also serves 6 million mobile subscribers.

Virgin Media and Liberty Global were looking to unite behind a single graduate, intern and apprenticeship assessment process that would achieve recruiting brilliance. The new process needed to inspire, engage and identify the talented candidates who could adapt to change quickly, pursue innovation and drive business growth.

Liberty Global and Virgin Media needed to recruit 74 graduates for roles in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands; and Virgin Media UK was recruiting 13 interns and 240 apprentices. These roles covered a mix of office-based and field-based roles from data scientists and project managers to field technicians and network engineers. As leading Future Talent recruitment experts, we partnered with Liberty Global and Virgin Media to transform recruitment with the development of a bespoke new process powered by business psychology best practice and our award-winning technology. Having faced conversion ratios of 125 applications for each hire in the past, the new process needed to sift candidates efficiently but also deliver a fantastic experience to inspire high potential talent. The process also had to help improve diversity by attracting more female applicants into technical and field-based roles which, traditionally, have been more male-dominated.


“Through close collaboration and partnership with Amberjack we have been able to use best practice assessment tools and provide graduate, intern and apprentice candidates a more streamlined recruitment process. By doing so, we’ve been rewarded with higher quality and more engaged candidates.”
Karen Handley, Head of Future Careers, Virgin Media


Recruitment transformation began with job analysis by interviewing stakeholders and mapping results to create a new behavioural framework. This analysis fed the design of the new three stage recruitment process that was then rigorously tested on current future talent cohorts.

The new recruitment process was innovative, immersive and exciting. It provided realistic job previews for different roles, business areas and countries and was hosted on the market leading Ambertrack recruitment platform. After a short registration, candidates completed an interactive SJT that measured decision making by placing candidates in the scenarios they would face in role. Next, motivation and potential were measured by a video interview starring current graduates asking future-focused scenario-based questions. Finally, assessment centres were upgraded, making them more realistic of working life today. The traditional paper-based assessment centres of the past were transformed to a digital, exciting and interactive experience where candidates had the opportunity to complete exercises on tablets. Key skills were assessed such as ‘delivers results’, ‘develops self’ and the emerging importance of ‘pursues innovation’ during a group exercise, an unexpected event that takes them out of their comfort zone, an interview and a case study presentation. The fairness and face validity of all assessments was crucial to meet gender diversity targets and to increase the likelihood of candidates accepting offers.

The engaging process was effective at measuring potential in the talent of the future and delivered fantastic results for apprentices, interns and graduates for the UK, Ireland and Netherlands, against the backdrop of a competitive market. Candidate quality was extremely high with 106% of graduate vacancies filled against a market average of 96%. For all talent streams the accepted offers were 14% higher than market benchmarks (ISE). Bucking an industry trend, 49% of graduate offers went to women, a massive increase of 219% against the technology sector average (Insights Report). The process was also 25% faster than the benchmark of 11 weeks (ISE) and candidates rated the total experience +63 NPS where +50 is considered exceptional, against an average of just +24 (Inavero UK staffing report, 2018).

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