Case Study: Equal Experts

Equal experts data vis header

Creating the next generation of thought leaders and industry experts with an innovative programme driving growth in the tech community.

Equal Experts are an award-winning consultancy, specialising in simple software solutions for big business challenges. With industry recognition for their leadership on the application of Agile and Lean delivery methods, Equal Experts have worked on a wide range of digital transformation projects for the likes of O2, The Co-Op Group, and HMRC.

Hard-baked into the company's ethos is a recognition that talent is born out of a focused and dedicated learning environment, resulting in the creation of an enviable talent network of over 750 independent consultants. In early 2017, that guiding principle was taken to its next level with the creation of EvolvE: an accelerated career development programme for high potential DevOps engineers and software developers.

EvolvE: Creating True Breadth of Skills.

EvolvE is not a quick-fix course; it's a serious and prestigious commitment with huge potential to boost a participant's career. Through their access to a wide variety of stimulating technology projects and industry-leading peers, Equal Experts are able to streamline career development. In doing so, participants can cover half a decade's worth of real-world experience in as little as three years, enabling them to cover a wide range of skills.

Equal Experts typical career path.

EvolvE programme comparison charts showing an average career trajectory [1].

Every 6 to 12 months, EvolvE participants choose a new project, with a new group of Equal Expert consultants, new challenges and a new codebase, ensuring that learning never stops. By consistently shifting focus and being exposed to a wide range of working environments and business processes, the participant has their skills constantly stretched. At the same time, through pairing with highly experienced engineers from the Equal Experts network throughout the programme, participants remain well supported, facilitating rapid personal development and fostering a curious engineering mindset.

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EvolvE programme chart showing the influence of EvolvE on career trajectory [1].

Through the expert guidance of Steve Morgan, the programme also empowers each member to extend their learning outside of the day-job. Participants are given non-billable time to focus on personal projects, get to grips with new tools and generally take responsibility for their own progression and career direction.

There are also no lock-in periods or participant reimbursement schemes. Once someone has completed the EvolvE programme, they're completely free to choose the next step based on what makes the most sense for them. Whilst there is always the option to join Equal Experts in a permanent position, they are encouraged to consider taking their new skills into the wider development community, whilst retaining access to the Equal Experts peer network and consultancy opportunities.

By doing so, Equal Experts have placed the wider community front and centre. Through the EvolvE programme, they are able to begin contributing directly to the tech community by creating the next generation of experts directly.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack.

Whilst the EvolvE programme has already had some real success stories, with previous participants now recognised as industry experts in their own right, Equal Experts were battling with a costly hiring process.

When Talent Point was first approached, the EvolvE programme was struggling to consistently source relevant participants. In the previous year, only twelve people had been successfully placed within the programme, despite hundreds of applications and over eighty face-to-face, final stage interviews.

Not only did they find sourcing suitable applicants an ongoing challenge, but they had identified a weakness in their hiring process which confused applicant expectations for the programme, resulting in a 42% dropout rate within the first six months. Put simply, their hiring campaign was targeting people who were already too experienced for the EvolvE process, forcing them to retread ground and become disillusioned.

Equal Experts were well aware that EvolvE offered a fantastic opportunity, one which a huge number of people within their market would benefit from, but were struggling to source to the programme's strengths.

Talent Point Help Equal Experts Focus on Finding the Right Rough Gems.

Alain and Beth's first steps were to familiarise themselves with Equal Experts, review the previous hiring campaigns and sit down with the hiring managers. Doing so enabled them to identify the complexity of the EvolvE hiring process as a key reason why Equal Experts were having problems sourcing the top talent that they were looking for.

The original hiring workflow contained no less than twelve unique steps and required input from a high number of internal stakeholders.

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Outline of the original Equal Experts hiring process[2].

Not only was this process overly complex but the need to constantly reconfirm elements with multiple parties, and juggle various stakeholder commitments with those of applicants, made it a huge time sink for the hiring managers involved.

Those drawn out processes were also costing Equal Experts the talent they wanted. With protracted response gathering and multiple disparate stakeholders required in sign-off, applicants were only receiving feedback or an offer after enough time had passed for them to have found employment elsewhere.

With Talent Point's guidance, the hiring managers at Equal Experts went back to the drawing board and boiled down the hiring process into a much more manageable four steps:

  1. Call Talent Point to initiate a hiring campaign and confirm hiring manager availability.
  2. Talent Point sources applicants, screening based on predefined requirements, before booking their interview directly into both parties' diaries.
  3. Applicants attend a single, focused face-to-face interview, with Talent Point present if necessary.
  4. Feedback is gathered at the end of the interview and delivered to the applicant immediately, including an offer if relevant.

Hiring Rates Climb As We Welcome the Newest EvolvE Participants.

Whilst our partnership with Equal Experts is still in its early days, the impact these changes have had are already being felt.

Over the previous 12-month period, the hiring rate for the EvolvE programme was at a low 15%, equating to a nearly 1:7 ratio (seven interviews for each hire).

In contrast, within the first six weeks of using the newly streamlined hiring process we helped them to create, Equal Experts have already successfully hired three new participants into the EvolvE programme!

Not only does that mean a much higher rate of acceptance, but it also came with a substantially reduced time investment. With clearer screening criteria and Talent Point's detailed market research driving the sourcing process, those three successful hires were made from only nine interviews – that's a clear delivery on our 3:1 hiring promise!

Alongside that success rate, Equal Experts have fully embraced our feedback-loop culture and are driving discussion on continually improving the hiring process. After each campaign, Alain and Beth meet with the Equal Experts hiring managers to review the sourcing criteria, interview performance, and final outcome.

With these tightly-coupled feedback mechanisms in place, any potential road bumps in the hiring strategy can be quickly identified and smoothed out in time for the following hiring round to begin. Whilst Talent Point always recommend building review processes into hiring campaigns, the familiarity Equal Experts have with the Agile mindset have made them ideal partners in creating a truly reactive, flexible hiring strategy.

That focus on continual improvement means that we have every faith that the EvolvE programme's hiring success rate will only continue to get better with each iteration!

Talent Point Helped Equal Experts Increase Hiring Rates.

Through a close, holistic review of their hiring process in partnership with Talent Point, Equal Experts have created a much more performant, lean and repeatable strategy for finding new participants in their exceptional EvolvE programme.

If that sounds like something your company or hiring team would be interested in, or if you just have any questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3011 1501 or at info@talentpoint.co. We look forward to helping you solve your hiring problems.

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[1] EvolvE programme career path graphics used with permission from Equal Experts.

[2] Icons made by Chanut from FlatIconand licensed under CC 3.0 BY; diagram made by Talent Point.