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Recruiting the best minds in economics

GFB support Oxera, one Europe's leading independent economics consultancies to recruit the best economics graduates

Oxera is one of Europe’s leading independent economics consultancies. For nearly 35 years, it has been advising companies, policymakers, regulators and lawyers on the insight that economics can bring in relation to competition, regulation, damages quantification, performance assessment and state aid across a wide range of sectors. With offices in Berlin, Brussels, London and Oxford, Oxera has a growing workforce of approximately 140 staff.

The Challenge

In today's challenging economic climate, the pressure to make the right hire decision, first time, has never been greater. With rising applicant numbers and a clear relationship between graduate schemes and organisational performance, the role of the graduate recruiter is increasingly viewed as business-critical. So how do you ensure that only the most suitable and able candidates are selected?

The Oxera graduate recruitment team faced just such a challenge. “With over 600 applications a year, almost all from very highly qualified candidates, it was clear we needed a more robust approach to selecting the best of them. We need people who can analyse a situation, generate optimal solutions to a problem and get feedback from all the people involved in the situation.”

The Approach

“We wanted a test that was relevant and that allowed us to identify the very best candidates and take them through the recruitment process”, says Maria Farias, HR Assistant at Oxera. It was also vital that any assessment be seamlessly integrated into Oxera’s existing applicant-tracking system, ‘AllHires’. On the recommendation of Deborah Stump, Partner and Director of HR at Oxera, GFB was brought in to partner with Oxera to review and recommend a suitable assessment approach, and to integrate this with the existing applicant-tracking system from a technical perspective.

Abigail Clayton, Client Director at GFB, identified the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal from a wide range of solutions available, and recommended this owing to the high calibre of candidates required and the importance of critical thinking for the graduate role.

This higher-level ability test assesses an individual's capability for critical thinking—a discrete skill distinct from, but not independent of, overall intellectual intelligence. Designed for remote assessment, GFB’s ability tests have built-in safeguards to ensure that the results can be trusted and verified.

Abigail worked closely with the senior team at Oxera to reassure them that the introduction of the ability assessment would not prevent the best candidates from continuing through the process.

The Solution

GFB began work on the technical integration and created an Oxera-branded test. The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal was then launched as part of the graduate recruitment process and has been used successfully since.

“The GFB technical integration with AllHires is seamless. The system works very well for us – it’s easy to administer and allows us to pull and analyse relevant data”, says Maria Farias.

“GFB’s online assessment platform easily integrates into applicant tracking systems and is already linked to many of the market leading solutions”, explains Steve Bicknell, Chief Technology Officer at GFB.

The Results

Detailed reviews of data are conducted after each recruitment phase. The introduction of the test allowed Oxera to focus the recruitment on candidates who are of the right calibre, making the recruitment process quicker and smoother for Oxera and the candidates.

“For us it’s important to focus on quality, high-calibre candidates. It’s about trying to identify from the large number of applications received every year the high performers who will add value to the business”, says Maria Farias.

Oxera is confident that by introducing a more rigorous and informative recruitment process, it is getting the very best people to join it—people who are right for Oxera.

About the Watson Glaser:

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal has been designed to measure some of these important abilities and since its inception has become a highly respected and widely used instrument in the selection and development of graduates, managers and leaders. It is generally acknowledged to be one of the toughest tests of critical thinking available with strong links to performance in role.

The Watson Glaser is drawn from a bank of questions, ensuring that no single form of the test can be copied and reproduced. This item bank approach ensures that candidates can be assessed remotely and unsupervised.

Overall results are detailed against a number of norm group comparisons and score results are further broken down into 3 key areas:

  1. Recognising Assumptions

  2. Evaluating Arguments

  3. Drawing Conclusions

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