January 17, 2017
Original Publication:
The adidas London Newsroom has created an assessment experience candidates learn from rather than perform for.
Words: Melissa Wilcox
Most people reading this will have attended a recruitment assessment day at some point. It’s an efficient recruitment strategy for most businesses. Here’s what happened when the adidas London Newsroom wanted to turn the entire process on its head.
“Change is what drives progress, builds careers and shapes lives.”
A recruitment assessment day is a big part of what we at the adidas Group do to find amazing talent like you. Although the tasks and the challenges change with job role and function, a standard assessment day generally tends to look the same, regardless of the company.
That said, our Talent Acquisition team love change. Change is what drives progress, builds careers and shapes lives. So when we were offered the opportunity to revamp the hiring process of the next London Newsroom Intern, we were all ears.

Let’s put candidates first

Chris Watt (Senior Manager Social Strategy Community Management) approached the Talent Acquisition team to look for change through collaboration.
“I've been speaking to a lot of young creative people about employment, and one of the most common things I heard was a desire for development and learning experiences from brands and businesses to bridge the gap from education to employment (rather than testing and assessing).”
Chris Watt, Senior Manager Social Strategy Community Management
With this in mind, the London Newsroom collaborated with the Talent team to create a 3-day Creative Workshop to replace the standard 1-day Recruiting Assessment Centre.

We had three main goals:

  • Reach out to a wider pool of candidates by not allowing restrictive selection criteria (we were open to candidates without a degree).
  • Recruit based on interactive tasks which reflected a day in the life of the newsroom, not solely selecting via interview.
  • Enable candidates to leave the workshop with a better understanding of Social Strategy, key contacts and learnings from the experts at four leading Social Media platforms.

The workshop was pushed on social media

Creating a real newsroom experience

The newsroom kicked off with 29 candidates attending the workshop. We collaborated with Hyper Island (a Digital Education Provider) who helped to design and facilitate the workshop over the three days.
Day 1 consisted of getting to know each other and introducing a live brief which would be worked on throughout the workshop. Candidates were allowed access to the then not yet released Z.N.E. hoodie, planning an 8-day Social Media strategy which was to be presented back to the Newsroom employees at the end of day 3.
“The room’s creativity at this point was burning! ”
Day 2 kicked off with speaker sessions from representatives at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Candidates received professional advice on how to best utilise social media for their campaignsand brand, whilst having exclusive access to a Q&A session from each platform. The room’s creativity at this point was burning! Candidates went back to their live brief to embed the key social media strategies and ideas from the speaker sessions for the later part of the day.
On day 3 candidates were introduced to a new challenge, ‘Flight School’, where groups had to react to a football kit crisis through social media. Candidates responded well and it was clear at this point that the speaker sessions from the day before had had real impact.
To wrap up the workshop, candidates presented their social media strategy back to the Newsroom team.

Future talents got to shine over three action-packed days

Collaborate to stand out – 3 tips for success

The workshop was a success, leading to the hire of Daniel Salkey, our latest London Newsroom Intern who was successful from an initial 298 candidates. We also chose Amy Robinson as Newsroom PR Intern via the same process. What’s more, three talented people who attended the workshop are now working for adidas partner agencies.
Want to know how to be successful like Daniel and our other young hires? See our top tips below...

1. In your initial application, make sure you highlight any personal accomplishments to accompany your professional experience.

Dan had work experience in social media, however his love for sport was clear from his personal blogging. Links to any personal work you have done are great ways of showing us what you are capable of.

2.When you attend an assessment day, be confident in your ability.

Don’t shy away from speaking up, but at the same time we want you to be able to work with others. If someone else’s idea is better than yours, that’s ok. Say so.

3.If you have the chance to speak to employees whilst on site, grasp the opportunity.

We had a number of employees facilitating the workshop and when the three days had closed, everyone had spoken to Daniel. He made the effort to seek out staff and learn from them, asking questions and taking note. A great attitude will make a huge impression.
Many thanks to my colleague Chris Watt who came up with the initiative and took the lead in designing the workshop. Chris works in social media in the London Newsroom. You can connect with him on Twitter , LinkedIn and Instagram.


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Director Digital Publishing - adidas