DIY system helps retailer save and boosts diversity

DIY retailer B&Q has reduced the chances of discrimination in its
selection procedures and cut the time and cost of recruiting managers after an
overhaul of its recruitment process.

Personnel director Mike Cutt said the firm decided it needed to change its
recruitment practices because the old system was characterised by paper trails
and was "chaotic, messy and ineffective".

Speaking at a Recruitment Society event in London, Cutt told the audience
there had also been concerns that the previous recruitment system allowed
personnel to "recruit in their own image".

Using the new system, which has its first anniversary this month, applicants
for management positions are channelled to a specially designed website, where
they complete two online questionnaires and receive ‘real-time’ feedback on how
they are scoring and their suitability for the post.

More than 50 per cent of applicants ‘self-select’ themselves out of the
system, cutting down numbers and ensuring only the best candidates continue.

The successful applicants are then made available, on a national database,
to B&Q’s team of HR regional resource advisers, who are in competition to
‘claim’ candidates for interview.

Cutt said one of the most important elements in the system’s success is that
key factors, such as the applicant’s age, sex, ethnicity and age, are kept
secret from recruiters until after they offer the individual an interview.

He claims this takes 75 per cent of opportunities to discriminate out of the

The new system has halved application times from 150 days to 75 "almost
overnight", and has cut the cost of hiring managers by 30 per cent.
According to Cutt, it also offers better insights into who applies, when and

By Michael Millar

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