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Polestar

Case Study

An agile response to pandemic hiring.

Gerrell & Hard worked with leading EV innovator Polestar to rapidly implement a remote assessment centre in response to the pandemic.

Innovative EV start-up Polestar is renowned for its uncompromising dedication to progressiveness, performance and excellence. Its UK business launched in May 2019 to design and develop future Polestar vehicles, with a team that exemplifies the modern technological workplace, offering complementary niche skills and experience from a broad variety of engineering backgrounds.

After running a successful three-day assessment centre for the brand in 2019, Gerrell & Hard was asked by Polestar management to run a similar event in 2020. As a lean, agile manufacturer Polestar seeks candidates with talent, skill and an adaptable approach that is a corrective to the traditional “big OEM” mentality. New starters need to work well together, assimilate into the business quickly and demonstrate potential, flexibility and eagerness to learn, making an assessment centre the perfect hiring tool.

With a planned assessment day already booked in, our candidate identification and shortlisting process began with an advertising campaign, with each CV seen by several Polestar managers. Shortlisted candidates took psychological profiling tests and were asked to make a video about sustainability. The assessment centre was to be the final, definitive test to determine how candidates would work together as a group.

We had already qualified and sustained the interest of a large pool of candidates when the pandemic required us to radically change our plans. With just over two weeks until the assessment date and candidates already invited, we transformed it to a virtual event while preserving the conditions and methodology required.

We created and sent to candidates an assessment kit consisting of various problem-solving challenges they would need to work with others to solve, since no one candidate would receive every component of the puzzle. Each candidate underwent half a day of remote technical group activities, along with one-to-one interviews and tasks with other engineers. Management of the assessment sessions was complex, involving group activities and breakout rooms for interviews with multiple staff.

From a large initial candidate pool, all shortlisted individuals attended the assessment centre, with zero “no-shows”; a credit to the commitment and candidate nurturing from our combined project team throughout the hiring cycle.

Polestar’s virtual assessment centre received positive feedback from candidates and led to a large intake of outstanding individuals. The success of the event was in no small part due to Polestar’s exceptional commitment: its entire team took a week of their time to be involved – a superb onboarding experience for a whole generation of new employees.

“Having worked with the G&H team for many years now I have benefited from their experience and commitment to our recruitment process time and time again and this most recent experience with them was no different. Taking on the challenge that the pandemic forced upon us and still managing to deliver 100% attendance with an incredibly high calibre of candidates is no small feat. Their commitment to our event throughout the week with fantastic candidate engagement, early starts and late finishes and their ability to react and adapt the process on the fly, truly is going above and beyond.”

Ross Kelk, Chief Engineer of Vehicle Integration & Body Interiors, Polestar

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