No stopping early careers recruitment

When COVID-19 put the country into lockdown at the end of March, education establishments closed and exams were cancelled. At MBDA, many of our most recent job applicants were in their final year of school, college or university and left facing uncertain situations.

With our recruitment processes for our Early Careers programmes underway, we didn’t want to add to applicant’s uncertainty. We also didn’t want to lose out on the best and the brightest who had applied to work for us.

The UK Government considers the work MBDA does to be vital to national security. At a difficult time across the country, we have been fortunate that our people can continue working. Like a lot of businesses that continued to operate, we found alternative methods to keep our recruitment processes going.

Debbie, our Head of HR resourcing, explains how MBDA quickly adapted to new ways of working to keep things on track.

“Everything starts with an application. Similar to a lot of other companies MBDA job applications are done through an online portal from our careers website. This means the process of sifting applications remains unaffected. The changes began when we started the interviews process. Initially, this was easy. In-person interviews became phone interviews or video calls. The key was finding a solution that both the applicant and our recruiters were comfortable with. Video calling apps and other online video conference platforms that are easy to access through a web browser all played, and continue to play, a part in our recruitment process.

For our apprenticeships, one recruitment step would normally have been for our selected candidates to attend an assessment centre. At the beginning of the lockdown, members of our recruitment team were creative in identifying ways to move our in-person assessment centre process into one that could be conducted over the phone. And they did this in less than 48 hours! The feedback we’ve had in this change in process has been so positive.

But it’s not only about supporting our applicants. Managers of teams whose roles we are filling are a big part of our recruitment process. So, our rapid response to the situation we faced involved supporting our colleagues, now working remotely, with their involvement in the process. We ran virtual briefing sessions, created new guidelines for managers to support the new processes and add clarity. It can be uncomfortable to move from traditional ways of working you are familiar with. However, I’m proud of the way we have all adapted. We’ve continually reflected on our changes and have learnt from them and continue to adapt as circumstances changed becoming more and more efficient.

Now we are in the final stages for apprentice recruitment. Another of our face-to-face processes - our pre-joiner events – have taken place via web conferencing. Candidates that have accepted conditional offers get the opportunity to meet others in that will make up their cohort in September. Parents or carers are also invited to take part to ensure everyone has the same information. This then just leaves results day for the candidates to get through!

Altogether, I hope that our adapted ways of working have given all our applicants and candidates confidence that we were still interested in them joining MBDA.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Early Careers Programmes, visit our pages covering our apprenticeships, graduate schemes and work experience.

If you are looking for a job with unique responsibility that brings purpose to everything it does, as well as flexibility and a number of other benefits, why not look at the opportunities we have to offer.