Task/assessment brief: Recruitment and Selection at York Met Police
Recruitment and Selection at York Met Police
York Met Police (YMP) is one of the UK’s largest single-county forces. It needs to continuously respond
to the ever-changing threats to society – from fraud to cyber and sexual offences to terrorism. The
development of a research piece that shaped the design of a future workforce blueprint by 2025 revealed
that the traditional approaches to recruitment and assessment, embedded in the organisation and
standardised across the force, would not meet future policing needs. A more agile, innovative and
forward-thinking approach was required.
Meeting future talent needs
With its future requirements in mind, the organisation knew it needed to strengthen and develop its talent
planning. In September 2020, supported by Cap, a global recruitment consultant, it began by looking at
existing research and best practice from other organisations and sectors as well as drawing on the
national Policing Vision 2025 and the workforce reforms initiated on a national level. It also questioned
the effectiveness and shortcomings of its existing competency-based approach to recruitment and
selection. Its ambition was to attract talent based on potential rather than competence, ‘because
competence is expected as standard’. It also wanted to develop a more flexible approach around entry
and exit into policing to attract, retain and really nurture talent.
‘Policing in the future won’t be a job for life but will be a connection for life. So, if you’ve reached
a certain point in your career and need to go off and do something else because we can’t satisfy
that need, we won’t think about what you’ve lost but what you’ve gained.’
-HR Strategic Leader
Introducing and embedding a strengths-based approach
The team concluded that a strength-based approach to recruitment and selection supported by the use
of innovative technology would be the best way to meet its needs and help unlock potential. To deliver
the new approach, the Talent and Resourcing Team needed the support of the entire force, so gaining
buy-in from the Chief Officer Team from the outset was critical to its success.
‘Some people love statistics and evidence, others are only convinced when they see it, so we
tried a mixture of things to bring people along and respond to their concerns. We started at the
top, with a vacancy for deputy chief constable, and the initial process combined a blend of the
old and the new for us to learn from – but immediately the feedback was really positive. As we
rolled the process out to other ranks, we immediately got change advocates because people
were talking about it and saying, “I can’t believe how innovative and different this is.”’
-HR Strategic Le
The strategy had clear objectives and measures of success:
• Upskill the Talent and Resourcing Team to ensure effective delivery of the programme.
• Create a levelled framework supported by strengths, as identified through success analysis, which
involved speaking to key stakeholders as well as making sure anything designed complemented national
frameworks. This allows the approach to be tailored for different levels and ranks while enabling a
consistent recruitment approach across the entire force.
• Design and implement valid selection processes around six core strengths to assess for future potential.
These incorporated a range of innovative selection tools, including an online immersive assessment,
strengths-based interview, micro exercises and virtual reality. Using this technology has enabled
candidates to act naturally and authentically, demonstrating their true potential rather than focus on
‘rehearsed’ examples of competence.
• Promote a positive candidate experience through managing expectations – workshops held across the
force for each rank to inform employees of the changes and to provide support, advice and guidance
‘We didn’t want our use of virtual reality and other technology to be seen as just going with the
latest fad, so we were keen to demonstrate its validity and how it adds value through candidate
engagement sessions that allowed people to test the system and become familiar with it.’
-Talent and Development Manager
• Full and comprehensive training for all assessors involved in the selection processes to ensure the
quality of hire.
• Ongoing evaluation and improvements – at the end of each assessment, feedback is collected from
assessors and candidates through debriefs and surveys to continually review, refine and ensure it is fit
for purpose. Any themes of gap areas then shape the development programme.
Feedback on the new approach has been outstanding from the outset: 88% of candidates rated the
candidate experience as excellent or very good, and 68% of candidates felt the process was fair and
consistent (in comparison with 28% in the previous promotion process). This has led to a significant
reduction in appeals from unsuccessful candidates.
‘We have worked hard to reduce any bias in the new system by focusing on the candidate as an
individual and allowing them to demonstrate through the process their potential in the future –
rather than, for example, manager recommendations.’
-Talent and Development Manager
All assessors (100%) rated the strengths-based selection process as excellent or very good and all felt
the process was fair and consistent. Early indicators show significant improvements in the quality of
candidates, speed to competence, work outputs, retention and accelerated progress to the next level of
promotion. Cost per hire has been reduced (by up to half for some job categories that attract a high
volume of applicants). Additionally, instead of the recruitment team shortlisting candidates, the new
process uses online situational strengths tests, which present potential applicants with a realistic job
preview, including the types of situations and scenarios they will face. This process also enables less
suitable candidates to deselect themselves if they feel it’s not the right career move for them.
The approach has attracted considerable interest from other forces as well as other public sector
organisations – all of whom now want to share this best practice.
Case Study Report: Question
Critically analyse the recruitment and selection strategy employed by York Met Police (YMP). Your
critique must include an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the competence-based approach
to recruitment and selection and analyse why the adoption of strength-based approach in recruitment
and selection has been seen as ‘best practice’ at YMP. Further, based on your understanding of relevant
theories/models/concepts in this module, you are required to develop and recommend a post-pandemic
recruitment and selection strategy for YMP with a focus on diversity and digitalisation.