Valuing Values for Recruitment

Saville Consulting Wave- British Sugar Case Study on Talent Acquisition and Development


saville-british sugar

Recruitment is the vital HR process that should and always be prioritized by organizations. Its critical aim is to equip the organization with the right employees, attracting the right talent in the defined quality and within a defined time. It serves as a baseline data for other HR processes as it defines, initiates and directs future HR trends. Given that, utilizing a certain process to make the recruitment system flawless could save time and ease further costs.

Saville Consulting is an international psychometric assessment business that helps organizations identify and develop talented individuals and teams. Saville Consulting operates in over 80 countries and has various clients in public and private sector organizations, including several HR and recruitment consultancies.

One such client is the British Sugar, the leading supplier of sugar to the British and Irish food and beverage markets. Sugar remains at the core of their operations but, by using a highly integrated approach to manufacturing, they aim to transform all of their raw materials into sustainable products: from sugar to topsoil, stones to LimeX and tomatoes to animal feed.

Their resourcing strategy is underpinned by a vision to effectively resource a talented workforce able to meet the changing demands of the business. Specifically, British Sugar has been looking to develop selection programs which incorporate their values and competencies into the recruitment process, ensuring a positive candidate experience and the selection of talented people who share their values.

The HR team sought to support their line manager population in interviewing and assessing candidates; enabling them to ask the right competency-based questions, capture responses and score the candidates in a structured way. They were looking for a solution which would not only provide this support but which would also ensure the process is standardized across the organization.

Saville Consulting built a tailored interview guide powered by the Wave® personality assessment tool, and worked alongside the recruitment team and key stakeholders at British Sugar to translate the British Sugar Competency and Values Framework into a Wave Competency Framework. It was important to include embedded language that line managers were already familiar with. To capture the essence of the organization’s values and competencies, these were mapped against 108 competency facet descriptions within the Saville Consulting Wave Performance Culture Framework, resulting in a highly detailed explanation of the behaviors required.

Based on the mapping, Saville Consulting created an individualized interview guide specific to British Sugar, showing each candidate’s scores against the specific behaviors required for each value and competency.

This project created a solution which allowed British Sugar to send applicants a 13-minute long Saville Consulting Wave Focus Styles personality questionnaire to complete before their interview. Upon completion, British Sugar line managers had access to an interview guide which provided the applicants’ scores against the British Sugar Values and Competencies and included tailored questions against these scores to further probe an applicant’s strengths and limitations. The number of questions listed in the Interview Guide varies, depending on how the individual has scored in certain areas. This includes extra questions for additional probing in areas which are identified as having lower potential.

A tailored scoring key was also provided with a standardized rating scale for each of the competency areas. British Sugar’s interviewers now use this key in their interviews with every candidate to note evidence of potential in each competency area and to rate this in a standardized way.

 This tailored approach to the interview process helped British Sugar improve and refine their interview process on a number of aspects:

  • Measurement against competencies and values is now incorporated as part of the assessment and selection process for graduate recruitment.
  • Competency-based interviewing using the guide has become more standardized across the business, focusing on assessing the candidate’s fit with the role as well as the company’s values.
  • The Wave Interview Guide is featured in the hiring manager toolkit as the standard approach to be adopted when assessing against competencies and values.
  • The quality of interviews has been improved through the use of a more standardized rating structure and probing which is directed at areas of lower potential.

Furthermore, the interventions implemented made the following key improvements for British Sugar’s recruitment process in regards to graduate recruitment:

  • Using the interview guide has improved the quality of interviews by highlighting areas which needed further probing.
  • Introducing a standardized approach to interviewing across the business, focusing on assessing the candidate’s fit with the role as well as the company’s values.
  • Measurement against competencies and values is now incorporated as part of the assessment and selection process for graduate recruitment.



British Sugar – Supporting Line Managers and Structuring Interviews. (Saville Consulting, n.d.) Retrieved from:

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