Working Interviews: Are they a waste of time or a valuable asset?

Auto Silicone Hoses demonstrates the value of working interviews

The Business Challenge?

Auto Silicone Hoses, the UK's largest manufacturer of performance silicone hoses employs just over 100 members of staff at their warehouse in Mirfield, but as most businesses in similar sectors, the company has struggled in the past to retain suitable staff after making an appointment. 

Eleanor Parry, HR Manager at Auto Silicone Hoses said; ’We have sought out the support of multiple programmes to be able to recruit staff that are dedicated and want to stay within the company. 

We have found that the staff sent to us from other recruitment services only stay for a short period of time and leave for more money elsewhere.’’

According to CIPD's Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey 2017

  • 56% of businesses most popular methods to increase staff retention was by an improved induction process. (See full report here)

  • 56% of organisations do not calculate the cost of labour turnover. (See stats here)

Cost in staff turnover can be financially painful and impact productivity in the workplace with the added work delegated to other staff so it’s important to recruit the right person the first time around.

The average cost of replacing a member of staff is £30,614 - around £2,500 more than the average UK annual full-time salary (Oxford Economics Cost of Brain Drain research, commissioned by Unum – February 2014)

The Solution?

To manage the individuals understanding of the role and decrease staff turnover in the long run, the company has re-engineered their recruiment processes for new recruits. Instead of just conducting a standard interview process, they have adopted a rolling working interview system.

  1. An informal ‘meet and greet’ interview is conducted with a site visit to where they will be working, meeting a number of the team allowing the candidate to imagine themselves working there but also seeing how well they will fit within the team.
  2. If successful this is followed through by a two week work placement within the company trialling the role, meeting the team member and seeing if they integrate with the working environment well.
  3. After the two weeks, the candidate and the employer will know if it’s a match and a job offer will be made.

Eleanor Parry, HR Manager commented: "We expect this process to reduce our turnover of staff reduce the cost of replacing agency staff. We know by the end of the first week whether or not a job offer will be made to someone doing this work trial. It’s been imperative for us to be able to move things quickly, and have everything in place ready for their official start date."

The new method ensures the hire is right for the company but is mutual for both parties. If it’s not a match in the end candidates are finding it easier to secure employment afterwards with the added experience and boost in confidence.
The process helps ensure that applicants have a clear understanding of the role, can test out the working environment and in turn, the ASH team leaders can ensure that any new starts have the skills and attitude needed to do the job.

Some thoughts on working interviews...

Organisations looking to recruit need to decide on whether a working interview would be suitable for the role available as not all will be appropriate. This method of recruitment works better with entry-level jobs that’s don’t require intense training prior to being able to carry out the role.

Organisations that offer this type of experience would also have to have a fairly consistent recruitment need and is best suited to employers who experience turnover of staff or use agencies to support their recruitment candidates.

That doesn’t mean this type of recruitment is limited to certain sectors or larger companies, work trials could be beneficial for a wide variety of organisations.

Working interviews can take time and resource for the business to plan however it’s a clear indicator of an applicant’s dedication and enthusiasm when they are willing to carry out unpaid work in the hope of a permanent position in your organisation.

Having a key mentor in place as part of the work trial is important, it means that the employee has a chance to integrate into teams, quickly becoming productive and works to their highest potential.

To access local support in arranging a working interview you can contact our team at

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