How Equal Experts is Evolving the Tech Industry

Creating the next generation of thought leaders and industry experts with an innovative programme driving growth in the tech community.

Diverse group of EvolvE participants laughing and joking together. Equal Experts is an award-winning consultancy, specialising in simple software solutions for big business challenges. With industry recognition for its leadership in the application of Agile and Lean delivery methods, Equal Experts has worked on a wide range of digital transformation projects for the likes of O2, The Co-Op Group, and HMRC.

Hard-baked into the company's ethos is a recognition that talent is born out of a focused and dedicated learning environment, resulting in the creation of an enviable talent network of over 850 independent consultants. In early 2017, that guiding principle was taken to its next level with the creation of EvolvE: a tailored career support programme to give high-potential tech people accelerated experience and to help them reach the established Equal Experts consultant “bar” quicker.

EvolvE: Creating True Breadth of Skills

EvolvE is not a quick-fix course; it's a serious and prestigious commitment with huge potential to boost a participant's career. Through its access to a wide variety of stimulating technology projects and industry-leading peers, Equal Experts aims to streamline career development. In doing so, participants broaden their real-world experience over a period of typically three years, enabling them to develop a wider range of both technical and consulting skills in a shorter time than they could using a traditional approach.

Graphs comparing a typical career path and an equivalent having been a part of the EvolvE programme.

EvolvE programme chart showing the influence of EvolvE on career trajectory [1].

On a regular basis, EvolvE participants move to a new project, with a new group of Equal Expert consultants, new challenges and a new codebase, ensuring that learning never stops. By consistently shifting focus and being exposed to a wide range of clients, working environments and business processes, the participant has their skills constantly stretched. At the same time, through pairing with highly experienced engineers from the Equal Experts network throughout the program, participants remain well supported, facilitating rapid personal development and fostering a curious engineering mindset.

Guided by the EvolvE Programme Manager and assigned mentors, each participant is encouraged to extend their learning outside of the day-job. Participants are given non-billable time to focus on personal projects, get to grips with new tools and generally take responsibility for their own progression and career direction.

There are no lock-in periods or participant reimbursement schemes. Once someone has completed the EvolvE programme, they're free to choose the next step based on what makes the most sense for them. Whilst there is always the option to remain at Equal Experts in a permanent position, they can also take their new skills into the wider development community, either contracting or permanent, whilst retaining access to the internal peer network and consultancy opportunities.

Through EvolvE, Equal Experts has placed the wider tech community front and centre and aims to contribute directly by helping create the next generation of technical experts and leaders.

Hunting for Unicorns

Whilst the EvolvE programme has already had some real success stories, with previous participants now recognised as industry experts in their own right, Equal Experts was faced with a lengthy and costly hiring process to find candidates with the right mix of experience and hunger to learn. This was particularly hard for two reasons: internal recruiters are focused on bringing experienced associates (contractors) into the Equal Experts network and have little spare capacity to search for potential EvolvE participants, and successful EvolvE participants need a particular combination of experience, desire to be a consultant and culture/attitude, which is hard to find.

Talent Point Help Equal Experts Focus on Finding the Right Rough Gems

Profile photo of Beth Price, Account Manager.
Beth Price,
Account Manager
Profile photo of Alain Chong, <br /> Account Director
Alain Chong,
Account Director

When Talent Point was first approached, Equal Experts was finding it a challenge to focus enough internal resource on the EvolvE programme – there was plenty of demand within the business for EvolvE, but a less than optimal supply of suitable candidates. They needed external help.

Alain and Beth's first steps were to familiarise themselves with Equal Experts, review the previous hiring campaigns and sit down with the hiring managers. Doing so enabled them to identify the initial search and screening processes as the key reasons why Equal Experts was having problems sourcing the top talent that they were looking for. The original hiring workflow also contained a number of steps that required coordination and input from many internal stakeholders, which was proving difficult for the EvolvE leadership to manage.

Diagram showing the original steps in a hiring campaign: initiation; first stage phone screening; CV approval.; applicant availability checks; stakeholder availability checks; interview slots; interview confirmation; interview; applicant feedback; stakeholder feedback; final decision; applicant notified.

Outline of the original Equal Experts hiring process[2].

A lack of internal bandwidth meant Equal Experts could not secure the talent it wanted quickly enough. With protracted response gathering and multiple disparate stakeholders required in the decision-making process, it was often taking so long to give the applicants feedback or make them an offer that they'd already found employment elsewhere. By working closely with the EvolvE leadership team, Talent Point built a clear understanding of what a successful EvolvE candidate looks like and the selection criteria used internally. With Talent Point's guidance, the EvolvE leadership went back to the drawing board and boiled down the hiring process into a much more manageable four steps, utilising Talent Point resources and expertise as much as possible:

  1. Call Talent Point to initiate a hiring campaign and confirm suitable slots for interviews
  2. Talent Point sources applicants, screens based on the predefined requirements, selects 2-3 suitable candidates and books the interviews directly into both parties' diaries
  3. Applicants attend a two-stage face-to-face interview at Equal Experts, based on their established selection process and on a single visit if possible
  4. Feedback is gathered at the end of the interview, reviewed carefully within Equal Experts and delivered to the applicant promptly through Talent Point, including an offer if relevant

Hiring Rates Climb As We Welcome the Newest EvolvE Participants

Whilst our partnership with Equal Experts is still in its early days, the impact these changes have had is already being felt.

Over the previous 12-month period, the hiring rate for the EvolvE programme was at a low 15%, equating to a nearly 1:7 ratio (seven face-to-face interviews for each hire).

In contrast, within the first six weeks of using the newly streamlined hiring process we helped them to create, Equal Experts has already successfully hired three new participants into the EvolvE programme!

Not only does that mean a much higher rate of acceptance, but it also came with a substantially reduced time investment. With clearer screening criteria and Talent Point's detailed market research driving the sourcing process, those three successful hires were made from only nine interviews – that's a clear delivery on our 3:1 hiring promise!

Alongside that success rate, Equal Experts has fully embraced our feedback-loop culture and is driving discussion on continually improving the selection criteria and hiring process. After each campaign, Alain and Beth meet with the Equal Experts hiring managers to review the sourcing criteria, interview performance, and final outcome.

With these tightly-coupled feedback mechanisms in place, any potential road bumps in the hiring strategy can be quickly identified and smoothed out in time for the following hiring round to begin. Whilst Talent Point always recommend building review processes into hiring campaigns, the familiarity Equal Experts has with the Agile mindset have made it an ideal partner in creating a truly reactive, flexible hiring strategy.

That focus on continual improvement means that we have every faith that the EvolvE programme's hiring success rate will only continue to get better with each iteration!

Talent Point Helped Equal Experts Increase Hiring Rates

Through a close, holistic review of their hiring process in partnership with Talent Point, Equal Experts has created a much more performant, lean and repeatable strategy for s ourcing suitable new candidates for Equal Experts to interview for its exceptional EvolvE program.

If that sounds like something your company or hiring team would be interested in, or if you just have any questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3011 1501 or at We look forward to helping you solve your hiring problems.

[1] EvolvE programme career path graphics and top photograph used with permission from Equal Experts.

[2] Icons made by Chanut from FlatIcon and licensed under CC 3.0 BY; diagram made by Talent Point.

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