Today’s topic

Driving Equal Opportunity in Early Careers: Step Recruitment x Alva Labs

Step Recruitment's Collaboration with Alva Labs


As the UK's leading provider of paid internships, placements, and permanent opportunities, Step has been connecting enterprising students and young graduates with local institutions and innovative businesses for over 30 years. At the core of Step's mission lies a commitment to breaking down barriers and fostering an inclusive job market.

Despite their dedication to this cause, the reality of social mobility in the UK remains stark. As the divide between the privileged and the disadvantaged continues to widen, Step Recruitment plays a crucial role in bridging the gap and creating equal opportunities for all. Yet, the pressure to quickly and accurately identify the right talent for their clients presents a significant challenge.

With a shared commitment to objective and fair recruitment practices, Alva Labs stepped in to provide Step Recruitment with the tools they needed to transform their candidate assessment process. 

In this customer story, we'll explore the partnership between Alva Labs and Step Recruitment, guided by Director Tamsin Millns. Their collaboration has modernised the candidate experience and improved talent assessments, ultimately fostering a more inclusive job market for all. 

By implementing Alva Labs' science-backed platform, Step Recruitment can now harness the power of data-driven decisions to offer deeper insights into candidates and help find them the right career paths. 

The Challenge: Fair Talent Selection in a Complex Landscape

As an organisation with a three-decade-long history, Step Recruitment has long been dedicated to connecting Early Careers graduates with businesses and institutions of all sizes. Their programmes range from 8-12 week paid internships to 6-12 month placements and permanent graduate roles, spanning a wide array of industries and sectors.

However, the pressure to find the perfect match for both candidates and clients, while staying true to their mission of promoting social mobility, has become increasingly demanding. Traditional assessment methods, such as CV screening and unstructured interviews, often introduced bias and limited the potential for truly fair and accurate talent selection. It was clear that a more innovative and data-driven approach was needed to keep Step Recruitment at the forefront of their industry.

“CVs don’t tell you anything at the graduate level,” Tamsin said. “So with potential, you have to get to know your candidate. You have to understand them. And when you’re talking about mass-recruitment and a lot of applications that is time-consuming.” 

The Solution: A More Objective and Efficient Assessment Process

Step Recruitment recognised the need for a fairer and more efficient talent assessment process, and this led them to Alva. Tamsin met Alva’s Head of UK at an APSCo member breakfast, where they connected on a shared vision to improve equal opportunity and harness potential. What started as a brainstorming session on how the ecosystem looks turned into a collaboration opportunity for Step to use Alva’s Personality and Logic assessments to help candidates better understand and present their true selves. 

Impressed by Alva’s research-backed assessments and ease-of-use, Step Recruitment implemented Alva to offer clients better insights on candidates, driving richer conversations that went beyond superficial information such as schools and grades alone. The rollout quickly evolved to include the entire organisation.  

Recognising the importance of a positive candidate experience, Tamsin highlights the added value that Alva brings to Step Recruitment: “Alva Labs helps us as an organisation offer something different to students and graduates. They can do the tests, have the results, read them, digest them, understand them, and possibly use them almost as career advice, to help them signpost things they didn’t know what they were capable of.”

The Potential: Fostering a More Inclusive Job Market and Enhancing Candidate Satisfaction

The collaboration will focus on enabling Step Recruitment to assess Gen Z candidates more fairly and accurately, supporting the placement of a diverse range of top talent in internships, placements, and permanent roles. 

Furthermore, Step Recruitment's commitment to social mobility has already been amplified by their work with Alva Labs. By using a fair and less-biassed assessment process, they are actively working to dismantle barriers for disadvantaged candidates and provide equal opportunities for all, regardless of their background.

Social mobility is a problem (in the UK) and has been for some time,” Tamsin said. “We have people in positions of responsibility and power who believe they are promoting what they perceive to be the best, and I think that in doing so, a lot of people are forgotten and left behind.” 

Conclusion: A Bright Future for Step Recruitment and Social Mobility in the UK

The collaboration between Step Recruitment and Alva Labs has not only transformed the way Step Recruitment assesses and selects talent but also contributes to a more inclusive and equitable job market in the UK. By harnessing the power of objective data and cutting-edge technology, Step Recruitment continues to champion social mobility and provide equal opportunities for all.

As the collaboration between Step Recruitment and Alva Labs continues to grow, so too will their impact on social mobility and fair recruitment practices. Together, they drive meaningful change, demonstrating the potential for organisations to create a more inclusive and equitable society.

“I believe in data-driven decisions,” Tamsin said. “To find someone like Alva, with what they offer, we saw a really good fit with what they were articulating, integrating something into our processes which was fair and accessible and offered something that was more measurable, showcasing social mobility.”

Do you want to learn more about how Alva can help you assess talent more efficiently – and at scale? We'd love to show you how Alva works.

In the fractured marketplace of student and graduate recruitment, Step Recruitment faces a unique challenge: how to fairly assess early career talent efficiently at scale, while also promoting social mobility.