|   UAE

Transforming Averda’s recruitment strategy

Averda is an industry leader in waste management services, operating across emerging markets the world over. The company specializes in cleaning, collection and recycling of all forms of waste from across industries. Averda’s teams of over 14,000 professionals have been serving millions every day across countries in The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), South Africa, North Africa, the UK and India, among others.

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Waste management

Use Case

Virtual hiring, psychometric assessments

What the client achieved

Successfully moved its hiring processes to a virtual platform

Assessed, interviewed and hired candidates across 9+ countries

Business Challenges

The over 35-year-old company lays great emphasis on sustainable people decisions. Therefore, it sought exceptional and promising talent to oversee its global portfolio when it decided to venture into the Indian market. It essentially sought robust recruitment solutions that were focused on IT and finance roles. Its primary objective was to build a team in India, which could undertake and supervise processes in all the 10-12 countries where it operated.


The company’s human resources department and other decision-makers concurred on their key requirements concerning interviews and assessments.


The primary challenges were to find:


1. A comprehensive virtual recruitment system to assess candidates holistically


The company wanted a new approach to assessing candidates while venturing into untapped territory. Going virtual due to the COVID-19 disruption was necessary. It was also genuinely concerned about the timelines in which it had to execute the desired processes. The company, therefore, wanted a streamlined system that mitigated the challenges in the traditional interviews and assessments. Its focus was on a user-friendly platform that was easy to understand and operate for all stakeholders. The new system had to be sophisticated, offering an ideal balance between holistic and professional analyses and a simplified, commotion-free virtual interface.

Averda wanted to move to a virtual assessment center (VAC) because:

  • The digital mode offered convenient and scientifically backed solutions for remote hiring.
  • The VACs could also enable a swifter and easier means to assess candidates from different nationalities for the company’s diverse profiling. This benefit helped it compare every individual’s approach to dealing with complex hypothetical situations, team management skills, cultural context, etc.

2. A customizable portfolio of assessments to support stack ranking when hiring


Averda wanted to assess candidates across the professional hierarchy, using an array of simulations, presentations, psychometric and cognitive tests and interviews. These factors mandated a state-of-the-art, scalable and foolproof platform. Moreover, the company wanted the new virtual recruitment solutions to enable it to stack rank candidates.


Stack ranking is generally a management practice where leaders are asked to rank employees on a curve based on their performance. The lowest performers are placed at the bottom and rallied into performance improvement plans. Profiling or stack ranking employee performance ratings have long been touted as an industry best practice to cultivate a high-performing workforce. Therefore, Averda wanted to incorporate a similar process in its recruitment strategy. The idea was to onboard high-performers using analyses and observations.


3. Well-normed psychometric assessments to ensure fair selection criteria


Collecting norm group data is integral to designing a psychometric assessment. The more types of norm groups included in an assessment, the more value it adds to the entire selection process. More importantly, it helps make unbiased decisions and set realistic expectations during an assessment.


Averda wanted to use psychometric tests for entry-level applicants as well as candidates qualifying for leadership roles. Hence, including more types of norm groups was critical.


Averda approached Mercer | Mettl for a wholesome recruitment solution amid the pandemic, and the collaboration turned out to be highly fulfilling. Mercer | Mettl provided Averda with a holistic and fully online solution to recruit across the professional hierarchy efficiently:

Entry-level candidates

Mid-level professionals


Addressing the priorities with a data-rich, scientific Virtual Assessment Center


Mercer | Mettl recreated real-life professional scenarios and challenges by embedding innovative simulations in the Virtual Assessment Center to suit Averda’s requirements. The company used it to assess mid-level and director-level candidates. The various sections of the VAC ensured that the entire process was simple and scientific, which were Averda’s two primary considerations.


  • The personality profiler of the virtual assessment center helped measure individual strengths and growth potential in leadership roles.
  • Situational judgment tests were highly effective in gauging behavioral competencies, which were necessary for the roles.
  • Psychometric and cognitive assessments tested the candidates’ ability to think fast, derive meanings in ambiguity, arrive at meaningful conclusions in potential work scenarios, formulate new concepts and strategies for innovation, etc.
  • Structured, relevant and custom caselets helped Averda evaluate individuals’ analytical abilities and data interpretation skills.
  • Case study simulators recreated real business-related scenarios for the candidates to experience critical interdependencies, execute best practices, explore a strategy’s alternatives, and devise a structured approach to tackle problems.


Mercer | Mettl’s virtual assessment center helped Averda measure critical competencies in an unbiased and objective virtual environment. Significant emphasis was laid on planning and organization abilities, data-driven decision-making potential, problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, innovation in the thought process and people development initiative, considering the candidates’ level and expertise.


Ensuring holistic candidate evaluation with a robust interview platform


Averda wanted to focus on a swift yet holistic interview process to reduce the time-to-hire across the three job roles and experience levels. Mercer | Mettl’s virtual interview platform addressed those challenges and offered the additional advantage of analyzing candidates on their potential to succeed in the remote work setup.


  • Mercer | Mettl mapped Averda’s competency framework to the pre-defined global competency framework embedded in the virtual interview platform.
  • Mercer | Mettl created 3 levels within the platform to interview individual contributors, managers and directors.
  • Averda could explore, choose and customize from a vast library of job-role-specific, competency-centric interview questions.
  • Mercer | Mettl’s interview platform helped Averda stack rank candidates in a standardized manner.
  • The virtual interview platform enabled the hiring managers to access relevant applicant data from multiple interviews and screening modes on an all-in-one dashboard for seamless comparison and fair decision-making.
  • Screening a larger pool of applicants was easy, manageable and holistic because of supporting features such as auditable group reports, easy-to-navigate applicant screens, calendar integration and automated custom emails, etc.
  • The platform covered all the specific indicators Averda sought in senior-level candidates, including people management skills, expertise in working remotely, virtual team management ability, culture fitment and more.


Lending continuity to intercontinental hiring during lockdowns


Averda wanted an end-to-end virtual process that could address all its hiring challenges during the lockdowns. Mercer | Mettl enabled interviewers to connect, evaluate and interact with applicants across geographies in a hassle-free, secure manner. Moreover, Mercer | Mettl’s solutions ensured that recruiters did not have to worry about trivial tasks, such as scheduling assessments and coordinating with everyone involved in the process.


Mercer | Mettl ensured meeting those prerequisites with an entirely virtual platform. People could access the platform from anywhere in the world. Recruiters could easily schedule or coordinate with aspirants.


Accommodating norm group requirements in advanced psychometric and cognitive assessments


Mercer | Mettl used four types of psychometric and cognitive assessment tools based on validated scientific theories and practices to help Averda recruit the ideal entry-level candidates:

  1. Analysis of positive personality traits to identify culture fitment, trainability and performance
  2. Analysis of dark personality traits to rule out undesirable attributes
  3. Measurement of motivation, values and preferences to understand what drove a candidate.
  4. Evaluation of cognitive ability to gauge a candidate’s ability to derive logical conclusions.

Mercer | Mettl’s team of world-class experts normed the scientific assessments on a sample of 10,000+ respondents across different geographies, including India, the Middle East and South Africa, taking representative samples based on age, gender and job levels. The pre-existing norm groups, coupled with the feature to assess a candidate’s various qualities, were what Averda had sought precisely.


Saving time and negating hassles with insightful and data-rich reports


Mercer | Mettl simplified Averda’s recruitment process with reports for every assessment that was to the point, easy to understand and offered holistic insights into the candidates’ performance and potential concerning the roles for which they had applied.


The detailed, data-rich reports facilitated easy benchmarking and easy culling of candidates. Additionally, they helped:

  • Curb overhead costs often associated with conventional assessment methods
  • Maintain the results’ standardization and accuracy
  • Make critical observations of behaviors displayed in specifically developed simulations
  • Test domain expertise wherever required for multiple job roles and job levels.

The Impact

Mercer | Mettl’s set of products enabled Averda to improve its existing recruitment strategies by augmenting them with contemporary tools. The insightful features of the platforms and assessments helped it build a strategy that ensured holistic candidate evaluation at every stage of the hiring process.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Mercer | Mettl helped the client assess, interview and hire candidates across 9 countries.
  • The simplified solutions enabled selecting highly agile candidates across 3 job experience levels: Beginners, mid-level and leaders.
  • The accommodating nature of the VAC also allowed Averda to categorize candidates appropriately, not merely from a psychometric perspective but from an overall score outlook.
  • A combination of robust recruitment solutions proved extremely valuable in hiring during lockdowns and onboarding the best and brightest from across the world.
  • Based on extensive assessment parameters across all levels, holistic assessment reports have resulted in a 99% success rate in Averda’s global recruitments, with zero failed probation so far!

These assessments’ impact and how they have transformed hiring for the company promise a lasting structure to its candidate selection criteria. It has helped save time and effort while equipping decision-makers with the right tools to address their concerns and fulfill their requirements.


The way forward


Given the immense value added by Mercer | Mettl’s platforms to Averda’s practices, the company plans to continue with these assessment and interview solutions throughout their offices worldwide. The Averda and Mercer | Mettl alliance, therefore, promises to be lasting and wholesome.

The ease of navigating the platform, the simplicity of the assessment reports, the ability to adapt to the COVID-19 situation -all of these helped us reduce bad hires, ensure successful probations and onboard individuals with the right set of competencies. I had a 5-star experience!

Anson Mathews
Organization Development Manager, Averda

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