Case study:


Non-standard ways to recruit interns in a time of crisis

About company

ABB is a technology leader that has supported the digital transformation of industry for decades. The company operates within four areas – Electrification, Industrial Automation, Drive Systems and Robotics and Discrete Automation. ABB currently operates in more than 100 countries around the world and employs about 147,000 people.

For over 25 years ABB has also been present in Poland, being recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the country.

Industry: Industry and technology
Number of employees: 147,000
Challenge: Organizing an Assessment Center online

Recruitment challenges in the age of coronavirus

In May 2020, ABB Poland faced a challenge to recruit students to join a one-year internship program at the Controlling & Planning Center of Excellence in Kraków and Łódź. Candidates had to meet several important criteria:

  • availability to work 30-40 hours per week
  • finance, accounting, economics, mathematics or related studies
  • English language skills at a minimum level B2
  • German language skills as an asset
  • knowledge of Excel on at least intermediate level (knowledge of VBA as an asset)

In addition to the precise requirements as to the competence of the candidates the way in which the recruitment process was carried out was also a challenge. One of its elements was the organization of the Assessment Center, which could not be performed live due to the coronavirus outbreak. So ABB turned for support to one of the best Recruiting Agencies, Talent Place, which has so far supported the company in sourcing candidates. This time the role of Talent Place was not only to find people applying for internship, but also to organize the first in ABB history 100% virtual Assessment Center.

How to organize an Assessment Center remotely?

Talent Place offered ABB its support in the whole process – from active search of candidates (sourcing), through initial verification of their competence, to organizing and conducting Assessment Center in online form and technical support.

Talent Place had 3 weeks to collect applications from candidates who met the criteria indicated by the company and to recommend the best ones. The sourcing process involved HR experts from a remote community of recruiters who searched for candidates using advertisements and direct search methods. Then, Talent Place recruiters conducted a preliminary verification of their competencies using behavioral interviewing and at the very end recommended the most suitable ones to the client.

The next stage was to prepare a recruitment task in the form of a case study, which the selected candidates solved during a virtual meeting. It was designed to test competencies such as:

  • teamwork,
  • communication,
  • people and task orientation,
  • analytical skills,
  • initiative and proactivity.


Talent Place experts prepared task details and assessment sheets for assessors, which facilitated later evaluation of participants’ performance.

Assessment Center was carried out on a virtual platform, which allowed to recreate the conditions of the live meeting – participants communicated via microphones and cameras and could see each other, which facilitated their cooperation in solving the recruitment task. With Talent Place’s support, ABB employees received full onboarding to the tool and did not have to deal with logistical challenges.

During the AC, the candidates were divided into groups and each group sat at its own virtual “table” – just like in a live meeting. After solving the task the managers were able to talk freely with the students and ask them in-depth questions. At the end, the managers met in private at their “table” where they could discuss the candidates’ profiles in detail and evaluate their performance. The entire event was therefore organized 1 to 1 like a live meeting, but ran entirely online.

Results of cooperation

In three weeks of soliciting internship candidates Talent Place collected 174 applications. After an initial review of candidates’ resumes 61 individuals meeting the recruitment criteria were recommended to the client. 33 candidates participated in the Assessment Center and 15 of them were hired.

By partnering with Talent Place, ABB was able to not only recruit matched candidates in a short period of time, but also move the entire Assessment Center process to the online world. And it’s been very successful – both for ABB and the candidates – students applying for the internship program.


– “We have worked with Talent Place since 2018 in the recruitment for HR, Procurement, Finance, IT, Share Functions, Travel & Logistics Services departments. In total, we hired 1035 new employees during our cooperation. We are glad to work together on the recruitment of young and ambitious people, who think about the best start for their career. The most fruitful year of our cooperation with Talent Place was 2019, which ended in 290 new employments at ABB” –

– Peter Mitchell – Head of FTP for GBS FIOS

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