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Wetherspoon: Bespoke Online Assessment



J D Wetherspoon is one of the UK’s leading pub chains and each year they are faced with sifting over 300,000 applicants to pub staff vacancies across the country.

Our previous experience of providing high volume, online assessment services for other large clients within retail and hospitality, meant we were in an ideal position to provide a bespoke psychometrics solution that was both cost effective and efficient.

Wetherspoon believe that an integral part of a successful assessment system is ensuring individuals have the right values, attitude and motivations for the role. They required a time and cost effective tool that would sift applicants, raise the calibre of candidates invited to interviews, attract the best candidates to the job, and predict effective performance.


  • Fully branded, bespoke system, with integrated psychometric tests to sift over 300,000 applicants
  • Increased quality of applicants going through to final stage interviews
  • Reduced recruitment resources needed for job selection process
  • Improved look and feel of overall recruitment process


We set out to design and develop an online assessment process to effectively sift out the applicants most suited to working with Wetherspoon. The purpose of the online assessment was to:

  • Include SJT, ability, and personality assessments bespoke to each role
  • Employ psychometric tests that communicate positive messages about the Wetherspoon brand
  • Be a part of a seamless, friendly and engaging candidate journey
  • Integrate with the existing online application process
  • Increase the calibre of candidates at interview and
  • Have a positive effect on performance and retention in the role
  • Significantly reduce time and workload associated with sifting of applicants
  • Be cost effective

Our Approach

To do this Criterion sought to thoroughly understand the pub chain as well as the individual roles. This was done through conducting a number of staff focus groups and interviews, and by observing staff at work in a cross section of pubs across the country.

We fed back our findings and used this knowledge to create a bespoke personality profiling assessment for each role, as well as numerical, verbal and situational judgement tests all specific to a job with Wetherspoon.

The assessments were developed to utilise Criterion’s online testing platform with a bespoke system ‘skin’ to be used for the online assessments. This was developed to keep the Wetherspoon branding and identity consistent with pre-existing aspects of the application process. The system fully integrated with the Wetherspoon online application form and Applicant Tracking System to provide a seamless candidate experience.

The Results

The assessments were trialled internally by current Wetherspoon employees to validate the tests and provide valuable data for comparing applicants. The assessments and tests received extremely positive feedback from Wetherspoon employees, praising the assessments as engaging and realistic.

With the assessments finalised, Criterion provided easy to understand system instructions for managers to be able use the assessments and the system-generated candidate reports to guide their interviews and their hiring decisions. The assessments went live for applicants in May 2012, with further validation assessments to follow at the start of 2013 to ensure the assessments are maintaining a high standard.

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