Inclusion and Diversity Best Practice: Associate Network Consulting Engineer Program

July 27, 2011 - 3 Comments

As part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity (I&D), we at Cisco are devoted to building diversity into our recruiting and hiring process. I would like to share with you a great Inclusion and Diversity Best Practice on how we extended our I&D principles to our recruiting process for our Associate Network Consulting Engineer Program (ANCE), an extensive training and work experience program that provides graduates with the training to be a capable Network Consulting Engineer with our Advanced Services organisation.

When we recruited for last year’s ANCE program, unfortunately we only had 1 female candidate join us for our UK assessment centre (although in other assessment centres we had a higher number of female candidates) and this year we wanted to look at how we could address this issue. Our first point of call for recruitment is to look at our Networking Academy Channel, a global education initiative that teaches students how to design, build, troubleshoot, and secure computer networks for increased access to career and economic opportunities in communities around the world. As there are so few women studying engineering to begin with (please see my previous blog on this subject), this adds an additional problem.

 So what did the team do?

The team recognised that the pre-screening process and certain components of the assessment centre were skewed towards people who already had a solid basis in networking:

  • As the program provides graduates with networking training, the team looked at other facuities including maths, science and physics
  • They modified the telephone interviews and assessment centre modules to make it more open
  • Graduates were split into two groups – Advanced Engineers who had a large knowledge of Cisco networking training and Associates Engineers who had some qualifications but may not have had official networking training

The team also engaged with EmployAbility, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to assisting students and graduates with all disabilities into employment. The organisation has a wide network of relationships with universities, other disability charities and many other key stakeholders to raise awareness among disabled students of opportunities. Cisco asked EmployAbility to select 5 disabled candidates who they thought would be suitable candidates for the ANCE program this year.


  • A wider and more diverse mix of candidates were interviewed and presented to the Assessment Centres
  • Hired 6 females in total and 2 disabled students from EmployAbility (including 1 female) all over Europe.      
  • By attracting a more diverse pool of candidates we are ensuring that the balance of graduates recruited into AS more accurately reflect the market norm

The ANCE team strongly embraced the Cisco Inclusion and Diversity philosophy towards the selection of candidates for the ANCE Program in Europe. In doing so, they reaffirmed Cisco’s commitment to Inclusion and Diversity – by fully embracing the human network in all its multiplicity, fostering innovation and talent at work, we better serve our customers and engage with our partners in the worldwide marketplace with the strength of working together.

How does your company encourage a diverse mix of candidates into your graduate programs? Share your stories below!

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  1. Hello,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Here is the link to our Associate Network Consulting Engineer Program:


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