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The Bridge: Connecting Science and Practice

Sarah Layman, DCI; Jen Harvel, Amazon; & Apryl Brodersen, Metropolitan State University of Denver

“The Bridge: Connecting Science and Practice” is a TIP column that seeks to help facilitate additional learning and knowledge transfer to encourage sound, evidence-based practice. It can provide academics with an opportunity to discuss the potential and/or realized practical implications of their research as well as learn about cutting-edge practice issues or questions that could inform new research programs or studies. For practitioners, it provides opportunities to learn about the latest research findings that could prompt new techniques, solutions, or services that would benefit the external client community. It also provides practitioners with an opportunity to highlight key practice issues, challenges, trends, and so forth that may benefit from additional research.

In this issue, Laura Fields, Sara Andrews, Matt Albar, Erin Scheuer, and Carter Gibson discuss the impact of implementing Fit Finder, a tool designed to recommend available jobs to prospective candidates to find roles that align with their personality and work preferences. They describe the positive impact Fit Finder has had on the candidate experience and across business metrics, highlighting the importance of “pre-funnel” recruiting efforts.

Spectrum Drives Value by Letting Candidates Find Their Fit


Laura Fields, Sara Andrews, Matt Albar, & Erin Scheuer
Spectrum

Carter Gibson
HireVue

Introduction

As the labor market continues to outpace the availability of workers to fill jobs, attracting the best talent with the right skills is more competitive than ever. Once you attract someone to learn more about your company, how do you make them stay engaged with you and eventually apply for a role? Carpenter (2013) emphasizes candidates’ expectations of a positive experience; specifically, they expect a return on the investment of their time in the hiring process and want a bespoke experience personalized to them. The candidate experience has five stages: prerecruitment, recruitment, selection, job offer, and post-job offer (Doverspike et al., 2019).

Spectrum is a leading broadband connectivity company serving 32 million customers across 41 states, boasting a well-known consumer brand and a robust recruitment marketing strategy aimed at elevating the company’s brand and value proposition. But how could Spectrum help job seekers know how their skills match our opportunities, especially in an unfamiliar industry with over 101,000 employees working across varied lines of business, including sales, installation and repair, customer service, corporate functions, journalism, and more? Even if a job seeker narrowed their interest to a sales role, Spectrum offers call center sales, direct sales, enterprise sales, and ad sales, just to name a few. Spectrum’s Selection & Assessment team thought that selection science could help play a role in creating a positive candidate experience during prerecruitment.

Spectrum uses selection science to identify candidates for hire and has demonstrated success in predicting both job productivity and retention. Spectrum wanted to see if selection science could help candidates find a job in which they would be successful and stay longer than if they relied on traditional job search methods. Such a tool would be mutually beneficial for the job seeker and Spectrum, resulting in improved performance and retention. This is where Fit Finder, powered by the science at HireVue, came in.

Fit Finder is an inventory that asks individuals about their personality, work preferences, and styles, then recommends entry-level jobs that closely align with those inputs and provides links to currently posted entry-level jobs at Spectrum. Fit Finder is an “above-the-funnel” assessment, meaning that a job seeker does not need to complete an application to have access to this assessment. Instead, it is featured prominently on the external career site and in the signature of all Applicant Tracking System-driven emails. Additionally, Spectrum’s Talent Attraction team regularly features Fit Finder on social media and email campaigns.

Upon completion of the brief 10-minute assessment, each job seeker receives a report that provides a work persona. This work persona is based on the career interests described in the Holland Occupational Themes taxonomy. This model describes six distinct types of vocational interests, which can be ascribed to an individual’s personality and work preferences. These six categories are aligned with the U.S. Department of Labor’s RIASEC model and are labeled Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers) (Holland, 1966). The Fit Finder report given to job seekers outlines their strength of match (high, medium, or low) for all six categories. The report also includes their top five job matches at Spectrum based on their work persona, along with links to active job postings at Spectrum.

Candidate Experience

After completing Fit Finder, job seekers rate their reactions using a Likert scale, including whether the recommended jobs are interesting to them (85% agree/strongly agree), whether their results made them aware of jobs at this organization that were new to them (86% a/s.a.), whether their results will help inform their job search at this organization (89% a/s.a.), whether they would like to apply for one or more of these jobs (88% a/s.a.), and whether they learned something about their personality and interests by taking this inventory (89%). This feedback suggests that Fit Finder educates candidates about the available roles aligned with their style and interests.

In addition, open-ended candidate feedback included comments such as

  • “So many assessment tests can be taken during a job search and the applicant never finds out the results. The fact that Spectrum instantly produces and shares the results is a great tool to enhance the job fit search. Very impressed by this recruiting tool.” 
  • “I wanted to see what options are available for me to have a long-lasting career here at Spectrum.”
  • “Spot on!”
  • “I really appreciate the assessment of the ‘Fit Finder.’ I have been out of the work force due to being a full-time caregiver for my mother.  That role is over now but I love working in technology and have years of experience to share. Thank you, Spectrum, for the opportunity!”

Business Impact

The goal of Fit Finder was to help engage job seekers and to give them information about themselves that could aid in their job search while also fostering positive impressions of Spectrum as an employer. However, after 55,601 Fit Finder completions resulted in 25,700 job applications, Spectrum found some additional unanticipated positive outcomes. 

Improving the diversity of applicant pools is one of the most exciting aspects of Fit Finder. Spectrum has two historically male-dominated entry-level jobs: field technicians and direct sales. Traditionally, the applicant pool for field technician jobs is 6% female; however, women comprised 9.3% of applicants who applied to field technician roles after taking Fit Finder. Direct sales roles saw a 18.4% gain in female representation in the Fit Finder population. This suggests that job seekers may have preconceived notions about their fit for a job, driven by traditional gender stereotypes.

Improving the retention of hires is another exciting result for Fit Finder users. Hires who took Fit Finder have lower turnover rates across all jobs compared to new hires that did not take Fit Finder. For these job roles, we focus on retention at a hire’s 3-month mark (i.e., “quick quits”) and at their 1-year mark. The “quick quit” turnover rate for Fit Finder hires is 4.3% lower than the “quick quit” turnover rate for non-Fit Finder hires. The 1-year turnover rate for Fit Finder hires is 12.3% lower than the 1-year turnover rate for non-Fit Finder hires.

Fit Finder drives a tremendous amount of value for Spectrum, from providing a positive job seeker experience to improving person–job fit. Spectrum and HireVue continue to evolve this assessment over time and use selection science to help job seekers and current employees find long-lasting career paths at Spectrum.

References

Carpenter, L. (2013). Improving the candidate experience. Strategic HR Review, 12(4), 203–208.      

Doverspike, D., Flores, C., & VanderLeest, J. (2019). Lifespan perspectives on personnel selection and recruitment. In B. B. Baltes, C. W. Rudolph, & H. Zacher (Eds.), Work across the lifespan (pp. 343368). Academic Press.

Holland, J. L. (1966). The psychology of vocational choice: A theory of personality types and model environments. Blaisdell.

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