Work Simulations – A Better Approach to Candidate Screening

Work Simulations – A Better Approach to Candidate Screening

When it comes to organizations, there is no doubt that employees are the most important asset within any workplace environment. Human resources departments and personnel, therefore, have a crucial role when it comes to identifying, selecting, and then hiring those qualified and skilled candidates who fulfill the necessary requirements and criteria for a particular role. This is absolutely critical for any organization because choosing the wrong person not only wastes valuable resources such as time, personnel, and money, but it can potentially have an impact on the long-term growth and expansion of a company if an employee is not an adequate fit for the role or for their colleagues.

Evidently, the identification and selection of the right candidate can be an incredibly complex and at times challenging process. Considering the level of expenditure and effort that goes into the recruitment process, the least that should be expected is that the chosen candidate should be suitably adequate for the role. The reality is that traditional methods based on the analysis of resumes and interview responses are not only time-consuming and costly but also inefficient and not necessarily reliable. This is where work samples and simulations come in – a recruitment method that has been around for ages, but one which many companies still haven’t fully utilized.

Solving the Hiring Conundrum

With regards to hiring and recruitment in the twenty-first century, the primary issue is that the methods and procedures used for the selection of candidates haven’t experienced any significant changes – even though the economic and corporate landscape surrounding it has undergone considerable transformation. It is for this reason that a noticeable dissonance exists between traditional hiring and recruitment practices and the ever-changing and rapidly-developing requirements of modern workplaces.

In its present format, the hiring landscape is prevented from reaching its true potential because it is hindered by a number of obstacles. A study conducted by Career Builder, for example, demonstrated that 74% of employers admitted that they had actually recruited the wrong candidate for a job vacancy. Two-thirds of employees, in turn, revealed that they had accepted an offer for employment – only to realize that the organization was actually a bad fit for them. This survey also found that hiring the wrong candidate cost employers an average of $15,000 for each candidate.

Extensive research has explored the various factors contributing to the high costs of hiring, with one study discovering that hiring a new employee costs the average employer approximately 4 months’ worth of wages. 21% of this cost is incurred by the actual process of searching job boards, paying the recruiters and agencies, etc. 79% of these costs occurred after the candidate had been hired, due to an initial decrease in productivity, disturbances to existing managers and teams as well as training the newest employee.

The Broken Funnel

Overall, it’s evident that recruitment is an intensive process, and it only makes sense that employers would want to get this right the first time around in order to minimize expenditure as much as possible. Despite this employers continue to demonstrate little optimism regarding their recruitment strategies, with a McKinsey study revealing that less than a quarter of company executives actually believed that their current hiring practices would introduce the best candidates to their organization.

Attracting and retaining the top talent is one of the most pressing issues facing employers today, and it’s clear that we need to move away from traditional recruitment strategies. Across continents, industrial sectors, and organizations the recruitment funnel is broken – and it has been for a long time. In a recruitment funnel, a pool of applicants will flood in from the top. As these applicants are processed through the funnel, they will be screened and either rejected or accepted so that they can progress further. The basic idea is that the most qualified and skilled candidates will emerge from the narrowest end of the funnel.

A broken recruitment funnel, however, won’t work at maximum efficiency and it won’t be entirely reliable either. An obstacle or stoppage occurring at any point could result in the best candidates being rejected and turned down, whilst less suitable applicants are processed further through the funnel. Ensuring that an organization’s recruitment strategy yields the top talent depends on diagnosing the source of the issue – that the classical resume and cover letter screen process followed by an interview hinders the identification and selection of the very best candidates. Things obviously need to change, because the reality is that somewhere out there is the talented and qualified candidate that perfectly suits the needs of your organization, but hiring processes have to be changed so that the funnel can bring that perfect candidate to the door of your organization.

There’s not a Skills Shortage, but a Skills Oversight

A skilled workforce will enable an organization to achieve maximum productivity and output, whilst employees who feel that their talents are being recognized and are provided with opportunities for professional development will commit themselves towards achieving the organization’s goals. The impact a skilled employee can bring to an organization is immense and undeniable, and yet research conducted by Korn Ferry calculated that approximately 85 million jobs could potentially be unfulfilled by 2030, simply because skilled people aren’t taking them.

As depressing as these statistics may initially appear, it’s critical that we read between the lines and realize that this isn’t because the population is becoming more unskilled, or less qualified, or less capable of professional and complex roles. On the contrary, people are entering higher education and attaining advanced degrees at an unprecedented rate, with global literacy rates rising exponentially. Education has always been associated with greater access to professional opportunities and enhanced job prospects.

The natural assumption would be that if so many more people are being qualified to a degree level, then there shouldn’t be such an issue with unfulfilled skilled jobs. The statistics uncovered by the Korn Ferry study are somewhat perplexing at first because you would assume there wouldn’t be such a staggering amount of unfilled jobs if there is actually a surplus of qualified and skilled candidates. The problem ultimately returns to our previous discussion – the broken recruitment funnel.

With a broken funnel, the right candidates are not being selected for the right jobs. There is not a skills shortage, but rather an oversight of skills that has been facilitated by this broken recruitment funnel.

Why Resumes Needs to be Replaced by Work Simulations

There is a myriad of variables determining whether a candidate may or may not be a suitable fit for a particular workplace, and education is only one of them. The resume is a traditional selection method that places disproportionate emphasis upon a potential candidate’s educational qualifications and previous job experiences. Studies, however, have found that multiple years of education only predict 10% of future job performance, whilst even work experience accounts for only 18%. Work simulations, on the other hand, can significantly predict a potential candidate’s future job performance – at 54%.

A resume is inherently problematic because it determines an individual to be qualified for a particular role based solely upon their educational qualifications and their job experience. When you give this further thought it’s somewhat ironic, because research has shown that an individual’s previous work has virtually zero impact on their success or failure in a future job role. Considering that education and employment are the two things we most often look at in a resume – this ultimately implies that a significant proportion of the information provided on a resume is largely redundant when it comes to assessing the suitability of a candidate.

As a recruitment tool, a resume’s applicability has been waning in the midst of technological, economic, and social changes with regards to the ways organizations operate. Hiring people based solely on their education and experience is ineffective and counterproductive. This observation is particularly relevant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to which more than 100 million people have lost their jobs within the travel and tourism sectors globally. If we continue to rely upon resumes, numerous skilled employees will be unable to find employment until their respective industries are up and running again. Considering the persistence of COVID-19 as well as its long-term impact, this is unlikely to occur anytime soon.

The Solution We’ve Been Looking For: Work Samples and Simulations

Increasingly, employers are beginning to adopt work samples and simulations as a means of recruitment. There are a variety of reasons for this – not least because these virtual and anonymized recruitment cases enable employers to identify those problem-solving skills, personal attributes, and individual characteristics that cannot be effectively conveyed in a resume or an interview. Work simulations have been found to predict up to 54% of future job performance – and this is an impressive statistic considering the immense positive impact a candidate’s performance can have upon an organization.

Resumes, cover letters, and interviews are narrow in scope and focus. Competencies are contextual and are equally independent of and dependent upon a range of factors that traditional recruitment strategies simply cannot predict or assess. More and more people are earning higher-level qualifications, as a result of which an increasing percentage of people entering the workforce are likely to possess a greater cohort of skills.

Nevertheless, the influence of individual attributes and personal characteristics is not insignificant. Two candidates with similar qualifications could have different approaches to problem-solving, team projects, and leadership methods, and determining which one is the right match for an organization’s particular requirements and unique structure can make all the difference between a good and a great candidate.

Work samples and simulations are a less biased and competency-based selection method. Studies have found that even candidates regard these work samples and simulations as fairer and more impartial when it comes to alternative recruitment methods. Whilst the resumes of even the strongest candidates can end up being filtered out and denied a legitimate chance, work simulations provide every candidate with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and talent on a first-hand basis.

This also explains research findings that demonstrate that work samples and simulations do not have as much an adverse impact on candidates or draw a negative reaction from them. This is in contrast to resumes, interviews as well as personality or cognitive tests, which are more likely to elicit an unfavorable response and potentially negatively impact recruitment outcomes.

Work samples and simulations have less in-built discrimination, and therefore provide an improved platform from which organizations can discover the top talent. Even AI is not immune to shortcomings and bias, with Amazon scrapping a recruitment engine in 2018 which had algorithms that discriminated against women. Work samples and simulations are a convenient solution that not only mitigates but prevents such instances of discrimination.

Revolutionising the Hiring Landscape

The funnel is broken, and it has been like this for a long time. However, even though we acknowledge the pervasive shortcomings and restrictions of our recruitment strategies, we continue to rely upon traditional methods that are ineffective and counterproductive.

A pool of applicants will provide their resumes and cover letters, which are then filtered according to education and experience – even though research has demonstrated that these are poor indicators of future job performance. Following this, there will be an interview and perhaps a task, upon which the candidate is hired. If the chosen individual at the completion of this process is not the right fit, then the organization has not only wasted valuable resources but has potentially affected the productivity and performance of the organization itself.

There is no doubt that we need to change. The funnel may be broken, but not only do we now understand why it is broken we also have the remedy for this problem so clearly presented to us. Work samples, case studies, and job simulations are the only way forward in recruitment and hiring. It is about time that we liberate ourselves from the limitations of resumes and cover letters, recruitment methods that indiscriminately and blindly reject 95% of candidates based on their education and experience alone. By relying on work samples and simulations, employers can be assured that those candidates who emerge from the end of the funnel will be the perfect fit for the criteria, goals, and aspirations of their organization.

Can rejection be positive?

Can rejection be positive?

Recently we had to send rejection letters to a number of candidates who applied for a job as a recruitment consultant by using our software. One of the candidates replied to the email and thanked us for a good rejection and an overall positive experience with Innoflow. We decided to ask her a couple of questions and see what makes the difference between the usual rejection and a positive one.

Meet Malene Kirkelund – besides “making a good bearnaise sauce”, she is also curious and eager to learn. Today she shared her experiences related to job search with us.

Malene says that the rejection she received from Innoflow was relevant and useful, as she was able to reflect on her weaknesses and work on them to be prepared better next time. Indeed, the process felt empowering to Malene because this was her first time applying for a job as a recruitment consultant.

When comparing Malene’s experiences with usual recruitment processes and Innoflow, she says that the usual process of applying often includes a cover letter and a CV. Like many other, Malene once got a job with this type of recruitment but the perception of her own strengths turned out to be completely wrong for the job. After a year she resigned. If the same workplace had offered a case similar to what Innoflow offers, Malene believes that she would have been able to understand the role better and notice that her expectations and competencies were misplaced. When solving a case with Innoflow, the assignment showed exactly what the job entailed, which is important especially if a person wants to try out another industry and cannot get a full overview of the offered position only from reading the job description.

The opportunity to solve a case when applying for a job gave Malene a chance to be judged on some other parameters despite her varied background. She told us about her unpleasant experience when applying for a job at another company, where, after receiving feedback she realized that they hadn’t reviewed her application thoroughly and she felt as if she was only a number in a row. “Exactly that does not do any good for a person’s self-esteem when you go unemployed. That’s why feedback is also an important part.” – says Malene.

We can only add to that – not only that well-prepared, personalized feedback is important, but it plays a key role in the hiring process. It shows respect, improves your candidate experience as well as your brand image. Remember, skill sets can be changed and improved – try to refer your evaluation to something that the candidate can work on for the next time they apply for a job at your company. If you can suggest actionable and concrete steps based on applicants’ performance, you will create a positive candidate experience even when sending out a rejection letter.

Innoflow Presents: An Interview with Hasse Holm Thomsen

Innoflow Presents: An Interview with Hasse Holm Thomsen

Meet Hasse Holm Thomsen, current president of the Polit Case Competition Organization. The organization was founded in 2014 and consists of students of economics from the University of Copenhagen. Polit Case Competition is an economic case competition in which competitors have an opportunity to apply economic theory to a real-life problem.

In this interview with Hasse, we have talked about his experience as an organizer, his definition of a successful case competition and how did Polit Case Competition manage to deal with the current Covid-19 situation.

Tell us a little bit about your background…

I currently study Economics, I am a Master Thesis Student at Danish Central bank – I am writing my thesis there. I have been studying Economics at the University of Copenhagen for the last 5,5 years.

Prior to that, I lived in Madrid (Spain) with my family.

What is your experience with case competitions? How many events have you organized?

My experience with Case Competitions comes primarily from my knowledge with Polit Case Competition, the one I currently organize. I was a participant a couple of years ago and it didn’t go that well. So I figured, if I can’t beat them, why not join them? {Smiles}

I joined them 3 years ago as an organizer, where I was in a team responsible for funding and partnerships. Then, the following year, I became head of that team and now I am currently the president of the organization. I’ve done a lot of funding and a lot of partnerships, but now I am mainly responsible for the management of the teams and setting the overall strategy of the Polit Case Competition. 

Why did you start your career as an organizer?

The reason why I joined was that I was eager to seek out some extracurricular activities at the University of Copenhagen. The organization, even when I started, was very professional, as opposed to other student organizations that people were just joining to get something on their resumes, or just to hang out. People were actually there to build this great event and were willing to sacrifice their time to make it happen. The case competition’s professionalism and ambition were very appealing to me – so that was my primary reason for joining.

What challenges do you usually have when organizing a case competition?

It makes a lot of difference to be a president, as opposed to a volunteer. The challenges I face range from ensuring that everyone within the organization is aligned with the overall mission and that no one feels like they don’t have enough to do, knowing whether a person can handle a task, or if I should delegate to someone else instead. Since it is all volunteer work, what I realized a bit later during the process is that a case competition has to be fun for people to organize. I think that this is the main challenge ensuring that on one side it is fun, but on the other hand, we also have to actually do something and manage to establish everything. That is a challenge sometimes.

How did your case competition deal with the current Covid-19 situation?

In the Polit Case Competition, we shifted everything to be online. Normally we have an event where everyone meets up, which is very typical of case competitions. In the Polit Case Competition, we also had that format. 

I remember it was a Wednesday when the Prime Minister announced that everything was shutting down – and our case competition was supposed to take place on Saturday, so we did not have much time to adjust. It was clear that we could not host the event we had planned in March, so we ended up postponing the case competition for almost half a year. Maybe we could have done something in May, but then we were getting closer to the exams and people prioritize exams more than case competitions. Eventually, we decided to postpone everything to October, and initially, we were hoping that we could do a physical event as we normally do, in one way or another, but soon it also became evident that we couldn’t. What we did instead, was to hold everything online – people were solving the case at home and we awarded them with goodie bags and lots of Wolt gift cards.

You used Innoflow for your event. What was your experience with this software?

We were a bit unsure because we thought it cost a lot of money and it was something we wouldn’t normally use: we were unsure what the value was going to be; or if it was just going to be another expense. 

However, we were very happy with the format – it made things a lot easier. It was easier to organize everything, to manage when people accessed the information, the submissions, the sign-up – everything. It made things just way easier. 

We could have done it without Innoflow, I am sure, but it would have been much more time-consuming and we didn’t have so much time. We were also very happy with all the assistance. In this case – Lasse [Lasse Dam Jørgensen, Business Developer at Innoflow] was helping us, he made a preview of the Polit Case Competition, how the organizer’s page would look like, and we in the competition used that as a stepping stone towards the things that the participants faced.

How would you define a successful case competition? 

I think a successful case competition, in general, is one where all the stakeholders are happy at the end. Partner organizations, in our case – Copenhagen Airports and BCG are happy with the outcome and feel like they got something valuable for the money they put into it. Also, it is important that what the case participants are solving is relevant, fun, challenging and that they also have the means to solve it. The worst thing that you can do is write a case that people cannot solve. You need to be able to solve it regardless of your level. Lastly, I think it is also important to make sure that the organization behind the event gets something out of it: that they feel that they have been a part of something big, something important. It is crucial in these challenging times of Covid-19 because if you forget the underlying structure of the organization, and if you forget to focus on all those individuals, you end up with something that was good for partners and participants, but what about the people who actually organized it? You have to make sure everyone is happy with the outcome.

What is your best advice for other organizers organizing a case competition? 

The most important thing is the case. Make sure you get the case right. Talk to other case competitions, other case writers, what have they done, how do they ensure that the case company or the case organization was happy with the case; how do you make sure that the case is solvable for all the participants. Everything else is also important, of course – for example, having nice food and beverages, hosting the event.. But the core thing is the case. So my advice is to focus on that and then focus on everything else.

And what would be your best advice for people who might take part in your events in the future?

My first advice is just: apply! Just go for it. The sooner you start, the better. Many people are unsure if they are good enough, whether they can do it – and then they might end up never signing up. So my first advice is just to sign up. If you just get going, spend your time, sign up, and see what it is. Seek advice from previous winners or participants, listen to what they have done. Some of them say that you need some slides prepared, I think that is good – to some extent you need to have some slides ready. But I think it is more important that you just approach the case open-minded and make sure that you work fast, and also work all together with your team.

5 Biggest Benefits of Digitalizing Your Case Competition

5 Biggest Benefits of Digitalizing Your Case Competition

Going digital is not a new thing. However, the history and culture of Case Competitions have been one of the physical events, where teams compete against each other and present on a stage. But the world has changed. Digitalizing your Case Competition is now both a way to solve some of your pains and a way to increase the reach and thereby have an even more significant impact in the world.

With our software, we have helped Case Competitions worldwide with digitalizing their event and have gathered the 5 biggest benefits.

Number 1: Ensuring safe physical distance

It is no surprise that ensuring physical distance is number 1 at the moment. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening our global community’s health and safety, physical distance is now our most effective weapon against it. The University of Münster converted their event from a physical to a digital one and have avoided canceling the entire Case Competition.

Number 2: Increased efficiency and saves time

Number 2 on the list of the 5 biggest benefits is increased efficiency and time-saving. Having to organize a physical event is a big deal. Food, transportation, hotels, finding rooms, printing documents, and so on all take time. Even when you are a big and competent team, the organizing part takes too much time away from what is essential: Creating a fantastic experience for participants, judges, and sponsors. When you can manage all registration, communication, document administration, judging, and feedback online, you can focus on supporting your stakeholders.

Number 3: Showing a sustainable mindset

RSM Star Case Competition in Rotterdam saved 132 tons of CO2 emission when they transformed their Case Competition from a physical event to a digital one. Flying participants from around the world to your site is not the most sustainable solution. Sometimes it actually presents a paradox that you organize a Case Competition with a focus on solving sustainable problems, but you fly all of your participants in.

Number 4: Transforming participant’s experience

Organizing a Case Competition is all about participant experience. You want to create an event of a lifetime that they all remember and talk about. Going digital has often been associated with less personal experience. Still, with the digital possibilities today, you can create some fantastic digital events, where you engage all of the teams with videos, debates, polls, and so on throughout the event.

Number 5: Increased reach

In 2020, CBS Case Competition had over 3.500 participants from 88 different countries in their global competition. That is only possible when you go digital and use Case Competition software. Reaching that many people brings not only awareness and branding to your competition but also satisfies your sponsors a great deal because they get exposed to a much larger audience than with a physical event.

So, digitalizing your Case Competition has many benefits, but organizing it through a mix of Facebook groups, Teams, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. makes it difficult for both you, the participants, and the judges to navigate communication.

We can help you set up an event, and our team is ready for you. So book a demo beneath and let us show you our solution.