Why Projects Improve The Hiring Process

The Challenge

In a world where companies are required to be more and more efficient and hire the perfect fit, engaging candidates in a way that allows their experience to shine, as well as ensure they would add to the team, is vital. We interviewed Jeffrey Moss at Parker Dewey to learn more about how their site works to help companies find and hire the right talent for the right job using project-based placement.

What is your background and what kind of work do you do currently?

I spent about 20 years in venture capital with a strong focus on working with both education and software companies. Given my work on the education side, I saw a number of college grads who were not able to get jobs or who were underemployed because they did not have the “right” academic pedigree. In addition, recognized how difficult it was for companies to find the right employees, especially given the metrics around time-to-fill, attrition, open positions, etc.

I recognized the opportunity to solve both of these challenges given emerging acceptance of freelancing within companies. The thesis was to use gigs not as a replacement for the traditional employee/employer relationship, but rather as a pathway where companies and talent can discover one another and mutually assess fit.

Why are companies now using projects to vet talent before hiring them full time?

For 30+ years, companies have tried to use various tools to improve hiring effectiveness (eg. assessment, structured and/or video interviews, algorithms, etc.) with little success. This is caused by issues associated with validity/reliability of the method/assessment itself, poor understanding of the specific competencies for that hire (eg. the sales rep you want for a specific team today may require different traits than the one you will need at your company next week), and user error.

Coupled with this, the friction associated with the job posting/searching process (both for companies and individuals) has been nearly eliminated with the increase of technology (eg. job boards, LinkedIn, Applicant Tracking Systems, etc.). In addition, the increasing awareness of other options through social media has driven increasing attrition.

As a response, both companies and individuals look to project-based experiences as a way to assess fit prior to committing to a longer-term relationship. By increasing the likelihood of the right fit prior to making the hiring decision, both sides are more willing to make the commitment (eg. onboarding, professional development, loyalty, etc.) even with the ease of applying for other options. Ultimately, companies and individuals don’t know if the fit is right until they do the job – we are de-risking that process.

What is the ideal project to understand if someone is a good fit?

It depends on the role. Our suggestion is for a company to post a project tied to a specific, defined responsibility associated with the role. The projects are low-risk, demand the skills of a new hire, and don’t require any on-boarding.  For example, a company recruiting a marketing professional focused on social media might ask for the creation of a content calendar including identification of key influencers. However, for a marketing role associated with content creation, a project focused on researching and drafting a blog post may be more relevant.

We have a few hundred examples of projects tied to specific roles, and can work with companies to define an appropriate project. That said, it takes under five minutes to post and most companies have a number of employees’ “We should…” or “I shouldn’t…” tasks that are perfect examples.

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What sorts of results are companies seeing who are using this method to vet talent?

Our clients are seeing really strong results. Every company is different, and we built the model to be applicable irrespective of the goal. A company can use this to get immediate support, to proactively identify and evaluate talent, or as a hybrid to get work done with the option associated with finding the right hire.

For example, we have many clients who are use the platform to address their immediate needs as they appreciate the network of highly-motivated career launchers who can provide support. In many of these cases, these clients have actually created new internships and full-time roles for the individuals following the conclusion of the project. They were impressed with the individual and confirmed a strong ROI from having someone executing these assignments.

Other companies are proactively using Parker Dewey to identify and evaluate potential full-time employees, sometimes in parallel to an existing job board post and sometimes as the exclusive source. Not only can they find the right hire, but they also get work done during the search.

Mission Accomplished

Using projects to better understand how a candidate works within their position is an emerging trend that just makes sense. It enables both the candidate and employer to display what each can fully offer. Facilitating that introductory “gig” role is where they are seeing this success. Combining these types of efforts with the right recruitment marketing platform are going to provide you and your team with the best candidate for your job, no matter what time of day or what task you might be working on at the time.

Jennifer Nunez

Jennifer Nunez

Inbound Marketing Specialist at NextWave Hire
Jennifer Nunez

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