The NEW Hiring Model

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Annie Maxfield, former Assistant Director, Graduate Student Career Services

How employers are finding talent through experience based interviews

I am convinced that the way employers vet and hire students for full-time positions is going to dramatically ch Thumbnail ange over the next ten years.  Just as the internship has turned into an extended interview and become an integral part of landing a job—employers are continuing to develop experiential “auditions” so that they can evaluate candidates’ aptitude for creative problem solving, communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills in real settings.

Brandon Busteed, ’99, Executive Director of Gallup Education, writes in The Gallup Blog,
In a Gallup/Microsoft Partners in Learning/Pearson Foundation nationally representative poll of young Americans aged 18 to 35 who are students or are employed, 59% strongly agree or agree that they developed most of the skills they use in their current job outside of school.
In this way, you, Duke students, are lucky—here we bring the employers to campus to provide real work exposure and skill development.

For example, last year ComScore, a digital data analytics company hosted an on-campus challenge.  Their goal was to identify and hire great candidates by watching them work.  More than 80 students participated ranging from Ph.D.’s in Physics and Psychology to Pratt’s Master’s of Engineering Management Program (MEMP) and Fuqua’s Master of Management Studies (MMS) students.  We even had a few undergraduate students dig in to the challenge. ComScore consultants, intentionally simulated a live work situation by posing a real problem the company needed solved, shared live data and assembled multilevel, interdisciplinary groups.  The winning team was interestingly the most diverse group, including a Ph.D., two MEMP’s, one MMS and an undergraduate student.

Nine candidates from the top two teams were interviewed, seven offers were extended and five of those offers were accepted.
The most interesting aspect: three of the five candidates who are now working for ComScore never made it past the initial resume screen.

Even for those who didn’t win—they were able to look at real data from a real company, work on a real timeline and produce a real deliverable.  This is what companies are looking for from candidates and through these on-campus challenges; Duke is facilitating these kinds of opportunities with employers.

In addition to employers engaging in real work experience with students on campus, a new startup called MindSumo has caught on to this trend, and they are providing challenge opportunities for employers and students online.  These kinds of opportunities allow students to show, instead of tell, what they can do and how well they do it.

According to Keaton Swett, the co-founder of MindSumo, “Cheg, a textbook company, executed a challenge on their site and found eight candidates from a school that they had never recruited at before.  Five of the eight candidates were given offers and now Cheg is recruiting at that school.” These challenges provide an opportunity for students to gain some real world experience while exposing them to new kinds of work and companies.

The experiential component is becoming more integral to hiring decisions and Duke students, if they take advantage of these opportunities, are uniquely situated to blow the competition away.

Keep an eye on the Career Center’s Event Calendar for opportunities show how you work.

Photo: Copyright Share alike by juhansonin