Product Update #10: Our new ‘Task-First’ process

New Product Update

As the new year rolled in, we took the decision to launch our new Task-First process. We’ve always advocated skills-based hiring at DigitalGrads, and in the past, where possible, done all we can to help employers assess candidates on their skills and ability.

But too often hires were being made on gut feel alone, and that is when it can start to go wrong quite quickly.

At the end of 2020, we started experimenting with mandatory skills-based tasks that were directly related to the role. We wanted to establish if the output of a task that is directly related to the role would influence an employers decision on who to shortlist and ultimately hire.

Perhaps rather unsurprisingly, it did! We then decided to experiment with the timing of the assessment in the hiring process. Would candidates who looked less-strong on paper have more of a shot at being considered for a role if we moved the task earlier in the process?

Once again, the results were positive. More candidates were offered an interview when they may not have been shortlisted previously, and employers were genuinely impressed and in many cases wowed at the standard of coming through.

As a result of testing out these hypotheses, we’ve now implemented a Task-First process for every role.

Why tasks at all?

Grad schemes have long proven that work-based assessments are one of the best ways to see tangible evidence of a candidate’s ability, while helping candidates get a clearer idea of what would be expected of them in the role.

But smaller companies don’t have the budget, nor the head count, for a full-on grad scheme hiring process. We think this method of hiring positively emulates the grad scheme hiring experience, and crucially helps employers find the right fit for their team.

What does this mean for you?

Juniors, by definition, don’t have oodles of experience to show off on their CVs, and some don’t have proven work skills yet. At this level of hiring, work-based assessments give every candidates an equal chance of proving what they’ve got. It highlights transferable skills and raw talent, and gives you, the employer, real world work examples to base your shortlisting decisions on.

Task-First means you won’t waste time interviewing candidates who can’t do the basics of your role and you will be basing your shortlisting decisions on evidence, not a gut-feel.

Another big benefit is that it can also help overcome subconscious bias. By concentrating on work output and demonstrated skills, you are less likely to overlook a candidate or base your decision on their profile alone.

Skills, skills, skills

Our new task-first process works hand-in-hand with our candidate videos that give you a snapshot of the candidate’s personality and crucially for commercial roles show you how they present themselves.

Our evidence-based profiles contain training scores and psychometric scores to give you an idea of where the candidate’s interests lie and what they are good at, and you’ll find that most developers, designers and digital marketers have created portfolios so you can see examples of work from education, previous jobs or placements and in some cases interview tasks from other roles.

Additionally, if we see evidence of a key skill, a technology or a tool we’ll tag the profile so that you can search and find candidates with the key skills that you’re looking for.

Skills-based hiring is what we’re all about. We know that assessing for skills means you’ll get someone who can do the job, and then it’s up to you during the interview to assess the candidates for culture and team fit.

How does it work?

At the very beginning of the hiring process alongside creating a great job description, we’ll help you create an assessment. This task will be tailored to your needs, role and industry. It should take your candidates no more than a couple of hours.

Then, after we start receiving hundreds of applicants, we’ll screen the relevant candidates and create our first shortlist. The 10 – 25 candidates that make this initial shortlist will receive your task and a deadline.

We’ll manage everything for you, answering questions and handling the completed task uploads. We’ll check through the task for you and pass you those that were completed on time, and to a high standard.

So by the time you log on to first scout your shortlist you’ll have a list of extremely talented grads in your hands, who have the skills to do your role. Now you have to decide who is the best out of a great bunch!

On their profiles – clearly labelled – will be their assessment.

task-first hiring

After you’ve reviewed the tasks, we ask that you give every candidate some feedback. If they have taken the time to work on a task for you, we think it’s our responsibility to help them learn and grow from it.

Sound good?

Our Task-First process saves you time and gets you straight to the very best candidates without you having to screen 100s of CVs, or waste time on poor interviewees. If you have any questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat to you about this more.

We’re on employers@digitalgrads.com or 020 3917 0790

About post author

Hi, I'm Daisy. I'm using my passion for writing to work with DigitalGrads on their content and social media campaigns.
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