on
16
July
2019

Meet the new wave of employers putting candidate experience at the heart of hiring.

Dan Hynes, Talent Partner at Atomico and former Skyper, Googler and Cisco(er) boldly stated last year, There’s No Tech Talent Shortage in Europe — There’s a Smart Hiring Shortage. While we can’t deny that certain skills are highly in demand, there’s a new style employer that recognises the old way of hiring is no longer fit-for-purpose - and they’re doing something about it.

The evidence is clear that the information contained in a CV does a pretty poor job of predicting job performance. Not only is a CV screen widely open to reputation-damaging bias, the entire process is letting down candidates, hiring managers and organisations alike.

If it’s broke, please fix it!

83% of job seekers rate their search experience as poor. No single company would dream of accepting customer review scores like this. The candidate experience drives your talent brand. Think of talent brand as ‘what candidates say about you when you’re not in the room’ or, perhaps more accurately, ‘what candidates post on social media sites about your hiring process when they’ve left your room’. This stuff matters. Especially if there is a tight talent market.

In his review, Hynes calls out for a process that focuses on testing the specific skills required for the actual role and using a structured interview process. Together with more general cognitive ability tests, these are spot on suggestions for getting to the assessments that truly predict performance.

He also calls for a focus on diversity and inclusion, full transparency on the hiring process, investing time at the outset to understand what good looks like, giving constructive feedback to all unsuccessful applicants and gathering (and acting on) feedback from candidates at all stages of the process.

We couldn’t agree more!

Enter Applied...

The silver lining in this depressing status quo is when you do raise the bar, even just a fraction, your candidates will notice!

 “This is the best recruitment system I have ever met!”

Applied has been built to deliver all of the things Hynes advocates by putting candidate experience at the heart of hiring. We’re proud of just how much job seekers really love this way of hiring. The chart below shows the ratings we get from candidates who have applied for a job through Applied. Nearly 50% give us 10/10. The average rating is 8.5 and the qualitative feedback we hear every week from candidates, both successfully hired and otherwise, feels even more necessary in the context of that 83%.


When candidates experience a transparent, fair and enjoyable process, it means everything.

This month we welcomed our 100,000th applicant into this brave new world of bias-free recruiting. For context, the largest sports stadium in the UK, Wembley Stadium, has a capacity of 90,000. But even as we grow, it’s important to look beyond big numbers. What continues to drive us are the stories of real people and organisations who  have been impacted by what we do. We’re sharing some of these stories to challenge the belief that the big issue in recruitment today is a shortage of intelligent, driven and motivated talent. 


Applied is now the hiring strategy of choice for start-ups and scale-ups all the way to large government departments and corporates like Hilton, Penguin Random House and GroupM. We’re de-biasing recruitment across almost every industry you can think of, from construction to FinTech, education to media.

We believe every role should be hired for in this way and, quite frankly, that the CV is dead.

One of the biggest shifts our customers make to their recruitment process is to replace unstructured and subjective CV sifting with focused work sample questions. It’s not uncommon to guide new clients through a fear that asking prospective candidates to answer a few questions rather than upload a generic CV and cover letter might put them off.

To answer that, we introduce people like Shruti Saujani, City Programme Manager at England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who was offered the role after applying through the Applied platform.

“When I saw [the process] would be blind I was much more inclined to apply for the role. I felt my CV alone wouldn’t do me justice” and blinded sift questions “allowed me to express my passion for the role in a way a CV never would.”

We heard a similar story from Katya Johnson-Ward, Office Support Assistant at the Behavioural Insights Team:

“When applying for a ‘normal’ job by submitting my CV I would apply and then forget about the role as it’s one of many. I think anyone can send a CV and you’re not really engaged in the process. In fact, having to send a CV is off-putting to me, I feel kind of hopeless when I send a CV. This process boosted my confidence because I knew I was advancing on merit and nothing else.”

Diversity is the natural outcome

That’s the thing. When you remove opportunities for bias from the process, everyone understands that the successful candidate is there on merit. There’s no murmurs of nepotism or tokenism.

For anyone with D&I goals, think about the why behind them. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure the entire talent pool is open to you. It’s to be confident you’re not unwittingly blind to whole sections of talent and that you’re able to attract, engage and hire the most passionate and capable person into your team. Diversity and Inclusion is only really a ‘thing’ today because that is not the case most of the time.

People Director at the ECB, Rosie Ranganathan, said “Applied was a new and different way for us to hire. We wanted to approach our recruitment differently to encourage candidates who might not have thought of opportunities to work in cricket. Not only did Applied remove the paper CV sift, it saved us huge amounts of time, it also enabled us to attract and select candidates from diverse, non-sport backgrounds who were perfect for this role.” In fact, 60% of these roles were filled by BAME candidates, compared to 11% representation prior to using Applied.  

Start onboarding at the application stage

By not waiting until the end of your hiring process to give candidates a true taste of the job, you’re not only assessing potential in the role, you allow candidates to fast forward into the role and start thinking about the big challenges they will face and come up with ideas and innovations to hit the ground running when they start. They’ve had a good look under the bonnet of what it’s like to work there and, with peers involved in their selection, everyone is much more invested in the new hire’s success.

 “This was a very different experience to anything I have done before. I really enjoyed it as I was able to put on the hat of the position and answer accordingly. This gave me great insight in what the experience would be like for me in the role as well as later in my career in a management role and made me want the role with the organisation even more.”

Identifying ‘Mission Fit’

Being able to match personal and organisational values well in the talent acquisition process is arguably the most critical part of the process to get right. Given how important culture, values and mission are to hiring strategy, it’s almost impossible not to speculate about ‘fit’ from details in a CV. Cue biased decision making, diversity debt and endless soul searching regarding your hiring decisions.

As Shruti demonstrated, focusing candidates on questions that relate to the mission and allowing them to demonstrate passion in a tangible way is the only way to reveal this at the shortlisting stage. And why waste valuable time reviewing CVs and phone screening people who’ve yet to demonstrate a basic level of interest in this particular role in your particular team?

“Applied offers a very coherent, logical process to get to the point of hire. It has brought a structure I didn’t have before and engages the whole team. I have complete confidence we have eliminated unconscious bias and feel much more confident about this hire.”

Steve Kenzie, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network

Confidence in having selected the best person for the role is the single most stated change in moving to Applied. There’s no more second guessing because there is objective data to support decisions and a clear process that everyone understands and that can scale with ease. 

Does a simple, scalable and enjoyable hiring process that also happens to identify the most passionate and competent talent sound too good to be true? 100,000 candidates (and growing) can assure you it's not.

Put down those CVs and join us!

Book a FREE product demo on https://www.beapplied.com/request-a-demo