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This Is How Intuit Used Tools Like Virtual Reality To Improve Its Hiring

New assessments and virtual reality made them able to hire many candidates the same day.

This Is How Intuit Used Tools Like Virtual Reality To Improve Its Hiring
[Photo: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns

With more than 8,000 employees worldwide, small business and personal finance software giant Intuit faces fierce competition for the talent it hires. Traditionally, candidates went through a typical screening process with multiple rounds of interviews.

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The problem was that hiring managers would prioritize speed over quality of hire. Intuit’s HR team heard frustration from candidates that they didn’t know the status of their applications and never heard back from the company about their interview. They knew this wasn’t good for their employer brand.

Intuit decided to overhaul the experience and focus on how it could land better talent faster. The company began incorporating a series of assessments, presentations, and virtual reality features into its hiring process that have significantly changed company hiring practices, candidate satisfaction, and results.

Assessing For Awesome

The first change was launching a program called Assessing for Awesome, or A4A. The process begins with the company’s “awesome assessors”—top-performing employees who work closely with the role that will be filled. They identify key skills and attributes that are necessary to be successful in the role. Then, instead of rounds and rounds of interviews, candidates are asked to do a rigorous demonstration of their craft, which allows Intuit to assess for the skills and values that are established for the job role. Candidates are asked to prepare to:

  • Speak for five minutes about themselves
  • Speak for 15 minutes about two to three projects of which they’re proud
  • Prepare a 15-minute presentation on a case study or coding exercise
  • Participate in a 25-minute question and answer period

“We’re happy to say, it removes the bias in interviewing because it really focuses on the craft demonstration of the work that a candidate would do. Second, it really allows us to assess what the skills are that are important for a role,” says Sherry Whiteley, Intuit’s chief people officer. Many times, the company is able to make same-day decisions about new hires, she says.

At the very least, candidates are promised a response within 24 hours—and get it. Nick Mailey, vice president of talent acquisition at Intuit, also gives candidates his contact information so they may call him and check on their status if they haven’t heard back. That’s a daunting move for a company that has used A4A in roughly 4,000 interviews and hired about one-quarter of those people since A4A was integrated around two years ago, Whitely says. She adds that Mailey only gets a “handful of calls each year.”

The program has improved candidate experience and results. Candidate experience averages 4.6 on a five-point scale, “and even that’s not good enough,” Whiteley says. Other measures of success include:

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  • Quality of hire: Intuit’s percentage of highest-rated hires increased by 14 points. Almost two-thirds of new hires now receive the highest quality rating, with some units showing 100 percent of new hires rated at the highest level
  • Speed of hire: Average time to fill has decreased by 12 days, or almost 20 percent
  • Candidate experience: New hire net promoter scores increased by 14 percent year over year

The program has been such a success that the company is planning to use it in university recruiting over the next year. This will be added to the virtual reality (VR) experience the company now has for candidates, where students can don VR goggles to allow prospective candidates to see the Intuit campus, and what it’s like to work there.

These innovative tools and assessments have proven their worth to the Intuit team. But, in addition to the metrics they’ve improved, they have also enhanced hiring manager engagement.

“In the past, our hiring managers might’ve delegated to recruiting a bit. And now, with A for A, they’re very invested in hiring top talent and involved in the process from the beginning to the end, including six months when we ask them about the quality of their hire,” Whiteley says.

About the author

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

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