Against All Odds: A Story of Hiring Success

I want to tell you a story. I want to tell you a story about a guy named James.

James is a singer, a songwriter, and a classically trained musician.

As the co-founder of the folk duo, Ash & Bloom, James spent 10 years on the road touring and making great music.

Despite finding real success in the industry, James was feeling the effects of a life spent living in motel rooms and touring vans.  Personal relationships were suffering, other pursuits and passions (the ones that actually refreshed and fueled his musical creativity) were falling by the wayside, and the stress and effort of becoming successful was changing who he was.

When James looked in the mirror, he didn’t like the person he found looking back. He was faced with a life defining choice – continue his pursuit of musical success despite the personal cost, or find another line of work that would help him to be healthier and happier, at the expense of leaving the music industry behind.

For James, the choice was obvious. And that choice led him to Fitzii. James standing

The recruiting world knows what a false positive is. That candidate who looked terrific on paper, sounded great in the interview, and when they got on the job… well, let’s just say it’s back to the drawing board.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to have these hiring horror stories, and every company who finds themselves in this situation pays the price. And if you’re the owner of a small business, you can’t afford the cost of a false positive.

But what about the false negative? The one who got away, because the hiring manager didn’t like the resume, or the computer keyword search screened out the application. Not only has your company lost out on a great hire, you also face the possibility that your competitor may benefit from your mistake.

So how do hiring managers avoid costly false positives, not lose out on potentially great candidates, and at the same time, maintain an efficient and cost-effective hiring process?

Answering that question is exactly why we created the Fitzii Assessment.

After James left the music industry, he was faced with a daunting task – finding a “real-world” job, without any applicable “real-world” experience. He knew he had great instincts for business, and was willing to work really hard, but his only other experience outside of music was working part-time in a cabinet-making shop.

James didn’t stand a chance by traditional hiring standards. But, he actually scored pretty well in the Fitzii Assessment.

Each and every one us at Fitzii believes that by finding great fits between candidates and employers and connecting more people with meaningful work, we can help move the needle on that sad stat – that most employees aren’t engaged in their jobs.

With this in mind, the Fitzii Assessment was created to address what we believe to be the single biggest barrier to finding great matches for open jobs – resume screening.

The HR world has long known that resume screening doesn’t work. Back in the late-90s, a meta-analysis was done of 85 years of various studies, covering 19 different employee selection methods and their correlation with overall job performance. This landmark investigation found that the only way to have a good chance of hiring success is to combine multiple “predictively-valid” methods of selection. Things like work sample tests, structured behavioural interviews, skills and experience scoring, and psychometric tests all scored well (over .31) in predictive validity.

Resume screening, on the other hand scored just .18, one of the lowest of all selection methods; barely better than flipping a coin.

So instead of just collecting the resume and forcing hiring managers to look through them one-by-one, the Fitzii Assessment takes applicants through a 10-15 minute evaluation using attributes which are predictively valid.

The first section is a skills and experience review, which replaces resume screening with a standardized review of the qualifications hiring managers are looking for.

The second section is a personality (psychometric) test, which evaluates whether the person has the right traits to both enjoy and succeed in that particular job. Fitzii’s psychometric partner has correlated personality with success for more than 15 million employees over the last 30 years to create these predictive benchmarks.

And finally, the third section is about work-environment fit, where the candidate’s preferences for the type of culture, management style, and environment are compared with the role. This isn’t scientifically predictive, but can be a great indicator of red flags.

And it all comes together in a custom interview guide, where you can view the “Impact Statement” (the difference they want to make) of each candidate, and use recommended behavioural questions for a structured interview (another one of those high scoring methods).

The goal of the Fitzii Assessment is to see every candidate as a “whole person,” and help identify those who are most likely to both enjoy and excel on the job. The traits that underlie an individual’s personality are much more highly correlated with success on the job than a set of duties listed on a resume. Plus, it’s very easy to exaggerate and mislead on a resume, but far more difficult, and unlikely, to hide the characteristics that actually build a personality type.

James’ experience in the job market underscores the issue.  “I feel like the traditional application process is a sham on both sides. The employer pretends they want somebody perfect, and the applicant pretends to meet those standards. If both sides were honest with each other, they would both have more success at finding a real fit.”

Fitzii’s Hiring Success guru, Luz Iglesias, agrees. “The act of writing a resume is a deception in and of itself. The applicant isn’t telling the employer who they really are, and the employer is pretending that all that really matters is what’s written on the resume.”

One of the (many) problems with this model is that hiring managers hire candidates based on the resume, but fire employees based on personality. A recent study found that 46% of newly-hired employees failed within 18 months, and only 11% of them were unsuccessful because of technical competence – the vast majority were due to personality and attitude.

“Of all the competencies that predict on the job success,” Luz Iglesias says, “the two that are most highly correlated – the ones that neither employer nor employee can live without – are integrity and conscientiousness. And a resume doesn’t tell you if the candidate possesses those traits.”

If any other hiring manger had even seen James’ resume, they would have dismissed him immediately. They would never have seen that James’ personality traits predict that he is a hard-working, meticulous, and proactive problem solver with a high drive for results.

“I find it incredible,” says Luz, “not only that Fitzii found James, but that no one else was even willing to look at him. In James, we have a fantastic employee who contributes to the success of the business in a meaningful way, every day. He also complements the culture of the team in a way that makes everyone else better.”

This is what Fitzii does. This is how Fitzii is trying to make the world a better place, one hire at a time.

So let me tell you a story. A story about a guy named James.

James is a customer support specialist, a content creator, and a project manager at Fitzii.

Since coming to work with us, he has brought tremendous purpose, vision, and value, both as a co-worker and a friend.  He has made Fitzii better, and has found the kind of meaningful, fulfilling work that we believe all job-seekers deserve.

Oh, and that music thing?  He hasn’t entirely left that behind either.

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Major New Fitzii Feature: Options, Options

Today we’re releasing one of our most important feature updates ever. It’s one that’s been frequently asked for and that we’ve been very carefully considering, since it’s in the direct territory of our purpose, our WHY – to better connect people with meaningful work.

We’re really excited to have found a way to stay true to our goals around better fit and more objective hiring, while making the Fitzii tool more flexible and more broadly applicable.

So, drumroll please….

As of today, it is possible to post jobs on Fitzii without requiring every applicant to complete the assessment portion of the application. In fact, there are now three different ways to post a job opportunity:

1. Assessment Required – This is exactly the same as how all jobs on Fitzii have been posted to date. Every applicant for a position has to complete the full application that assesses fit on three dimensions: skills & experience, personality and working environment. There are many jobs where this approach makes the most sense. Any job where applicant quantity is really high for example, or cases where skills and experience are less important, such as entry-level roles. There have been cases reported by our customers, however, where it’s been hard to predict the number of applicants in advance. This has led to a concern about having the assessment mandatory (even though when applicants do the full process, 89% like it). The second option is, therefore:

2. Assessment Optional – It sounds simple, but the results are pure awesome! As the name suggests, jobs are posted as before, but applicants are given the choice to apply quickly by simply answering any eligibility questions and uploading a resume (a 2 minute process) or submit a full application including the fit assessment (10-15 minutes). For the jobseeker this gives the convenience of getting an application in quickly if they are in a rush, on a mobile device, or not that excited by the job, but also with the option to apply in full later, if they like. For employers it brings the best of both worlds. The “quick-apply” option ensures you’re not missing out on any applicants who would have been turned off by the assessment, while also getting the full fit profile of those who really want the job. You also have the ability to ask one or all of the resume-only applicants to complete the full application, with just one click.

3. Résumé Only – Honestly, this was a hard one for us. Résumés are not good predictors of performance. They’re also not great at keeping the hiring process objective. That’s why they play a less central role in the Fitzii tool. The problem that wouldn’t go away, however, was that for some types of hiring, like some unionized jobs, even an optional assessment was not appropriate. This was hard for our customers, because they didn’t have any other choice but to hire outside of the Fitzii system. For this reason, posting a job where applying with a résumé is the only option, is now possible.

We will be rolling this feature update out to customers over the next week. Your account manager or someone from the support team will contact you when your account is ready to be transitioned and walk you through the new functionality. There is also a how-to guide available on the knowledge base. All new users will have the feature enabled by default.

If you have any questions or would like to request your account to be transitioned immediately, please email us at or call 1-888-707-1977.

Happy Hiring!

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The ATS is Dead, Long Live the ATS

I just read this article on The Failure of Automated Recruiting by an author we always enjoy reading at Fitzii, Liz Ryan. The article was forwarded to me by a business partner along with a question along the lines of “isn’t this bad news for you, Fitzii is after all an ATS right”?  – In summary, the article states that we should “throw in the towel on automated recruiting” and asks if it’s time “stop trying to prop up the ATS monster”?

Turns out, I agree with almost everything Liz lists in her article that is wrong with applicant tracking and automated recruiting today. In fact the problems with how the process works and how it treats applicants are exactly why we started Fitzii in the first place; out of a desire to make a difference and enable organizations to hire better and more objectively.

Some examples:

Keyword Searching – As Liz points out, this was never going to work: “We should have known better. We should have known that when we put in a job ad “The Selected Candidate must possess interpersonal, organizational and administrative skills” nearly every candidate — certainly every one with the intellect to connect the dots between our job ad and our hiring process – is going to put those very same keywords into his or her resume or job application. Once that happens, all the keyword-searching algorithms in the world can’t help us“.

Ironically, keyword searching is probably the #1 feature that we get told is “missing” from Fitzii (and, yes, we lose sales because of it). This is a challenge for us as we get the usefulness of the concept of being able to find all the applicants that have a specific skill or experience, however, it just doesn’t work well – applicants stuff the keywords, and with no context, the presence of a keyword alone doesn’t tell you anything useful. That’s why our tool assesses skills and experience based on specific responses to objectively what is needed for the role.

Talent Repelling Portals – Liz nails this one: “The best candidates, the ones who could help you the most, will be the first to flee a talent-repelling job application portal“.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to bring to mind the applicant horror stories we’ve heard. At Fitzii we treat job seekers as customers too and give them the same level of support and attention as our paying clients. We do this to protect our customer’s brands and reputations, but also because we strongly believe that applicants should be valued and treated with respect. There is no reason for the process to be painful, it’s often just old technology and inertia. We offer all applicants the option to rate and provide feedback on the process and use this to continually improve the candidate experience.

Zombie Job Ads – I included this one as I love the term and it’s sadly very common.  Again, the best applicants won’t be attracted by a dry ad with a list of requirements and responsibilities.

When hiring today, Marketing skills are just as important as recruiting skills and and well written job description can increase the quantity and quality of the applicants in your talent pipeline. There are no short-cuts to writing great job ads, they take time and effort. If you don’t have the skills within the HR department, you can also turn to your own marketing department or an external partner. We work closely with Hirefly, our sister company, which provides job profiling and job ad writing services to organizations that do not have the resources available internally.

Logical Gates – Liz suggests using “logical gates” to help the initial screening: “If this job sounds like a fit, send me a 300-word email message that tells me why, and be sure to share your comments on what we could do better in our online store”.

It’s almost like Liz has used Fitzii! We identified early on that cover letters add value in determining fit. The issue, however, is they are time-consuming to read (and to write) and as a result, are not suitable for the initial screening process. Instead, we added the “Impact Statement” which is a way for the applicants to provide a concise description of their main points of fit. The Impact Statement is displayed on every applicant’s Candidate Profile, which also contains details of the individual’s fit against the job skills & requirements, psychometric profile and working environment.

Tracking is Easy – This is the only aspect of the article I didn’t agree with. Liz says a common excuse given for using an older system is: “The government requires us to use our antiquated ATS” but “…that’s falseThe government couldn’t care less, as long as you keep track of the people you interact with, an easy thing to do”..

I’d argue that keeping track of any significant number of applicants is not easy. We have customers that receive hundreds of applicants per day and can get well over a thousand applicants for one position. Keeping track of more than a handful of applicants without some kind of automated application system is virtually impossible, or at least extremely time-consuming and definitely not a whole lot of fun. Not to mention the fact that Fitzii, and other systems allow companies to track their employee equity data and performance which is not only good practice, but also mandatory for certain organizations.

In summary, the ATS as most people know it, is guilty of crimes against good hiring and candidate experience and should be relegated to the scrapheap. The good news though is that there is a new generation of tools, like Fitzii, that achieve the dual benefits of enabling better, more objective hiring AND a vastly improved candidate experience that helps put the human back in hiring.

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