Given the success of dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony, it was only a matter of time until a similar idea would make its way into another important aspect of life: finding a job.
Consulting giant Mercer this week announced the launch of Mercer Match, a game-based job and career matching digital platform that “takes a scientific approach to help employers find untapped talent while helping candidates find roles where they are most likely to succeed.”
“It’s really quite unique,” says Barb Marder, senior partner in Mercer’s talent business and team leader in Mercer’s Innovation Hub.
“We knew we wanted to find something new and different and disruptive in the hiring process,” she says. “We thought there was some real room for improvement. We don’t think there’s anything like this on the market.”
Mercer Match is a product from Mercer’s Innovation Hub and the first from its alliance with Pymetrics, announced in December 2015.
The basic idea, Marder says, is that candidates will download the app on their phone or go online and play a series of two- to three-minute games that are “grounded in decades of neuroscience research — meaning that they are proven to tell you something about the player.”
Candidates receive a report about their game play results — identifying cognitive, emotional and social traits, and career matches based on the traits they exhibited. The gameplay results are compared to results from top performers in different job fields.
“There’s no right or wrong; there’s no good or bad; but the important thing is comparing it to someone in a certain role and asking, ‘how did they play that game?’” Marder says.
Candidates also are able to see company information and job openings at Mercer-subscribing companies. Additionally, Mercer will share information on well-matched candidates with those companies and tell them they should take a look at those candidates.
Mercer says it is now actively sourcing candidates through social media and other methods. The firm also says that, though many different career paths are covered in Mercer Match, the program is initially focusing on matching candidates to different types of sales jobs.
So far, Marder says, the idea is getting a positive reaction in the sales market.
Mercer Match is different from job boards or job-matching services because it’s designed to deliver a smaller number of high-quality job candidates rather than a high volume of basic candidates, Marder says. Plus, Mercer Match can find hidden, more diverse talent for employers that they might not otherwise find.
The main goal of Mercer Match is simply to help both candidates and employers find the right match, especially in an environment where finding that is proving difficult.
According to a 2015 survey by Glassdoor, HR pros say talent shortage is their top hiring challenge. Nearly half (48%) of hiring decision-makers said they don’t see enough qualified candidates for open positions, and 26% see the situation getting more difficult in the next 12 months as the U.S. economy picks up.
Too often, Marder explains, online applications are creating a wall between candidates and employer.
“The job application process is a bit of a black hole,” Marder says. “Candidates apply to multiple roles online; there’s no way to really get out of that system. They often never hear back from the companies, not even to say, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ They typically hear nothing.
“On the company side,” she continues, “they are looking at a résumé and immediately looking for signals of success — typically the college you went to, your GPA, the experience you have had. And as a result, what we believe are a lot of really great candidates aren’t even getting through that first screen, because they may not have gone to that prestigious university, but actually they have the right traits and attributes to be really successful in that role. But they’re not even getting a look.
“The way [Mercer Match] works is, before the company even sees a résumé, Mercer is saying to these companies, ‘Hey, we’ve got someone here who thinks and acts and behaves like some of your top performing people. Take a look.’”
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