Contextual data is key in recruitment processes

the upReach view, Jade Azim, Programme Coordinator

Grant Thornton recently undertook an experiment in their recruitment process: a relaxation of academic requirements. The Sunday Times recently reported that they have reaped the rewards in not only a newly diverse workforce, but a very successful and productive one too.

In 2013, they dropped their previous requirements for a 2:1 degree, three Bs at A-Level and B grades at GCSE Maths and English. The firm subsequently reported that those recruited who would not have passed the old screening process were four times as likely as their peers to become “game changers” – in the firm’s highest performance category.

upReach has been advocating for the relaxation of academic requirements, which often do not make for good indicators of workplace success. The case of Grant Thornton exemplifies why this is a good direction for firms to take. upReach sees this as one key change to cultivate a revolutionised recruitment process with a greater end result.

Research from The Sutton Trust shows that contextual data is essential to understanding a wider picture to inform recruitment processes: people with different backgrounds achieve differing GCSE results, creating a skewed picture that does not make for a good prediction of workplace performance.

upReach works with other employers that have also chosen alternatives to more arbitrary recruitment filters to similarly reap considerable rewards in diversity and efficiency. Some of our partner employers use contextual data to waive academic selection criteria to ensure they do not disregard hidden talent.

Firms that have taken this action benefit from not only a more diverse workforce but also the discovery of great pools of talent, finding that candidates who would have been dismissed on previously arbitrary grounds make for high-potential employees.

Other employers should consider following this example. upReach will be working to put this case to employers across professional sectors in the future.

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