Most of our clients complain about the hiring process. Until recently, we didn’t have any innovative solutions to offer them. Earlier this year, we met Dane Barnes of Optimize Hire and were so impressed with his company and product that we started using it almost immediately with several clients. I had the opportunity to personally use it when I spearheaded a recruitment for several site administrators for a large primary care group. After using it, I knew I wanted to interview Dane and learn more about the company behind the software.
Mary Pat: What is the story of Optimize Hire?
Dane: At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was very fortunate to have Dr. Adam Grant as my professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. During my time there, Dr. Grant, Chris Myers, and I began a consulting project to help a large healthcare organization improve its hiring process using pre-employment testing. The results of the project were remarkable, and we created Optimize Hire to help businesses improve hiring decisions using cutting-edge scientific evidence. Dr. Grant is now an award-winning teacher, researcher, and tenured management professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.
Mary Pat: Is Optimize Hire a job posting software, applicant tracking system, or a pre-employment test?
Dane: Optimize Hire is all of those things! Watch our 60 second video to learn more. We help organizations save time and improve hiring decisions by:
- Generating a job description that is customized to your organization
- Automatically posting the job description on sites like CareerBuilder, Monster, and others
- Having all applicants complete our Pre-Employment Test online
- Instantly ranking applicants from best to worst
- Providing interview questions that are tailored to each applicant
- Sending pre-written Rejection and Interview emails to applicants
Mary Pat: What’s wrong with the traditional hiring process—reading resumes and conducting interviews, besides the incredible number of applicants every job has?
Dane: In a recent article on LinkedIn, What’s Wrong with Job Interviews, and How to Fix Them, Dr. Grant says:
Interviews are terrible predictors of job performance. Consider a rigorous, comprehensive analysis of hundreds of studies of more than 32,000 job applicants over an 85-year period by Frank Schmidt and Jack Hunter. They covered more than 500 different jobs— including salespeople, managers, engineers, teachers, lawyers, accountants, mechanics, reporters, farmers, pharmacists, electricians, and musicians—and compared information gathered about applicants to the objective performance that they achieved in the job. After obtaining basic information about candidates’ abilities, standard interviews only accounted for 8% of the differences in performance and productivity. Think about it this way: imagine that you interviewed 100 candidates, ranked them in order from best to worst, and then measured their actual performance in the job. You’d be lucky if you put more than eight in the right spot.
Interviews and resumes provide incomplete information about a candidate’s actual abilities, motivations, and personality traits. In addition, applicants tend to put their best foot forward during the interview, which may not accurately represent how they will perform on the job.
Pre-employment tests allow healthcare organizations to evaluate whether applicants possess the abilities, motivations, and personality traits necessary to truly succeed in the job.
Mary Pat: What traits do you evaluate in the pre-employment testing?
Dane: Optimize Hire assesses 9 traits including Cognitive Ability, Motivation, and Personality. Using cutting-edge research, we have developed and validated a battery of customized pre-employment tests that have direct applications to hiring decisions in healthcare organizations. We examined hundreds of previous studies of similar jobs to identify the most critical factors for job performance and have designed assessments to measure these factors.
For example, cognitive ability is a powerful driver of performance. Cognitive ability, the capacity for processing information, is the most consistent predictor of performance in virtually all jobs in the U.S. Research shows that high cognitive ability enables employees to learn more and learn faster, solve complex problems, and develop more efficient and effective working methods. We assess this important trait and 8 others to get a well rounded look into each job applicant.
Mary Pat: Does Optimize Hire work best for a specific level of employee or a specific field? Is there anything that makes it specific to healthcare?
Dane: Optimize Hire works for employees in all healthcare fields and at all levels. Optimize Hire offers pre-employment tests to fill the following positions, among many others, in the healthcare industry:
- front desk receptionists
- medical billers
- medical assistants
- office managers
- practice administrators
- lab technicians
- office staff
- customer service representatives, and more.
We examined hundreds of previous studies of similar jobs to identify the most critical factors for job performance and have designed assessments to measure these factors. To tailor our pre-employment tests to healthcare jobs, Dr. Grant and I have conducted numerous studies linking Optimize Hire pre-employment test scores to job performance.
Mary Pat: Besides the testing itself, what are the features of Optimize Hire that will make an employer’s or manager’s job easier?
Dane: Hiring can be a real time drain. Optimize Hire aims to make the hiring process more efficient. We save organizations time by:
- Providing a job description that is customized to your organization and the position
- Posting the job automatically on job boards including CareerBuilder, Monster, and others
- Having all applicants complete the pre-employment test automatically when they apply
- Ranking applicants from best to worst so that you don’t have to read through 100% of the resumes, but instead focus only on the highest scorers
- Sending applicants pre-written emails (e.g. Rejection Email) with the click of a button
Mary Pat: Does the software include anything related to background checks or references?
Dane: Optimize Hire does not conduct background checks or references, but we do recommend them. When applicants submit the Optimize Hire application page, they must agree to the Terms and Conditions, which gives the employer permission to conduct a background check.
Mary Pat: I know you just released a significant upgrade to the software – what’s new or improved?
Dane: Applicants will now be able to apply via any device including: smart phones, iPads, tablets, netbooks, laptops, and desktop computers. We find that approximately 94% of applicants complete the pre-employment test, giving you a more in-depth look into the vast majority of your job applicants.
For employers, the new system is really intuitive and easy to use. It leads managers through hiring best practices step-by-step, so anyone can use it. We provide simple instructions, examples, and helpful hints at every step to help mangers make the best hiring decision possible.
Mary Pat: I’ve used Optimize Hire for several of my clients and found it easy to use and a great way to cut through the piles of candidates who apply for jobs. One feature I’d love to see is a way to send candidates who are not chosen to go to the next step an email thanking them and letting them know they are not being considered for the position.
Dane: Thank you for the compliment! Optimize Hire allows you to send a pre-written Rejection Email to all applicants (except the applicant you hire) with the click of a button. Instead of emailing each applicant individually, which could take hours or days depending on the number of applicants, you can do it instantly with Optimize Hire. We make it easy to do the right thing.
Mary Pat: I know you offer a 30-day free trial for Optimize hire – how does that work?
Dane: We are really excited to offer a Free 30 Day Trial. Organizations can post a job opening and assess an unlimited number of applicants for 30 days. Once the 30 days are up, they will still have full access to all of the applicants’ information including: resume, cover letter, Optimize Hire Assessment Report, and more. There’s no catch! We believe that the best way to learn about our system is to try it free, and we know that healthcare organizations will see the value and return for their other hiring needs. The system is simple; anyone can do it. And if you have a question—we’re here to help.
Disclosure: I receive no financial or other compensation for interviewing companies with great products. I just like to see good ideas passed on.