As it turned out, a job search can be an exciting team game, and you can play it not only for the sake of final employment, but also to reveal hidden talents and leadership qualities in yourself.

Initially, we had the hypothesis that “yesterday's students” or those who have little experience will “play” it. But in practice, the list of participants included directors, professors and many other people who are already arranged in life. Why did they do this? Good question. The partial answer is that not everything is decided by job or money.

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Under the cut is the analysis of our spring case, which may turn out to be interesting for the “eychars” of large companies and those who are looking for not just a job, but their vocation.

Why is the link "job seeker-resume-recruiter" outdated


The world of job seekers and employers is in constant motion. The first hone their resumes, wanting to find a decent job, realize and develop their talents, get well-deserved rewards and, of course, move up the career ladder. The second spend sleepless nights, looking out among millions of offers of such employees who understand the task and do not break deadlines.

The last word always remains with the employer - it is he who makes the final choice. And there is some injustice to the potential employee.

By and large, all that a candidate can do to make himself known is to create a resume and hope that the employer by some miracle sees between the lines of a dry questionnaire of a promising employee.

Unfortunately, the employer is not a telepath, and therefore often evaluates candidates intuitively and very, very subjectively. In this matter, even an experienced human resources expert may make a mistake in the assessment, not taking into account the personality characteristics of the candidate. A specialist, for example, falls into the “general team”, and suddenly all his positive qualities become invisible.

And here it’s not at all that talents were embellished in the resume of the applicant. It's just that this applicant, for example, is a potential leader, and his place is at the head of the team, and in any other position he will be ineffective.

The second problem that stands in the way of successful hiring is a suitability test. After all, it is one thing to declare your skills, and quite another to prove them in practice.

The main idea is to revive the cases


To help build the optimal relationship between the applicant and the employer, we tried to solve several complex problems.

  • Find the answer to the question: how to check the potential of a candidate for a vacancy? Often, the applicant himself incorrectly determines his strengths and weaknesses - this needs to be helped.
  • By submitting your application to a recruitment agency, a person can both overestimate and underestimate his abilities. How to understand that he can actually?
  • No modern project is done alone. Therefore, it is very important to know whether the candidate is able to effectively cope with the tasks together with other people.

Upon reflection, we came to the conclusion that there is only one way to answer these important questions - by looking at the candidates in the case (this thought from the cap gives us a chance to look at everything in a new way).

Obviously, we need some kind of environment where a person could confirm the declared professional skills, talents, as well as demonstrate personal qualities in teamwork.

It would also be great if this system contributed to the rapid promotion of promising applicants within this test environment. As a result, a few years ago we created the first version of our open selection personnel contest.

What’s the thing


The first Open selection we held in 2012. The main idea was to create a working environment for applicants as close as possible to the real "combat conditions". Candidates fell into the work environment with tasks, a phased plan for the delivery of projects and, most importantly, a team of like-minded people. With the latter, you have to find a common language, conduct a brainstorming session, look for constructive solutions, argue, yield, if necessary, motivate.

Until this year, all selections were full-time. Participants submitted applications, and then came to where the main stage took place. We suspected that we were losing the best candidates on this, for whom everything was fine and there was no incentive to drop everything and fly to the competition.

This year, for well-known reasons, we could not conduct an “Open Screening” offline. We restarted the entire contest from scratch, transferred everything online, introduced new scenarios, wrote a Telegram bot. Perhaps for this reason, they set a record for the number of participants - more than four thousand people came to the contest. How do you like it, coronavirus?

The new format consisted of three stages and lasted a month and a half. We started on March 2, and summed up on April 20.

  • The first stage, 30 days. Participants registered, wrote their cases, evaluated other people's cases, took online courses and testing.
  • The second stage is the 24-hour team marathon in Telegram. Only a third of the participants passed here - out of 1251 people formed 104 teams. These teams had to demonstrate their ability to collectively solve cases - as if a hackathon was being held. No many hours of ringing in Zuma - the work is in full swing in the usual messenger, where the bot distributes tasks, receives answers and evaluates activity.
  • The third stage - individual interviews. The second stage was attended by 952 participants - it was they who got into the leaderboards in the order of personal rating. Employers looked at these lists, at individual results, and invited people to a meeting. By the way, an interesting effect: when the competition was over and the results were summed up, those employers who did not participate at the start asked to select employees. So, an IT fund from Ulyanovsk asked people for 6 vacancies, which were not among the initial 32.

During the team marathon, candidates had to choose one of 9 technological areas: education, drones, cars, neurotechnologies ( NTI markets , for example, AeroNet - for those who develops and uses drones), come up with a project idea, make a presentation for investors and make up a landing.

The potential of each group could be discerned from the very beginning. The array of data that we received after the second stage allowed us to build a bunch of interesting infographics. It turned out that those who did not spend much time getting to know each other and quickly went through the stage of preparing the presentation were able to cope with the landing page of their project twice as fast. But in general, the time spent by the teams looked like this:

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And so we displayed the number of active chat participants:

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And for low activity, the teams were reduced points.

Finalists fought not for specific vacancies, but for groups


An ordinary staffing competition resembles a pig in a poke: accepting its conditions, each participant makes a choice in favor of a specific position. There is a risk that this choice will not meet expectations - relations with the employer will not work out, preferences will change or this particular vacancy will be occupied. In the open selection, we acted differently.

We combined similar vacancies into tracks. A track is a direction that requires a candidate to have specific knowledge and skills: knowledge of laws, the education market or marketing principles. It turned out 12 tracks with 36 vacancies. Participants could work calmly with their cases, and only at the last, third, stage of the competition did they choose a vacancy that they liked.

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Who are the participants


In comparison with similar selections conducted earlier, the geography of participants has expanded. The current selection covered 76 regions of Russia, and more than half of all applications for participation in the competition were received from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don and Kazan.

The youngest - 16 years old, he applied for a brand manager, and the most experienced - 69, he chose the vacancy of the head of educational programs. For comparison: in the last Selection, the age range was only 20 years old, and the oldest member of the team was 48.

Initially, we believed that the main goal of participation would be those very vacancies. However, for some participants in the Open Selection, job offers were not particularly needed. Many of them have already taken place in their field as specialists. These people considered the opportunity to pass this challenge rather as a way to gain new experience and prove their competence.

The teams included professors, psychologists, company leaders, students, and teachers. For example, Andrey Korabelnikov - Doctor of Sciences, Professor. Developed scientific and educational projects. He founded three startups. In the open selection he was in the EduTechPlace team, where he was responsible for the technical solutions of the project and the search for innovations.

The team leader is Dmitry Kozyrev . At one time he was engaged in the preparation of mass social events in St. Petersburg, studied psychology and the basics of psychoanalysis. At the moment - the director of an online furniture store. The purpose of his participation in the Selection, in his own words, is to search for a launching pad for introducing new social initiatives. In other words, a man was looking for where else to direct energy.

Cases: reorganization of Russian Post and Marussia motors


Each participant worked on his own case, and although in most cases these were hypothetical tasks, the participants enjoyed the search for solutions. And some projects went beyond the framework of the competition.

So, for example, in the second round of the Selection, the participants of one of the teams turned their task into a real technology startup focused on the corporate training market. In just ten and a half hours, they figured out how to develop a universal and accessible teaching platform for virtual and augmented reality. In their opinion, this idea can be used to train and retrain engineers.

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Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality Glasses Case Study

When they told us what concrete steps they took after the final of the competition to launch their project, we decided that this experience would be useful for those who have a startup idea - by the way, they made a separate article in Zen.

There were other interesting tasks, over the solution of which the Selection participants had to rack their brains. For example, how to reorganize the holding, which includes Russian Post, Marussia motors and the Moscow Innovation Cluster? Another challenge: to offer an educational program for members of the government. It was necessary to develop the concept of this program, to think over the composition of the speakers who should be invited and those who should not be invited in any case, but in the end it was necessary to evaluate how much this pleasure would cost.

It was funny to watch how one more team from the selection solved the problem with an interesting case for developing the rooms of the future. The contestants had to give a clear answer: which technological solutions will definitely enter it, and which will never be. And one more thing: how to ensure the throughput of 1 million people per year. Most have relied on technological innovations, gadgets, “smart home”, environmental friendliness and customization for the visitor. They even offered to place the room in the Moscow metro. It seemed that the participants provided for everything! Wooden furniture, sounds of nature, blah blah blah. But the expert’s comment returned the enthusiastic romantics to the earth: “Everything is as it should, AR, AI, big data and more... People, where is the TOILET? !!”

Score system without points


In order not to merge the competition and not make it look like a dry personnel selection by conservative methods, we had to rebuild the mechanics of evaluating candidates. No numbers, only a binary rating system - yes or no. Team and individual ratings we named leaderboards.

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Team card No. 56: composition, statistics, activity

We also decided to add a provocative feature and gave participants the opportunity to evaluate other people's cases. We reported in the conditions of the competition that for an objective assessment, the contestants will receive additional points. How exactly objectivity will be determined, coinciding with the opinion of experts or other participants, was not reported. As a result, the innovation did not reveal the worst aspects of human nature. None of the candidates tried to raise their rating, lowering the competitor. After the vote count, it turned out that the opinion of the participants almost coincided with the expert assessment and differed only by a few percent.

As for the second stage of the Open selection, here we also did not complicate the calculation of the assessment and therefore left only two main criteria by which we could draw an objective conclusion about the work done: the effectiveness of the team and its cohesion.

Of course, there were complaints about the assessment system. And yet, we can assume that the principle has paid off, because the discontent of individual participants was caused more by their place in the ranking, and not by the approach to scoring. We took the experience gained into service and, when the competition ended, used it for two new services.

Personal opinion


We made the selection not only to solve the hiring problem. When I myself was looking for my very first job, I did the same as most young ambitious students. She filled out the paper a hundred times, with all her might she invented at least some merit. I thought for a very long time what to write in the column “Experience” when it was not really there. And in all seriousness, each time she wrote a new essay on the topic "Why I want to work with you."

A series of unsuccessful attempts by the device then painfully hit my self-esteem. I think that partly for this reason Open selection has taken exactly the forms that we have come to now.

For many participants, the contest became a kind of social elevator: it made it possible to “light up” with the most sensible and self-confident, get in touch, build a team for your own projects.

If I had to go to such an event in those days, I’m not one hundred percent sure that I could have won the very coveted offer (after all, a decent competition), but after the competition I would have understood where to move on, the circle acquaintances would expand, and precious points would be added to the karma of experience.

From contest to service


After the selection, we received dozens of requests for help in selecting employees. A week later, we decided to make a platform for searching employees on the basis of Open Selection. As a result, we quickly launched the Longpoll service for employers.

Everything is in it, as it was at the competition: non-standard questions for candidates, an automatic scoring system with an unlimited number of factors, team tasks, development recommendations for participants. There is a free version and an advanced paid one if the employer wants to create such a competition personally for his requests and observe the candidates in the work process.

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Visual images of the 12 areas in which we searched for employees this year

Open selection in education
We always used Open Selection to search for new employees, but the last competition gave an unexpected result: St. Petersburg Polytechnic University offered to organize an introductory campaign for the master's program in the Open Selection format.

As a result, we developed a selection program into "Technology Leadership and Entrepreneurship" and turned the traditional exam to the competition.It is interesting to participate in it regardless of the result, but, of course, a competition without a prize is not a competition, so Russian winners will receive an offer to study for free, and foreign winners will receive a discount on training.

Several advantages that we see in this approach.

Firstly, each participant has the right to make a mistake and there are many chances to win. Open selection for the program allows participants to earn points for a variety of activities.

Secondly, there are no "black boxes". All information about the ratings of applicants is open and available in your account, so you can always really assess your chances of success.

Thirdly, the team stage of the Selection takes place in the Telegram, the usual messenger for applicants, which they use daily.

Fourthly, on this program, practitioners are taught who, after 2 years, will graduate with a working startup, therefore they are looking for active and warm students.

We are happy for the Polytech, we are waiting for the start of a new team stage, we hope that the format will be useful to other companies that are ready to conduct large-scale contests and selections.

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