By dba Staff
If you've often thought that the traditional technique of posting advertisements and sifting through stacks of resumes to find just the right employee seems outdated, you're probably onto something.
Eye Care Associates thought the same thing, so the 24-office optical chain based in Raleigh, N.C., worked with Dr. Adam Grant, who at the time was a professor at the
Kenan-Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to study the chain's hiring practices.
Dane Barnes, who was a student in Dr. Grant's research lab at the time, explained what happened next, "We went to all of Eye Care Associates' locations and asked their employees to take assessments. We tested all five positions—optometrists, opticians, office managers, technicians, and front desk personnel—and linked their test scores to their job performance and metrics. What we found was that those opticians who scored high on the assessment sold $44,000 more eyewear per year than those who scored low. This made us think that maybe there's a business opportunity here to help eye doctors across the country hire better people."
'Optimize' Your Recruitment
They were right. Today Barnes is vice president of business development for
Optimize, the company that emerged from this research and that is now focused on pre-testing potential hires to determine their aptitude for a particular position in an optical practice. Launched in May of 2011, Optimize is currently working with about 220 offices spanning 30 states and also in Canada, helping them determine who's best suited for a specific optical position…even before the interviewing process begins.
Statistics have proven them out. A subsequent study with a larger sample size of employees from 114 offices across the U.S. was even more encouraging. Not only did high scorers generate more revenue, but they also had much lower turnover as well.
In a third study, instead of testing current employees, Optimize monitored real job applicants who were ultimately hired. After following their job performance for six to eight months, the study showed that opticians who scored high sold $59,000 more than those who scored low. Plus, they were also significantly less likely to quit or be fired than those who scored low. (See bar graphs below.)
It's these results that have led one of the most prominent online job sites for eyecare professionals,
Local Eye Site, to partner with Optimize. "We complement one another," said Brad McCorkle, founder of Local Eye Site. "Use Local Eye Site to get a pool of qualified applicants, and then use Optimize to pick the very best one from this candidate pool."
In its co-marketing arrangement, Local Eye Site promotes Optimize as its preferred vendor for pre-employment testing, while Optimize recommends Local Eye Site to its customers as its preferred website for advertising and recruitment in eyecare. Customers referred to Optimize through Local Eye Site are eligible for preferred pricing and up to a $100 discount on the Optimize service. Similarly, customers recommended to Local Eye Site through Optimize are eligible for discounted rates (up to 20 percent) depending on the type of plan they sign up for. "Together, Local Eye Site and Optimize significantly drive up the chances that you'll find a great fit," said McCorkle.
How It Works
Organizations looking to fill a position receive a hyperlink to insert into their online job postings. When candidates click the link, it takes them directly to the Optimize site where they enter their contact information, upload their cover letter and resume, and answer questions such as "What industry certifications do you have?" Then, right from their own computer, candidates take tests that scientifically assess their cognitive ability, motivation, personality and situational judgment, which the previous studies have proven are important for high performance in eyecare positions. Optimize then automatically calculates the test scores for each candidate and ranks them from best to worst. Optimize also provides interview questions tailored to each candidate based on his or her test scores.
It turns out that Eye Care Associates was right; there is a better way than going through stacks of resumes. "We've had positions where we've had over 300 people apply, and there's no way to sift through all those applications to see who we want to interview," said Bob Brodney, president of Eye Care Associates. "Sending them to the site to do the test puts us in a position to edit down the list and find people who are truly engaged."
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