Industry

Applicant Tracking Should Focus Less on Candidate Work History

It’s common practice for employers in certain industries to place a strong emphasis on a potential candidate’s work history in order to prevent high turnover numbers. It’s long been thought that candidates who have held several positions in a short period of time will make worse employees and will be more likely to quit.

However, a recent white paper by Evolv shows that work history has very little effect on a candidate’s abilities or likeliness to stay in a position. That means one of the factors employees place a strong emphasis on – in their applicant tracking systems, in the interview process, and in the hiring process – is mostly wrong.

The white paper, entitled “Does Previous Work History Predict Future Employment Outcomes?“, looked at applicant data and employment outcomes of 21,115 call center agents.

Key findings of the white paper include:

  • Almost half of all applicants had two or three jobs in the last five years, while 45 percent had none or one job, and 7 percent had four or more jobs.
  • 56 percent of applicants said they hadn’t held any jobs for less than six months.
  • Survival curves, or the probability that agents reach a given point in time, were almost identical for all groups, regardless of the number of jobs held in the last five years or the number of short-term positions.

“These results indicate that an applicant’s previous work history is actually a poor predictor of employment outcomes,” the white paper notes. “In fact, there is other assessment content that is much more strongly predictive of both attrition as well as performance on the job.

“Clearly, a more nuanced understanding of the applicant as well as his or her personality, aptitudes, work style, technical skills, and fit for the position are necessary to make more informed recruiting decisions,” the paper continues. “Previous work experience must be viewed holistically and placed within a much broader context in order to ensure that a given employer is recruiting the best possible talent.”

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