Expedia Group’s Early Careers Playbook for skills-based hiring at scale

Sep 14, 2023 | Case studies, Home Featured, Selection & assessment

Expedia Group, along with Cappfinity, its early career talent solutions provider, share how skills-based hiring helps them to attract and identify high-performing talent.

Global travel company, Expedia Group, hires apprentices, interns, and graduates in multiple countries around the world. In 2023, the Group received 75,000 applications.

Cappfinity helps Expedia Group assess every candidate in a fair and inclusive way with its skills-based hiring solutions.

What is skills-based hiring and how does it help Expedia Group to recruit?

Skills-based hiring prioritises the skills, abilities, and qualifications relevant to the role, rather than solely on the candidate’s educational background or previous work experience.

To identify the skills for success at Expedia Group, Cappfinity used its Futuremark to conduct in-depth research with stakeholders to identify the skills and attributes of its top performers and, in doing so, identify the skills for success in the organisation.

Cappfinity asserts that skills can be grouped into three categories:

1. Cognitive: Numerical, verbal, and logical

2. Behavioural: Analysis, resilience, and learning agility

3. Technical: Acquired knowledge and application

Cappfinity’s Futuremark identified eight key areas for success at Expedia Group, including innovation and collaboration.

How are these skills assessed?

Cappfinity’s Capptivate assessment measures the skills, behaviours, personality, and motivation of each candidate through an immersive platform that provides authentic insight into performance. This helps to identify a candidate’s potential during Expedia Group’s recruitment process.

Also important, is that more than 90% of Expedia Group’s roles are tech-based. Tech talent is notably sought after, so it is important to provide a great candidate experience.

Cappfinity’s immersive assessments are engaging for candidates to complete because they provide realistic insight into Expedia Group’s culture and roles. Expedia Group achieved a Net Promotor Score of 8.84 following the rollout of the first season of the assessment.

There was some drop-off for candidates who didn’t start the assessment, but the overall completion rate for candidates who did start was 97%, which suggests that candidates found Cappfinity’s Capptivate assessment engaging.

What is Expedia Group’s Early Career Playbook?

Expedia Group designed the TRAVEL playbook, a series of activities to reach, attract, and hire early talent, in addition to onboarding successful candidates.

TRAVEL plays are broken down, play by play below:

1. Togetherness

Before each cohort arrives, Expedia connects them with fellow early career recruits to create a sense of community and belonging early on.

‘Launchpad,’ is used for in-person onboarding. Here, graduates are brought together for three weeks, where they attend over 70 unique workshops, covering tech skills, learning about the business, and building their soft skills. This is where the community is truly built.

Each element of the playbook has a top tip, so here’s the first one: Speak with your hires. They are your target market and are perfect to collect data from. This not only improves their own experience of the programme, but also provides valuable insight for future hiring.

2. Reimagine the Power of Partnerships

Expedia Group has a unique model for working with its university partners, taking an approach similar to a conference, using a platinum, gold, and silver sponsorship system.

Platinum includes high-touch workshops and in-person events, whilst silver is where existing Expedia talent engages with the university, they are alumni of.

A variety of metrics are used to identify key partners, such as flexibility, student demographics, and connections, as well as past performance.

Bright Network, and Multiverse, were critical to helping to deliver the apprenticeship, and Career Discovery programmes.

Top tip: A key feature of Expedia Group’s hiring in the USA this year was to tag on extra activities to on-campus engagements. So, if Expedia

Group attended a career fair, they would also host coffee chats with students locally.

3. Authentic Insight

Realistic, immersive assessments, assess against the key skills in demand at Expedia Group. This gives candidates the opportunity to learn more about the organisation and empowers them to be their authentic self.

This helps employers to diversify the talent coming into their organisations by providing candidates with the opportunity to showcase their authentic self through the assessment process.

Interns and graduates often love to be involved with Expedia Group’s social media content. So, with each cohort, groups of social ambassadors are formed to regularly create content and share insight.

Top tip: The best content is quick, fun-loving, and engaging. As ambassadors for the brand, our early career recruits create the content they would have wanted to see as students.

4. Value Add Activity

To improve efficiency and the candidate experience, Cappfinity designed an integrated tool and strengths feedback report that is automatically sent to candidates.

Having Cappfinity’s Capptivate assessment at the top of the funnel means recruiters get time back to add value to the candidate’s career journey.

So, recruiters can spend more time on campus, host events, prepare candidates, and provide great partnerships.

Top tip: Don’t forget about unsuccessful candidates. In some cases, they can even be your customers. Every candidate who completes a skills assessment with a strengths report is provided with a copy. They can use this to learn more about themselves and to prepare for future interviews.

5. Eliminate Barriers

Cappfinity skills-based assessment, focuses on assessing the skills and strengths required for the role and organisation.

The recruitment team has a more accurate reflection of suitability for the role, without relying on educational background or work experience. In this way, the assessment process helps Expedia Group level the playing field.

After spotting a gap in the market, Expedia Group created the Career Discovery Program for tech students. Many students do not have role models and mentors to help them navigate the job market. This two-day programme provides an opportunity for students to learn career skills, and what life is like in a travel tech firm.

Top tip: Be encouraging in your job descriptions. Research suggests that women often feel they need to match every skill requirement listed in a job description, whereas men will typically feel confident in applying, even if they only match some requirements.

6. Leverage Data

Expedia Group measures the ROI they get from events using a CRM system. This helps to identify if people have applied to roles following their events, and if so, how far they have progressed in the process.

Every event is not designed to collect applications, some are for brand awareness – but it helps to have this set of data to form a strategy.

Expedia combines this with the qualitative data shared by the recruiters who attend the events, for context.

Top tip: Data always wins! The Group often receives feedback on specific areas of the process from recruiters and stakeholders. Taking a step back, they can identify whether these are individual experiences or if the data can back up the points raised, before making decisions.

Cappfinity and Expedia Group shared their approach at this year’s ISE Student Recruitment Conference. Find out how you can contribute to more ISE events.

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