Merkle is a leading full-service customer experience management (CXM) company specializing in business transformation through data, design, and technology.
For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios, with the company employing over 12,000 people worldwide.
Handling end-to-end solutions for data management, digital messaging, customer strategy, and more, Merkle is evidently no stranger to helping global brands tackle their biggest digital obstacles to make their advertising more addressable and customer experiences more meaningful.
Yet, with considerable company and industry growth, there was one obstacle Merkle couldn’t tackle alone: to deliver a seamless and scalable recruitment process that balanced a positive candidate experience with in-depth skills screening in a highly competitive labor market.
Struggling to find specialized candidates that had the unique variety of skills required, Merkle Australia turned to Vervoe’s AI-powered platform to help reduce their time to hire and improve their quality of hire for an all-round better recruitment experience.
Strong industry competition and growing demand
There are around 250 people employed by Merkle Australia, who work across their offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra. Every year, this number grows anywhere between 40 to 90 new employees, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
For Christian Brenner, Head of Technology at Merkle Australia, finding a recruitment solution that provided confidence identifying highly skilled candidates was a must for Merkle’s ongoing success and continual growth.
Merkle was facing two primary issues during their hiring process. Firstly, candidates were required to have a broad range of specialist skills to succeed in the open roles, and the company needed an effective and efficient method to test the various skill sets during the recruitment process.
Secondly, due to the demand for highly skilled candidates, they needed to find a way to adequately test and verify skills without compromising the candidate experience and losing them to competitors, particularly to those who might have much simpler recruitment processes.
According to Christian, solving both of these issues simultaneously was proving to be quite the challenge.
“How do we screen and look after the needs of the candidates, and at the same time, how do we make sure that we’re finding the right people for our business and looking after the needs of the business?”
Familiar with traditional recruitment methods — the time-consuming process of screening CVs, multiple rounds of interviews, and the manual process of grading assessments — Christian knew Merkle’s upward trajectory would require a more tactical and efficient approach to sourcing candidates.
Demonstrating candidate skills beyond a resume
Upon joining the Merkle Australia team, Christian’s first move was to introduce them to Vervoe — an AI-powered platform with which he’d already experienced great success firsthand.
In a previous role, Christian utilized Vervoe’s skills-based testing platform to scale a team at pace. In just four months, he managed to quadruple his team of 20 employees to 80 using Vervoe. This proven track record gave Christian confidence in Vervoe’s ability to have a similar impact at Merkle Australia.
Based on Merkle’s unique requirements, Vervoe’s AI-graded assessments were used as a substitute for initial candidate screenings.
To sufficiently test candidates’ knowledge and skill sets, Merkle opted to deploy a combination of Vervoe’s assessment question types, including multiple-choice, long-from, scenario-based, and video. In turn, this allowed them to assess a candidate’s compatibility with the role and company without the grueling and time-consuming manual interview process.
As Christian explained, this gave candidates applying to work at Merkle Australia more of an opportunity to represent themselves in a process that still allowed the organization to test particular skill sets, rather than just having a conversation.
Merkle Australia also needed to test skills beyond simple multiple-choice questions, which any AI platform could do. Instead, they focused on creating an all-encompassing assessment that tested critical thinking and the thought process behind candidates’ answers.
“In doing that, it allows us to focus less on whether they tick the boxes, and more on what capabilities they have, and how we can support that and drive that into a role we might have a vacancy for.”
A faster road to finding highly skilled candidates
With the help of Vervoe’s AI-graded platform, it meant that Merkle Australia could hire more efficiently and hone in on sourcing candidates with the right skill sets. Although already familiar with the importance of skills testing, embracing Vervoe as a recruitment tool of choice allowed Merkle Australia to speed up the process.
In turn, this helped them “be more consistent, less biased, and more focused on the actual skill sets we’re trying to hire for.”
Vervoe’s in-depth screening and AI-graded assessments also empowered Merkle Australia to approach their entire recruitment process in a fully customized format to suit the business’s unique needs.
In Christian’s own words, this meant they could hire the way they always envisioned, accurately and with complete confidence in the results thanks to the limiting human bias.
“The real benefit of the product is that it is flexible, and you can define the process yourself. It’s also significant to call out what Vervoe does in allowing you to focus specifically on skill sets, and remove some of those unconscious biases that you might have as a leader. You often can’t put a number on that.”
Reflecting on a previous encounter Christian experienced when reviewing candidates for a specialized role, he admitted to lacking confidence in one candidate’s ability based on his resume.
Despite his initial opinion, he put the candidate through Vervoe’s automated screening process – which required minimal effort, and thus, minimal risk. The candidate excelled in the screening assessment, and went on to become one of his most valuable employees.
“A real benefit of what Vervoe can deliver is focusing on the skills and giving people an opportunity to demonstrate what they can do, rather than just looking at a CV or having a conversation.”