Top must-read case studies for recruiters that throws light on crucial hiring decisions

Do you believe a handful of research studies have drastically changed how recruiters hire talent? The answer is 'yes.' In fact, leading tech giants and global organizations across sectors conduct surveys, in-house studies, and data-driven analyses on several crucial aspects related to their human resources management and the technology utilized for the same. They also publish reports with interpretations and key decisions taken by thought leaders and organizations based on such studies.

If you are an employer looking for ways to improve the hiring process or a recruiter aspiring to improve your candidate placement closure rates then you should keep yourself and your team updated on the most insightful recruitment case studies from organizations and research groups across the globe. Now, let’s deep dive to understand the top five eye opening research studies related to decision-making while hiring and the study interpretations one by one.

Case study 1: Google discredits CGPA

We all would have worried and heard about recruiters picking on our grades. Google, known to be a bit extra picky while hiring their candidates, conducted a study where Google's HR team conducted a data-driven analysis to determine whether hiring quality is affected by grades. The study's results suggest that a candidate's school or college grades do not correlate with their long-term on-job success in the case of hires with the required experience.

Interpretations: Based on this study there are three drastic changes in Google hiring decisions.

  1. Google’s candidate screening process does not insist on the candidate’s school or college grades provided the candidate is experienced.
  2. There is an increased focus on behavioral interviews. 
  3. The proportion of white-collar employees without a formal college degree is on the rise.
Case study 2: Investing in training vs. hiring a trained professionals

All of us might think that every employer and recruiters would prefer a well-trained professional with the best performance track record over a relatively less performing candidate. Instead the reality is that a star performer does not guarantee the best performance in the future as well. As per a study conducted by Harvard Business Review in 2004, a candidate's continuous track record of solid performance might also be due to the exposure and nurturing they were privileged to get. Therefore, providing the right environment and motivation to the lesser-performing candidates can unleash their potential.

Interpretations: Based on this study, there are two significant outcomes.

  1. Training provides level playing field for potential candidates from across diversified backgrounds thereby promoting the organization’s diversity. 
  2. This insists on treating all candidates equal irrespective of their past performance thereby minimizing the chances of losing out on a potential candidate. 
Case study 3: Employer branding

An organization's branding is often prioritized to attract a solid client base while undermining its importance in attracting top talent. In a modern talent market, an organization’s brand as an employer is very important for consistent talent attraction and retention.

Lithium Technologies implemented a compelling employer branding strategy by creating a series of recruiting videos that gave a virtual tour of the internal work culture aspects, such as transparency, diversity, flexibility, and the opportunities they offer. The company produced approximately thirty videos and made it a point to post it consistently on YouTube and promote the same over the company website and their official Glassdoor handle.


  1. Lithium witnessed a 158% increase in candidate engagement rate. 
  2. There was an increase in the number of employee referral-based hires. 
  3. Glassdoor turned out to be its second-largest source of hire, with around 25% of candidates hired through Glassdoor. 
Case study 4: AI hiring tools

Artificial Intelligence is being increasingly used in hiring tools mainly during the candidate application process to smoothen and speed up the process. A research article published in Springer journal details about research conducted to understand the reaction and the response of candidates to AI enabled recruiting tools and hiring processes. The study also claims that there are comparatively fewer published studies on AI recruiting tools. The study came out with three strong conclusions. The first was that job applicants' reaction to organizations using AI tools in their application process was positive, where applicants found those organizations attractive. Second, a novel AI process creates a stronger drive to complete the application process. The third and most important conclusion is that a candidate dissuading the application process depends on both anxiousness about the AI process and the intent to apply for the role.


  1. Several organizations have adopted the use of technology such as AI in their hiring process. 
  2. Recruiters are very careful regarding the usage and the level of dependency on AI in case of candidate selection. Experienced recruiters prefer a hybrid model of human-tech collaboration for quality talent acquisition.
Case study 5: Eliminating hiring bias

Conscious and unconscious hiring biases can affect an organization's talent resources. It severely impacts the work culture, diversity, and candidate experience, which ultimately reflects on the growth and reputation of the organization. Several studies have recently suggested ways to eliminate bias during talent acquisition. One widely debated topic is using technology such as AI to eliminate such biases.

Pymetrics Inc. uses an AI algorithm for candidate screening which the CEO Frida Polli claimed has helped weed out bias. They mainly use gaming tasks to evaluate candidates' likeliness to fit into a job by considering their attention span and risk tolerance. The CEO himself, having served as a neuroscientist at Harvard University and MIT, ensured that experts had audited their software to eliminate discrimination.

Here is a list of gamified tools used and offered by Pymetrics for candidate assessment.

  1. Keypresses: Measures the cognitive ability
  2. Balloons Game: Provides the assessment of Risk-taking ability
  3. Digits Game: Tests the memory power
  4. Arrows Game: Ability to learn from past experiences
  5. Length Game: Measures the attention span
  6. Faces Game: Predicts the emotion, recognition, and perception


  1. Utilizing technology such as AI in candidate screening itself does not guarantee a discrimination free hiring process. 
  2. AI based candidate screening software’s algorithms need to be trained, tested, and periodically audited to ensure bias free hiring outcomes. 
Final Takeaways

The ever-evolving trends in the talent market keeps organizations and recruiters in a competitive edge to understand and adapt according to the dynamic hiring needs. Moreover, recruiters and employers are prone to making bad hiring decisions that can seriously cause damage to the growth and reputation of the organization. Therefore, it is important for HR professionals to stay informed about the research that explores varied aspects of hiring and its outcomes to be a leader in the talent market

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Written by:

Vidhya V,

11 November 2022

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