RedBull is doing something really unique to help job seekers.

Post by
Brian Mooney
November 7, 2019

There’s an energy to the RedBull career site that most career sites don’t have. You’re greeted with an interactive map that highlights their global footprint and their content is clearly designed to show candidates they are more than an energy drink company. I also appreciate the job search feature being front and center making it easy to search for jobs. None of this actually all that interested. The interesting thing is sitting right under their core values section and it’s called WingFinder.

WingFinder is a 4 part assessment tool that helps you identify your unique strengths:

  1. Creativity: Pragmatist or innovator?
  2. Drive: How ambitious are you?
  3. Thinking: Learn about your style of problem-solving.
  4. Connections: How you work best with other people.

They broke this up into 4 sequences that are used to determine the unique strengths:

  1. Image association: They ask questions like “How do you usually take notes”? You select one (or many) of the 3 - 6 images below the question.
  2. Sorting Game: An image or word is presented and you need to drop it into the right bucket by selecting a key. *This section is timed
  3. Pattern Recognition: This section tests your pattern recognizing skills with number and shape combinations *This section is timed
  4. Team Management: Image you are a ski coach. You are presented with a challenging scenario and need to decide how to navigate your team through the challenge. (ie. you’re supposed to train for 2 hours, but a blizzard hits. Do you A, B, or C?)

I know what you’re thinking - there are a million assessment tools out there that link into your ATS and help screen candidates for ‘fit’. The difference between WingFinder and all the other assessment tools is that it lives outside of their application process (I know because I applied to a job just to make sure). This is a huge distinction to make because they are not saying “in order to be considered for a role we need you to pass our test”. Their intentions seem pure and this might actually help candidates understand how to market their strengths and weaknesses to a company, even if that company is not RedBull.

By now, most people have taken some sort of personality assessment (ie. Myers Briggs, The Big Five, etc.) but likely as a requirement. The context of when, where, and why you take an assessment like this is extremely important. It’s the difference between going on a first date alone and going on a first date with all your ex-partners sitting around watching. More importantly, seeing how those results are received by your organization is the real scare. The thought of someone in L&D or your manager examining these results and somehow using them to shape their opinion about you is terrifying. The reality is most of these tools are harmless and always result in highlighting the positive. The intentions of "let’s get to know your style so we can all work better together" are good, but perception is everything.

The mindset of the person going into these assessments is also important. Generally, there are two ways to view assessment tests: “I want this feedback because it might help me improve” & “personality tests are stupid”. If a job seeker is trying to figure out how to best relate an experience from one field to another when talking to a recruiter, a tool like this can help them identify the right language to communicate a particular skill.

Of course, there is a more fundamental reason that I love what RedBull is doing here. It’s the emphasis on helping candidates for the sake of helping candidates. This concept has been used in sales and marketing for decades. If we understand what customers value they will want to buy from us. The parallel here is if we provide value to them, they will want to work for us. It’s talent acquisition's version of a marketing whitepaper or downloadable spreadsheet. RedBull created something that provides value to people they are trying to gain as candidates and fully accept that it doesn’t mean they will turn everyone that uses this tool into a candidate.

I appreciate the approach of not requiring this in the application process because it shows they care about people becoming better versions of themselves. They probably also understand that this has a long tail effect. People who take that assessment will use it later on in life and will likely refer back to it. I even saw that some people shared it on social media.

It also shows their ability to plan for the future by building a candidate email database with profile data they could use to target particular skills for specific roles in the future. I didn’t read all the fine print, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I get an email in a year or two letting me know about career opportunities at Red Bull.

As much as I love this idea, I do have a critique and one surprise to share. While there was no pressure of a manager using these results against me, there were questions that made it feel like there was a right and wrong answer. I know it’s backed by science, but I was tempted to provide a less than an honest answer. I would like to see fewer questions like that have answers ranging from 1 - 5 with an obvious ranking that 1 is bad and 5 is excellent.

The surprise was how they incorporated video content from professionals in their sports network. They sat down to discuss what it means to be pragmatic versus innovative thinkers etc. It shows how important they believe this is a tool is. It’s the difference between companies putting their core values on their website and having content that shows their employees live those core values.

If you're thinking about candidate experience and your talent acquisition strategy, you might take a page out of RedBulls book and find a way to help candidates, even if the ROI is a little less tangible.