In an eBoss exclusive, we asked businesses on the front line of recruitment whether exams still play a part in a candidate’s career prospects.
This week, around 300,000 teenagers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A and AS level exam results. While the overall passing rate remained fairly consistent with previous years, there were a few notable changes in the results.
A total of 801,002 A levels were awarded this academic year – the lowest number since 2005.
For the first time ever, a higher percentage of girls took a science subject than boys. In all, 50.3 per cent of female students sat a science exam.
This year also saw the smallest number of A and A* grades being awarded in more than a decade.
Exam results day is one of the most significant moments in the lives of students and young professionals. But how much do those slips of paper really impact our futures and prospects, in today’s world?
eBoss asked almost one thousand recruitment professionals for their views on the topic. And here is what we learned: (Click to enlarge.)
Do school exam results still play a part in the recruitment process?
Almost one in four agencies (24%) still use school exam grades as a deciding factor when assessing new candidates.
But nearly three times as many recruitment professionals say that exam results are less relevant these day, when making placements.
In fact, almost half of all respondents (46%) said that school exam grades played no part in their recruiting processes.
The data, which was collected from recruitment professionals across a range of UK industries, included responses from c-suite talent managers and executive specialists. It is therefore understandable that, for a large portion of recruitment firms, experience is the only valuable measure of a candidate.
How Rec-Tech and the Applicant Tracking System Deposed the Exam Result
Perhaps the most noticeable trend was in how many recruiters felt that their business technology had made reliance on exam results somewhat obsolete.
29 per cent said that recent developments – such as smarter recruitment software and technology – had reduced the importance of exam results.
Recruitment agency technology and applicant tracking system software can now record an individual’s development over time. Exam results, by their very nature, capture a static snapshot of an individual’s performance in one area, on one specific day.
The increased transparency in exam results – and what they mean – has also aided recruiters. Fewer than one in a hundred (1%) recruiters reported any difficulty assessing exam grades.
Results point to greater diversity in recruitment tactics
What is clear, however, is that school grades are now just one of a number of independent data points that agencies use for each candidate. Your A level scores are no less important than any other piece of information about you. However, they are no longer the only piece of data that recruiters have, either.
eBoss Director of Sales Robert Ward had this to say about the findings of the study:
“The poll results should not only be comforting to students receiving their exam results this week. They also tell us a great deal about the way recruitment has evolved over the years.”
“We are at a completely different level of sophistication to where we were only five or ten years ago. And it is not only the candidate experience that is benefiting from this. Recruiters are performing better than ever too – because they now have more data to work with. And putting that data to work is getting easier by the day.”
“The fact that school exam results are now just one of many different pieces of data that we have at our disposal when job-matching a candidate to a position means that everybody is enjoying more satisfactory outcomes from the recruitment process.”
The findings should be a welcome development for school-leavers taking a first step on the career ladder – regardless of their grades.
And there is help for students whose results were not what they expected. The Exam Results Helpline is free to call on 0800 100 900. The service will assist school-leavers – whether they fell short of their targets, or surpassed them and wish to re-evaluate their options.