Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 282. Today we’ll be talking to Sarah from HighMatch about the use case or business case for why her customers choose HighMatch.

HighMatch is a modern pre-employment assessment that measures the traits and abilities predictive of success on the job.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William.

Show length: 27 minutes

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Sarah Eck
CRO HighMatch Follow

Announcer (00:02):

Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens, or should happen, when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds and recruitment in HR Tech, that’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup (00:25):

Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today, we have Sarah on from HighMatch and we’ll be learning about the business case, so the use case, why our customers and prospects pick HighMatch. And so why don’t we just jump right into it? Sarah, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and HighMatch?

Sarah (00:42):

Yeah, absolutely. First off, thank you so much for having me today.

William Tincup (00:47):


Sarah (00:47):

We’re excited to be able to talk about what HighMatch brings to the table. A little bit about me, so I’m the Chief Revenue Officer, which is a really fancy way of saying I lead our sales and our success team. I’ve got about 12 years, 12 or more years, gosh, working with HR specifically. I started my career at CareerBuilder. I was selling job postings. I worked with them through the transition where they acquired an applicant tracking system. So, I got the joy of learning and selling that. From there, I went to Salesforce, which also provided a ton of unique perspective, and then I’ve been with HighMatch for about five years now.

William Tincup (01:30):

[inaudible 00:01:30] did you cross paths with, was it Mary Delaney with the ATS?

Sarah (01:33):

Oh, absolutely, I did. Yeah. She was a leader over there. Oh my gosh. I was at CareerBuilder for so long.

William Tincup (01:41):

Oh yeah. It’s like dog years too.

Sarah (01:45):

Yes, absolutely.

William Tincup (01:48):

CareerBuilder. One of the things I love about CareerBuilder is their sales team, their clients love… The tech was okay, whatever, but they love their sales team. I remember being in a car from Salt Lake to Park Cities and I was going up to HireVue’s user conference one time, and I was… People in the car didn’t know who I was, so I asked them what kind of technologies they used. One of them was CareerBuilder, it was TitleMax actually was the client, and they said, “We use CareerBuilder.” I said, “Oh, do tell?” And they were like, “We love our sales team. We love our… They send us books, they send us wine, they always give us ideas on what we could do better. They’re constantly not trying to sell us, but basically make us look great.” I’m like, “They actually really do care.” It was really cool. So, you got some really cool experience there.

Sarah (02:42):

Oh yeah. A ton of my roots were certainly in the CareerBuilder way of selling, which I mean, I think you hit the nail on the head. There is nothing like wining and dining some of your clients to get them to open up and share.

William Tincup (02:57):

It’s funny because it’s like everyone wants to do things digitally. Okay, how many emails can we send and how many robo dolls and all this other stuff, and it’s like, you know what? Knowing someone’s anniversary or their kids’ names, it turns out that kind of old-fashioned sales approach, turns out that stuff works. People actually, they like to know that you know their kids’ names like, “Hey, how are they doing? As school just started, how are you doing?”

Sarah (03:25):

Are you surviving?

William Tincup (03:26):

Yes, exactly. Now, that your kids are out of the house, do you get your life back? I’m just kidding.

Sarah (03:34):

Right. Absolutely. No, it’s so true. We obviously are all in this space. I think HR is in the business of people, so treating them like a person and not a prospect, I think goes a really long way. That was certainly instilled at CareerBuilder, which was obviously something I’ve taken with me.

William Tincup (03:50):

That’s awesome. So, tell us about HighMatch. What do we do at HighMatch? What’s the problem? What’s the solution?

Sarah (03:56):

Yeah, absolutely. I think HighMatch has seen a ton of evolution since its inception back in the ’70s. It was a consulting firm that was really meant to help HR with any aspect of employees in terms of hiring, leading, and developing. A piece of that was a paper assessment that was offered during the selection process. So, as we moved into the early 2000s, really focusing on that paper assessment and digitizing it was where we focused.

And then really the transition to HighMatch was just something we did in the past year. Your listeners probably know us better as Berke or the Berke Assessment. So, that was many, many years of working with our clients to do off-the-shelf personality and cognitive assessments. That way, when you’re going through hiring, which is so difficult and no one has a perfect process or a perfect solution for, we’re just trying to provide additional insights so that you feel confident that you’ve gotten to know that person and specifically whether or not they’re going to be a good fit for the role. A lot of our deliverables were very easy-to-read reports that were giving you a full rundown, who is this person? What do they enjoy? Where are they going to be a good fit? How do they really work within, for example, a customer service role? So, that was Berke, and certainly Berke is doing fantastic and still services the majority of our customers.

But where HighMatch comes in is really us putting our ear to the ground and listening very intently and purposefully to these conversations that we had with mid-market and enterprise companies, where they’re starting to peel back the layers of hiring and say, we were starting to see transitions many years ago. You have to have an applicant tracking system, you have to have an online application. That’s been in the works for a while, but over the past few years, we saw the market really kind of flip to the candidate. If they don’t, there’s so many opportunities, that if they’re not wanting to fill out a long application, they just won’t. If they’re not wanting to take an assessment before ever speaking to someone, they’re not going to. And so there’s so many of these companies that have a great process on paper, but when you’re looking at it in terms of how many candidates are making it through and are the top candidates making it through the process, we’re just seeing that that wasn’t the case. There was a ton of fallout. So, we’re High… Oh, sorry, go ahead.


William Tincup (06:33):

No, no. So, the assessment, obviously it’s with pre-hire, so it sits, I guess they can put it anywhere in the funnel. They can put it further out, or they can put it closer to wherever they want, I guess, in the different things. Assuming all that’s true, you’re integrated into workflow and a lot of ATSs?


Sarah (06:58):

Yep, absolutely. So, that is quintessential to be able to go right into an ATS workflow so that the assessment can be generated directly from that candidate requisition so that all that lives in one spot for them for sure. Doesn’t have to be, but it certainly can be.


William Tincup (07:13):

Right. Right. Right. So, the assessment itself, are we focused, with HighMatch, are we focused on specific? I mean, there’s so many different assessments, so many different types of ways that you can look at assessment, personality, behavioral. Sometimes, you can get to all the way down into safety and some of the really, really niche-y specific things. So, do we focus on more of the hourly market or the corporate market?

Sarah (07:41):

Yeah. You have a clear understanding of all of the assessments that are out there, but really where we try to start with is the problem that that organization is trying to solve. So, instead of being one assessment, I think the difference with HighMatch is that we’re leading with the technology because we believe that that is definitely what is the root of a good candidate experience, a good hiring manager experience. So, we’ve got this great platform that can host really any of those assessments that you listed.

For example, if someone comes to us and says, “Hey, my turnover rate within that first 60 days is just astronomical,” we’re going to have a conversation to learn more about what are you gathering today? What’s driving that? But it’s really probably a job preview. You’ve got candidates that look good on paper, interview goes great, and then they get on the job and something’s not clicking, so they’re leaving quickly. So, let’s really do a good job of highlighting what they’re getting into and we would host that job preview for them. We’d build it, we’d host it. We’ve got IOs that we tap into or that are on staff versus someone that might come to us and say, “Hey, I’ve really finding that when we get into that six-month mark, I’ve got someone that can’t really grow, or they can’t move into the next role, or they kind of get stuck.” We’ll work to understand, “Okay, well, what are you missing in terms of their skillset or their cognitive ability?” And we can build those assessments or pull from our repertoire to give them the right insights or really what matters to that role.


William Tincup (09:12):

And so obviously this goes back to the consulting roots. In working with companies, we can work with any size company, any industry, whether or not it’s corporate or hourly or high volume, whatever you want to call that. What are you seeing right now in assessments in terms of are we assessing in or are we assessing screens? Are we screening in or screening out? And it’s really not a loaded question, but because of wonderful movement in DEI, are we screening folks? Are we opening up the aperture? Do any of our hiring processes have adverse effect or adverse impact, I guess is a better way of phrasing that. So, what are you hearing from your clients in terms of how they’re thinking about assessments maybe differently now than they were a decade ago?


Sarah (10:16):

Yeah, it’s a great point bringing up DEI, that’s a huge topic of conversation and for something that felt like it was a part of the conversation five or 10-plus years ago, we’ve got clients that are coming and that’s their sole initiative when it comes to assessments is to be able to put a non-biased screener in place at the front of the process. Before you’re ever even getting to a resume, you’re being handed these people that are inherently a great fit, whether it be their personality lends themself to the job, maybe they have the perfect skillset, maybe there’s some minimum qualifications.

So, we’ve certainly had that conversation going on, but really where we’re seeing people ask about assessments is this concept of, I’ve got probably one of two problems. We’ve either got the people that have this massive influx and they feel like their recruiters are drowning. So, it’s how do I navigate that in a way that is efficient and effective and does keep DEI at the top of our minds? And then you’ve got those that are kind of what you were saying with screen in, we’ve got some clients that are saying, “I’m desperate, so how do I take this assessment where I know that these people are a good fit, personality, skills-wise, but they don’t typically apply to my role. How do I go out and really screen them in, so go find this new candidate pool that maybe doesn’t look perfect on a resume because their career trajectory doesn’t match what we thought.” But per this assessment, per this quick three, four-minute assessment, I know they’ve got the inherent skills that we need and they could be a great fit.


William Tincup (11:56):

So, in a new client environment, either they’ve, let’s just say, they’ve never either used assessments or maybe they’ve never used them in the way that HighMatch thinks of assessments and the way that you all approach the market. When you’re first educating them as to what assessments really can do and what they can unlock, what’s kind of the pitch? What’s your in with somebody that’s just new to assessments?


Sarah (12:25):

Yeah, that’s a great question. I feel like what’s interesting is we’ve got so many people raising their hand that this was actually a big part of our conversations at HR Tech recently, which was, “I’m not using today. I’ve heard about them in the space, but why would I look at them?” It’s such a fantastic way to take that non-biased approach in order to look at your candidate pool. It’s a fantastic way to become more efficient. There’s so many companies that had to downsize, that are doing more with less, where they’re tasking their recruiters with more than just the roles that they were doing two or three years ago. And so it’s a fantastic way to feel a lot more confident than instead of just a two-minute skim of a resume where I might say like, “Oh, that’s my college, I’m going to go ahead and pass them through,” or, “You know what? They do have the exact two job titles that I was looking through, so I’m just going to take them.” It’s a much more effective way to be able to get through that conversation.

I know one of the unique points about ours is giving you some very specific interview questions as well. So, we’re allowing them to have much more pointed conversations with these candidates by doing an assessment so you’re not just asking the same 10 interview questions for all of your customer success candidates. For someone that is going to be great with talking to customers, but they’re not very organized, you can go through and point all of your questions towards how you can manage that level of organization that they need to get to to be successful. Whereas another candidate that’s equally as qualified and does great in organization but maybe hasn’t dealt with as many tough client conversations, your whole interview can be about how they’re going to handle that. So, you’re really quickly getting to where are they going to be a great fit and where do I need to dig in deeper so that not only are you making a more effective decision, but your candidate is also getting a lot more information about the role. So, at the end, you’re both really making the best decision for each of you.


William Tincup (14:29):

Oh, I like that. It’s interesting because as we talk about candidate experience over the last couple years, especially, maybe not right now, but in the height of a really hardcore candidate-driven market, you could see people back away from assessments in the sense of they didn’t want anything to get in the way of people responding to a job.


Sarah (14:53):



William Tincup (14:54):

I always fought that from the perspective of you’ve got to give the candidate the understanding or an idea of why they’re taking an assessment.


Sarah (15:02):

Yes. Critical.


William Tincup (15:04):

You know what I mean? Okay, fair enough. You’re going to put an assessment in front of somebody, you could probably talk them through, “Hey, this is why this is here, so that you understand this about yourself, and oh, by the way, this is what we find out about you so that we can make the best fit possible,” et cetera. Don’t just pull the assessment. That’s dumb.


Sarah (15:26):

Very first step being a 40-minute assessment, we’re never going to recommend that, that’s for sure.


William Tincup (15:32):

No, no. But give them an idea. Let the candidate understand. Again, it’s funny, I always kind of defer to this kind of Domino’s experience of, “Okay, once you order a pizza, they’re all the way into Sally is making the dough and Jim’s prepping the pan.” It’s like, I don’t know if any of that’s real. I just feel better that people are actually working on those things.

Again, if you tell people, for the audience sake, if you tell people, this is just, here’s what’s next in hiring, if they’ve made it through a certain stage and you wayfind for them, “Okay, here’s what next, within the next 72 hours, you should get… Here’s why this is important.” Explaining it is half the battle.


Sarah (16:22):

Yeah. Well, and to that degree, setting expectations is absolutely critical. And you can give them the ability to put their best foot forward. Some people are anxious test-takers, and we know that’s a big part of this industry as well, but that expectation is clear. And then where we come in at HighMatch to try and really aid in that conversation is by taking a candidate’s perspective as well. So, ours is very built mobile first. So, you can text them and invite and have them take it from their phone. All of the content that we do have off-the-shelf that we pull from before we start to personalize it for a company is all meant to be very quick. I know our personality assessment today is a five or six-minute assessment. We know-


William Tincup (17:08):

Oh, that’s nice.


Sarah (17:09):

Yeah. We know your candidate’s not going to spend 40 minutes. That’s not a thing anymore. So, we’re looking to say, “Okay, so the first thing is obviously identify what’s going to set them up for success in terms of on their mobile device. Let’s make it quick.”

But the second is just being relevant on both sides. You’ll see all over our website, we talk about measure what matters. That’s why this personalization is so key. It’s not going to be just a blanket assessment. If there’s only three personality traits that are really critical for your role, let’s just measure those three. And then maybe two or three steps later, we can layer in a situational judgment test. And at that point, the candidate’s more bought in. It still is very relevant. It feels like, I’m a candidate and I’m answering questions. You get to put your best foot forward so you get to not be on-the-spot in an interview, but you’re still showing that skillset that you’ve acquired. So, it’s definitely about the positioning, but from our side, we work with you to really understand that problem. So, from the beginning where I was saying, “Tell us what you’re trying to solve so that we can very pointedly measure just what matters to that role.” And the buy-in from both sides, so from both candidates and hiring managers, is just so significantly higher when it feels relevant.


William Tincup (18:24):

I like that. And I also like the way that you broke those things apart to make it more bite-sized and palatable for the candidates. And also break points, in case, folks, there’s not a match, let’s just go there. There’s not a match. It’s an easy peel out. And then be able to say, “Hey, thank you for your time and energy and passion, et cetera. This wasn’t the right job for you. We want you to stay in touch, we want to stay in touch with you,” blah, blah, blah. So, it’s an easy kind of way to, again, you use the 40-minute assessment.

I’ve seen people, even in those instances where they’ll break those up in stages and take them through a process of, okay, step one, let’s do this. Could be behavioral, could be personality, could be something, and then taking them through other types of things. And it’s kind of an if-then statement. If they pass that or if they make it through a threshold, then they move forward and they do something else. But again, the candidate knows that. They understand that that’s a part of the bit.

But let’s switch gears just a little bit and do some buy-side things.


Sarah (19:32):



William Tincup (19:33):

Questions that you love buyers to ask you, that you know they kind of get it on some level, or you just love answering these questions. So, if you could script it, what would you love for your team, what are the questions that y’all just love receiving from prospects?


Sarah (19:51):

Yes. Yes. Because of the new technology that HighMatch offers, because this platform that we’re sitting on is enabled to host a ton of different options, we love when at the end of the call, it’s gone so well. We’ve had some aha moments where we’re learning how to better position what we have or maybe an edit that we need to make to our roadmap because this is the ninth time we’ve heard someone ask for this. The client’s having an aha moment, and then they end it with, “Well, what else can you do?”

Traditionally, traditionally, if you’re an assessment that is either very, very tailored, very rooted in consulting, and that’s really a big ask, it’s kind of, well, we start over and we do the same thing. Or if you’re off-the-shelf, you might list a handful of other off-the-shelf things, but we’re in this really unique position to be able to say, “That’s a great question. If there are any other insights that you need, let us help you gather them.” Because essentially at the end of the day, our platform is built to ask candidates questions in a way that gets hiring managers quick technology-enabled insights and feels relevant and quick for the candidates. So, we have really come up with three products in probably the last six months because they asked us what else we could do and we kind of were like, “Well, what other problems do you have?” And that just spun so many conversations about how we could take this flexible technology and help at different stages other than the traditional get to know them at one point.


William Tincup (21:25):

So, customer stories without brand names or any of that types of, but just stories that you love telling people, that you’re like, “Okay, this is where we started, this is what we kind of expected, and then… This is what actually happened. Boom.” Things that you just love telling. And again, we don’t need company names or brands or any of that stuff. Just stories.


Sarah (21:47):

Yeah, no problem. There’s a handful. I mentioned at the beginning, I lead our sales and success team. So success, I’m very involved with a ton of them. Some of my favorites, I think one of the top ones was a very large enterprise customer that came to us looking to do a pilot in a small region where they had these field technicians. We’re talking about these are people in a car, going to see customers and fixing technical problems. It was already an exciting and unique use case because in the world of personality, you’re talking about a very hands-on technical person that’s great with people in person.

So we’re like, “Okay, this is right up our alley. You’re probably not going to get that off a resume unless they’ve done this exact same job. That’s certainly not a ton of information that’s easy to get in a 15-minute phone screen. So, let’s put our heads together.” We had a ton of buy-in at the leadership level because their turnover rates were just astronomical. I want to say their turnover rates were something between 40 and 60% within the first 60 days. They were getting people through training and then they would go and see customer number one or customer number two and say, “Nope, not for me.”

And so we set good expectations. We talked about KPIs, we talked about what was achievable. We brought our workplace psychologist to the table to really work with their experts at this company. “Let’s get to know your job, let’s get to know what we should be measuring.” They were so open, they were so fantastic to work with and we set this first-year goal like, “Hey, if we can just move the needle by 10%, that’s going to be fantastic.” At the end of this, I want to say it was a nine-month trial. Hiring takes a long time. We wanted to give them some ability to make a couple changes. We go back and we’re running the data and we really did have to run it, I want to say, four or five times live on a Zoom call because we made something like a 34% change. We reduced the turnover by 34%. And every single time we ran the math, it-


William Tincup (23:59):

It kept thinking it was wrong.


Sarah (23:59):

… was a million dollars.


William Tincup (24:03):

No, this is 3.4, it’s 3.4. We did three point, which is still great. Yeah.


Sarah (24:06):

Right. That can’t be right. 3.4, we’re halfway there, right? No, it’s like a million dollars. I’m like, “Come on, we can’t be those people that say, ‘We saved them a million dollars.'”


William Tincup (24:14):

Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Sarah (24:15):

No one’s going to believe that. And it was awesome because the numbers were real. After 97 refreshes of the calculator, we go through, we’re like, “No, this is great.”


William Tincup (24:27):

This is actually real. And it shocked you to such a level where you’re like, “They’re not going to trust this. Hold on, let’s do the math in front of them so that they actually trust it.” Yeah.


Sarah (24:36):

It’s so true. Doing math on the phone with a customer is obviously scary because what if it goes sideways? So, we’re already kind of like, “Everyone, just relax. This is just a check-in.” I know I’m more grateful that they were on the call so they could literally see the Excel formulas working and we were like, “Oh gosh.”


William Tincup (24:54):

No, this is really actually true. Which of course then that made them heroes, right?


Sarah (25:01):

Absolutely. So, TA is getting a nice pat on the back. And I think the best part was when it’s regional like that, we were obviously very connected to the individual leaders of those field techs and we’re getting stories coming back from them that are like, “No, really. We had 50% of the class walk out before and now 90% of them were getting into the field.” And then of course, there’s some fallout, but they can feel the difference. And that’s obviously, that plus the fact that these field techs are happy. We want the candidates at the end of the day to feel like they got the insights they needed to be able to make a decision. This is their livelihood and their career. So, it’s such an incredible feeling when it’s not just, we put a digital assessment in place and sent across some reports. It was field techs that had a great day and loved their job and hiring managers that were just a little less stressed at the end of the day because they knew their people were going to show up to work.


William Tincup (26:02):

I love it. Okay, last question. What’s the favorite part of the demo? When you crack open HighMatch for the first time for somebody, what do you love showing them?


Sarah (26:13):

It’s hands-down the reports. We sell assessments, that’s all good and great. There’s a ton of features there that we can highlight, but at the end of the day, these hiring managers, these executives, the TA folks, they’re paying for the insights that they’re getting and the fact that our reports are so intuitive, they’re easy-to-read. We get bright eyes because people are thinking, “Yes, I don’t have to go through some extensive training to understand this.” It’s not some 90-page graphical breakdown of someone being a QRTZ. And so I love showing the reports because it really just lends the conversation to say those insights, these high-level concepts that we talked about. It really does pan out by saying, “Sarah is a great fit for your role. Sarah is going to do her best. She’s always going to put her heads down and try.” And there’s just that aha moment of this could actually help me in my day to day and that’s just the best.


William Tincup (27:09):

I love it. Thank you so much. Sarah, appreciate your time and I love what you’re doing at HighMatch. Thank you so much.


Sarah (27:16):

Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.


William Tincup (27:18):

Absolutely. Thanks everyone for listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.

Announcer (27:23):

You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up at recruitingdaily.com.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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