JCPS finds objective hiring tools lead to faster, more equitable hiring

‘With the EPI, we’re using a research-based assessment to evaluate our candidates, and that removes any subjective mindset’

Hiring quality candidates is key to districtwide success, but subjective evaluation practices prevent many districts from hiring the best.

“If an applicant tracking system sorts alphabetically or by date of application received, those at the top of the list are more likely to get an interview. People also pay a lot of attention to whether a candidate’s resume is crisp or there were spelling errors,” said Shelby Scarbrough, HR directorat Jefferson City Public Schools (JCPS). “None of those things are predictive or objective when you look at whether a candidate can perform the job.”

To more accurately assess candidates’ abilities, Shelby turned to TalentEd’s Educators Professional Inventory (EPI) — a first-of-its-kind predictive analytics tool that uses thousands of data points to help education leaders identify, hire and develop the best teachers, principals and staff.

“We already used Hire ProPerform and Records, so we understood the system and know how beautifully the modules mesh together and how much easier they make our lives,” Shelby said, referring to TalentEd’s applicant tracking, performance management, and recordkeeping and process management solutions. “As I did some research, I learned about the EPI, and I thought, ‘This is going to be great at helping us assess our applicants.’”

The EPI uses candidates’ answers to assessment questions to measure their strengths in key areas known to influence district and student performance. JCPS instantly receives their scores, sorted and color-coded, so district leaders can quickly identify top candidates based on skill, attitude, ability, and more.

“The colored dots show the overall score,” Shelby explained. “Then when you hover over the score, you see a breakdown of the candidate’s most important qualities.”

The EPI also compiles an interview guide with suggested questions tailored to each candidate, and insights to help interviewers gauge responses.

“The interview guide provides behavioral-based questions that fall right in line with candidates’ strengths and growth opportunities,” Shelby said. “Then you can build upon that and see if candidates are aware of their strengths and areas for growth, if they’re being reflective and if they’re thinking through where they could use some support.”

Thanks to the insights gained from candidate scoring and tailored interview questions, JCPS now offers a fair and equitable hiring experience that quickly identifies top candidates.

“When hiring managers see somebody, they sometimes think the person is a good fit without having any idea what skill set they bring to the table,” Shelby said. “But with the EPI, we’re using a research-based assessment to evaluate our candidates, and that removes any subjective mindset.”

Jefferson City Public Schools

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