A jobs quiz for millennials has lofty aims but poor execution

Vodafone’s new online tool for jobseekers, the ‘Future Jobs Finder’ is an interesting idea, but the way it is implemented may test jobseekers’ patience more than their skills, says Karen Le Marquand.

Vodafone launched its ‘Future jobs’ campaign in March, which is aimed at helping a ‘lost’ generation of millennials find a job in the digital sector.

As part of the initiative, the UK-based telecommunications giant has an online test on its corporate website called the ‘Future Jobs Finder’. The stated goal of the quiz, which was produced by experts in psychometric testing and occupational psychologists, is to identify skills and match candidates to appropriate careers.

The tool is interesting and engaging in some ways, and we could see how it might be adapted successfully by other corporate careers sections. However, we encountered a number of problems when we tested it.

This is no quick multiple choice tool. Test-takers are required to register (which may put many people off right from the start). It has 45 steps, including an ‘About me’ questionnaire and several analytical and mathematical challenges. These evaluate skills such as multi-tasking and deductive reasoning, set against the clock. Completing the test took us about 20 minutes, a generous time commitment; and the challenges were fast-paced and interesting, but stressful.

The question is, do jobseekers get something useful in return for their time and stress?

After we competed the four challenges, the ‘profile’ information was perfunctory and usually no more than a few words – eg, ‘key skills’ listed as ‘memory’. Nothing was listed under ‘personal strengths’ – potentially disillusioning to young jobseekers.

Jobseekers are matched up with a list of potential jobs or training courses, but strangely, a majority of the jobs listed are not actually with Vodafone. Following one of these ‘opportunity’ links takes users away from the Vodafone site, where they are required to use a further set of filters to find any useful results.

The need to register raises questions about data collection, in a time of increasing concern about the topic. How many young jobseekers be willing to share in-depth information that could potentially be linked to future job applications? Or will the more savvy among them simply shy away from revealing the truth, putting the reliability of the data in question?

The associated privacy statement is unclear about how data will be used with job applications, but apart from privacy concerns, what serious applicant would admit to ‘not being able to maintain high levels of concentration’ during a test (one of the answer options), should they one day wish to work for Vodafone?

For such an extensive tool requiring a high level of commitment in time and effort, a lack of substantive profile feedback will be a surprise and, coupled with the need to register and share personal data, could raise further questions about the real value – and purpose – of the exercise.