Case Study
   Steve Dempsey
Steve Dempsey
VP, Recruiting, Aquent

Mettl is an innovator in the assessment space and has the ability to develop very complex solutions. They also have a stellar team that is a pleasure to work with.


Hiring Better talent = Assessing Talent Better

 

Using Mettl's simulated assessments, Aquent introduces a better, more efficient way to access candidates.

Aquent has long-been recognized as an industry leader in providing some of the best talent to companies worldwide. One of the key enabling factors to this has been their commitment to verifying the quality of talent that they worked with. Unlike traditional employment agencies that too often only care about placing a candidate in a job, receiving their commission and never-looking-back, Aquent followed a philosophy of helping companies adapt to the ever-changing workforce, and finding a better way to work.
They did this by assessing their talent through an intransigent process - structured interviews, portfolio and code review, skills assessments - everything that a candidate claimed to know, had to be tested.

 

    About Aquent

Aquent is an employment agency that provides skilled and experienced professionals on a temporary, and contract-to-hire positions in the marketing, design or technical departments within organizations. Founded in 1986 by Harvard classmates, it gained popularity for originating the concept of specialized temporary staffing for high-end creative and web experts and being one of the first employment agencies to offer temporary workers accessible and affordable health benefits.

 

    The Challenge

Guided by the principle of continuous learning and improvement, Aquent introduced Aquent Gymnasium - a series of Massive Open Online Courses designed to bridge the digital skills gap, by training and certifying professionals in skills that were in-demand in the market. While its "hands on" assessments to test design skills had earned a reputation for being a one-of-a-kind solution to hire design talent, Aquent was looking to apply that same philosophy to assess front-end coding skills.

Steve Dempsey, VP, Recruiting, Aquent says, "We needed the ability to evaluate front-end coding skills to improve the quality of talent we deliver to clients and provide evidence of the skills to our clients to increase their confidence when hiring talent"

Prior to Mettl, Aquent tested an adaptive assessment platform using a multiple-choice question format. However, the internal team felt that the format didn't align with their philosophy on assessments. They realized that while the content and assessment results were valid, clients preferred assessment feedback that demonstrated real-world application of the skill.

Steve Dempsey, VP, Recruiting, Aquent says, "We identified the need and then researched the market to identify a partner with the capabilities only to discover that it didn't exist in the marketplace."

 

    Solution

To build algorithms and an objective framework around front-end coding that had always been subjectively tested was a challenge that few vendors addressed. When Aquent came across Mettl's backend programming simulator, they figured that the same success could be emulated for a front-end simulator as well.

Aquent had very specific requirements for what they needed, and also a high level of expectations based on the success with coding assessments for backend languages and Mettl's reputation as a leader in the assessment industry.

What started at the beginning of the development of Aquent's Learning Management Systems soon transformed into the solution that exceeded Aquent's initial expectations.

Mettl provided Aquent with the ability to:

Create, upload and edit a large item bank - over 100 simulation based questions

Create custom, simulated assessments for the front end language

Test candidates on micro skills within a larger skill set. 
For example - CSS>>CSS effect>>Box Shadow effect.

Create auto-scored or manually scored assessments

View the code created by the test taker

 

    The Results

Aquent currently uses Mettl's front-end simulator (FES) & MCQs as part of its assessment process. It also uses Mettl APIs to deliver the tests and reports on their own platform. With Mettl, Aquent acquired the ability to quickly benchmark front-end coding skills with assessments that represent real-world application. This results in a higher level of understanding the proficiency of a candidate before and after training, in front-end development, for both, Aquent, and its clients.

 

    What's Next

The initial assessments were launched by Aquent in April and thus still are in the early stages. Based on research and user research, Aquent plans to release new content in August. Extremely satisfied with the experience of working together, and the hassle-free integration of Mettl APIs with their custom assessment content, Aquent is looking to now fully integrate Mettl with Gymnasium.

 

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