The Experiential Hiring Framework

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Written by Ankush Manchanda | CapSource Co-Founder & Director of Industry Partnerships

What is “Experiential Hiring”?


Experiential Hiring is a way for employers to recruit, assess, and potentially hire candidates based on skills they demonstrate over the course of a custom designed project.  


For years, employers have been citing the skills gap as a key challenge. Entry-level employees don’t have the soft or technical skills to be successful from day one on the job. As the world grows more digital, these “skills gaps” have become more apparent, prompting us to think a lot about the future of talent acquisition and how we can help.


How are employers supposed to recruit, interview, hire, on-board, and train top-talent in an efficient, engaging, and virtual way?


  1. At CapSource, we believe the answer is “Experiential Hiring.” 


If you think of Experiential Hiring from the c andidate’s perspective, it looks and feels a lot like an interview, networking event, and class project combined into one. Capsource has been working closely with students and universities for over 5 years designing work-integrated experiential learning projects for the purpose of giving the students reference worthy experience outside of the classroom. Recently, CapSource has launched a way to help companies take advantage of this same model to get candidates into their network.  


Concepts such as “co-ops,” “capstones,” and “live cases”, methods of providing students with real-world experience before they graduate, are being adopted by higher-ed and bootcamp alternatives around the world. innovative companies like our partners, including DoorDash, Campari, and Coinsource, have started to adapt their recruitment process to include case-based and project-based hiring.


Experiential Hiring helps employers better attract, train, select, and retain top talent. From the employer’s perspective, Experiential Hiring is a unique and engaging way to recruit and assess talent before making more expensive, full-time commitments. It can be done completely virtually, and is in line with the way younger generations approach the workforce.


The Experiential Hiring Framework


The “Experiential Hiring” talent acquisition model empowers employers to use case-based and project-based assessments to recruit and engage candidates. Before hiring any of these students full-time, employers can observe the students as they solve key challenges. 


By carefully designing these team-based assessments on industry, product, and role-specific challenges, candidates are able to learn more about the business, while showcasing the key soft skills, technical skills, and culture fit required to be successful over the long-term. 


Employers benefit from Experiential Hiring because they’re able to derive strategic solutions and creative ideas from the relevant case and project assessments. Employers are also able to integrate top-performing talent directly into their organization who have proven they’re a qualified, productive, and excellent fit for the role and organization.

Over the past four years, CapSource has supported hundreds of industry partners eager to challenge and mentor young professionals through “virtual internship programs.” These programs are based on experiential learning that is team-based and research-oriented.


In fact, one of our preferred partners, Coinsource, challenged candidates to work on developing a growth strategy for Coinsource’s new B2B Bitcoin ATM platform. Not only did their pilot program with CapSource result in “tens of thous ands of dollars worth of actionable ideas,” but by hiring the top 10% of performers, they were able to keep up with their hiring needs as one of Fort Worth’s fastest growing companies. This spring, we’re excited to announce that Coinsource will yet again be engaging with student interns from around the globe through a CapSource Virtual Internship Competition. 


CapSource’s “Virtual Internship Programs” are designed to be an effective way to help companies recruit and assess young professionals interested in showcasing their skills and expertise by proposing real solutions to real business challenges in a virtual team environment.


Since traditional internships are complex to coordinate and burdensome to manage, and often fail to create meaningful outcomes, we’re helping employers “flip” their hiring process by using carefully designed competitions and virtual intern collaborations to allow students to showcase their skills prior to being onboarded.


Through this model, companies can start the integration, training, and vetting process before their recruits are offered formal positions. 


Tanner Karp, a student from Oregon Tech who secured a full-time position with Coinsource after a virtual internship program this spring, described his experience as eye-opening and life-changing. By showcasing his ability to work in a team, understand the product, and use technical tools, he was able to prove that he was a perfect fit to be a quick-riser in Coinsource’s fast-growing marketing team. His team also made excellent use of virtual collaboration and communication tools, which have proven to be even more crucial since the onset of the p andemic.


Experiential Hiring is so impactful because of the win-win exchange between the candidates and industry partners. We refer to this as the “experiential bargain,” or the exchange of value between candidates engaged in experiential learning and employers engaged in experiential hiring.


If you’re interested in bringing virtual interns into your organization through a custom CapSource experiential hiring program, you can get started by submitting your intern project idea or scheduling time with me to discuss this issue.

Hear from the experts!

BUILDING Experiential Hiring Programs

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MANAGING Experiential Hiring Programs

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