Earlier this year, the United States experienced an unprecedented amount of employees quitting, resigning, or even walking out from their daily jobs. As a result, job openings throughout the country surged from some 6 million to over 10 million throughout April and June of 2021, causing many HR professionals and hiring managers to label the event as a national “hiring crisis.” Subsequently, many employers revisited their internal strategies to improve upon the wages, benefits, and other factors in order to retain a larger number of their employees and skilled workers, as well as consider ways in which they could attract, hire, and retain additional talented employees to their workforce.
However, one avenue that may be broadly overlooked, according to David Botos, a senior BBA student at the University of Michigan, is the benefit of using case study competitions. These time-sensitive competitions tend to entail a team of students to participate in researching and developing the best solution to a unique problem faced by a real, tangible business. According to Botos, these competitions not only pose a series of potential benefits to the organization at the heart of the case, but also to HR professionals and hiring managers within those organizations.
Upon competing in a handful of case competitions throughout 2019, Botos and his fellow student Calvin McIntyre recognized the ability of these competitions to help fill crucial gaps in the workforce for many of today’s leading global organizations. Their solution to address this comes in the form of Helix, which was officially founded in February of 2020.
“Throughout college, my friends and I would set up our calendars ahead of the school year, actively scouting out poorly marketed recruiting competitions,” says Botos. “Each had a reasonable prize pool attached, and with poor marketing, and no workshops to establish a baseline understanding of expectations, my team would often see success.”
Understanding that these factors were clear evidence of what Botos calls “a broken system,” he and his team’s investigation yielded further learnings about how their two primary competitors likewise fail HR clients at leading global organizations. Botos witnessed firsthand how the case study competitions he and his peers took place in were overpriced for clients and underdelivered on value to participating students, as they failed to achieve or unlock the full potential that the competitions could have for redefining work style, fit, and capability assessment.
“A large part of these issues are a result of lacking significant marketing,” says McIntyre, an undergraduate student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Helix’s current COO, “part of it stems from confusing workflows and email logistics that case study participants to decipher, and part from a prominent lack of knowledge or resources to set expectations with case study participants and encourage them to perform at their best when participating in these competitions.”
As the company’s COO, McIntyre’s placement at UIUC provides Helix with “an invaluable home base outside of Michigan,” according to Helix’s own website. Furthermore, his background in engineering provides McIntyre, Botos, and the rest of their team at Helix with, “a methodical and systematic mindset that helps nail down logistical problems.”
With the inception of Helix as a service to both upperclassmen college students as well as HR professionals and hiring managers alike, this presents a unique opportunity for both demographics. In working with Helix to generate and enact case competitions for some of today’s leading organizations, HR and hiring managers are provided unique access to student bodies at an increasing number of universities and college campuses, enabling them to benefit from not only the research and solutions conducted by student teams, but also expedite the recruitment process for students who showcase the values and skills those organizations seek to find in their employees.
Similarly, the students participating in these case study competitions are better positioned to network with recruiters and other HR professionals at those same leading organizations, allowing them the additional benefit of unparalleled exposure to recruiters at those organizations.
In summary, this means that Helix’s offering to recruiters, hiring managers, and other HR professionals pose a trifecta of benefits to the company’s corporate partners: recruiting potential of exceptional students taking place in case study competitions, research/ideation during the case competition itself, and organic marketing for the company in question from Helix’s on-campus corporate ambassadors. When integrated together, this three-pronged proposition generates additional value for Helix’s corporate partners at a more affordable price at scale than each would separately offer in a more traditional recruitment sense.