Hiring Success

How Red Bull Gives Their Candidates Wings

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“Wingfinder represents an unprecedented attempt to help millions of people identify and develop their career potential.”

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup and Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University.

Article Highlights

  1. An Energy Drink Company Re-imagines the Candidate Experience
  2. Mission-Inspired, Science-Driven
  3. Real Results, Better Hires
  4. Wingfinder Deep-Dive
  5. Is There a  Secret Recipe For Talent?
  6. How Can Your Org Leverage Wingfinder?
  7. Looking to the Future

One of the key principles of Hiring Success is to deliver a compelling candidate experience. This is an area where organizations can attract top talent by demonstrating their values and mission with a sleek consumer-grade experience. Sometimes this looks like ‘1-click apply’ to automated scheduling. But Red Bull is taking this principle one step further. They don’t just strive for ease of use, they deliver real value and insight for both their candidates and their hiring team. How so? through their very own psychometric assessment, Red Bull Wingfinder.

Experience Wingfinder for yourself by clicking here!

An Energy Drink Company Re-imagines the Candidate Experience

An energy drink company taking on the world of psychometrics. It seems like an unlikely combination unless you know Red Bull. When Red Bull officially launched in 1987, it wasn’t just another drink, it marked the creation of an entirely new product category: the energy drink. Since then, they’ve approached everything with the same mission and entrepreneurial mindset asking, how can we Give Wings to People and Ideas?  This mentality has led them to great success, with 7.5 billion cans sold in 2019 alone, over 12,000 employees worldwide, and a logo ubiquitous to high-performing athletes and artists.

Of course, this psychometric helps recruiters in their selection process, but it also delivers real value to candidates with a personalized strengths report and coaching plan.  The crazy part? Anyone can use it, free of charge.

Now in 2021, these industry disruptors have turned their sites to the world of high-performance at work, publicly launching their in-house psychometric evaluation, Wingfinder. Of course, this psychometric helps recruiters in their selection process, but it also delivers real value to candidates with a personalized strengths report and coaching plan.  The crazy part? Anyone can use it, free of charge.

Mission-Inspired, Science-Driven

To gain greater insight into the inspiration and functionality of this new tool we talked with Alexandra Kuric,  part of the Global Talent Management team who’s been with Red Bull for almost a decade.

“All projects and initiatives flow from the company mission of Giving Wings to People and Ideas,” Alexandra explains.  “We asked ourselves, how could we do this for people in their careers?” And that seed of an idea was what would grow into the first-in-class psychometric assessment tool we know today as Wingfinder.

“As a company focused on high-performance, any product we develop needs to be of the utmost quality,” says Alexandra. “We involved top experts in the field of psychology and psychometrics to develop Wingfinder and tens of thousands of participants in the data validation process. Wingfinder is a living project and we will continue to ensure that it remains relevant through continued research.”

Alexandra Kuric, Global Talent Management Team at Red Bull

Her team knew if they were going to take this on, they had to do it right. “As a company focused on high-performance, any product we develop needs to be of the utmost quality,” says Alexandra. “We involved top experts in the field of psychology and psychometrics to develop Wingfinder and tens of thousands of participants in the data validation process. Wingfinder is a living project and we will continue to ensure that it remains relevant through continued research.”

The team behind Wingfinder included psychometricians and psychology professors from University College London and Columbia University, New York. This who’s who of the assessment field drew on the original model of employability and career success and expanded on this research to include a creativity measure to gauge intra-entrepreneurialism. The sum of this source material represents 30 years of research. 

In creating a tool from the meta-analysis of this research, the goal was to boost the company’s net hiring score (NHS) by identifying those most likely to be successful, without biases, very early in the selection process, while also giving valuable insights to candidates. “In this vision of the recruiting process,” says Alexandra. “Applicants gain value from the hiring process even when they aren’t selected.”

Real Results, Better Hires

The results speak for themselves. As part of Red Bull’s ongoing research to review how accurately  Wingfinder predicts hiring decisions and job performance,  sales people from three different countries took the test. Each person’s results were compared to the percentage over sales target they achieved. The result was a clear demonstration that high and low performers have significantly different Wingfinder scores. 

Think about how much you could improve your NHS with this type of information in advance of hiring?

In another study, Red Bull looked at a sample of over 1.5 thousand  Graduate Program candidates to see how their Wingfinder scores compared to how far they progressed through the recruiting funnel. The study was double-blind which meant neither the candidates nor the recruiters knew the Wingfinder scores. Even so, the study showed the score was significantly different through each stage of the selection funnel (initial screening, on-demand video, phone/video interview with the hiring manager, assessment center and final interview.)

Overall, Wingfinder has a .65 correlation to job success suggesting a very strong relationship between what Wingfinder assesses and subsequent job success.  To give some context about what .65 correlation means. Your dentist’s ability to predict the presence of cavities based on x-rays and manual examination is only a .40 correlation and the effect of Ibuprofen on pain reduction has a .14 correlation (n=8,488). 

If you go one step further and convert the .65 correlation coefficient into a number more easily understood, it means that more than 40% of what makes Candidate A more successful than Candidate B relates directly the explanatory power of the factors assessed by Wingfinder.

Wingfinder Deep-Dive

Wingfinder is a 35-minute psychometric assessment that evaluates factors that influence employability and career success with a sleek interface that engages talent without compromising results. Various assessment methods are used throughout the process including picture-based questions, item response theory, implicit association items, and situational judgment scenarios.

A combination of unique features set Wingfinder apart from other assessments. 

  1. The ability to predict real-world outcomes versus how a person self-identifies.
  2. Adaptive testing based on a person’s individual performance.
  3. Engaging interface that is picture, rather than text-based.

Upon completion, the candidate receives a custom Talent Passport and Feedback Report including coaching videos from top athletes who share similar strengths. The 19-page report provides valuable advice to users on leveraging individual strengths and managing their dark sides in four main categories…

  • CONNECTIONS measures eight different strengths regarding relationship and self-management.
  • CREATIVITY measures six different strengths regarding a person’s ability to create solutions, seek out new information, and adapt.
  • THINKING measures strengths regarding abstract reasoning and complex problem-solving skills.
  • DRIVE measures 6 different strengths regarding a person’s motivation, ambition, and sticktoitiveness.

Is There a  Secret Recipe For Talent?

Is there a secret recipe for high performing talent? According to expert research, there may be at least a few likely ingredients…

“What are the key ingredients of talent? Although there are millions of jobs, people who are smarter, more driven, more curious and get along with others will generally do better in any job. Based on this robust model of talent and a state-of-the-art scientific methodology, Wingfinder represents an unprecedented attempt to help millions of people identify and develop their career potential.”

—Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup and Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University.

At Red Bull, candidate results are shared with recruiters via the Talent Passport and an overall score. This simplified feedback avoids ‘overfitting’ or improper interpretation of the data. “In a way,” says Alexandra, “we are turning around the traditional assessment process so the candidate comes out with detailed feedback on their core strengths and TA receives just the core data that is relevant to the selection process.”

Another benefit comes from a diversity and inclusion perspective. Wingfinder assesses basic requirements, necessary for all companies, in all knowledge-based roles uninfluenced by the information shown in a CV that may create unintentional bias. Wingfinder is continually validated to ensure compliance with US EEOC Standards of Disparate Impact through independent 3rd party expert analysis. “There is not one right Wingfinder result,” says Alexandra. “Candidates are measured across 25 different strengths which yield millions of potentially successful combinations .”

How Can Your Org Leverage Wingfinder?

Red Bull Wingfinder is available for companies to use in their own selection and development programs, supporting Red Bull’s mission of Giving Wings to People and Ideas by helping companies and individuals gain valuable insight and develop their strengths and be aware of their weaknesses. “With our careers being so central to our life we want to create the opportunity for everyone to achieve high-performance through a deep understanding of their own strengths,” says Alexandra. “In that spirit, we want to make sure everyone can benefit from Wingfinder.”

There are two main uses for Wingfinder from a B2B perspective…

  • Recruitment: Wingfinder in recruitment can optimize selection, increase diversity, and elevate the candidate experience. Used at the beginning of the application process, Wingfinder can identify candidates who are more likely to be successful in a knowledge-based role without the identifying information of a CV that can cause unconscious bias. In addition, candidates will receive individualized feedback that is so often lacking in the fast-paced hiring experience. For ease and automation, Wingfinder can be integrated with your company’s ATS; alternatively, access through a stand-alone web app is also available. 
  • Development: Wingfinder for development can look like employee self-service, complimentary e-learning, or career coaching. Consider sharing a link to Wingfinder to your team and even discussing results in a personal check-in. If you want to take it a step further, Red Bull also provides additional learning materials and resources such as their e-book or workshops

Looking to the Future

Currently, there is much hype around Artificial Intelligence, big data and machine learning algorithms that will match candidates to job openings. Whilst progress is being made in this field, the most efficient and accurate job matching mechanism at the moment is an accurate job ad and a candidate that is self-aware.  A candidate’s own self-awareness, and the value it brings recruiters/companies, is often overlooked but can go a long way.  The better people understand their own strengths and limitations, the smarter their career choices will be, resulting in higher job satisfaction, increased performance and longevity in the role/ with the company.

Individuals entering into the future job market may need to rethink their career choices as the roles readily available or needed may evolve.  Individuals will then need to reposition themselves to fit our new and evolving market. The best way to reposition oneself is to first gain the power of self-insight and self-evaluation. They must know their unique strengths and weaknesses. Instead of focusing on the role and skills needed for that respective role, they need to see themselves truly through rich self-insight and then see what available jobs are needed in the tumultuous market ahead of us.

Kaya Payseno

Kaya Payseno