There were three broad purposes of this research study: to understand the level of importance of candidate materials and factors, to highlight the competencies employers seek in the hiring process, and to assess the role the CCR may play in the hiring process.

This quantitative research study used a survey instrument to explore the research questions. The instrument was divided into two sections. The first section focused on current hiring practices and employer perceptions of student and recent graduates’ ability to describe competencies and skills gained. This included questions about the importance and value of candidate materials (i.e. resume) and hiring factors (i.e. educational degree). After the first section, respondents were provided with a clarification of co-curricular versus extracurricular, and a description of the Co-Curricular Record, which included an outline of opportunities captured, the criteria, validation process, and a sample of the record. The second section focused on respondent’s perceived value of the CCR in the hiring process. This included how likely they are to review a CCR, how valuable the information on the CCR is, and what aspects of the record they find useful (or not useful). The survey concluded with four demographic questions.

 

Participant Selection and Data Collection

This research study was conducted in partnership with the Career Centres at the University of Toronto. Of the approximately 12,000 registered employers in the UofT database, a sample of 1,698 employer contacts were compiled through a random stratified proportional sample. The survey was opened for a period of 5 weeks between August and September 2013 and three emails were sent.

Taking into account the number of bounce backs, the lowest bound estimate is 1532 employers who potentially received at least one email with the invitation. There were 110 respondents who answered a question, and 107 that answered the last question in the survey. The overall response rate was approximately 7%. Data was collected using an online survey instrument tool.

Respondents were presented with 30 categories of types of industries and were asked to self-identify. The National Occupation Classification (NOC) was then used to identify five industry groupings with which those categories fall under (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2013). Due to different language, I used my discretion to group the industries into the following five larger groupings:

  1. Business, Finance and Administration
  2. Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations
  3. Health, Social Science, Education, Government Service
  4. Sales & Service, Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
  5. Trades, Primary Industry, Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities

 

Data Analysis

The computation of descriptive statistics was primarily used for the analysis. Questions with Likert-style responses (i.e. responses on a scale from “very important” to “not important) were analyzed using means and frequency counts. Questions with categorical data (i.e. those without hierarchy, or demographic questions) were analyzed using frequency counts and distributions. To analyze if there were statistical differences between respondents from different industries, a Pearson chi-square test was used.

 

Limitations of Study

Some of the limitations of the study include: low participation, unequal distribution of the respondent pool across the sample population of industries, sample used, and language. The low response rate and unequal distribution makes it difficult to find meaningful statistical significance across industries, thus increasing the likelihood of committing a Type II error—failing to find statistically significant differences in the sample when such differences exist in the population (Creswell, 2005).  The sample used in this study were employers registered with the UofT Career Centre, which means they are looking to hire UofT students and/or recent graduates, and thus the results may differ across different student populations that employers seek to hire. Lastly, some of the language used may have been misinterpreted, such as “extracurricular”.