Ascend Behavior Partners: Hiring in a Tight Labor Market

By Glenn Carroll, Lucy Montgomery
2022 | Case No. SM355 | Length 9 pgs.

Ascend Behavior Partners provided applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services to families with children with autism. The growing autism services market presented a massive opportunity for Ascend to provide quality care to families in need. Ascend’s delivery model relied on board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs), who were the backbone of providing care to families with children with autism. But the severe imbalance between supply and demand for these critical skills posed a challenge for companies like Ascend looking to hire qualified BCBAs.

After struggling with its BCBA offer acceptance rate, Ascend made a counter-intuitive decision in December 2018 and altered its BCBA hiring process to make it substantially more challenging and time-consuming. The new process was designed to give applicants a chance to experience Ascend’s culture in a more meaningful way throughout the hiring process. The epicenter of the revamped hiring process was an in-person, full-day interview, where applicants spoke with a range of employees across the company. Almost immediately after implementing the change, Ascend saw its offer acceptance rate spike from 50 percent to 90 percent. This case discusses how to create a hiring process that accurately conveys the culture of a company.

Learning Objective

The learning objectives of this case are to:

  • Discuss how to showcase a company’s culture throughout the hiring process.
  • Learn how to structure a hiring process that produces strong results.
  • Identify opportunities to apply hiring and talent acquisition lessons learned to other organizations.
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