The Experiential Hiring Framework

author profile
Written by Ankush Manchanda, Jordan Levy, Josh Seigel

What is “Experiential Hiring”?


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 As the world grows more digital, an increasing percentage of the older workforce is also finding their skill set out-of-date and in need of reskilling and up-skilling programs. Pairing these “skills gaps” with COVID has prompted 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?


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


If you think of Experiential Hiring from the candidate’s perspective, it looks and feels a lot like an interview, networking event, and class project combined into one. We often compare it to our increasingly popular academic product, work-integrated experiential learning


Since the concept of using “co-ops,” “capstones,” and “live cases” to provide students with real-world experience before they graduate is being adopted across higher-ed and bootcamp alternatives around the world, innovative companies like our partners, 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 it compliments the millennial and Gen Z trend towards an unbiased virtual gig-economy. 

The Experiential Hiring Framework


“Experiential Hiring” is a high-impact talent acquisition model that 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, our preferred partner, Coinsource, challenged candidates to work on “Developing a Growth Strategy for Coinsource’s New B2B Bitcoin ATM Platform as a Service Model.” Not only did their pilot program with CapSource result in “tens of thousands 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. Through this model, companies can start the onboarding, training, and vetting process before their recruits are offered formal positions. 


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.


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 pandemic.


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 Ankush Manchanda, CapSource’s Co-Founder and Director of Industry Partnerships.