Written by Nathan Hewitt

11 Essential Things to Know About Employee Turnover – Infographic

Do you know how much employee turnover costs your organisation? And how much you could save by improving your retention?

Only 28% of organisations can answer ‘Yes’ to these two questions!

For everyone else, it’s a daunting dilemma that’s often swept under the carpet. But that’s obviously not going to solve the problem.

If you really want to do something about your turnover issue, the first step is to fully understand it.

So, we have highlighted the 11 essential things you need to know about employee turnover in this handy infographic!

All the facts in the infographic are hand-picked from our white paper ‘Employee Turnover: The hidden cost crippling business’.

The paper explores virtually every aspect of turnover, including the best metrics to monitor, costs to include when you calculate your turnover costs, and how to go about combating the issue before it gets out of hand.


Why AI is the timesaver all recruiters need

Hello HR Tech – Recruiting is so much easier!

Last week I made a promise to share a journey that brought me to be working in the business at the cutting edge of technology and science within the People/Talent sector.

In my previous post, I shared some of the thinking of people within my sector. This is what I learned about hard work during my 13 years working in tech recruitment.

I was 22 years old when I became a recruiter. I was competitive, driven and hungry to succeed. Not only in financial terms, like many other recruiters, but also my professional status and standing. I wanted to be one of the best at my job and to be respected for the work I did.

And I know there are thousands of recruiters out there whose hard work often goes unrecognised by clients, candidates, managers and colleagues alike. I no longer know exactly what it’s like to be a recruiter in 2018 but back in 2005-2010 if you joined one, my teams, we’d have had conversations that went something like this:

There is no shortcut in recruitment

It requires a lot of hard work and skill with a splash of good luck.

The hard work is the time commitment needed to consistently deliver for your clients and candidates.

You need the skill to learn the difference between C# and C++ and how technologies stack together.

Eventually, your business development efforts will combine with good luck when that client answers your call and confirms they are indeed looking to hire someone within your vertical specialism. Happy days!!

You agree to terms for the customer’s key role, you pat yourself on the back and then you go again – back to the hard work because now you’ve got to find suitable candidates.

Good recruiters already have a network of great candidates – you go to them first, qualify/rule out and you’ve got a shortlist inside an hour or two. Then, more hard work.

When the other unknown recruiters working at unknown agencies also trying to fill the same role, clock off at 6 pm to enjoy their evening plans, you’re still in the office.

If you’re anything like I was you’ll still be in the office until 9 pm when the contractors start to get a little irate.

“Sorry for ringing so late in your evening but I’m trying to fill a key role for an important customer.”

Most of them appreciate your hard work and candour. Some even sound impressed with your commitment.

A few get grumpy but them’s the rubs – it’s water off a duck’s back for a driven, professional recruiter who wants to do their best for their customer and won’t mind, professionally, ruffling the feathers of a few early-to-beders to ensure they keep on top of their game, delivering great candidates to their clients.

Eventually, your hard work pays off and you place the successful candidate (probably after at least one candidate did an interview no-show following the death of a distant relative/hospital appointment/dog vs homework / insert obscure excuse)

Meet Tom & Sally to get a sense of what I was filling – I was definitely ‘Tom’! 

That was my early recruitment career. Because I knew there were no shortcuts to success. I needed to graft, sacrifice my evening socialising (don’t worry, I made up for it at the weekends!) to ensure I found the best candidates for my clients.

I was a recruiter and I really, really loved my job. I genuinely hope today’s recruiters love their jobs as much as I did but the recruitment world I knew is no longer. And that’s because Talent AI has created a shortcut!

Not a corner-cutting shortcut. But an evidence-based, efficiency-creating, quicker, faster, more accurate shortcut.

AI can now rapidly identify suitable talent and create a shortlist of candidates for a human recruiter to then engage with.

A shortcut that also helps remove bias from talent workflows.

In fact, it’s such a clever shortcut that it should have its own name. I have a suggestion. Let’s call it…Recruitment!

Because recruitment was still recruitment when ATS providers rolled out filters and keyword identification tools which were quickly gamed by candidates – writing retail on a CV pushed it up the results list but that didn’t make the candidate more knowledgeable in retail.

It’s still recruitment – just done heaps better

Recruitment was still recruitment when talent attraction projects were created. Recruitment is still recruitment throughout the modern-day careers day (which I hope has evolved from my experiences back in the early 2000s)!

It’s still recruitment if you bring in video interviews (disclaimer: I hate the idea of video interviews; I think they simply shift bias to a different stage in the recruitment process).

Recruitment will still be recruitment with AI, it’ll just be better for candidates, clients and recruiters alike.

Suggested reading:…stment-decisions/

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5 terrible job interview questions, and 5 science-backed alternatives

5 top job interview questions | Sapia Ai interview software

Not all interview questions are created equal. If you’re a veteran recruiter or talent acquisition manager, this may sound obvious, but the reality is that many companies (and their hiring managers) run interviews like an informal conversation, in which so-so questions are selected at random, and candidate responses are recorded haphazardly. 

This has led to a general lack of confidence in interviewing as a practice: An Aptitude Research and report from 2022 found that 33% of companies aren’t confident in the way they interview, and 50% believe they’ve lost talent due to their processes. Statistically speaking, it’s likely that your company or clients fit into these cohorts.

There are two proven fixes to shoddy interviewing: The right structure, and the right questions. Before we share our list of interview questions as recommended by our personality scientists, let’s quickly cover the structured interview and its benefits.

Why you should only be using structured interviews

Many (if not most) of us believe that resumes and past experience are the best indicators of future employee performance. Surprisingly, that’s not true: The best way to find top candidates (with 26% of predictive success) is the structured interview; conversely, past job experience accurately predicts just 3% of an employee’s on-the-job performance.

When you run structured interviews, you devise a consistent set of questions that are asked to all candidates without any variation. Responses to questions are generally entered into a rubric, and are then scored against a consistent criteria. The benefits of structured interviews are numerous, but the crucial reason for using them is that you’re minimising variables; all candidates are compared fairly to one another.

Check out this quick video to learn more about the benefits of structured interviewing.

Our steadfast belief that past experience dictates the future, while understandable, has led to the proliferation of academic questions that trap and stymie candidates, mainly because they’re based on difficult concepts that are near-on impossible to articulate without preparation. 

For example, it’s not uncommon for marketing candidates to be asked something like, “Tell me how you’d adjust ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) numbers to compensate for unexpected reduction in impression share”. Should the candidate know what ROAS and impression share are? Sure. Can you reasonably expect them to solve an unexpected puzzle while you stare them down? No.

Instead, you want to ask questions that speak to behaviours. And, ideally, you want a reliable framework for assessing responses so you can adequately analyse behaviours (more on this later).

  1. Don’t ask: Tell me how you’d respond if [specific situation] occurred.
    Instead, ask: Tell me about when something went wrong at work, and you had to fix it. How did you go about it?

    This is similar to the marketing example above. Although it’s tempting, you want to avoid questions that attempt to gauge technical proficiency. Such questions are best saved for pre- or post-interview assessments.

  2. Don’t ask: Why do you want this job?
    Instead, ask: If you could do anything in the world, what might it be?

    No one has ever had an original response to the question of ‘why’. Responses are laden with bias, and most hiring managers expect some grandiose (and frankly, sycophantic) response. Conversely, the question of ‘if’ is far more telling – it speaks to a candidate’s openness, which is a valuable (and measurable) trait for problem-solving.

  3. Don’t ask: What would your former manager say about you?
    Instead, ask: Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?

    Former managers are not reliable character witnesses when their feedback is relaid second-hand by the candidate. You’ll never get a true response here. Instead, try to understand how a candidate overcomes difficult relationships. Answers will clue you in to a candidate’s levels of emotionality, extraversion, and empathy.

  4. Don’t ask: What is your biggest weakness?
    Instead, ask: Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?

    Candidates will not accurately describe their weaknesses to you. As with the questions above, you’re asking a question that will result in a biased sample. Instead, ask about a common point of pressure that we all experience in working life. If someone is adaptable and flexible to change, their responses will show you – and you’ll have learned something much more valuable.

  5. Don’t ask: What is your biggest strength?
    Instead, ask: How would you change an institutional “this is always how we do it” attitude, if you felt there was a better approach?

    These questions don’t seem interchangeable on the face of it, but it’s far more valuable to know how a candidate can use their skills and behaviours to propel your company forward, than to know how they’d big-up themselves. Legacy thinking is a company-killer, and you want people who can think laterally to solve problems with new solutions. So find out if they can do that.

Go beyond great questions

These questions will serve you well in your interviews, but at a certain point, they’re only as good as your interview structure and analysis capabilities. Sapia’s Ai Smart Interviewer is designed to ask these questions – plus hundreds of others – and assess candidate responses to build accurate behavioural profiles. This means you get high quality candidates without having to bother with a long and inconsistent interview process.

Want even more questions designed by our people scientists and proven in the field? Download our HEXACO job interview rubric for free, here.

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When unconscious bias becomes a conscious bias

unconscious bias

A perfect example of unconscious bias manifesting in a conscious and damaging way.

At Sapia we are attuned to research and stories around bias – for most of us, it’s the reason we work here.

Our team has observed the speed with which the blame for Coronavirus has targeted an entire ethnicity.

In this case, I’ve heard some say, “it’s not racism, people are genuinely scared of the spread of the virus. It’s a deadly virus. As it originated in China people naturally worry about anyone from China”.

Unfortunately, this is the very definition of bias.

A flawed logic that seems sensible on the surface, nothing but pure stereotyping underneath. Simply, everyone who looks Chinese are not recent travels from China.

Australia is home to 1.2mil Chinese origin Australians according to the 2016 Census. Should we worry about all of them? Bias has no place in fighting any problem, even when it is a deadly virus. It only creates stress and disharmony.

The irony is this: the virus is a true fair operator. It has no racial preferences.  

At the beginning of this week, one of our team who had come down with a cold shared he would work from home, to keep the team safe from his contagion.

We laughed at the time about him being a carrier of Coronavirus.  By the end of the week, members of our team with holidays booked to visit family and travel in China during the Easter break had cancelled their trip.

They did this before Qantas stopped their direct flights and before the Australian government announced that Chinese people won’t be allowed back into Australia.

The team member who had a cold this week is Sri Lankan by birth. I guess that means we would have all been safe if he turned up to work as he is the ‘right’ ethnicity.

We are on a mission: To solve issues of bias in hiring

As a white immigrant myself, I don’t experience those prejudices. I have had career and life opportunities beyond my dreams, unfettered by racial bias.

Building a technology that gives equivalence to such career opportunities is why we work for our company. Some of our team have been screened out of job openings. Maybe they had the wrong name, went to the wrong school or just didn’t look like a cultural fit?

Unfortunately, AI hiring tools can be biased 

Not all AI is equal. HireVue, an AI-driven recruitment company, has recently been taken to the US Federal Trade Commission with a prominent rights group claiming unfair and deceptive trade practices in HireVue’s use of face-scanning technology to assess job candidates’ “employability.”

Using video is an obvious problem as a data source for reasons around race and gender and their associated biases, but you might be surprised to know that CV’s can be just as flawed and are in much broader use as a first parse for algorithms.

How does AI solve the issues of discrimination and bias in recruitment?

At Sapia, we rely on a simple open, transparent interview via a text conversation to evaluate someone for a role. No visuals, no CV data. No voice data as that too carries the risk of bias. Neither do we take data from Facebook. Using nothing that the candidate does not know about.

Bottom line, testing for bias and removing it from algorithms is possible. Whereas for humans, it’s not.

If you want to learn more about how we test for bias and why bias testing is critical to an AI screening tool get in touch here.

No amount of bias training will make you less biased.  Maybe that’s one reason why using machines to augment and challenge decisions is fast becoming mainstream.

It certainly helps to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in hiring decisions.



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