Written by Nathan Hewitt

Ai that gives you back your human agency

Recommendations by algorithms

Tristan Harris, the ex-Googler, now an evangelist for humane Ai and featured in The Social Dilemma shares the stunning fact that 70% of the videos we watch on YouTube, on average 60 minutes a day, come from the recommendation of algorithms.

His point? That choice is illusory.

When a machine can understand you better than you can understand yourself you lose your power. You also loose choice.

The now-famous historian Yuval Noah Harari has written and spoken about the threat to humanity from the type of artificial intelligence that knows us better than we know ourselves.

This is the worst kind of Ai.

When you think that you are in control of those choices, but you can’t see it to even know it’s happening. Google and Facebook and many other Silicon Valley behemoths have mastered this. They own this space.

Not all Ai can be weaponised against you.

 The predictive technology that underpins tools like Spotify, Netflix do enrich peoples’ enjoyment in music and movies.

What if Ai existed to serve you, the individual, the human?

Not to weaponize your choices. Not to be used against you.

We, humans, move from being hacked to hacking ourselves.

Finally, Ai that gives you back your human agency.

300,000 candidates for jobs ranging from retail, sales, call centres, carers, graduates, HR managers, … this is how they feel about the use of Ai that is designed for their benefit.


‘To know oneself is to have mastery over one’s destiny’

Imagine what the world would look like if the whole world had better self-awareness.

Today not knowing yourself carries an even greater cost.


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Finally, you can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details to get a personalised demo


Sage Advice: How AI and Smarter Hiring Can Boost Your Business

In case you missed it: The other week, Sage CEO, Stephen Kelly, sat down with Sapia’s Steven John, number 45 on the Sage Top 100 list for 2017, and asked him his thoughts on AI and just how important he feels it is to get it right.

Stephen Kelly: “I’m really pleased to be engaging today with Steven John… an absolute expert in recruitment and people development.”

“So, Steven, tell us a bit about what you’ve done. You’ve got a massive following, 18,000 followers on Twitter. You’re a renowned expert. Tell us a bit about that.”

Steven John: “Well, my background is technology and recruitment. As a lot of recruiters do, I kind of fell out of university with no real idea of a career path and landed in tech recruitment. I spent 13 years as a recruiter and then more recently had the opportunity to take my professional skills that I learned in recruitment and bring them into a business that’s using AI to help businesses make smarter hires.

“I’m a customer success manager for an AI business called Sapia.

“In terms of what we do, we use predictive models to help businesses make smarter hires so they can identify who might be a better or more likely to be a better salesperson or deliver a better customer service experience to their customers.

“Whatever the metrics or the KPIs that their business is using to understand how its people are operating, our solution can help you understand, from the candidate market, who should we be spending our time with, who should the human beings within our talent team be spending time talking to.

“Because of the model, the algorithm has helped us sift through quite a large number of candidates. I’m sure you guys get hundreds of thousands of candidates here. So how do we identify those shiny pins in the haystack? So that’s what our models do.”

Smarter hiring using AI

SK: “Well, I think that’s brilliant, Steven. And obviously, kind of the relevance and gems of this Facebook Live session is to bring it down to all the entrepreneurs out there who are thinking about growing their business, living their dreams, pursuing their passions, and we all know the fuel of that is talented people.

“You mentioned artificial intelligence – AI, machine learning, predictive analytics aimed to make smarter hiring decisions that will really boost your business forward. What is your current experience of where we are on that journey?”

SJ: “I think a lot of businesses are ready. I think more businesses are ready than they probably realise. If I think about the numerous engagements that I’ve had with numbers of businesses, prospects and current clients, the things that strike me as quite interesting are the amount of data that businesses have.

“Surprisingly, some of the businesses who I would have thought would be incredibly data-heavy, will have a lot of data on their people, haven’t been quite so. But the good news for those businesses and even the smaller businesses is that there are solutions available in the market that can help many companies get started on that journey.

“Sometimes I am surprised by how other businesses or some businesses invest their time, money and effort in technology solutions, in buildings, in lots of infrastructure and pieces of kit. But what they don’t necessarily do is invest as much money in their people.

“The encouraging thing is there are now lots of solutions available to businesses of all shapes and descriptions that will really help them start to make smarter decisions for their hiring processes.

“The people are the lifeline of the company. The cost of people is probably one of the most.”

SK: “It’s worth noting most of our customers who are in the services business, about 70% to 80% of their cost base is the people they hire and manage. And we believe in people science.

“So certainly, when they’re here, we want to be pretty scientific, but the recruitment of them could be as scientific as that so we get the right person with the right skills, the right attitude, and the right competence to be successful.”

Sage Advice: How AI and Smarter Hiring Can Boost Your Business



Join the movement

To keep up to date on all things “Hiring with Ai” subscribe to our blog!

You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details here to get a personalised demo.

Have you seen the 2020 Candidate Experience Playbook?

If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.  If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.

Download it here.

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Hiring surge helps HR tech capital raising over the line despite virus

PredictiveHire – In the press

An Australian tech firm that uses artificial intelligence to quickly filter job applicants has managed to successfully complete a Series B fundraising round, despite financial markets catching coronavirus last month.

Melbourne-based PredictiveHire finalised the $3 million raise, led by recruiter Hudson with returning venture investors Rampersand and Capital Zed, just after bans on mass gatherings were announced and segments of the economy began shutting down.

“Some of our FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] retailers, contact centres and emergency services clients have been getting thousands of applications per vacancy in the past couple of weeks, and they need a tool that can filter them quickly but with humanity,” Ms Hyman said.

PredictiveHire claims to have nine of the ASX 100 among its clients, including Wesfarmers-owned Bunnings, who use its software-as-a-service to text questionnaires to the mobile phones of job applicants.

Encouraging 50 to 100-word answers to a handful of questions like ‘what is a change in your life that has happened to you and how did you deal with that change?’, PredictiveHire runs each submission through an engine that performs a branch of artificial intelligence called natural language processing. Built on 25 million words texted back by 350,000 applicants for previous jobs, PredictiveHire claims its engine – run by co-founder Buddhi Jayatilleke, who built the data science team of human resources tech unicorn CultureAmp – can automatically provide hirers with the applicants that best suit their pre-set criteria.

Avoiding Bias

“There’s a lot of ways people can game CVs, but it’s the words and responses to relevant questions that give a real insight into a candidate’s suitability,” Ms Hyman said. She admitted there was little the start-up could do about applicants who get someone else to answer the questions for them but relied on that being picked up by the phone calls or face-to-face group interviews that followed on from PredictiveHire providing its shortlist.

“It’s designed so that your best chance of success is being yourself,” Ms Hyman claimed. If English is your second language, there’s no need to worry because we’re not biased against that, or race or gender or address or any of those factors that work against diversity when hirers take the CV-reading approach,” she said. For the thousands of applicants that will inevitably be unsuccessful as the COVID- 19 crisis raises unemployment, PredictiveHire provides automated feedback including six insights into their personality and a coaching tip for future interviews.

“Even in a usual year, the big hirers reject in six figures, and these people are also their customers,” Ms Hyman said. “They want to give them a good experience and constructive feedback, but there’s no way that’s going to be done consistently for every candidate using manual processes.”

PredictiveHire will use the $3 million injection, which takes its total raised to $5 million since launching two years ago, to further its push into graduate recruiting. This more sophisticated process, only possible as its proprietary data bank of words had grown, was still in demand even as the pandemic stalled markets, according to Ms Hyman. “Good employers can see to the end of this and still want the best talent as it becomes available,” she said.

Suggested Reading:

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Myth or fact: Marginalised people are more likely to drop out when Ai tools are involved?

We get asked this a lot. It’s an important question, especially when it comes to creating a fair playing field among candidates looking for jobs.

There are two things that we do differently with our Ai technology that means our Ai is an improved experience for marginalised candidates. 

Firstly, we use chat. Chat allows you to write in your own time, use your own words, and be happy with what you submit, when you are ready to submit it. It does not judge you visually, nor do our algorithms score you badly for typos, or having English as a second language. 

Secondly, we use clean input data. Data from CVs carry inherent bias around gender, socio-economic standing, ethnicity, and age. It does not matter if the process is ‘blind’ (i.e. there is no name or gender attached to the CV), over time the machine will start to favour those that society has (largely white men). By using only data that is given in the interview through chat, our data is objective.

Chat doesn’t feel like an assessment, and it allows you to be interviewed in a familiar way. Think how different this is to platforms that gamify the recruitment process, creating a stressful and uncomfortable experience for many people. Chat creates a safe space to be yourself.

Recently, we undertook a piece of research for a large national retailer with regard to improving their experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Indigenous peoples of Australia. We took 2,454 applicants who self-identified as Indigenous Australians and compared this to a group that didn’t identify as such.

The analysis revealed that the retail group hired 1.2x people who identified as Indigenous Australians in their candidate pool. Candidate feedback rating was 9.37/10 (3% higher than non-Indigenous) highlighting the appeal of the platform.

Indigenous Australians have been overlooked for so long when it comes to jobs. When we gave them a fair chance and an experience that let them tell their story, something so inherent to their culture, they were elevated as candidates. 

This is truly a profound outcome, and one we believe can change the lives of so many people traditionally overlooked for roles. 

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