Written by Nathan Hewitt

Sapia is an AIconics Awards Finalist: “AI for Good”

Sapia is recognised as an Alconics Awards finalist in the ‘AI for Good’ category.

It’s AI that gives every candidate a fair chance of landing their dream job and gives candidates something of value back.

The AIconics Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals, projects, teams and their organizations that are responsible for breakthrough innovations in the Artificial Intelligence for Business space.

These prestigious global awards create the ultimate showcase for the best and brightest people, projects and transformational innovations. The AIconics acknowledges the advances in technologies and disciplines being made, as we explore and push at the very definition of what can be accomplished by AI.

The AIconic Awards are being announced on 9th December 2020.


Artificial Intelligence has the potential to help overcome humanity’s biggest challenges, there are a huge number of applications where AI will not only deliver value for businesses but also improve the world itself. This award applauds companies for utilising AI as a positive force for change; the innovations in research and product development that work to create a more sustainable and accessible world; and the AI pioneers that hold the values of leveraging AI for good at their core.


Why is Sapia a finalist in the “AI for Good” category?

Sapia’s Chat Interview gives every candidate a fair chance of landing their dream job.

Have you ever met a recruiter that is totally free from bias and discrimination, and truly embraces diversity and inclusion, and is fair and equitable for everyone? You have now! 

The interviews are a true blind assessment. This is the first step in the hiring process for organisations championing a positive culture change to realise their goals of embracing inclusion and celebrating diversity.

Ai is used to hire with heart. It’s making recruitment ‘human’ again. 

Applying for a job is notoriously a heart-wrenching and time-consuming experience. Right now, during C-19 times, the hardest job in the world is applying for a job. 

Organisations partner with Sapia to help them hire with heart. From the job advert candidates access a link to access their interview.

This means EVERY candidate gets an interview. The basic right of fairness and equality is available to every candidate, every time. 

It takes around 15-20 minutes to answer 5-7 questions. After that, candidates receive their personalised coaching tips. This means EVERY candidate also gets something of value back, something that motivates them and teaches something about themselves they didn’t know. A candidate experience that helps them get this job or the next job or just makes them feel good. 

For these reasons, candidate satisfaction is 99%.

Hiring with heart is good for business.

65% of candidates with a positive experience would be a customer again, even if they were not hired and 81% will share their positive experience with family, friends and peers. 

As consumers, we buy products while sitting on our computer or scrolling through our phone. Texting, messaging – it’s what we all do every day. To be candidate-centric means connecting with candidates the way they connect every day. The long-term payback to customers and employer brand is substantial and enduring. 

In the short-term AI can assess 100,000 people in 6 hours compared to what it would take a team of recruiters 476 days to do. It’s 600 times faster and 3 x cheaper.

No recruiter or team of recruiters can ever come close to the kind of efficiency of a smart AI system.


Using AI to augment decision making is fast becoming mainstream.

It certainly helps to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in hiring decisions. Testing for bias and removing it from algorithms is possible. Whereas for humans, it’s not.

 Bias can be removed with the right data. Algorithms and Ai learn according to the profile of the data we feed it. If the data it learns from is taken from a CV, it’s only going to amplify our existing biases. Only clean data, like the answers to specific job-related questions, can give us a true bias-free outcome.

We continuously test the data so that if ever the slightest bias is found, it can be corrected. These include all assumed biases that can be added to a suite of tests. Examples of tests include: Proportional Parity Test, Score Distribution Test and Fairness Test

Candidates say:

  • I don’t know if it is a human or a robot answering me, but if it is a robot then technology is quite amazing.
  • I love the personal feeling … It creates a safe environment to write freely and honestly.
  • I don’t know how you gathered such accurate information about my personality from my responses.
  • I feel that I’ve had a supportive counselling session. You know me so well!!
  • This is amazingly accurate that I can’t even begin to express, I’m in tears!!
  • It is fascinating how much our choice of words, our expressions, reveal about us.


Have you seen the Inclusive e-Book?

It offers a pathway to fairer hiring in 2021.

Get diversity and inclusion right whilst hiring on time and on budget.

In this Inclusivity e-Book, you’ll learn: 

  • How to design an inclusive recruitment path. From discovery to offer and validation of the process.
  • The hidden inclusion challenges that are holding your organisation back.
  • How to tell if Ai technology is ethical.

Download Inclusivity Hiring e-Book Here >


Recruitment metrics: Discover what is actually attracting candidates through attribution

Recruitment marketing attribution | Sapia Ai recruitment software

Let’s begin with the obvious: Good talent is in high demand and short supply. Candidates have become discerning shoppers, more aware of their worth than in recent market cycles. 

As a result, the onus is on us to change the way we source candidates and generate demand for our company. It’s no longer a case of boosting job ads across a few different channels; to court the best people, we need to focus on strategies that build meaningful and beneficial connections over the longer term. Today, branding, Employee Value Proposition (EVP), messaging, positioning, and creative differentiation are more important than ever.

Here are some questions you and your team may be asking:

  • How do we best promote our business as the one to work for?
  • How strong is our brand? 
  • What is our content strategy (Or: What do we say, when/how/why and to whom do we say it)?
  • How do we revitalize our Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?
  • How do we reach the best candidates in new and memorable ways?

The essence of new-school recruitment marketing

Summarized in a single phrase, your best recruitment marketing strategy is this: Add value. Sounds simple, but it does need some unpacking.

Take this recent episode of’s Pink Squirrels! podcast, in which we spoke with Jennifer Paxton, VP of People at Jen has taken an always-on approach to talent acquisition by being active as a content creator on LinkedIn. Jen regularly posts helpful tidbits and articles about people leadership, employee engagement, career development, and plenty of other topics. In doing so, she is also able to organically (and indirectly) promote the virtues of 

Here’s what’s neat about this: Jen is promoting Smile whether she references Smile or not. If you’ve built a dedicated audience, and that audience sees your other associations, they are much more likely to look favourably on those associations than if you mentioned them overtly or if they came upon the association in a different context (e.g., a display ad on LinkedIn). That’s good marketing.

According to Jen, this has been a big success for Smile, because she is constantly engaged in the process of creating and fostering good relationships with potential employees. Today, they may simply be followers and consumers of her content; tomorrow, they may be teammates. When a vacancy opens up, Jen has more tactics up her sleeve than merely boosting job ads. Her first (and best) option is to put a call out to her always-growing network of engaged professionals.

What Jen does is not necessarily easy – it requires dedication and consistency – but it is simple. It’s about adding value as a people leader, and creating a first-hand connection with the market. Everyday customer facetime is truly invaluable, and for Jen, it’s certainly working.

If you want to learn more about how you can lead recruitment marketing through an always-on content strategy, you can also check out this Pink Squirrels! episode with Russell Ayles, a veteran recruiter and LinkedIn Top Voice for 2022.

The challenge of recruitment marketing attribution

Here’s the rub: If you’re having to do all these new things over a long period of time to prime and court the talent you want, how do you know what’s working? For example, if it takes six months, at minimum, to build and execute a recruitment content strategy, how will you know in month two or month four how things are tracking?

Trickier still, when your CEO or CHRO asks to report on outcomes, what will you tell them? What level of analysis is suitable for stakeholders at that level? How do you reconcile the need for patience with the performance pressures of the executive?

This conundrum is the main reason most companies don’t bother with an add-value strategy, even when their talent pools have dried into a puddle. After all, the ‘boost-your-job-ad’ method still yields concrete and easily-understandable numbers, even if those numbers are bad.

Going new-school with recruitment marketing requires a bit of faith, supplemented by regular analysis of the signals of success. So let’s look at one of the biggest signals for success: Self-reported attribution.

Ask your candidates: How did you hear about us?

Seems far too simple to be useful, doesn’t it? In actuality, this one question can inform the success and evolution of your entire recruitment marketing strategy. It’s not a quantitative metric, of course, not as black-and-white as your abandonment rate or NPS metrics, but the insights can be truly transformative. Here’s how it works.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say your team has decided on a three-pronged strategy:

  • All talent acquisition leaders will start posting on LinkedIn, three times a week, according to a pre-set content plan.
  • The Head of Talent Acquisition/CHRO, the CEO, and the company’s marketing leader will create a twice-monthly podcast on an area of interest related/adjacent to the business (for e.g., if you’re a retail fashion brand, you might consider a podcast on the principles of design, or merchandising, or upcycling).
  • The regional Community Manager will take tidbits from the podcast and post them on Twitter daily, alongside a bunch of other fun and light content suited to the medium.

Three tactics, three different channels. Now, to track the ongoing health of these measures, you might look at the following metrics on a monthly basis:

  • Trending traffic to website/careers page
  • Increase in social media followers
  • Increase in podcast shares

And plenty others besides. But, crucially, you should also add a field to the form you use as a first step in a job application: A free-text field with a simple, mandatory question: How did you hear about us?

(Ensure that, in form design, you don’t lead the candidate in any way. Don’t have any pre-text in the field (saying something like ‘e.g., Seek’). You want unbiased results.)

You’ll be amazed at what you can learn. Some candidates will offer you vague and unhelpful responses (like ‘Internet’), but over the medium term, you should start to see trends emerge. For example, if a great many of your good candidates are hearing about you through the podcast, they will tell you, and you will come away with hard numbers showing which of your long-term brand-building strategies is working best.

After six months, you’ll start to see more candidates. And you’ll see the following (for e.g.):

  • 30% of candidates say they heard about you through LinkedIn
  • 40% will say they heard about you through the podcast
  • 10% will say Twitter
  • 20% might cite some other channel, like referrals

This kind of recruitment marketing attribution is helpful because it is simple, it is highly indicative (both of past performance and future improvements), and it is compatible with the reality of the market we’re in. Right now, the majority of candidates aren’t looking for work with you – but they are looking for useful, valuable, enjoyable content. It may be a six-month journey from awareness to application readiness, and you should be with them along that journey, helping, educating, informing.

If, instead, you get stuck looking at the ROI of job ad boostings, or even the success of individual pieces of content, you’ll be led astray by the data. In isolation, individual customer touchpoints do not help you iterate. In fact, they will have you doing something different every week. You’ll confuse your audience, see limited success, get frustrated, and quit.

Channels, conversely, paint a picture of customer consumption behaviors and traffic patterns. They show, over time, that your presence is of net benefit.

The best part about self-reported attribution? You can start doing it now, without making any changes, and start to capture data about your activity and brand strength to date.

Give it a try.

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The new kind of battle in the war for talent

Before COVID, the conversations I was having with HR executives were about how Sapia might help them with the volume of candidates they were receiving for job openings. For every job posted there were often over a thousand candidates, and it doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to understand how overwhelmed many big organisations were. Our Ai was seen as the solution to automate dealing with candidate volume in a way that found the best people, but also touched base with everyone who applied as part of their brand building. In a nutshell, before the pandemic, efficiency was the key driver in looking for automated hiring solutions like ours. 

Now that we’re emerging from the disruption of COVID, no one is talking to me about needing help with the volume of candidates they receive. In fact, they are asking how we might help them get any candidates in the first place! All around the globe, and across multiple industries, there is a need for candidates. It’s certainly been an abrupt change that has left many scratching their heads, but there is almost no time to wrap your head around it if you want to stay in the game. This is a new war for talent unlike any we’ve seen before, and candidates have the upper hand. It’s created a need for a solution to solve two things: firstly, to identify skills in candidates that traditional ways of hiring failed to identify (I call this cohort “undiscovered talent”) and a strong candidate experience (you are the one being interviewed from the moment they hit “apply”). 

I thought it was worth looking at how the “war of talent” has evolved since it was first coined by Steven Hankin at McKinsey & Company in 1997. At that time there was a shift in the way that companies valued their talent, and it became seen as important to attract the best in order to have a successful organisation. It’s hard to think about this now, but at that time the whole idea of cultivating company cultures that aimed to elevate and value employees was new. At this stage though the “war” was largely for executive talent with recruiters focusing on building their brand by poaching star C-Suite talent off competitors, wooing them with big sign-up bonuses and lavish overtures like unexpected gifts and trips. 

As tech companies started to become the big players in the market, the focus turned from business acumen to the need for the best digital and technical talent. Recruiting became less about material perks (though many engineers still commanded high salaries) but also about giving talent things they wanted besides just money. Flexibility, free lunches, unlimited holidays and creating cultures that were about “working hard and having fun” were how the war for technical talent was won. This was really a time of culture wars between companies, but also meant that many companies hired only for culture-fit. This resulted in fairly homogenous teams that were largely white male techbros, and eventually many large tech companies were called out on it. Beyond tech, corporates were also waking up to the fact that they had some serious diversity issues that needed to be addressed. This led to a new war. The war for diverse talent.

Pre-COVID, hiring more diversely was a strong focus for companies to find the best talent. We all know that diverse teams result in better business outcomes and anyone who had a “pale, male and stale” executive team was seen as minted in the past. Coupled with Black Lives Matter, which became a global movement to address racial inequality from the C-suite down, finding more diverse talent through reducing bias in hiring, was where the war was being fought. This is not a won battle by the way, and remains a large focus for many companies that we work with and help. Importantly, finding diverse talent is still a key part of this new and emerging next phase of the “war on talent” … the one where workers have the upper hand. The one where candidates are in short supply, and people want jobs that suit them just as much as whether they are seen as just suited to the job. 

Recruiters have been forced to look at people differently – and this is not a bad thing. Factors like age, ethnicity, education, gender and even past experience that obscured our understanding of someone’s ability to do a job have all been cancelled as qualifying factors. Soft skills, or human skills, have become the focus on what we need to understand in order to assess someone’s suitability to do a job. Are they a team player? Do they like to problem solve? How aligned are they to our company values? Are they self-aware and in touch with their emotions? Can they put stress aside to achieve outcomes?

“What we recruit for” has significantly shifted for many already, but there is still some catching up to do on the “how we recruit”. To be blunt, CV’s and cover letters begging recruiters to “pick me!” serve no purpose in this new battle. They ask too much of candidates from the outset, serve no valuable purpose in the information they provide, confirm our biases and just create work on the HR manager’s side. 

We need to walk in a candidate’s shoes and make sure that our recruiting process puts them first, treats them fairly and without bias, meets them where they are at, and is both friendly and informative. And, HR teams need to do this all while working efficiently and fast. Speed is crucial when talent is in short supply.

Impossible? No, not at all. Recruiters need to understand that Ai platforms like ours exist to solve all these problems. We’re not a “technical” solution, but a human one, in that we can accurately identify soft skills immediately and engage with candidates in a one-on-one way, at scale. 

You cannot win this war on talent without chat-driven Ai technology. Technology like ours is the only way you can quickly understand the real human skills that every candidate brings to the table, without dismissing anyone upfront. 

I can’t help but think that these issues we’re facing as recruiters and HR managers right now, where workers have the upper hand, while unchartered territory, will only serve our industry for the better. It’s a chance to give everyone a fair go, truly understand them, treat them with the dignity they deserve … and still hire better teams. 

Maybe it’s not a battle after all. Maybe it’s a win-win. 


For more on how to improve candidate experience using recruitment automation, we have a great eBook on candidate experience.

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Workday with Sapia: Faster Hiring Results

Being able to access interview automation just got so much easier inside Workday, with Sapia.

To explore the use cases for Sapia, let’s chat.

What does this mean for Workday users?

Here’s a quick rundown:

Sapia is an interviewing platform that offers every applicant an interview – by mobile chat.

  • Candidate’s ‘first interview’ is fully automated. They answer 5-7 behavioural interview questions by text. With interview completion rates of 90%, the experience speaks for itself.
  • Job seekers get something back of great value with 99% candidate satisfaction scores.
  • Candidate’s answers are assessed, scored and ranked – scores are in Workday for you to see.
  • You get to the best talent much quicker with 90% recruiter time savings, against standard recruiting processes.

And now that we are integrated into Workday, you can get all of these smarts inside your existing Workday application. Sapia interviews every applicant in-depth and at scale for you – all by using a text chat that helps you find the best people fast. Our underlying data science has been accepted and published in international journals.

Workday HCM is feature-rich, why do I also need Sapia?

Firstly, no one’s time is served well by screening thousands of CVs. With every additional applicant costs your business an extra $20 in screening if you are doing it the old way, automating the screening process is the commercial decision companies are now making.

  • It means you get talent in faster, and that can impact directly on business metrics
  • It means everyone gets an interview – without your team having to do any of the grunt work

Thus, making it fairer and faster for everyone.

Sapia is used by a diverse range of business all around the world. Still, most of them have similar challenges: 

  • Findinf the right people for their most important roles 
  • Means to find those people fast and efficiently
  • Ability to interrupt bias in hiring and promotion
  • Ensuring every person hired amplifies your values
  • Creating a candidate experience that is engaging and rewarding.

How does it work for Workday users?

Once your vacancy is created in Workday, a corresponding interview link will also be created.

Candidates click this link to enter their text-based interview. This is known as the Chat Interview.

As soon as candidates complete their interview, you will see their results inside Workday. All candidates are scored and ranked. You also get to see the candidate’s personality assessment, role-based traits and communication skills. With the pre-assessment already done for you, shortlisting is made faster.

By sending out one simple interview link, you nail speed, quality and candidate experience in one hit.

As a Recruiter on Workday, for what roles should we use Sapia?

The FirstInterview experience is most commonly used for high-volume recruiting. Our customers typically use it in frontline customer-facing roles (like contact centres, customer service) and/or for low-skill roles.

Sapia helps manage the disconnect between attraction and retention. This allows your Recruitment Teams to work more efficiently to hire the best talent whilst ensuring the applicants feel good about applying for a job role.

Additionally, Sapia solves the time problem of managing a large applicant pool. It tackles the quality problem of pin-pointing the best people from that pool. It also provides an answer to the candidate experience problem by offering every applicant a fair chance at the opportunity on platforms they love to use. As an added bonus every candidate gets something of immense value in return for their application.

I already use Workday, how do I connect Sapia?

We are glad you are asked! The first thing to note is Sapia is a paid app and sold separately. Furthermore, to explore the pricing that suits your organisation, let’s chat. We can take you through the integration process and describe how the interview automation experience works.

Join the conversation

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

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