Contact Centre recruitment & retention – this will blow your mind!

Imagine being able to dial-up (or down) any chosen metric such as NPS, retention, absenteeism, staff turnover or any performance data point simply through smarter, predictive, data-driven hiring.

Predictive Talent Analytics turns the imaginary into reality, presenting a variety of businesses, including contact centres, with the opportunity to improve hiring outcomes and raise the performance bar. With only a minor tweak to existing business processes, predictive talent analytics addresses challenge faced by many contact centres.

Recruitment typically involves face-to-face or telephone interviews and psychometric or situational awareness tests. However, there’s an opportunity to make better hires and to achieve better outcomes through the use of Predictive Talent Analytics.

Many organisations are already using analytics to help with their talent processes. Crucially, these are descriptive analytical tools. They’re reporting the past and present. They aren’t looking forward to tomorrow and that’s key. If the business is moving forward your talent tools should also be pointing in the same direction.

Consider a call-waiting display board showing missed and waiting calls. This is reporting.

Alternatively, consider a board that does the same but also accurately predicts significant increases in call volumes, providing you with enough time to increase staffing levels appropriately. That’s predictive.

Descriptive analytical tools showing the path to achievement taken by good performers within the business can add value. But does that mean that every candidate within a bracketed level of academic achievement, from a particular socio-economic background, from a certain area of town or from a particular job board is right for your business? It’s unlikely! Psychometric tests add value but does that mean that everyone within a pre-set number of personality types will be a good fit for your business? That’s also unlikely.

The simple truth is that, even with psychometric testing and rigorous interviews, people are still cycling out of contact centres and the same business challenges remain.

With only a minor tweak to talent processes, predictive talent analytics presents an opportunity to harness existing data and drive the business forward by making hiring recommendations based on somebody’s future capability.

Telling you who is more likely to stay and produce better results for your business.

But wait, it gets better!

Pick the right predictive talent analytics tool and this can be done in an interesting, innovative and intriguing way taking approximately five minutes.

Once the tool’s algorithm knows what good looks like, crucially within your business (because every company is different!), your talent acquisition team can approach the wider talent market armed with a new tool that will drive up efficiency and performance.

Picking the right hires, first time.

Predictive talent analytics boosts business performance

  • Volume & time – with the right choice of tool, your talent team can simultaneously engage hundreds or thousands of candidates and, within a few minutes, be shown which applicants should be at the top of the talent pile because the data is showing they’ll be a good hire.
  • Retention – Each hiring intake is full of talent with the capability to perform for the business. An algorithm has effectively asked thousands of questions and subsequently identified the people who will be capable performers, specifically for your business.
  • Goodbye generic – Your business is unique. If the algorithm provided by your predictive analytics provider is unique to your business, then every single candidate prediction is personalised. A contact centre has the potential to analyse thousands of candidates and pick the individuals who best fit the specific requirements of the business or team, driven by data.

Consider this. Candidate A has solid, recent, relevant experience and good academic grades, ticking all the right hiring boxes but post-hire subsequently cycles out of the business in a few months.

Candidate B is a recent school-leaver with poor grades, no work history but receives a high-performance prediction and, once trained, becomes an excellent employee for many years to come.

On paper candidate A is the better prospect but with the fullness of time, candidate B, identified using predictive talent analytics, is the better hire.

Instead of using generic personality bandings to make hiring decisions, use a different solution.

Use predictive talent analytics to rapidly identify people who will generate more sales or any other measured output. Find those who will be absent less or those who will help the business achieve a higher NPS. Bring applicants into the recruitment pipeline knowing the data is showing they will be a capable, or excellent, performer for your business.

Now that’s an opportunity worth grasping!

Steven John worked within contact centres whilst studying at university, was a recruiter for 13 years and is now Business Development Manager at Sapia, a leading workforce science business providing a data-driven prediction with every hire. This article was originally written for the UK Contact Centre Forum

You can try out Sapia’s FirstInterview right now, or leave us your details to book a demo

Jobs in USA


What job is HR being hired to do?

Are you measuring yourself using the right metrics?

We ask this question often to drive our product strategy. In a software company, it’s very easy to get caught up in a landslide of features and topics and in a dynamic world of competition and feature parity, product roadmaps can easily get cluttered. It may seem overly simplistic, but it works.

In our case, we are being hired to save our customers time and money in recruitment.

  • 55,000 hours saved in one year  from using our screening tool top of the funnel
  • 500k cash cost savings from doubling conversion from assessment centres
  • Churn reduction of 30% in 12 months from relying on our predictions

Click here for some examples of hours and $’s saved by our customers.

By asking this simple question — what job is HR being hired to do?— you can start to get to the heart of what your strategy should be. And then measure that religiously!

Like product roadmaps in a tech company, HR’s roadmap too can get confused or cluttered by:

> New Trends (CX- candidate experience, EX-employee experience, AI everything)

> Survey fatigue – culture diagnostics, engagement surveys, exit surveys, 1000’s of verbatim to read

> Process fatigue – performance management processes, 9 box, the annual salary review process, post engagement survey processes, and so on

> New system implementations– that can potentially crowd out  low friction  and affordable solutions to drive down business costs

All of this activity can produce more noise than signal because it can easily miss the “why”. And once an HR function is more mature, it can be even more difficult to understand which of the many elements of HR are the ones truly driving the most value for the business.

Here are some tips to ensure your HR team is clear on their job:

1. Make sure it is the CEO’s definition of the job, not yours. Read our second article for more of the CEO perspective.

2. Define the job so it delivers on either lead or lag indicators that are proven to impact on your organisation’s business performance. For example, for a sales business, time to hire matters a lot. Having to wait 45 days to fill a sales role vs 10 days means 35 days of lost sales. That flows straight through to the bottom line. Engagement scores, on the other hand, are neither a proven lead or lag indicator of business performance. Engagement measured from a survey is more of a vanity metric.

3. Ensure that you are looking at the whole job, not just a piece of the job. It’s easy to get too narrow in your definition

Suggested Reading:

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How our fully-automated Video Interview solution delivers unprecedented hiring velocity

Our smart interviewer aims to make life easier for hiring and talent acquisition professionals, while making job-getting a fairer and more pleasant experience for candidates. This requires a product suite that takes both stakeholders from one end of the journey to the other – application to offer – as seamlessly and personably as possible.

To that end, we’ve introduced a new product to supplement our candidate-favourite Chat Interview tool. Called Video Interview, this new tool revolutionises the current market approach to video-based interviewing and assessment. Now, Sapia’s user journey looks like this:

  • Candidates start with a blind, unbiased chat interview with our market-leading Ai, Smart Interviewer
  • Then, if suitable, they progress automatically to a short and sharp video-based interview

Read also: Our Talent Acquisition Transformation Guide, a free playbook to help TA teams win more talent


Thanks to the combination of Chat Interview and Video Interview, hiring managers can conduct hundreds of interviews without having to schedule calls, resulting in amazing hiring velocity. As a result, the average time-to-decision for Sapia’s customers is now under 24 hours, giving our customers the flexibility they need to hire fast in a highly competitive candidate market. Better still, all candidates also receive personalized feedback once they complete the process, whether they are hired or not.

What’s the difference between Sapia’s Video Interview, and other video interviewing solutions?

In contrast to our ethical smart interviewer, Video Interview does not use an Ai or algorithm to screen candidate responses. We recognise that, unlike with text, bias is almost impossible to eliminate once video and voice are introduced; to suggest that an Ai can remove bias from the assessment of a video interview is fundamentally dishonest.

The early success with our chat and video-based interviewing approach speaks for itself

Video Interview is currently delivering a Candidate Happiness Score of 9/10, with a completion rate of nearly 76%. 86% of candidates say that the end-to-end experience has made them more likely to recommend the hiring company as an employer of choice.

The new product innovation was created as a direct response to a need by Australia’s biggest private employer, Woolworths Group, who urgently needed to hire better and faster.

Our CEO, Barb Hyman, said that this need has been reflected by many talent acquisition specialists and hiring teams across the globe.

“In a world where there is a massive shortage of talent, even for recruiters themselves, businesses need to find a less taxing way to assess talent,” Hyman said. 

“We believe that the introduction of Video Interview makes us the only truly automated hiring solution that  addresses fairness, fit and speed, while genuinely engaging candidates,” she said. 

Woolworths Group (ASX: WOW) handles more than 1 million candidates, applying for 40,000 roles a year. It estimates that it has saved about 5,000 recruitment hours in the first week of using Sapia alone.

“We love the tool, and we knew candidates would love it because it’s mobile and it’s interactive,” Keri Foti, Head of Advisory & Talent Acquisition Services at Woolworths, said. “We also love the fact that we can measure advocacy for Woolworths at the end of it.”

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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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