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The job seeker is a human being who at some point in the process wants to talk to another human being.
B.C (before COVID-19), organisations would create those moments of connection with prospective hires through campus events, case study workshops, group assessment days and invitations to office events.
COVID-19 and forced incubation make some of this impossible and even illegal.
Organisations who have been forced to bench thousands of employees face the same challenge. Staying connected to, caring for and protecting this ‘people asset’ they have built and invested so much in.
The only experience organisations have with protecting an asset on extended leave is when new parents take parental leave and for most organisations that comes down to letting them keep their computer equipment and inviting them to the Xmas party.
Countries in the southern hemisphere are bang in the middle of graduate onboarding, and graduate recruitment and those in the northern hemisphere are about to kick off their programs.
They bring new ideas and new skills, and above all, ambition to make a difference. They are also often the most cost-effective cohort as far as output vs salary and related costs.
Have you been following the HR practices of tech companies over the last decade? If you have, you will notice that expectations of employees and candidates have shifted big time. The Netflix culture deck personifies much of it with concepts such as ‘Trust people, not policy’ or ‘Trust + transparency = accountability’.
Trust at work means your team will work all night to meet a deadline. They will be generous sponsors and ambassadors for your organisation and your products, they will refer their friends to work with you. Additionally, they will accept change in your business more readily. Your team will admit and bounce back from mistakes and failures more readily, and overall their discretionary effort will be substantial.
Trust in the workplace is a massive accelerator, and most organisations are trying to find ways to accelerate – to build product faster, ship faster, change business models faster.
Woebegone companies that believe they can keep attracting talent especially young talent with a purpose of ‘improving Shareholder returns’. Today, we look for aspirational purposes that connect us to something bigger and with which we want to identify. Check out the motto mission statements of the tech giants here and to be the 11th million (or thereabouts) person to download the Netflix deck click here!
I work with a team building a product-driven by AI which is used to inform decisions about people. This means I am often approached on social media or in-person by people who have a point of view about that, often with fear or frustration about being picked (or rejected) by a machine.
This week I received an email from a commerce/law graduate who had recently applied for a role at one of the big ‘accounting’ professional services firms. This student, let’s call him Dan, had to complete an online game in order to qualify for the next step which was a video interview.
To give himself the maximum chance of ‘doing well’ in the game, Dan created a dummy profile ‘Jason’ to see what the experience was like and get an inside read of the questions so that when he did it for real he would really nail it. This first time round he fudged the test as it was a trial run and he left most answers blank. When Dan went and did this for real, he was conscientious of course and wrote thoughtful answers and tried to pick the right behaviour in the balloon popping game!
Jason, who scored 44% received a video interview. Jason does not exist.
Dan, who scored 75% did not progress to the next round.
The machine picked the wrong guy
Every business like ours that works in this space recognises that this is new technology, and so still very much in the early stages of development. Like humans, machines will make mistakes. In our business, we call them false positives (people recommended who just aren’t right) or false negatives (people who are missed by the machine who could be right for the role).
Dan’s questions are legitimate…
When you are rejected by humans, either you hear nothing or you may get an explanation like — ‘you aren’t a good culture fit’ when they reject you. Machines may give you a score.
For me what this reveals is that any business who uses AI and ML for candidate selection, it’s critical to have empathy for the person who is experiencing this, in this case, empathy for the candidate experience.
Machines can make better selection decisions about people because they have access to a larger more comprehensive set of data, can process data faster, and if built with the right objective data, they can be far less bias than humans.
When used in recruitment, they need to work for both parties — the organisation and the candidate. Building trust in these technologies is critical in our space. It can’t all be about the organisation getting their efficiency gains.
This means :
Recruitment wants to rise above being a process. So AI in recruitment should enable that if it’s to be trusted by candidates.
I live in Melbourne, Australia. When I speak to customers overseas they all sympathize with the restrictions imposed on us as a result of COVID-19. We are the State that that just can’t seem to take our eyes off the numbers, being used as an invisible algorithm to drive decisions like when we can see our friends and families again, go to the footy, or have a drink at the pub.
Scott Galloway talks of Covid-19 being an accelerant, not a change agent. Organisations who were already on the path of disrupting their own business models have surged ahead. Those with unfit practices might have been able to do a fun run, but what we have now is an ultra-marathon.
Organizations need a new playbook. We humans need a new playbook. COVID-19 is transformational for organizations, and it requires transformational thinking and responses.
The lack of deep thinking on this is reflected in the exhaustion we are all feeling right now. Many of us find ourselves spending 12 hours a day on back-to-back zoom calls. We are missing out on the key benefit of flexibility, which is unleashing productivity. Which means doing more in fewer hours, not doing more by working longer hours.
Few of us have made the transformational changes required to accommodate true remote work. One of those changes has to be to embrace asynchronous working norms.
Asynchronous work needs asynchronous communication. This simply means that work doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone. Productivity and flexibility for employees come when we don’t all have to get in a room, virtual or otherwise to do our work. This usually means communicating in writing, not video.
The other change that needs to happen is less vertical decision-making, less requiring decisions to ‘go up’ to be made – and more pushing them down to the individual level as much as possible. It’s time to really empower your people. Leaders need to set the vision and trust their people to solve how to get there. This means creating cultures of trust and leaving behind cultures of control.
The good news is that a by-product of remote work will be a natural increase in accountability for performance. The reality is you can’t fake it or fudge it as easily when your actual work output, not your personality, is what is most visible to everyone. The talkers vs the doers are quickly exposed. The big ‘P’ personality types won’t survive as long as there is no place for them to entertain us with their stories and their charisma.
This new reality won’t work for everyone and demands transparency around performance and expectations from both sides. For many, this may lead to a loss of confidence and validation that they would normally get from being part of a visible tribe in the office. When you don’t have a team or a manager around you to mentor you, notice your good work, or your bad work, you need to do the noticing yourself. Self-awareness becomes crucial. As does self-motivation, the discipline to see a task through without much pushing or oversight.
Organizations need to give way more attention to hiring and promoting these qualities that will enable individuals to be independently productive. It may even mean evolving your values to reflect those kinds of new survival traits.
What makes that shift especially tough for many organizations is that we have all been doing the opposite for years. To coin a phrase from Johnathan Haidt, we have been guilty of coddling our kids and our employees. Haidt, author of “The Coddling of the American Mind’ notes the impact of all that coddling and the resulting culture of ‘safetyism’, which stunts the development of that life skill- resilience, a trait critical for all of us right now.
Simon Sinek, a speaker/writer on cooperation, trust, and change says developing better managers can help young people build better resilience. This becomes harder in a world where you’re not spending time with your manager. Rather, the individual needs to take on more responsibility for their own learning and for their own motivation and engagement.
So how do you create more individual and organizational resilience? How do you hire for and build the skill of accountability?
It requires creating an expectation via explicit conversations about the need for you to own your own work, your own career. It demands hiring people who have heightened self-awareness, to know what they need help with, to ask for what they need.
Which jobs are better suited to me? What am I good at, not good at? How do others see me so I can better manage my relationships at work or at home? What part of me is helping me or hindering me in life?
The problem is that not every type of person will do that comfortably and this is where Covid-19 risks creating another privileged class of people who do better in that environment. This is where I advocate for technology as an essential co-pilot for employees to understand themselves better and help coach them to level the playing field. Technology that can draw out the best in people and help them find their strengths and agency.
The new playbook already has a few chapters written by some well-known disruptors. For example, Jeff Bezos banning PowerPoint from meetings, Google’s money-ball approach to hiring and promotion, virtually inventing people analytics. The text-only interviews of Automattic, the company behind WordPress, with 1000+ remote workforce in 73 countries.
In short, to leaders of all domains: move to the new playbook.
Get on with experimenting with fundamentally new ways of working. And, recognise that technology will be your co-pilot in that change.
Source: Barbara Hyman, Recruiting Daily, 1 October 2020
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It’s not every day or every job where you get to say you are changing the way the world works.
For 2+ years, the small team of incredibly dedicated data scientists led by the incredibly humble Buddhi Jayatilleke have tested and re-tested and experimented and re-experimented to find a new formula for assessing talent – one that is 100% inclusive and bias-free, but also human, using the combination of AI, machine learning and advances in NLP.
Apart from reading daily the thousands of comments of gratitude we receive from candidates for this new formula, which is globally unique! it is wonderful to see that team receive the industry acknowledgement at a global level.
Last week, at a Virtual CogX, the world’s largest Festival of AI and Emerging Technology, with top CEOs, Scientists, Technologists, Data Scientists in attendance, with over 30,000+ attendees from hundreds of countries, 6500 world leaders and 650 presenters across 17 forums, this team were awarded Top 3 For Best AI in HR technology.
For a team that has been tackling this problem for such a small amount of time, with limited resources but endless tenacity and commitment, we couldn’t be prouder to get to work with them every day.
The PredictiveHire Data Science Team:
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