When you search ‘hire for values’ on Google, about 424m search results come up. HBR, and every other respectable HR journal has covered this topic at length.
But what does it mean and how do you do it at scale? And then how do you signal your values to incoming applicants?
For some organisations, ‘hiring for values’ could translate as including your values video on your careers page, showing the video at campus presentations or do as Atlassian does and hand out your values as temporary tattoos!
None of those PR stunts helps you hire for your values. What CHROs and their CEOs crave is the ability to embed their organisation’s values in their key people processes – in hiring and promotion decisions where values-driven decisions make the biggest impact on your culture. In graduate recruitment, that can be challenging given the hiring rates can be 2-5% of your applicant pool. This is where technology can help. Read on to see how easy it is to embed your values in recruitment using AI-led assessment technology.
Embedding your values in your hiring decisions typically means hiring for traits, based on the proposition that who you are as a person counts for as much as what you know at any point in time.
In graduate recruitment, this usually means looking for qualities like grit, curiosity, drive, emotional intelligence and the willingness to take accountability to make things happen.
See how AI can reveal these traits for every graduate applicant from analysing text responses to 5 open-ended questions. Contact us here
A good candidate experience doesn’t cut it in the current recruitment climate. It’s the most basic thing that hiring managers need to fulfil, but if that’s all you are delivering you are going to miss out on talent.
You need to hire fast (interview-to-offer in 24 hours) and your process needs to be frictionless – ie. you can’t be asking candidates to jump through hoops to prove themselves to you. No games, no CVs, no third interviews, no asking them to make time for an interview when you are free.
Those days are over. The global talent shortage is being felt across every industry and recruitment needs to be re-imagined.
And, there’s only one solution: automation.
Yes, it can be hard to cut through a lot of hype around automation, but it is possible that leaders can develop a clear-eyed way to think about how these technologies will improve their organizations.
This is not about replacing jobs of HR managers, but giving them the tools to help them grapple with the challenges in the current hiring environment. It’s about empowering HR teams to be able to do the seemingly impossible – and be good at it. Or to put it another way, help them create a human-centric organization with super-human intelligence.
This was the challenge that Woolworths Group brought to us. Even before the pandemic, the Group was realising that they needed to invest in more efficient processes to keep up with the recruitment demands of the company. But remaining fair about who they hired and treating candidates with respect was not up for compromise.
They had just recovered from surge hiring needs brought on by COVID and wanted to make sure they never had to go through that as a team again. The task had been slow and manual, took too long to hire and the tech they had used was not reliable.
They were looking to redefine their whole approach and realised they could not deliver a positive experience to candidates without the help of technology.
Sapia’s current chat-based candidate assessment was chosen as a front-runner after an extensive search for tools, given the fact that it meant that bias was removed from reviewing candidates and because it also meant they could give every candidate constructive feedback – even if they didn’t get the job.
However, there was still an opportunity to solve for the sheer volume of video interviews that had to occur in the next step.
This made Woolworths a perfect candidate to roll out Sapia’s Video Interview product, a video interview delivered via conversational chat that candidates can do in their own time, and doesn’t require any scheduling input from hiring managers.
This means anyone can now run a fully automated hiring process that is both fair, candidate-friendly and insanely fast. Woolworths was the first customer to go live with Video Interview and as the largest private employer in Australia it was a true test of the effectiveness of the product.
Within one week of going live Smart Interviewer, our text chatbot, had interviewed more than 10k candidates, all without bias. The introduction of an end-to-end fully automated chat based assessment process where every candidate is interviewed and every candidate receives personalised feedback transformed their recruitment for candidates.
But, what was transformational for hiring managers was that the top candidates were then able to do Video Interviews through the platform by video recording answers to a set of questions on their phone. No-one had to schedule an interview and hiring managers could quickly assess the best candidates for the role by simply watching a video – also, in their own time.
Time-to-decision is as little as 24 hours in some cases with the Group achieving an NPS score of 8.8.
The issues that Woolworths faced are felt by most large companies hiring at scale.
With the introduction of Video Interview, Sapia can now create and deliver a solution that streamlines the Woolworths recruitment process and improves the efficiency of large-scale recruitment for other companies as well.
If you’d like to know more about Video Interview and how we have integrated video into our product suite without compromising fairness, please get in touch.
You can also download our Woolworths case study.
An AI hiring firm says it can predict job-hopping based on your interviews. The idea of “bias-free” hiring, already highly misleading, is being used by companies to shirk greater scrutiny for their tools’ labor issues beyond discrimination.
The most common systems involve using face-scanning algorithms, games or other evaluations to help determine which candidates to interview.
Activists and scholars warn that these screening tools can perpetuate discrimination. However, the makers themselves argue that algorithmic hiring helps correct for human biases.
In a December 2019 paper, researchers at Cornell reviewed the landscape of algorithmic screening companies to analyze their claims and practices. Of the 18 they identified with English-language websites, the majority marketed as a fairer alternative to human-based hiring. Thus suggesting that they were latching onto the heightened concern around these issues to tout their tools’ benefits and get more customers.
But discrimination isn’t the only concern with algorithmic hiring. Some scholars worry that marketing language that focuses on bias lets companies off the hook on other issues, such as workers’ rights. A new preprint from one of these firms serves as an important reminder. “We should not let the attention that people have begun to pay to bias/discrimination crowd other issues,” says Solon Barocas, an assistant professor at Cornell University and principal researcher at Microsoft Research, who studies algorithmic fairness and accountability.
The firm in question is Australia-based Sapia (Formerly PredictiveHire), founded in October 2013.
According to the firm’s CEO, Barbara Hyman, its clients are employers that must manage large numbers of applications, such as those in retail, sales, call centers, and health care.
As the Cornell study found, it also actively uses promises of fairer hiring in its marketing language. On its home page, it boldly advertises: “Meet Smart Interviewer – Your co-pilot in hiring. Making interviews super fast, inclusive and bias free.
As we’ve written before, the idea of “bias-free” algorithms is highly misleading. But Sapia’s latest research is troubling for a different reason. It is focused on building a new machine-learning model that seeks to predict a candidate’s likelihood of job-hopping. That is the practice of changing jobs more frequently than an employer desires. The work follows the company’s recent peer-reviewed research that looked at how open-ended interview questions correlate with personality.
Applicants had originally been asked five to seven open-ended questions and self-rating questions about their past experience and situational judgment.
These included questions meant to tease out traits that studies have previously shown to correlate strongly with job-hopping tendencies, such as being more open to experience, less practical, and less down to earth. The company researchers claim the model was able to predict job hopping with statistical significance. Sapia’s website is already advertising this work as a “flight risk” assessment that is “coming soon.” Sapia’s new work is a prime example of what Nathan Newman argues is one of the biggest adverse impacts of big data on labor.
Machine-learning-based personality tests, for example, are increasingly being used in hiring to screen. This is to out potential employees who have a higher likelihood of agitating for increased wages or supporting unionisation. Employers are increasingly monitoring employees’ emails, chats, and data to assess which might leave and calculate the minimum pay increase to make them stay.
None of these examples should be surprising, Newman argued. They are simply a modern manifestation of what employers have historically done to suppress wages by targeting and breaking up union activities. The use of personality assessments in hiring, which dates back to the 1930s in the US, in fact began as a mechanism to weed out people most likely to become labor organizers. The tests became particularly popular in the 1960s and ’70s once organizational psychologists had refined them to assess workers for their union sympathies.
In this context, Sapia’s fight-risk assessment is just another example of this trend. “Job hopping, or the threat of job hopping,” points out Barocas, “is one of the main ways that workers are able to increase their income.” The company even built its assessment on personality screenings designed by organizational psychologists.
Barocas doesn’t necessarily advocate tossing out the tools altogether. He believes the goal of making hiring work better for everyone is a noble one and could be achieved if regulators mandate greater transparency.
By Karen Haoa, July 24, 2020, MIT Technology Review | https://www.technologyreview.com/
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COVID-19 has forced a lot of us to become remote workers by default. Now more companies are now declaring it is likely to become their new norm, with little understanding of what successful remote teams look like.
Zoom exhaustion is a thing. The reality of working from home for many of us has become long days trying to get small tasks done between back-to-back video calls. The founder and CEO of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg, a company with over 1000 remote workers spread across 75 countries, chose remote as the working norm for two key reasons. First, to access a broader pool of talent, and second to unleash productivity. He describes five levels of remote work maturity. Most companies now forced into WFH are at Level 1. We have just moved our way of doing things to a different location and are following the same daily routines that we always have.
Mullenwag describes Level 5 as the ‘nirvana’ for remote work where your distributed team works better than any in-person team ever could. He says his company is not even there yet.
We have missed one of the drivers of remote work productivity gains which is asynchronous work- which 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 or via Zoom. That means communicating in writing, not by video is imperative.
Forcing people to do video meetings also risks continuing to drown out team members who don’t thrive in a live group setting. The introverts. The deep quiet thinkers. The ones who prefer to reflect on an issue and not be forced into making a contribution because everyone else is on Zoom. Again, written communication solves for this.
It’s quite simple, if you want a fully functioning remote team written communication is the way to go. It has to be the way you define a business problem, debate the key issues, and fast track from idea to execution.
Jeff Bezos cottoned on to this years ago. Amazon requires every meeting to be guided by a six-page memo laying out all the key issues. Everyone, regardless of their title, has to read every word. Bezos turned written narrative into a competitive advantage, recognising that writing clearly requires clear thinking. Effective written communication is a foundational building block of a successful remote workforce. GitLab, another fully remote organization with over 1000 employees across the world highlights this fact in their Remote Work Playbook (page 19).
This ‘new productivity hack’, how you write, whether via text, Slack, Wiki or on Google docs also impacts your hiring processes. At what point do any of us test for written communication skills when hiring? If you want to hire people who can work autonomously, be productive and who can collaborate you need to test their text communication. This calls for a radically different approach to talent acquisition.
Mullenweg worked that out early in Automattic’s remote working journey and all their job interviews are via text. The other obvious benefit of this approach is it means there is far less room for bias. In contrast, put someone in front of a camera for a video interview and the bias risk is amplified. Hiring going forward has to test for written communication. This is not something you can ignore anymore.
If you speak to C-suite about why it’s taken so long to permit remote work, the word trust will come up a lot. Bottom line, managers don’t trust that people will actually work when at home, creating instead an unproductive culture of ‘presenteeism’. To manage the risk of hiring ‘slackers’, the other thing you have to test for is motivation.
Other personality traits that relate to good remote workers include discipline. The advantage here is that we stop Big ‘P’ personality-based hiring. We have all made those hiring mistakes – inclined to the person who tells a good story. In a remote work environment, self motivated employees, big talkers and non-doers get discovered quickly!
What may not be known to many people, is that testing for written fluency, clarity of thought, motivation, discipline, can all be done via text analysis in the hiring process. Testing should not be just limited to the skill of writing. It should also test the motivation behind expressing something in writing. That requires more effort and thinking than speaking it out. If someone is not motivated to express themselves in writing when a job is on the line, you can assume what it might be like once they are on the job.
The power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) based machine learning models that can tell you all of this immediately is here today. From just 300 words, we can infer writing skills, personality traits and job hopping motives. This means there is no excuse for not hiring for the key skills required for remote work right now.
Noam Chomsky, a pioneer of language studies said it best –
“Language is a mirror of mind in a deep and significant sense. It is a product of human intelligence. By studying the properties of natural languages, their structure, organisation, and use, we may hope to learn something about human nature; something significant, …” (Noam Chomsky, Reflections on Language, 1975)