Written by Nathan Hewitt

How do you really hire for values and culture, and is that the same thing?

When I was leading the People & Culture team at the REA Group, my new CEO was passionate about Values, and the central role they play in defining your culture. Following a successful change program to evolve new Values that mirrored the desired Culture, one that would set the business up for continued growth and as a talent magnet, she asked me how we were going to embed those Values through our people processes – who we hire, who we promote, who we reward etc.

It couldn’t be a screen saver pop up or posters on a wall. The values had to be really heard and felt. At the same time, we also had a business that was hiring in the hundreds each year so scaling culture means getting this right.

These are two distinct notions when it comes to hiring: hiring for values and for culture.

One should stay pretty fixed, and the other should be dynamic as your business context is always changing. If a company’s values are its bedrock, then a company’s culture is the shifting landscape on top of it. Hiring purely for culture is a recipe for self-reinforcing hiring, aka hiring that is biased. As we all know, innovation comes from diversity of background/thought/etc, so by hiring only for culture you can decrease, or even stifle innovation.

Celebrate that just as your product is always evolving, so will your culture. That means people who were great when you were a team of 50 may not be the right person for when you get to 500.

At Sapia we work with our customers to ensure their values are embedded right from the first interview.

This takes many forms, including:

  • Use the language of our customers when we are configuring the interview questions. From ‘team’ to ‘crew’ or ‘family, we use your language to build rapport with candidates
  • Ask questions that specifically talk to your Values. For example, safety is paramount for our airline and FMCG customers. We ask questions to gauge awareness of safety risks, such as “Drawing on your own experience, how would you make sure everyone in our store – our customers and your team members – are safe?”
  • Learning from every person who joins or leaves the business. For everyone we work with, we know who sticks around in the role and who doesn’t. This will generally be either because they weren’t the right fit and they self-selected out, or the business made a decision to exit them for behavioural reasons. Taking that performance data and using it to refine the benchmark for future hiring means every candidate recommended after using Sapia as your 1st interview is a better Values fit than the last one.

And that’s why machine learning is the holy grail of smarter hiring. No recruiter could ever get that feedback data at the scale and speed to improve their recruitment process. But using Sapia we make a hard decision easier, meaning you can focus on hiring the right people to grow your business, at scale, without sacrificing the candidate experience. And if the VP for a global business focused on connecting people to opportunity can’t recognise bias, it’s a sure sign we need to pay more attention to who, and how, we hire.

“Talent is really distributed very evenly in the world, and opportunity is not.”

So, what do you think? Is your hiring values-driven, or based on the ever-intangible ‘culture-fit’? How do you scale hiring based on values? And how can we in HR, Talent Acquisition and Recruitment support hiring managers to grow innovative, diverse teams?


Four ways recruitment automation is giving candidates a more human experience

To find out how to improve candidate experience using Recruitment Automation, we also have a great eBook on candidate experience.

New insights from Aptitude Research suggest recruitment automation can play a much greater role in talent acquisition than just improving efficiency for hiring managers, it can also make the interview process more human for candidates.

The research shows that when you shift the focus from an employer-driven view to a candidate-first view, then it is possible to reduce bias in hiring and improve the overall human element of talent acquisition.

For most companies, the value of automation is perceived through the recruiter and hiring manager experience, with the benefits to the candidate often ignored. However, recruitment automation has to be about more than simply moving candidates through the process quickly to have any significant benefit to a company.

When you focus on the impact and experience of the candidate, the benefits to both recruiters and candidates can significantly improve through recruitment automation.  This approach has given rise to a movement called humanistic automation technology.

But humanistic automation sounds like an oxymoron right? Is it even possible?

The Aptitude Research showed not only is this possible, but that when Ai is used this way, it creates personal connection at scale, and works to reduce bias, something no other technology or even human-centred solution can deliver.

So, how exactly does it do this?

Here are four main areas of talent acquisition that candidate-focussed recruitment automation improves on,and how it achieves this:

1. Connection

There have been some slight improvements in building connections through the hiring process recently, but only 50% of companies have a single point of contact for communication, which results in candidates feeling engaged or valued through the process.

Recruitment automation with a candidate-focus means that communication is personalised for high-engagement with the ability for the conversation to adapt to what it learns about a candidate almost immediately.

As a candidate finding out that you are not successful is tough, and worse, most companies just ghost those they don’t wish to move ahead with. Automation can ensure that every candidate is engaged and cared for even when they are not moving forward in the process – and that doesn’t mean a standard rejection email. Ai can deliver highly personalised communication that builds connection even for those unsuccessful in their application.

2. Inclusivity

Although some companies have made efforts to remove bias from resumes, companies still have a lot of work to do on inclusion. For starters, many are relying on training programs, which have shown to be largely ineffective in delivering long-term change.

It’s true that recruitment automation can amplify bias, but automation that works to reduce bias is continually testing against biases in the system and has been shown to be effective in reducing the impact of bias in hiring decisions. Somethings humans cannot do (we’re inherently biased, whether we like it or not).

When you have the right data input gathered through blind screening and blind interviews – that don’t rely on CV data – then you can help companies achieve an equal and fair experience to all candidates.

Want to remove bias from recruitment and not just talk about it?

Download the Inclusive Hiring e-Book here

Inclusive hiring is not limited to gender and race. Companies need a broader view of diversity, equity, and inclusion that includes individuals with disabilities and neurodiversity. This requires the right digital tools and technology to ensure that candidates have a positive experience. In many cases, chat and text are more inclusive over video or even phone screening and interviews for these candidates.

3. Feedback

Most companies see feedback as a risky area and something they have no ability to do in a fair and timely manner. Essentially this is a lost opportunity for learning and development.

When you see feedback as a value proposition of an employer brand, its power in transforming your TA strategy becomes clear. Recruitment automation allows companies to deliver personalized feedback building trust and strengthening your employer brand.

Personalized feedback with tangible action items, means that candidates feel empowered even if they are rejected. Technology can help to deliver these action items in a human way, that even humans are not able to do at scale or even very well.

These insights are only made possible through natural language processing and machine learning that work in the background to reveal important information about the candidate. When a candidate feels like they are ‘seen’ that can be a transformational moment in their career paths.

Only recruitment automation can deliver individual feedback to everyone who takes time to do a job interview.

4. Trust

In an era of growing awareness around the privacy of data, only 1 in 4   candidates trust the data being will be used to drive hiring decisions. As companies look at recruitment automation through a candidate-centric lens, they must consider both the quality of the data they use and how to build trust between employers and candidates.

The biggest mistake that most companies make is using the wrong data. Resume data is not necessarily an indicator of performance or quality of hire.

Ethical Ai is something that hiring managers need to understand and use to evaluate providers. Providers using ethical Ai operate transparently,  are backed by explanations, describe their methodology, and frequently publish their data.

Aptitude Research found that when data is transparent, it increases the trust in talent acquisition leaders, hiring managers, and senior leaders. With data transparency, 84% of talent acquisition leaders stated that they trust the data, and 78% of senior leaders trust the data.

Talent acquisition transformation has accelerated the demand for recruitment automation.

55% of companies are increasing their investment in recruitment automation this year. These companies recognise that automation can improve efficiency, lift the administrative burden, reduce costs, and enable data-driven decisions.

This report focuses on a new look at automation through the eyes of the candidate

After all, automation is more than moving candidates through a process quickly. It should also enable companies to communicate in a meaningful and inclusive way and build trust between candidates and employers.

Download the full report here.

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Recruitment Platform Sapia shares its ethical framework for AI

Addressing valid concerns in the HR industry about AI, Sapia has released an ethical framework to encourage transparency in the sector

MELBOURNE, Jan 18, 2021 – Sapia (, an Australian technology company that has pioneered transparent AI-assisted hiring solutions, today announced the global release of its Fair Ai for Recruitment (FAIR™) framework to educate HR executives in assessing Ai technology for use in their organisations, as well as act as spark conversations  for Ai developers in the space:

The framework has been released to begin conversations around transparency in HR technology against an explosion of Ai solutions in the sector, with many using algorithms that operate in a ‘black box’. The absence of any form of accreditation of vendors, and the fact that regulation is light years behind tech innovation, has meant a lack of collaboration among vendors to champion Ai ethics in the sector, something Sapia hopes to help change.

The Fair AI for Recruitment (FAIR™) framework :

– Focuses on establishing a data-driven approach to fairness that provides an objective pathway for evaluating, challenging and enhancing fairness considerations.

– Includes a set of measures and guidelines to implement and maintain fairness in AI based candidate selection tools.

-For hiring managers and organisations, it provides an assurance as well as a template to query fairness related metrics of Ai recruitment tools.
-For candidates, FAIR™ ensures that they are using a system built with fairness as a key performance metric.

In launching the framework, Sapia CEO Barb Hyman said: “We have created a framework that we hope can be used as inspiration to ensure that Ai is being used to build inclusive teams – something humans are not capable of doing on their own because we cannot subvert our biases.”

“Our mission is to help HR leaders make bias interruption more than rhetoric, which is why we also published this guide to Making inclusion an HR priority, not a PR one”.

About Sapia

Sapia has become one of the most trusted mobile-first Ai recruitment platforms, used by companies across Australia, India, South Africa, UK and the US, with a candidate every two minutes engaging with their unique Ai chat bot Smart Interviewer.

What makes their approach unique it it’s disruption of three paradigms in recruitment -candidates being ghosted, biased hiring and the false notion that automation diminishes the human experience.

The end result for companies – bias is interrupted at the top of the funnel, your hiring managers make more objective decisions empowered by Smart Interviewer their co-pilot, inclusivity is enhanced, and your hired profile starts to look more like your applicant profile.

Media contacts

Barb Hyman, CEO

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AI will destroy resumes … and that’s a good thing!

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true, that as time passes all processes become dated.

Some might need to be thrown out completely. Many more need to be adjusted and refined to keep up as workplaces and ways of working change.

I’m not old enough to remember the recruitment days of Rolodex and faxed documents. But I’ve heard the stories. Paper mountains of resumes teetering on desks. Consultants queuing at the one office fax machine to send their applicants’ profiles to clients.

Who knew that today we’d be communicating almost instantly by email, on our own computers, or sifting through resumes using Applicant Tracking Systems? In the 1980s that would have sounded like something from Doctor Who.

Since then, it’s all slowed down a bit.

Sure, ATSs take a lot of the legwork out of choosing who to interview. But they’ve also led to Resume Optimisation tools to help applicants beat our filters.

How can we avoid picking only the people who are best at gaming the system? How do we know we’re not missing our perfect applicants?

Now AI is taking the hiring process another leap forward. It’s speeding up the more process-driven elements and helping us select interviewees who are more likely to fit into our businesses.

And that means we need to re-examine two elements of that hiring process – the resume and the interview.

First, let’s tackle the resume.

Why resumes aren’t worth the paper they’re written on

Here’s a challenge for you. Find five well-known businesses that don’t ask for a resume on their careers page. Difficult, isn’t it?

Now think about the resumes you’ve seen recently.

I’ve seen resumes that are well-constructed, professionally crafted prose. And others that are complete works of fiction.

You’re as likely to find glaring spelling mistakes, a messy layout, and a shameless plea to be considered as you are a concise summary, an attractive photo and carefully chosen keywords. If you’re really unlucky you get all of these in one “super-resume”.

A quick search on “How are resumes used?” reveals the astounding advice that applicants should “know the facts in detail, as they may be questioned” about them. That just confirms my suspicion that these documents are more like scripts than records of facts.

And, there’s one more thing that recruiters know about resumes, even if they don’t all admit it …

Not one CV is properly read when they’re selecting applicants for interview.

According to research by the Cambridge Network, some recruiters give CVs a six-second speed-read and many recruiters spend just under 20% of their time on a profilelooking at the picture!

Resumes are rarely used correctly or understood properly, by applicants or recruiters. They most certainly do not predict how successful an applicant is likely to be in a role. Instead, they’re a minefield of potential bias: year of graduation (age bias), name (racial / gender/identity bias), experience in a similar business (confirmation bias), and so on.

So isn’t it better to put some truly intelligent AI for HR to work instead?

How new AI for HR makes resumes redundant

I was astonished to see that 96 per cent of senior HR leaders understand the benefits of using artificial intelligence in their HR and talent functions. But there’s a big gap between recognising the benefits and reaping them.

The canny HR leaders who are already adopting AI techniques will have a head start on their slower rivals.

Some more traditional HR tech providers have evolved their recruitment tools, presenting them as predictive. However, they’re more likely to be creating profiles of your better staff and matching these profiles to the external candidate market, not predicting how they will perform.

Instead, the new wave of HR tech uses well-constructed algorithms, created using a business’s performance data, to provide an unbiased shortlist of candidates far more likely to succeed within the business once hired.

HR tech uses well-constructed algorithms

The algorithm can’t be misled by optimisation techniques, personal feelings or prejudice. Instead, it uses objective data, science and evidence to find the people who are most likely to be a good fit and perform. For this role, in this business. And it will help uncover applicants we might have otherwise overlooked when their resume didn’t match our expectations.

The better solutions work by identifying the defining characteristics of the whole performance group within a business (superstars through to under-performers) and then predicts where external applicants will sit on your performance scale once/if hired.

These advanced solutions then go further via validation reports to prove their better predictions are turning into better new hires. They then use Machine Learning to ensure each unique model continues to learn more about the performance of each business, further improving its predictive power over time.

These two additional steps mean that whilst us humans are still required to make the final hiring decision, we will get better results for our applicants and our businesses. Maybe that’s where the resume might still have a role – as the frame for some reasonable high-level questions to help us understand the person in front of us in more depth, once they’ve got through the first stage.

The most sophisticated algorithms are already outperforming humans in the selection and identification of suitable candidates – and by that I mean candidates who go on to become productive, valuable and loyal employees.

Decision time for CHROs

So, what would you rather have?

– A shortlist of candidates chosen because of what they’ve selected to include in (and omit from) their resume?


– A shortlist of candidates you know are likely to do well in your workforce, because they’ve been chosen using statistically-proven, company-specific performance drivers validated by behavioural science?

Not that tricky a question, is it?

And very easy to see how, with the advent of AI for HR, resumes will soon be as much a part of recruitment as faxes and Rolodex.

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