Why Your Lack of Diversity is Affecting your Bottom Line

Organisational diversity is still an issue, and the cost is real.

You would think in this day and age organisational diversity would be a moot point. With global social reforms across gender, sexuality, disability and race equality, one could believe the challenge of diversity has been overcome.

Sadly, this is not the case. Some fu(cked) facts:

  • In 2018, unemployment of ethnic minority groups in the United States made up 44.9% of total unemployment.The worst-off being Black or African American, despite the fact they represent less than 14% of the total population.[1]
  • In Australia, the average full-time weekly wage for a woman is 15.3% less than a man; and women will retire with less than half the superannuation of a man.[2]
  • In the UK, men with physical impairments generally experience pay gaps in the range of 15% to 28%, depending on the nature of the disability. The difference between non-disabled women’s pay and that of women with physical impairments ranges from 8% to 18%.[3]
  • In the United States, 42% of Transgender American’s are unemployed and 31% are living at the poverty level.[4]

So why do we continue to see inequality in employment?

Despite all the awareness and work to improve employment equality and inclusion, there are four commons slip-ups in recruitment which allow for underlying bias to be introduced into the hiring process.


1. Job descriptions

Despite the best of intentions, hiring managers or recruiters can discourage groups of potential applicants. They do so by using restrictive terms which are gendered or ageist. This can extend to unnecessary education standards which are not required to do the role.

2. CV filtering

More often than not, recruiters and hiring managers are overwhelmed with application volumes. To save time CV screening is done for job titles, big brand company names, and favouring certain universities or education providers.

3. Unconscious name filtering

In some instances, unintentionally or intentionally, applicants will be filtered out of the screening process based on their name. Researchers of Harvard and Princeton found that blind auditions increased the likelihood that female musicians would be hired by an orchestra by 25 to 46%. Whilst one seminal study found that African American sounding names had a 50% lower call back rate for an interview when compared with typical White named individuals.

4. All of the unconscious biases

Would you believe there are over 100 different forms of cognitive biases? Confirmation bias, affinity bias, similarity bias, halo effect, horn effect, status quo bias, conformity bias… the list goes on. These biases make diverse hiring an even more difficult process as you don’t even know that you are missing out on the best candidates!

The Bottom Line? Lack of diversity costs.

Time and time again research has shown that diverse organisations are more effective, perform better financially and have higher levels of employee engagement.

A recent McKinsey report, “Delivering through Diversity” showed that organisations with gender-diverse management were 21% more likely to experience above-average profits. Whilst companies with a more culturally and ethnically diverse executive team were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits. This figure grows to 43% when the board of director level is also diverse in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation.[5]

More compelling is that for every 1% rise in workforce gender and cultural diversity, there is a corresponding increase of between 3 to 9 per cent in sales revenue![6]

Not only is diversity a social and ethical problem for organisations, but it is also a commercial one.

Assessing all applicants blindly and equally leads to improved diversity, recruitment efficiency, and organisational performance.

Blind screening: Removing information that reveals the candidate’s race, gender, age, names of schools, etc to reduce unconscious bias that creeps into hiring decisions.

For our customer, a global airline, cabin crew are at the heart of delivering great customer experience. With 9000+ cabin crew creating iconic experiences for passengers every day, they want to maintain their strong brand. They intend to do this through hiring the best in customer service to give their applicants an iconic experience.

An iconic brand also attracts an enormous number of applications some of which don’t fit the criteria. Sifting through so many CVs to uncover the right candidates is extremely time-consuming for the recruiters.

Some of the challenges the team faced in their existing processes included:

  • Using videos to screen applicants that only added to the cognitive and time load for recruiters and introduced the opportunity for bias.
  • Low yield from assessment centres for those applicants shortlisted from screening.
  • Maintaining a gender mix in the applicant pool was important. Yet their screening tools were inadvertently omitting men from the process.

The results were amazing.

  • No bias in the process with the ratio of men and women unaffected leading to a more diverse set of hires in comparison to prior campaigns.
  • Shortlisting completed in 2 hours instead of 2 weeks.
  • Over 2.5 times more offers were made compared with the existing process. 100% completion of the process by applicants.
  • Average candidate enjoyability score of 9/10.

A post-campaign survey showed a perfect score from the recruitment team rating the technology as faster, fairer and delivering better candidates.

How conversational AI can truly remove bias in screening

No matter the good intentions, humans will always lean on their biases when making decisions. Interrupting bias in recruitment needs a systemic solution. Something that can operate independently, in the absence of a human trusted to do the right thing.

While Sapia does not claim to completely solve for bias within an organisation, using a chat-based assessment at the top of the recruitment funnel will help you to interrupt, manage and therefore change, biases that reduce diversity in hiring.

A fair and inclusive Candidate Experience

Chat is inclusive for all candidates

Candidates chat through text every day. It’s natural, normal and intuitive. Chat interviews provide an opportunity for them to express themselves, in their way, with no pressure.

Playing games to get a job is not relevant. Talking to a camera is not fair. What if you are unattractive, introverted, not the right colour or gender, or don’t have the right clothes?  When you use chat over other assessment tools, you’re solving for adoption, candidate satisfaction, inclusivity and fairness. Our platform has a 99% candidate satisfaction score, and a 90% completion rate. Here’s the 2020 Candidate Experience Playbook.

We use an intrinsically blind assessment design

Blind screening means an interview that is truly blind to the irrelevant markers of age, gender and ethnicity. That just can’t see you. And therefore, cannot judge you. Sapia does not use any information other than the candidate responses to the interview questions to infer suitability for the job your candidates are applying for. As a company we call this ‘fairness through unawareness’. The algorithm knows nothing about sensitive attributes and therefore cannot use them to assess a candidate. Sapia only cares if the candidate is suitable for the job, and nothing else.

Why is organizational diversity important?
Are there some examples of organizational dimensions of diversity?
What does diversity mean?

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Revisiting The Social Dilemma: What can HR learn?

By Barb Hyman

The Social Dilemma tells a story of data gone mad, of it being used to personalise ‘the truth’ so that everyone’s truth is their own. The idea of ‘objective truth’ doesn’t exist anymore, it argues.

The combination of hyper-connectivity at scale that comes from social media, the addictive habits of engaging with it, and the incredible ability to personalise what we see, listen to, and believe, creates a feeling of satisfaction at best (think Spotify) and at its worst, a fractured society.

What does The Social Dilemma have to teach HR leaders?

HR has been on a journey to do the opposite of unchecked social media – to introduce an objective standard of truth. This is especially important given the risks that come from personalised decision making when it comes to hiring. The risk of making hiring decisions based on personal views means we see hiring being influenced by unconscious biases – something that can be easier to identify than fix. ‘Mirror hiring’, and companies that hire for “culture-fit”.

Consider the decline of so many legacy Fortune 500 companies over the last 50 years.

Do you think Kodak and its ilk would have crashed as quickly if they all had a genuinely diverse set of opinions and experiences at their leadership level?

It’s no coincidence that in The Social Dilemma most of the characters sharing their regrets and insights on “How the heck did we get here?” were mostly young white men.

From my own experience of being HRD at a leading digital tech company, engineers were hired based on two data inputs:  their coding ability, and their ‘fit’ with the team.

The former is readily tested using objective tools, but the latter is largely tested through having coffee chats with the team.

Or to put it another way: 100% subjective; 0% objective data.

Is it any wonder then that you end up with more of the same when you use the personal opinions of humans to drive these decisions? People are so scared of data amplifying bias, and humans can be pretty good at it too.

Bias in the recruiting process has been an issue for as long as modern-day hiring practices existed. In order to address some concerns, the idea of “blind applications” became popular a few years ago, with companies simply removing names on applications and thinking that it would remove any gender or racial profiling.

It made a difference, but bias still existed though the schools that people attended, as well as past experience they might have had. Interestingly, these are two things that have now been shown to have no impact on a person’s ability to do a job.

When it comes to hiring, HR needs to do the very thing that social media has rendered mute.

It has to ensure that there is objective truth on every candidate. It has to do this for every new hire, every promotion.

Ironically, it is what social media weaponised – ‘data’  that can only, truly help us achieve this. I talk often about “objective data” – that is data that has been collected without input bias – and it is only this data that helps us disrupt bias that comes from putting humans in the decision in making seat.  This objective data is more builds a truly holistic picture about an individual when helping inform hiring decisions, decisions that will shape a company’s culture, and its future.

The data seeks to understand who you are, not the school you went to, or the degree you hold, but how you think and behave and most of all your intrinsic traits. It was Facebook’s homogenous culture that encouraged technical brilliance over ethical thinking that ultimately created the issues discussed in The Social Dilemma. If only they’d used their skills to invest in objective data that set aside its technical bias and hired for humanity, we might not be questioning it in the way we are.

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How recruitment automation is reshaping the future of hiring

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

Why recruitment automation combined with Ai, has become such a ‘big thing’?

Is your recruitment team overwhelmed by the sheer volume of job applications and CVs? Are you struggling to find the right candidates in a timely manner? Is administrative work taking up too much of your team’s time, leaving little room for building relationships or focusing on business growth?

If you answered “yes” to these common challenges faced by recruiters and hiring managers, recruitment automation can provide the solution you need. This is particularly relevant in a time of high unemployment when there is a larger pool of candidates actively seeking opportunities in various roles.

Recruitment automation processes can help increase productivity, expedite candidate selection, accelerate the hiring process, and reduce costs. Furthermore, it improves the candidate experience and enhances your organization’s talent profile and brand reputation. It’s no wonder that most recruiters and hiring managers have already integrated automation into their recruitment processes.

Recruitment automation systems, powered by AI, offer significant advantages. They streamline repetitive tasks, such as CV screening and initial candidate assessment, allowing your team to focus on more valuable activities. With the help of AI algorithms, these systems can quickly sift through a large number of applications, identifying the most qualified candidates based on predefined criteria. This significantly reduces manual effort and minimizes the risk of overlooking qualified individuals.

Additionally, recruitment automation systems improve the efficiency and speed of the hiring process. They facilitate seamless integration between various recruitment platforms, such as job boards and applicant tracking systems, consolidating data and eliminating the need for manual data entry and repetitive tasks. Automated workflows ensure that each step of the recruitment process is executed smoothly and consistently, from initial application to final hiring decision.

Moreover, recruitment automation systems enable better candidate engagement and communication. They support personalized and timely interactions, such as automated email responses and status updates, which enhance the candidate experience and maintain a positive employer brand image.

What is recruitment automation?

From the way we shop or pay bills online, to how we order food or choose our entertainment, data-driven technology has changed the way we do everyday things. Technology helps us to make better use of our time and lets us transact or connect in more convenient and efficient ways.

In much the same way, recruitment automation is the technology that automates or streamlines tasks or workflows within the recruiting process that would previously have been done manually.

These new technology tools and platforms address tasks at every step of the hiring process. They often leverage technologies such as machine learning, predictive data analytics and artificial intelligence.

The top 10 benefits of recruitment automation  

Recruiting and HR are all about human capital. So at first, glance using machines and technology can seem counter-intuitive. recruitment automation

Recruitment automation technology, however, is not designed to take the human touch out of the equation, it’s designed to help humans work smarter.

Here are ten of the benefits and advantages:

  1. Increase productivity – work smarter, not harder. Free your time (and headspace) to focus on higher value and more meaningful tasks. With automation, recruitment processes can be ‘always on’ and you can be open for business 24/7.
  2. Fill roles faster – automated candidate pre-screening, nurturing, and assessing, can greatly reduce overall time to hire.
  3. Lower costs per hire – depending on the scope and investment of your organisation’s recruitment automation, leading vendors should be able to model and demonstrate cost savings and pathways to RoI.
  4. Hire better consistently – data-driven decisions can help improve the quality of hire.
  5. Improve the candidate experience – candidates appreciate an engaging experience, faster responses and quicker hiring decisions.
  6. Remove bias and build diversity – objective decision-making based on personality characteristics, skills and traits, helps build diverse workplace teams.
  7. Beat the paperchase – streamline data collection, recording, storage and tracking. Different platforms and tools can be integrated to share data, updates, information, feedback and more.
  8. Promote better collaboration – from early hiring planning right through to onboarding, technology enhances collaboration between all stakeholders
  9. Build a better workplace culture – by starting with employees who are a better fit, improve metrics like tenure and retention, employee satisfaction and employer brand reputation.
  10. Data, data, data – automation creates data that will enhance reporting, analytics and data insight that can help to constantly improve business and hiring processes.


Automated interviews – a popular place to start automation

Reviewing and screening CVs and job applications is widely acknowledged as time consuming and repetitive tasks of the recruitment process. It’s often one of the first processes that recruiters prioritise for automation.

In an age of high volume briefs– such as team roles in retail, customer service or graduate internships – it’s standard to receive a high volume of candidate applications. Properly and fairly reviewing every candidate among hundreds or even thousands is beyond any recruiter. It’s not, however, beyond the capacity of technology.

Here is the Ultimate Guide to Interview Automation

Sapia – leaders in automated pre-screening

Sapia is a leading innovator in the recruitment technology space. 

Since 2013, Sapia has worked to solve and consistently improve the frontier problem of every recruiter and every employer. That is how to get to the right talent faster while consistently improving the candidate experience

Artificial intelligence can see what humans can’t

Sapia’s solution addresses top-of-funnel recruitment needs with an artificial intelligence-enabled automated interview platform, designed to integrate seamlessly with leading Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

While some automated interview platforms use video and voice technologies, Sapia uses mobile-based text. Candidates know text and trust text, and they welcome the opportunity to tell their own story in their own words and in their own time. 

The automated interview is built around a few open-ended text questions that can be customised to the specific role family – sales, retail, call centre, service etc – and specific requirements relating to the employer’s brand and employment values.

The platform uses AI, ML and NLP to provide reliable personality insights into every candidate. It can accurately predict candidates’ suitability for the role. Additionally, it can guide their progression through the recruitment process. It delivers insights that recruiters and employers need to make better hiring decisions at scale.

See How Sapia’s Interview Automation Works Here >

Blind-screening at its best

Sapia provides blind-screening at its best. The platform effectively takes a candidate’s gender, age, ethnicity and other traits out of the process. There is no visual content, voice data or video that can act as triggers to subjective bias. Also for most customers, even CVs are removed from initial screening.

The blind screening means all candidates are competing on a level playing field and have the opportunity to tell their story without the subjective biases of a traditional human interview or a cursory review of their CV. Blind screening also supports employers’ diversity goals.

Integrated with an ATS, a simple Sapia interview link sent to an applicant’s mobile lets recruiters nail speed of recruiting, quality of candidates and a better candidate experience in one.

Sapia will help to:

  • reduce recruiter time spent by 90%
  • increase candidate satisfaction to 99%
  • achieve interview completion rates of 90%
  • reduce bias and support diversity goals
  • enhance the candidate experience with personalised feedback and coaching tips.

It’s a far better candidate experience

Improving the candidate experience is a priority for every recruiter and employer. This is as the effect of a poor experience can cause lasting damage to reputations and brands. Sapia is the only conversational interview platform with 99% candidate satisfaction. Candidates enjoy the process and value the personalised feedback/coaching tips.

Did you see the FREE e-Book on Candidate Experience? Download the Candidate Experience Playbook Here > 

8 ways recruiting automation can work for you

Recruitment automation doesn’t describe just one technology product or platform. Automation will generally involve a suite of platforms, software, tools and technologies. All of them work together to provide end-to-end functionality throughout the hiring process. Integration with an applicant tracking system (ATS) or candidate relationship management (CRM) platform helps bring all the tools and data together in one place.

The efficiencies and savings of recruitment automation can be gained through every step:

  1. Candidate sourcing and engagement – use analysis of candidate data to identify and engage with potential future candidates. 
  2. Always-on candidate nurturing – collect candidate data, build deeper talent pools, track candidates and measure recruitment success. Automate email communications to keep past candidates ‘warm’ or schedule upcoming events such as interviews. There are many ATS and CRM vendors with different features and functions. Some of them are automated job listing creation, career site integration, interview capabilities and more. 
  3. Leverage social site recruiting – connect with candidates where they hang out – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Automate social media publishing and campaign strategies with bespoke scheduling and planning tools as well as many sites’ own business tools 
  4. Job listings – more accurately target candidates all over the internet using programmatic job advertising. Automate budget management, job postings, branded content distribution and more. 
  5. Candidate pre-screening – rank and grade candidates to qualify who moves forward in the firing process. Automate CV screening and top-of-funnel interviews using a platform like Sapia’s mobile-first, text-based solution. 
  6. Skills and aptitude testing– there is a wide range of software platforms that can automate pre-employment testing. Some may focus on specific skills such as programming, data entry or language competency while many more measure ‘soft’ skills such as aptitude, personality traits, cognitive abilities. With its open-ended question format, Sapia assesses close to 100 traits or personality characteristics in ranking candidates. 
  7. Interview scheduling – streamline the process with automated scheduling, confirmations and follow-up communications to candidates.
  8. Background checking – automate background checks, police checks, reference checks, educational qualifications and more with a wide range of vendor solutions.

Here are 6 Reasons to Start Your Hiring With Interview Automation



Finally, discover how Sapia’s Ai-powered interview platform can help support your recruitment needs today. It’s a powerful way to bring all the benefits of recruitment automation to your business. You can also take it for a test drive here > 

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HR Tech – Makes our Day!

Tech Den is the HR Tech Summit’s flagship program – celebrating excellence in HR start-ups and entrepreneurship across Australia.

Vying for the ultimate prize, a $20k marketing campaign in HRD Australia publications, hundreds of HR Tech start-ups will be whittled down to just a few finalists.

Five lucky finalists pitched their solutions to a panel of judges and investors with Sapia coming out on top.

The competition was fierce as we went head-to-head with Crewmojo, Gradsift, Voop.Global and Referoo.

We were delighted to come out on top!

Thank you HR Tech for the opportunity and the wonderful prize. We look forward to using it!

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