Written by Nathan Hewitt

Sapia nominated as one of six global HR Tech startups to ‘put on your radar right now’

It’s been an exciting start to 2021 for Sapia (Formerly PredictiveHire) and I’m pleased to share that we have been nominated as one of six global HR Tech startups to watch, by the HR Technology Conference and Expo, which is taking place this week.

I’m extremely proud of my team for achieving this feat – it’s been a team effort, and after several months of implementing new processes and initiatives, it’s a wonderful accomplishment. I am thrilled that Sapia has been recognized as one of the leaders in the industry by the HR Technology Conference this year.

Sapia was among six companies chosen from 24,000 applications to have the honour of presenting. It gives us the opportunity to showcase our technology to over four-thousand viewers that will be tuning in over the week. It’s a huge honour to be showcasing how our Ai-enabled chat technology can truly change recruiting.

We launched our exclusive Ethics Charter called FAIR earlier this year; a call to arms commitment that includes a guarantee towards inclusivity, fairness for all, explainable AI, transparency, privacy policies and accountability. We also recently commissioned exclusive research with Aptitude Research to uncover global company attitudes towards automation, technology in talent acquisition and unconscious human bias.

We’ve hit several milestones when it comes to evolving our offering for the better, and presenting at the conference this weekend is the cherry on top. Our biggest priorities right now are raising awareness of the importance of ethical AI and abolishing unconscious human bias. The world right now is at a stage where this is critical for the success of companies of the future and we’re proud to be discussing this and more at Friday’s session.

Sapia will be featuring in a session on innovative HR tech startups on Friday March 19 at 2:00PM ET.

To register for the virtual webinar, guests need to enter their details via this link:

More about Sapia

Sapia is a frontier interview automation solution that solves three pain points in recruiting –  bias, candidate experience, and efficiency. Customers are typically those that receive an enormous number of applications and are dissatisfied with how much collective time is spent hiring.  

Unlike other forms of assessments which can feel confrontational, Sapia’ Chat Interview™ is built on a text-based conversation – totally familiar because text is central to our everyday lives. Every candidate gets a chance at an interview by answering five relatable questions. Every candidate also receives personalised feedback (99% CSAT). Ai then reads candidates’ answers for best-fit, translating assessments into personality readings, work-based traits and communication skills. Candidates are scored and ranked in real-time, making screening 90% faster. Sapia fits seamlessly into your HR tech-stack and with it you will get ‘off the Richter’ efficiency, reduce bias and humanise the application process.  We call it ‘hiring with heart’.


Hiring automation: It’s Time To Use Your Words

This Recruiter Says How You Write and What You Write Can Tell an Employer a Great Deal About Your Fit.

Barbara Hyman believes the most important skill for people looking for a job in the post-COVID world will be the ability to write.

“People who think clearly, write clearly,’’ says the chief executive of the artificial intelligence-powered recruiting firm Sapia, which judges its candidates on the most basic of skills.

The firm, which has big-name backers including Myer family member Rupert Myer, former Aconex founder turned venture capitalist Leigh Jasper, fund manager Dion Hershan and former JB Were partner Sam Brougham, gives every job candidate a first interview by asking them five text-based behavioural questions on their phone that take around 20 minutes to answer.

Then the company’s predictive models assign a “suitability” score to each candidate using over 80 features extracted from their responses and the system specifically precludes the use of names, gender and age to determine the recommended shortlist, removing unconscious bias from the recruitment process.


The company’s technology has already been used by 400,000 candidates looking for roles in retail, healthcare, customer service, hospitality, contact centres and graduate and trainee roles across 34 countries.

Its clients include Qantas, Bunnings, the Iceland Group grocery chain in the UK and Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica.

But Hyman says her biggest target client in the post-COVID world is government.

She believes the economy can only be sustainably reactivated through large-scale job security and that requires redeploying existing skillsets to meet in-demand industries.

“This requires a sophisticated and scaleable solution to find jobs for those whose industries have been decimated by the pandemic and have no jobs to return to. Our solution can immediately activate these job seekers into the new economy, steering them to the jobs they will be good at, she says.

She claims if the government activated this sort of technology for a range of growth industries the economic and social impact would be unprecedented.

“In a healthy economy, the cost benefit in Australia alone is $1bn net benefit (cost) for every 100,000 workers that get back to work one month earlier through reduced welfare payments and increased consumer spending. That is significantly higher when accounting for government subsidies as a result of COVID,” she says.

“A big part of getting back to work is the confidence and the mindset. We are exploring different avenues to allow people to use our chat bot to find their true role in the new economy. This is the vision we are trying to sell to government – you have your own personalised career coach that helps you find the ideal role.”

Hyman said one of the company’s big-name backers Rupert Myer, the chair of the Australia Council for the Arts and an emeritus trustee of The National Gallery of Victoria, had given her “amazing introductions” into the government and university sectors.

“When I came into the business in February 2018 it was running out of money. I had to get a bunch of the existing investors to support me,’’ says Hyman, a former chief human resources officer at REA Group and a human resources and marketing director at Boston Consulting.

Her data science leader at Sapia is Sri Lankan-born Buddhi Jayatilleke, who has a diverse background in machine learning, software engineering and academic research.

The firm has raised $4m in the past 2 years, including bringing in Australian global recruitment and talent management firm Hudson as a strategic investor last year.

“That gave us credibility because the number two recruitment firm in the market believes in what we are doing,’’ Hyman says.

“Whether you like it or not, there is enormous amount we can learn about you in 200 words. Just the very fact we don’t use any secret or behavioural data, you have to build trust from the beginning with your candidate. The completion rates are 95 per cent, the engagement rates are 99 per cent. But the key point is when we give you back your feedback. It is effectively a public service we are performing with this feedback.”

One of the firm’s initial backers was Rampersand, the venture capital firm which has a focus on early growth stage tech businesses.

Rampersand co-founder Paul Naphtali says the firm invested in Sapia for its ability to put data at the centre of a company’s people strategy.

“It’s a massive challenge for a start-up to aggregate the data and build the algorithms that can identify an individual’s suitability to a role quickly and accurately. It was a bold and ambitious plan from the beginning, and Sapia is now well on its way to becoming that data-centric engine,’’ he says.

“The company started with working to turbocharge the recruitment process by quickly identifying the right talent for the right roles.

“It’s taken time to build the tech and the data sets, but it’s paying off as a number of Australia’s leading companies now have Sapia as a default part of the process.”

He says the firm is now entering a new phase “where it also powers internal people management as well as for job seekers, which is obviously very relevant in the current environment”.

Recently in London Sapia was awarded the TIARA Talent Tech Star which honours the businesses globally in the talent acquisition industry.

Source: DAMON KITNEY, The Australian, October 30, 2020

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You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details to get a personalised demo

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“It’s been groundbreaking”: How Clemenger Group uses AI Smart Interviewing to hire accurately and efficiently

When Tash Sanjay joined Clemenger Group’s Retail Services business as its HR director, she was given a tough remit to hire 400 casual workers in just four weeks.

“So I was new to the company. A quick analysis of our hiring technology showed that the ATS itself was the problem. We were operating very manually, almost not using the ATS to its full functionality, because it wasn’t good. So we decided that we needed to upgrade our ATS, but then we discovered

“We’ve been with for about 12 months now. The solution for us has been game-changing: We actually couldn’t function, given the amount of hires that we do, without it. Speed to hire was critical.”

Going beyond speed to hire

But Tash quickly learned that speed wasn’t enough to properly service its clients. Clemenger Group needed to match candidates accurately to skills and values.

“The initial reason to go with was speed to hire. But now, it’s become much more of a talking point about the holistic benefits of AI, and our clients that we have are wanting to understand more about that. That it is a point of difference for us. It has been groundbreaking for us.”

Tash came across many other assessment and conversational AI platforms but found none that could satisfy both efficiency and deep talent intelligence.

“We saw that there were many traditional personality tests, and that sort of thing. They were interesting to me in the sense that it’s a good way to differentiate candidates quickly, but nothing was tailored to what our business values were. We didn’t have the choice element. So what I like most about implementation with was that it could tailor models and personality traits to specific roles, like a retail-based role. 

“We were able to edit those models to align with our values, and the other products in the market didn’t allow for that. The other providers have old school solutions, like Myers-Briggs type personality tests. There was just no flexibility.

The thought of AI for recruitment creates uncertainty and fear. Tash was quick to point out to her team that Sapia’s technology would not replace them, but empower and improve their decisions.

An AI that empowers TA and hiring managers

“I came into a business that was very conservative and traditional. So to go to AI was the best step for them. A company like ours would traditionally have an outsourced recruitment solution. The benefit of having an in-house one is personalization, and the fact that you are speaking to someone. So we convinced them that AI doesn’t actually remove that, it just gives us a way to get to the right candidate and have that personalized conversation.”

Sapia has taken the Clemenger team by storm. You wouldn’t think recruitment could be fun, but that’s exactly how Tash describes it.

“So when we get an application through, say, an Indeed platform, the way we operate is we actually automatically send them the link. Effectively, everyone gets an interview, and we advertise it that way. This has been a huge competitive advantage.”

“Launch day was really fun. Everyone was sitting there saying, ‘How many have we got? How many have completed it?’ And I was tracking it by the second, refreshing the dashboard to show them. So that was fun.

“Candidates are loving it too. They love the speed and the ease.”

And when Clemenger reaches out to top candidates, they have comprehensive profiles and tailored follow-up questions to drive the discussion forward.

“If you look at our candidate feedback through the dashboard, everyone’s saying, ‘Oh, that was actually super easy. That was a great experience. That was so much quicker. I actually prefer not talking to someone’.

Personalized candidate experience

“And when you’ve had the conversation, I think what I love most is, as I said, the personalization. It was the key to our business. We can jump on a call and say, ‘Congratulations – can we ask you another question?’ And these questions are built by referring to comments that candidates have made in their interview or things that they’ve said.”

Across the board, it’s a love-fest.

“[] is second-to-none. Everyone at Clemenger is bought into the platform. I think it’s funny now when I go to client pitches, and my team mates are saying, ‘We have this tool, and we can effectively hire candidates in minutes.’

“So it’s nice to see that they’ve come on the journey.”

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How to do candidate rejection the right way

Most candidates aren’t being rejected – they’re being ghosted. Mentions of ghosting on Glassdoor is up 450% since the start of COVID. We know that it’s bad for employer brand and long-term prospecting, so why does silent candidate rejection happen so often?

Here are some of the causes most commonly cited for ghosting candidates:

  • Our hiring team is understaffed and overworked, and we don’t have the time to get back to everyone
  • Our recruitment system is difficult to use, and through sheer volume we lose track of people
  • Our recruitment system does not facilitate the automation of tailored rejection emails
  • We don’t know exactly what to say, or do not feel qualified to give detailed feedback

We’re not out to bash recruiters, talent acquisition professionals, or hiring managers. Finding talent during the Great Resignation is difficult. Time is precious. Offering everyone a high-touch candidate experience, therefore, seems far beyond scope. 

Problem is, candidates expect feedback. At the very least, they need closure. Rejection by silence has a unique sting. Consider the following responses, offered by people who applied for jobs and were either ghosted, or received a templated rejection:

“Discarded. Treated like number.”
“Crushed. Doubted my competence and value.”
“Depressed, unsure of reasons, uncertainty with quality of CV and skills or experience.”

The preceding is part of a new study, What Type of Explanation Do Rejected Job Applicants Want? Implications for Explainable Ai, by researchers at UNSW, Australia. It aims to prescribe an ideal framework for positive candidate rejection. 

Here is a snapshot of some of the findings. 

Candidates want these specific reasons for not making the cut

This point may sound obvious, but here it is: 53% of study respondents wanted to know why they did not make the cut. Just under a third wanted to know how they might improve, and 12% of respondents wanted to find out more about the competition – including whether or not the successful candidate was an inside hire.

According to the wants of candidates, when crafting a rejection letter, it is recommended that you focus on at least one of these factors:

  • Interview performance
  • Presentation of CV
  • General comment on skills, qualifications, or level of experience
  • Characteristics of the successful applicant
  • Candidate ranking in the total number of applicants (i.e. “it was between you and one other person”)

If possible, err on the side of extra transparency. If it was an inside hire, say so. If the losing candidate was neck-and-neck with the winner, tell them. People want the truth, it seems, and without sugar-coating.

Candidates believe they are owed an explanation for their effort

This is interesting: As part of the study, respondents were asked how much they would pay for a tailored explanation for rejection. 44% of respondents said they wouldn’t pay anything for feedback; 25% of respondents said they might pay more than $20. 

We might first surmise from this result that applicants don’t place value on feedback, but this isn’t the case; for the most part, they believe they have already paid for it. Said one respondent, “The idea about paying for feedback is idiotic and I beg you not to put it into the universe. If I take the time to apply for a job they should have the courtesy to provide feedback. Job hunting is hard enough and expensive don’t add more cost to excuse inexcusable conduct.” Fair enough.

Automating candidate rejection: The best way to retain candidates as advocates

Phai, our smart interviewing Ai, gives every single one of your candidates an interview. But it also provides tailored personality insights and coaching tips to every single one of your candidates, whether or not they are successful. 

We do this because we can quickly and accurately analyse how people align to the HEXACO personality inventory. It’s high tech stuff, but the result is what matters: More than 98% of candidates love the feedback they receive, and rate it as useful. We help people understand themselves better, and equip them to attack jobs with the techniques best suited to their personalities. 

If you’re using Phai, that means you’re really helping people. If that wasn’t enough of a reward on its own, know that good candidate feedback is also helping your employer brand immeasurably. It’s a dream solution for volume hiring.

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