This research paper is part of our accepted submission to SIOP, and will be presented at the 2023 SIOP Conference in Boston.
Bias and discrimination against candidates and employees with disabilities continues to be an increasingly important topic 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was passed. The unemployment rate for those with a disability (10.1%) in 2021 was about twice as high as the rate for those without a disability (5.1%) (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022).
So what are the barriers for individuals with disabilities trying to gain employment and how can they be reduced or eliminated?
Traditional face-to-face or video interviews in particular create potential barriers for individuals with disabilities due to the well-documented stigma and prejudice against those with disabilities (Scior, 2011; Thompson et al., 2011). An experimental study found less interest for job applicants that disclosed a disability, despite being equally qualified (Ameri et al., 2015).
Another concern is that certain selection methods may cause candidates with disabilities stress or anxiety, therefore not allowing them to put their best foot forward. For example, one study found less than 10% of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder believe they’re able to demonstrate their skills and abilities with in-person or video interviews (Cooper & Kennady, 2021).
Candidates with disabilities may also struggle with timed online assessments (Hyland & Rutigliano, 2013). For example, candidates with dyslexia or other learning and language disabilities may struggle with reading or spelling and may need extra time.
Sapia’s approach to removing these barriers is our blind, online, untimed, chat-based interview that can not only help reduce discrimination against those with disabilities but also create a more positive candidate experience for them. This format is particularly helpful for individuals with disabilities where traditional in-person interviews, video interviews, or timed assessments may cause stress or discomfort, therefore not allowing them to adequately demonstrate their skills.
We examined the adverse impact statistics (effect size, 4/5ths ratio, and Z-test) for over 15,000 candidates applying to a retail store associate role who self-reported having a disability, compared to those who reported no disability. We found no major or consistent adverse impact flags for the full sample of candidates with a disability or the majority of individual disability groups.
Additionally, candidates with disabilities had positive reactions to the chat-interview, with a candidate happiness score of 8.9/10 and 95.8% leaving either a positive or neutral comment (For example, “Being dyslexic, this interview gives me a fantastic opportunity to think and re-read my responses before delivery.” and “I really enjoyed this unique interview experience. I am autistic so voice and face-to-face interviews have always been a bit daunting, but this felt natural and enjoyable.”)
This research demonstrates that using online, untimed, chat-based interviews could help reduce bias and discrimination against candidates with disabilities. Additionally, examining score differences and candidate reactions by type of disability can help guide product enhancements to make the experience even more enjoyable, accessible, and fair.
Ameri, M., Schur, L., Adya, M., Bentley, S., McKay, P., & Kruse, D. (2015). The disability employment puzzle: A field experiment on employer hiring behavior. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper Series, Working Paper 21560.
Cooper, R., & Kennady, C. (2021). Autistic voices from the workplace. Advances in Autism, 7(1), 73–85.
Hyland, P., & Rutigliano, P. (2013). Eradicating Discrimination: Identifying and Removing Workplace Barriers for Employees With Disabilities. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 6(4), 471-475.
Scior, K. (2011). Public awareness, attitudes and beliefs regarding intellectual disability: A systematic review. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32(6), 2164-2182.
Thompson, D., Fisher, K., Purcal, C., Deeming, C., & Sawrikar, P. (2011). Community attitudes to people with disability: Scoping project No. 39). Australia: Disability Studies and Research Centre, University of New South Wales.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022). Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics— 2021. News Release USDL-22-0317, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Feb 24.
Being able to access interview automation just got so much easier inside Tribepad, with Sapia. To explore the use cases for Sapia, let’s chat.
Here’s a quick rundown:
And now that we are integrated into Tribepad, you get all of these smarts inside your existing Tribepad application. At Sapia, we interview every applicant in-depth and at scale for you. Overall, this is by using a text chat that helps you find the best people fast. Our underlying data science has been accepted and published in international journals.
Firstly, no one’s time is served well by screening thousands of CVs. With every additional applicant costs your business an extra $20 in screening if you are doing it the old way, automating the screening process is the commercial decision companies are now making.
Once your vacancy is created in Tribepad, a corresponding interview link will also be created.
Candidates click this link to enter their text-based interview. This is known as the ChatInterview.
As soon as candidates complete their interview their results are displayed inside Tribepad. You also get to see the candidate’s personality assessment. With the pre-assessment already done for you, it makes shortlisting much faster. Thus, by sending out one simple interview link, you nail speed, quality and candidate experience.
The SmartInterview experience is most commonly used for high-volume recruiting. Our customers typically use it in frontline customer-facing roles (like contact centres, customer service) and/or for low-skill roles.
We help manage the disconnect between attraction and retention. This is all done by allowing Recruitment Teams to work more efficiently to hire the best talent. All is done whilst ensuring the applicants feel good about applying for a job role.
Sapia solves the time problem of managing a large applicant pool. It also tackles the quality problem of pin-pointing the best people from that pool. Additionally it solves the candidate experience problem by offering every applicant a fair chance at the opportunity (everyone gets an interview) on platforms they love to use. Simultaneously every candidate gets something of immense value in return for their application.
We are glad you are asked! The first thing to note is Sapia is a paid app and sold separately. Next, to explore the pricing that suits your organisation, let’s chat. Lastly, our team can take you through the integration process and describe how the interview automation experience works.
Also, to keep up to date on all things “Hiring with Ai” subscribe to our blog!
Finally, you can try out Sapia’s SmartInterview right now, or leave us your details here to get a personalised demo.
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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You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details to get a personalised demo
Before COVID, the conversations I was having with HR executives were about how Sapia might help them with the volume of candidates they were receiving for job openings. For every job posted there were often over a thousand candidates, and it doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to understand how overwhelmed many big organisations were. Our Ai was seen as the solution to automate dealing with candidate volume in a way that found the best people, but also touched base with everyone who applied as part of their brand building. In a nutshell, before the pandemic, efficiency was the key driver in looking for automated hiring solutions like ours.
Now that we’re emerging from the disruption of COVID, no one is talking to me about needing help with the volume of candidates they receive. In fact, they are asking how we might help them get any candidates in the first place! All around the globe, and across multiple industries, there is a need for candidates. It’s certainly been an abrupt change that has left many scratching their heads, but there is almost no time to wrap your head around it if you want to stay in the game. This is a new war for talent unlike any we’ve seen before, and candidates have the upper hand. It’s created a need for a solution to solve two things: firstly, to identify skills in candidates that traditional ways of hiring failed to identify (I call this cohort “undiscovered talent”) and a strong candidate experience (you are the one being interviewed from the moment they hit “apply”).
I thought it was worth looking at how the “war of talent” has evolved since it was first coined by Steven Hankin at McKinsey & Company in 1997. At that time there was a shift in the way that companies valued their talent, and it became seen as important to attract the best in order to have a successful organisation. It’s hard to think about this now, but at that time the whole idea of cultivating company cultures that aimed to elevate and value employees was new. At this stage though the “war” was largely for executive talent with recruiters focusing on building their brand by poaching star C-Suite talent off competitors, wooing them with big sign-up bonuses and lavish overtures like unexpected gifts and trips.
As tech companies started to become the big players in the market, the focus turned from business acumen to the need for the best digital and technical talent. Recruiting became less about material perks (though many engineers still commanded high salaries) but also about giving talent things they wanted besides just money. Flexibility, free lunches, unlimited holidays and creating cultures that were about “working hard and having fun” were how the war for technical talent was won. This was really a time of culture wars between companies, but also meant that many companies hired only for culture-fit. This resulted in fairly homogenous teams that were largely white male techbros, and eventually many large tech companies were called out on it. Beyond tech, corporates were also waking up to the fact that they had some serious diversity issues that needed to be addressed. This led to a new war. The war for diverse talent.
Pre-COVID, hiring more diversely was a strong focus for companies to find the best talent. We all know that diverse teams result in better business outcomes and anyone who had a “pale, male and stale” executive team was seen as minted in the past. Coupled with Black Lives Matter, which became a global movement to address racial inequality from the C-suite down, finding more diverse talent through reducing bias in hiring, was where the war was being fought. This is not a won battle by the way, and remains a large focus for many companies that we work with and help. Importantly, finding diverse talent is still a key part of this new and emerging next phase of the “war on talent” … the one where workers have the upper hand. The one where candidates are in short supply, and people want jobs that suit them just as much as whether they are seen as just suited to the job.
Recruiters have been forced to look at people differently – and this is not a bad thing. Factors like age, ethnicity, education, gender and even past experience that obscured our understanding of someone’s ability to do a job have all been cancelled as qualifying factors. Soft skills, or human skills, have become the focus on what we need to understand in order to assess someone’s suitability to do a job. Are they a team player? Do they like to problem solve? How aligned are they to our company values? Are they self-aware and in touch with their emotions? Can they put stress aside to achieve outcomes?
“What we recruit for” has significantly shifted for many already, but there is still some catching up to do on the “how we recruit”. To be blunt, CV’s and cover letters begging recruiters to “pick me!” serve no purpose in this new battle. They ask too much of candidates from the outset, serve no valuable purpose in the information they provide, confirm our biases and just create work on the HR manager’s side.
We need to walk in a candidate’s shoes and make sure that our recruiting process puts them first, treats them fairly and without bias, meets them where they are at, and is both friendly and informative. And, HR teams need to do this all while working efficiently and fast. Speed is crucial when talent is in short supply.
Impossible? No, not at all. Recruiters need to understand that Ai platforms like ours exist to solve all these problems. We’re not a “technical” solution, but a human one, in that we can accurately identify soft skills immediately and engage with candidates in a one-on-one way, at scale.
You cannot win this war on talent without chat-driven Ai technology. Technology like ours is the only way you can quickly understand the real human skills that every candidate brings to the table, without dismissing anyone upfront.
I can’t help but think that these issues we’re facing as recruiters and HR managers right now, where workers have the upper hand, while unchartered territory, will only serve our industry for the better. It’s a chance to give everyone a fair go, truly understand them, treat them with the dignity they deserve … and still hire better teams.
Maybe it’s not a battle after all. Maybe it’s a win-win.
For more on how to improve candidate experience using recruitment automation, we have a great eBook on candidate experience.