Written by Nathan Hewitt

Right-sizing the correct way, with fairness, efficiency and data!

Restructures happen and there is a correct way to right-size

In my career, I have been involved in either leading or managing countless restructures. The driving force behind these restructures ranged from offshoring capability to migrating to new or emerging skill requirements, right-sizing a particular function, or the basic need to reduce operating cost.

While each of these projects delivered on their outcomes, I would argue they had varying levels of success in preserving the organisational talent and corporate memory required.


This is in large part due to the lack of data informing the choices made by the organisation.

More often than not, organisations will work towards a target – this could be FTE, Headcount, or Cost Reduction for example. Choices to achieve this target are often made in isolation of critical information. 

I have seen situations where the people who kept their jobs vs lost their jobs was made on relationship merit, not on skills, capability or cultural alignment. I have also seen examples where it is a numbers game. Here, the end goal is purely to achieve the target. This leaves some organisations scrambling for contractors and consultants to backfill their critical skill gaps.  

With the world in economic freefall (cue the dramatic music) we are going to see more and more organisations looking to right-size their workforce in-line with consumer confidence and spending. 

When skills are no longer in shortage, what differentiates the good from great performers in your organisation? 

Personality and behaviour. 

So, with this in mind, how can an organisation make choices which are informed by data, unpinned by fairness, while still being efficient?

Personality and behavioural assessments have long been used in the recruitment and promotion of individuals. However, they are rarely used when right-sizing or restricting an organisation. This seems like a glaring and obvious opportunity. In right-sizing, you are effectively making hiring and promotion decision within your existing workforce. 

When comparing the apples with apples, personality and behavioural assessments allow you to focus on the attributes which will differentiate your workforce for the next phase of your organisational journey . Then depending on what this journey is, you have the opportunity to codify the critical capabilities required.

Sapia has been partnering with many organisations locally and globally. Together we not only re-imagine how our partners use personality and behavioural assessments in recruitment, but also its application to the entirety of the HR lifecycle.

Unlike traditional personality & behavioural profiling, Sapia is powered by AI, utilising conversational text to assess individuals. Not capturing any protected attributes, this process removes the opportunity of bias creeping in. Thus, it allows you to make informed, a data-driven decision about your future workforce on culture & values alignment.

The future is chat and AI!

Yes, personality is widely accepted as an indicator of job performance.

Until now, the only way to accurately measure personality was through long and repetitive personality tests. The Sapia team breaks new ground disrupting decades of assessment practice. This is done by showing that answers to standard interview questions, through a text-based mobile interview can be used to reliably infer personality traits.

Get the published research here

Join the movement

To keep up to date on all things “Hiring with Ai” subscribe to our blog!

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


4 practical ways to solve your decentralized hiring challenges in 2023

How to improve decentralized hiring processes | Sapia Ai interview software

Decentralized recruitment, while enabling larger companies to hire efficiently, suffers in a labor-short market.

Under ordinary circumstances – like, say, the world before COVID and the Great Resignation – it’s ideal to let local hiring managers build their own workforces. Generally speaking, the decentralized approach is better for productivity, candidate experience, and the overall satisfaction of hiring managers, who look favourably on the trust and autonomy they get from head office.

However, when good candidates are hard to come by, the dearth of talent puts stress on the joints of such a sprawling network. We hear this frequently from companies who come to us to help improve efficiency, diversity, and quality of hire.

Here are the common problems companies are having with decentralized hiring in 2022:

  • Hiring managers are frustrated, because they have a trickle of applicants and little control over employer branding and recruitment marketing.
  • Consistency is hampered by inconsistent processes and rogue hiring managers, who frequently abandon workflows and ATS protocols in order to acquire warm bodies by any means necessary.
  • Job advertising budgets are distributed unevenly, resulting in consternation for already-strained teams.
  • Diversity is put on the backburner, both because hiring managers have the final say, and because they have little-to-no accountability over decisions.
  • The company’s recruitment centre (i.e. head office) is unable to collect and analyze sufficient data to diagnose and fix recruitment problems across its decentralized network.
  • The company is using an ATS with which either some (or all) of hiring managers are unhappy. Head office may know this, but in any case, it decides that the process of researching, purchasing, and implementing a new ATS is not worth the pain.
  • A staunch desire to stick to the status quo, or ‘the way we’ve always done things’, because the company assumes that this period of hiring difficulty will soon pass.

These challenges (and others) have effected a drop in confidence in the way companies interview and process candidates. An Aptitude Research and report from earlier this year found that 33% of companies aren’t confident in the way they interview, and 50% have lost talent due to poor processes. Meanwhile, 22% of the average talent pool is drained at the application stage.

Statistically speaking, roughly one in five people, at minimum, are bailing out of your application process at the very beginning.

How to improve efficiencies across a strained decentralized hiring network

As with many things in business, the answer to alleviating organizational pain lies in small, iterative improvements. Our recommendations do not include haphazard technological upgrades, nor do we advocate for widespread process changes. These will more than likely cause your decentralized hiring network to fall apart.

Here are some good places to start.

Look at removing time-wasting entry barriers, like resumes and cover letters

This is particularly important for the retail and hospitality industries, but certainly applies to any companies that hire entry-level team members at volume. Given the average level of job experience at this level of employment, most resumes and cover letters aren’t useful in gauging candidate quality. On the contrary – they take up precious hiring manager hours, are cumbersome for candidates to write, and are the main cause of the 22-24% candidate drop out rate we mentioned above. That’s not even accounting for the fact that anywhere between 60-80% of resumes contain falsifications.

Implement a simple, standardized process for capturing a candidate experience NPS baseline

Decentralization, almost by definition, makes capturing useful information difficult. But if you use an ATS as a tool for centralization, consider adding a candidate NPS measurement step to your application process. It can be as simple as a Net Promoter Score scale (1 to 10). If you hire at volume across multiple localities or regions, asking this one simple question can help you produce meaningful insights about how candidates find your process. What gets measured, gets managed, and though there are many other data points you might want to collect, this is a good (and relatively easy) place to start. If you’re keen to learn more about this, check out our podcast episode on candidate experience with Lars van Wieren, CEO at Starred.

Speak to your hiring managers regularly

Quantitative data is gold, but qualitative data is platinum. Make a habit of interviewing (not surveying, interviewing) your hiring managers on the ground. You’ll uncover invaluable insights that may enable you to make fast changes at scale. We help our clients collect qualitative feedback from hiring managers as a matter of course, leading to increases in productivity and hiring manager satisfaction.

Here are some useful questions to ask your hiring managers:

  • Take me through how you run your local (e.g. instore) hiring process, from start to finish.
  • Explain your process for interviewing candidates.
  • Where do you think you waste the most time?
  • What doesn’t work as well as it should?
  • What kinds of candidates are you seeing, and how would you rate the overall quality?
  • How might we support you in hiring more effectively?

This kind of bottom-up research aims to understand how hiring managers are actually behaving and interacting with systems. Some may be breaking from established protocols, but if you ask them why and how, you might uncover tactics and efficiencies that can be brought back to the rest of the organization, thereby improving the way all hiring managers operate. Two adages apply here: ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, and ‘People will always find the path of least resistance’.

This fact-finding method is better than surveys because surveys impose a limited scope in which potential problem areas are preset. “We’re asking you about these things,” you’re saying, “and therefore, we’re suggesting they’re most important.” As a result, other problems and possible solutions are likely to be excluded from discovery. You’ll always learn more by having real conversations, because they can go in any conceivable direction.

Look for novel ways to encourage applications from otherwise passive candidates

Again, incredibly useful for retail, but applicable in a wide range of industries and contexts. Think about the universal touchpoints you have with customers (a.k.a candidates) across your decentralized network. In retail, some good examples might be your receipts and carry bags. These provide you invaluable real estate to advertise your jobs and employer brand. Consider putting a URL or QR code on these assets, and you might drastically increase the amount of people who know about and apply for the jobs you advertise. This tactic has the added benefit of capitalizing on active and loyal customers; after all, if they’re buying from you, they’re a prime target for recruitment marketing.

Here’s a cool example of how we help our clients advertise their jobs in places their customers can easily see.

The best part about this manner of advertising? You already own the space, and the design can be centralized and rolled out at scale.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Sapia’s Ai Smart Interviewer is a dynamite solution for the inevitable pain points of decentralised recruitment. Our technology can be rolled out across your entire company, and takes care of the application, screening, interviewing, and assessment stages of your process.

Hiring managers save time – as much as 1,600 hours per month, for some of our customers – but they still get the option to approve and interact with short-listed candidates. Better still, our platform captures vital data on diversity and candidate experience, enabling you to see exactly how your network is performing, individually and collectively.

Best of all, Sapia tech integrates directly with the leading ATS platforms, and can be rolled out in as little as four weeks.

Woolworths Group, Australia’s largest private employer, uses Sapia to hire more than 50,000 candidates per year, nationwide. To see how they flourish in a labor-short market, check out our case study here.

Read Online

This Year Is the Year of Trust: 3 Guiding Principles for CHROs

Is it just me or is the word ‘trust’ coming up a lot in your LinkedIn feed right now?

Did anyone notice the Linked-In post by ‘SCOMO’ on the weekend, dressed in a cardi, holding a plate of home-baked samosas? A leaf out of the NZ PM’s playbook. Trust is fast becoming or is already the organisational trait that is critical for now.

It’s the lack of trust that limited work from home until now.

It’s trust in leadership that makes your workers give lots of discretionary effort.

For big-name consumer brands, your customers are both the people in the store buying your products and the people who want to work for you. When you only have so many jobs to go around, when your candidates are an extension of your consumer reach, you can still give them dignity, you can do even better and give them a hand up, just by changing how you recruit. 

How many consumer brands are doing the maths on the cost to build a trusted consumer brand via traditional marketing (traditional brand advertising + social) in a crowded market and the cost of acquiring consumer trust if you think of your candidates as your consumers? 

For any relationship, trust starts early. That means trust starts to grow (or diminish) from your very first interactions with your future employee – from your application process through to how you conduct your interviews.

 In our current reality of having to work from home and to interview remotely, building trust can be even more of a challenge.

If your Recruitment and HR team are looking to grow trust fast, and keep increasing it through your recruitment process, here are 3 shortcuts by which our customers swear.

1. It’s the end of the black box era – give every applicant feedback

With technology now in the market that ensures every single applicant receives fast automated personalised learning from their interview, there is no excuse for black-box recruiting.

Historically, recruitment is laden with ambiguity and secrecy.

 Requiring a live conversation with an org psych if you ever wanted to know your results from sitting your 3-hour psychometric test

 Receiving the ubiquitous reject email or call – you don’t meet the requirements of the role, or worse, ‘you are not a good culture fit’

 The known unknown- that it could be weeks or even months until you know whether you get the job

2. Expectations have changed enormously for job seekers too.

Even a few years ago, we wouldn’t question the black box of recruitment, the lack of a reply, and certainly, we wouldn’t expect to receive feedback from an interview. Or to be asked to give feedback

Any company can introduce a feedback request into their recruitment, but giving feedback requires real smarts if you don’t want to kill trust.

And that feedback needs to be meaningful, relatable useful and ideally immediate. A feature enabled only by AI and only by smart human AI.

Today you can access smart AI to give every applicant that learning opportunity. And why wouldn’t you make that a priority in a world of growing unemployment and more disappointed candidates?

Plus, for a consumer brand, their candidate pool is usually also their consumer base and the bigger the brand, the more rejections they give out. In some cases, they are rejecting candidates in 6 figures. Which makes the candidate experience vital for the business even more than for your EVP.

No matter how many candidates apply and how many you bring through to your recruiting process, enhance trust by giving every one of them automated personalised feedback.

3. Kill the bias – commit to genuine blind screening

Barb or Buddhi? Who do you think has a greater likelihood of getting the interview? I don’t like my name much, but I don’t believe it’s ever been a factor in my career opportunities. Unlike Buddhi, my co-founder. When I interviewed Buddhi for the role, he said he had experienced the ‘name’ discrimination himself.

An NYT article reminded us that simply having a ‘white name’ presents a distinct advantage in getting a job – call-backs for that group being 50 per cent higher. We have already written about the fact that no amount of bias training will make us less bias.

We worry intensely about the amplification of lies and prejudices from the technology that fuels Facebook. Yet do we hold the mirror up to ourselves and check our tendency to hire in our image? How many times have you told a candidate they didn’t get the job because they were not the right “culture fit”?

The truth is that we humans are inscrutable in a way that algorithms are not. This means we are often not accountable for our biases. And bias training has been proven not to be an effective guard against biased hiring.

Enhance trust with your applicants by committing to blind screening, at least at the top of the funnel. While it’s tempting in a world of ‘zoom everywhere’, video interviews are the opposite of blind screening.

Similarly relying on AI that uses deep learning models to find the best match, also don’t endear themselves to building trust with your applicant pool. They make explainability a real challenge for the recruiters.

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




Read Online

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!

Read Online