Frontier technology that puts people at the heart of their recruitment solution is rewarded for its ground-breaking approach that also solves for bias and reduces recruitment costs.
Melbourne, Australia, September 21 – Sapia, a text-based AI recruitment solution has been recognised globally for its commitment to creating a hiring experience that is empowering and motivating to the individual and which enhances your company’s brand.
The TIARA Talent Tech Star, awarded to Sapia, honours the most exemplary businesses globally in the talent acquisition industry.
Selected from a group of international finalists as a bold and innovative startup, Sapia was deemed top of the class. All for having demonstrated the value and impact of their solution at a time when agency and in-house recruiters are embracing technology and new ways of working.
The Candidate Experience Solution of the Year Award recognised Sapia as
“a matching solution that could fundamentally change the way
candidates experience recruitment, delivering valuable insight to both the
employer and the candidate whether they are recruited or not.”
The judges included the Head of Search & Staffing UK&I and EMEA at LinkedIn, Sales and Marketing Director of ManpowerGroup UK, and Head of Innovation and Transformation at PwC.
Sapia CEO Barb Hyman said the team was honoured to receive industry recognition for their candidate experience solution which was a core pain point that the company solved along with bias and recruitment costs.
“For far too long as an industry HR has failed so many jobseekers by not giving everyone an equal chance to prove themselves and then ghosting those who do make it through to interviews,” Hyman said.
“With Sapia, everyone gets a chat interview and is treated equally by replying to text-based questions on their phone, without any demographic data being used to make hiring decisions.”
She said the company’s goal around candidate experience is to be recognised as the most inclusive recruitment solution at scale. The team has done extensive testing on how different groups respond to chat-based interviews. This includes a range of candidates from a multitude of gender, race and language backgrounds. For these groups, the experience has been transformative. For candidates who might otherwise feel intimidated by a video format feel safe and comfortable interviewing by chat. The demographics collected on this front are only used in reporting for HR leaders against DEI targets, and not in any hiring decisions.
“We hold ourselves to incredibly high standards when it comes to creating an inclusive product, and ultimately it’s placing people at the core of what we do, that sets us apart from others, and makes our solution so successful for our customers.”
The Qantas Group, the Iceland Group, Telefonica, Bunnings and other trusted consumer brands have seen dramatic improvements from applying Sapia to their hiring/ promotion decisions.
Sapia (Formerly PredictiveHire) is a frontier technology solution which solves for three pain points in recruiting: bias; candidate experience, and efficiency. With only five free-text behavioural questions taking around 20 mins, and using over 80 features extracted from the candidate responses, our predictive models assign a “suitability” score to each candidate. To date, 400,000 candidates looking for roles in retail, healthcare, customer service, hospitality, contact centres and graduate roles across 34 countries have experienced Sapia with positive feedback averaging 99%.
Media Contact | Barb Hyman, CEO firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, if there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. This year, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act turned 30. Even after all that time, bias and discrimination against candidates and employees with disabilities continues to be an important topic.
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). Coupled with increased laws and regulations regarding the protection of disabled job applicants and employees (e.g., U.S. EEOC, 2022), it is no surprise that academics, employers, and selection vendors are keen to understand where potential disability bias exists so it can be reduced or, ideally, 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). One study found that fake accountant job applicants that had disclosed a disability were 26% less likely to receive employment interest from the employer than those with no disability. Worse, experienced candidates with disabilities were 34% less likely to receive interest, despite presenting equally high levels of qualifications (Ameri et al., 2015). In addition to the bias held by hiring managers or recruiters, another concern is that certain selection methods create a very poor candidate experience for individuals with disabilities, causing them stress or anxiety and therefore stopping them from putting their best foot forward. For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in particular, in-person or video interviews can be very stressful, with less than 10% believing they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities in this process (Cooper & Kennady, 2021).
Stuttering is another form of disability where traditional in-person and video interviews where the candidate has to speak may lead to stress and anxiety (Manning and Beck, 2013). One study found that people who stutter find their stuttering to be a “major handicap” in their working lives and over 70% thought that they had a decreased opportunity to be hired and promoted (Klein & Hood, 2004). Other disabilities, such as dyslexia and other learning and language disabilities may cause candidates to struggle with timed online selection assessments, so it is important to identify and remove these barriers (Hyland & Rutigliano, 2013).
Cooper and Mujtaba (2022) recommend alternative approaches that allow candidates with ASD to showcase their skills without having to verbally communicate them or properly interpret nonverbal cues.
The use of an online, untimed, chat-based interview – that is, our Ai Smart Interviewer – 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 the candidate to express themselves freely and adequately demonstrate their skills.
Our Sapia Labs data science team has submitted a paper on reducing bias for people with disabilities to SIOP for 2023.
In the study, the data comes directly from our Smart Interviewer, which, as we said above, is an online untimed chat-based interview platform.
Candidates can give feedback after the interview process, and some candidates include self-report disability conditions in their feedback. While a number of different disabilities were mentioned, we had sufficient sample sizes to examine candidates with autism, dyslexia, and stutter. We compared their machine learning-generated final interview scores and yes/maybe/no hiring recommendations to a randomly sampled, demographically similar group of candidates that did not disclose a disability.
Effect sizes, 4/5ths ratios, and Z-tests revealed no adverse impact against candidates with autism, stutter or dyslexia. Additionally, feedback from these groups tended to indicate the experience was positive and allowed them the opportunity to do their best.
True diversity and inclusion starts with the way you hire. Our Ai Smart Interviewer allows people with disabilities and neurodiversity – real people, with real ambitions – to represent themselves fairly.
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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By Jennifer Hewett, Australian Financial Review, 31 January
The online questionnaire wants to know whether I respect and comply with authority. I get five options – strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree or strongly disagree. I tick “neutral”. Well sort of, sometimes, I think to myself.
Same choice for whether I am good at finding fault with what’s around me at work. I tick “neutral” again, guiltily acknowledging it’s just possible my editor might have a different opinion about whether I am far too good at that particular skill.
The choice seems less ambiguous when I am asked whether I forget to put things back in their proper place. I hover over “strongly agree” or “agree” and tick the latter – perhaps a little optimistically.
And on it goes for 90 questions, with slight variations in the possible answers, as devised by an AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm. My responses to the bot will determine whether I get to the next stage of actually being interviewed for a job by a real person. AI approves who you should interview
I soon get an encouraging email from Michael Morris, chief executive of Employsure – a company which provides advice on workplace relations and health and safety issues to small businesses. If I ever give up journalism, Morris tells me, I can try for a new career at Employsure. AI has approved me. Despite my deep scepticism about the process, I can’t help but feel a little pleased by the bot’s assessment.
That is because my rather self-serving answers to random personality questions fit those of the best performers at Employsure. There’s no possibility of ageism or sexism or any other latest “ism” influencing that. No old schoolmates or university or sporting framework, no biases about looks or clothes or mannerisms or personal history.
Instead, I participated in what is a variation on a personality test – based on the algorithmic analysis provided by another company, Sapia, operating in Europe and Australia and with 20 clients.
Morris says Employsure tested the performance of employees selected by Sapia’s algorithm against the choices of Employsure’s own human recruitment team for much of last year.
The fast-growing company hired around 450 people in 2018 with a workforce now totalling more than 800. Morris wanted good people and those more likely to stay.
The experience convinced him that rather than using more traditional CVs to screen applicants, it was worth paying Sapia for its AI technology as Employsure continues to expand its numbers this year. Employsure now only interviews the 10-15 per cent of those who are graded “yes” or “maybe” by the bot.
“The overlay of AI made a significant difference in overall performance, productivity and tenure,” Morris says. “And it means the recruitment team can have a head start on engaging in better conversations with those who have interviews.” This is still a distinct minority view among Australian businesses which have been generally reluctant to embrace the promise of AI when it comes to hiring.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Interview Automation
The trend to make greater use of AI in business generally is inevitable and accelerating. Just consider all those online “conversations” we now have about customer service and products as the ever-patient bot nudges us this way and that.
Just as inevitably, it is leading to community concerns about whether AI will be used to replace too many people’s jobs. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, intelligent agents and robots could eliminate as much as 30 per cent of human labour by 2030. The scale would dwarf the move away from agricultural labour during the 1900s in the United States and Europe.
Of course, the record of technology shifts over centuries always ending up creating many more other types of jobs does not completely soothe fears that this time it’s different. Even if such alarm is overstated, dramatic changes in technology can certainly prove socially and economically disruptive for long periods. AI can also be scary.
But this version of AI is more about filling new jobs more efficiently. Many large global companies already use it to filter job applicants, especially those coming in at lower levels. Its advocates argue it efficiently eliminates bias or the tendency for people to hire in their own image.
Not that this always goes smoothly – even for the most digitally sophisticated businesses. Amazon abandoned its own AI hiring tool last October when management realised it had only introduced more bias into the process. Its AI system was based on modelling the CVs of those already at the company – who tended to be male. Naturally, that made prospective hires more likely to be male too. So much for gender-diversity targets.
Sapia’s chief executive is Barb Hyman, formerly a human resources executive for the online real estate advertising company REA Group. She says the system doesn’t work for those companies that don’t measure the performance of their existing employees but the data becomes more and more accurate as more information is added.
By matching responses of applicants against only those employees who are already doing well, it can be extremely efficient with immediate payback – especially for larger companies. The data can also be used to change the culture in an organisation by screening the types of personalities who are hired.
Not surprisingly, Hyman says the data demonstrates how different personalities are better fitted to different sorts of roles. So those who do well in caring jobs tend to be reliable and demonstrate traits of modesty and humility. Good salespeople are focused, somewhat self-absorbed, disorganised and transactional. Those who are involved in building long-term business relationships need to be more adaptable, resilient and open.
Sounds more like common sense than AI. But there’s less and less of that around anywhere. AI beckons instead.