Written by Sapia

Should you share AI-driven interview insights with your candidates?

By Barb Hyman

I was prompted to write this after reading a piece by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in HBR who asked this same question in the context of consumer companies. I want to challenge everyone who is hiring to ask themselves the same question in that context.

My answer of course is unequivocally yes. It’s the right thing to do. It will boost trust in your hiring process big time, and it will be a boost to your employer brand.

Here’s some objective data: Aptitude Research interviewed more than 300 HR leaders in 2022 to find out, among other things, the benefits of giving candidates feedback. It improves quality of hire, candidate experience, AND first-year retention.

Imagine what the world would look like if everyone had better self-awareness. Today, not knowing yourself carries an even greater cost. How can you make good decisions about what career you pursue if you don’t actually know what career suits your personality? Imagine the careers you may be missing out on because you don’t have that self-knowledge.

When people ask me what our innovation has achieved in the world – I respond with, “We are raising the collective self-awareness of humanity.”

Unlike GPT-3, 4, or whatever comes next, Sapia’s AI-driven insights can enhance a person’s self-knowledge and agency. That’s the journey in life we’re all on – to understand who we are. “To know oneself is to have mastery over one’s destiny.”

Our AI-powered smart chat technology is aimed at helping candidates better understand themselves and even offers personalized coaching tips. It’s an innovation in recruitment that, as far as I know, no other company comes close to. It challenges the power balance in recruitment and empowers candidates to make the right decision for them.

Just look at these data: 

  • 83.69% of the people who interviewed with Sapia said, ‘It has helped me become aware of my own strengths and improvement opportunities.’
  • 48.18% said, ‘It’s given me more confidence.’
  • Only 16% said that it wasn’t useful for them.

In conclusion, sharing AI-driven candidate insights with your candidates is not only beneficial for them, but can also be a game-changer for your organization. If there’s any doubt about this within your team, feel free to pass this post around.


The real cost of ignoring soft skills when hiring

We agree with renowned marketer Seth Godin: When it comes to creating a good company culture, soft skills (or ‘real’ skills, as he calls them) are more important than the hard or ‘vocational’ skills. “By misdefining ‘vocational’ and focusing on the apparently essential skills,” he argues, “we’ve demised the value of the skills that actually matter. We give too little respect to the other skills when we call them ‘soft’ and imply that they’re optional.”

These real skills seem important when we teach them to our children. In fact, they are critical. You want your prepare your child for the real world with a social toolset that can be applied to all manner of abstract situations: Empathy, curiosity, responsibility, honesty, collaboration, and so on. Conversely, coding is not a staple of the kindergarten curriculum.

We lose this, at some point, when it comes to work. We favour vocational skills in hiring, because they are measurable and attached to output. Of course, this is essential – you want your software engineers to know their keyboards from their Kubernetes – but so too are the real skills, the ones that, if absent, decimate a company’s culture. 

Just what are the effects of poor employees on culture? According to a Harvard study of more than 60,000 office workers, 78% said their commitment to the organisation declined when faced with toxic behaviour, while 66% said their performance declined.

Ignoring real skills ruins your culture, and that’s to say nothing of the actual monetary cost of a bad hire. Research from Robert Half (2021) found that a single bad hire can cost an employer anywhere from 15 to 21% of that employee’s salary. Consider, too, that if you hire a bad egg, you’ll probably have to replace other people as well. What Godin says is true: “Culture defeats strategy, every time.”

Why are soft skills a need to have?

Our CEO, Barb Hyman, believes that today’s scant talent market will force hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals to rush hiring decisions, and secure talent based purely on vocational skills. This is understandable, because gaps need to be filled, but it will have long-tail impacts. 

“If you only hire on the hard skills, are you going to be firing on the soft skills in 12 months? In my experience, that’s what you fire on. When people don’t work out, nine times out of ten, it’s the soft skills. And in 12 months, you’re looking back and saying, ‘I’m not sure about the team we’ve created here, and what we’ve done to our culture’.”

Soft skills are particularly critical for hourly hiring situations

Soft skill matching is particularly important in industries like retail, where employee churn sits at anywhere from 60-70%. Retail staff members move fast and often, and have a high likelihood of migrating to competing businesses. This is partially a nature-of-the-beast problem, but if we better understand what makes people tick, we can better match them to the roles at which they’re likely to succeed, and therefore keep them longer.

For example, we know that the best retail cashiers are high in extraversion. They’re energized by being around people, have good interpersonal skills, and have a lower likelihood of experiencing negative emotion while on the job. It makes sense, then, to prioritize extraversion when matching candidates to the role of cashier. That’s a personality trait – with attendant soft skills – that will predict success for that role.

When people are matched to the job for which they are best suited, they’ll experience higher levels of purpose and satisfaction. It’s obvious why – the daily activities will invigorate rather than drain them. People who have purpose stay longer. Therefore, if you accurately match soft skills to roles, you’ll reduce churn. Our AI Smart Chat Interviewer is really good at this: Across the board, our skill-matching power reduces non-regrettable churn by a minimum of 25%.

If you’re keen to get started measuring soft skills, download our HEXACO job interview rubric. It features more than 20 interview questions designed by our personality psychologists to assess the skills of candidates that come your way. It will even help you figure out what soft skills are best for you based on the needs and values of your organization.

Five questions for better risk management

Our AI Smart Chat Interviewer, with its machine learning capabilities, an assess both the soft skills and the cognitive ability of candidates using a structured interview. With the help of HEXACO personality inventory modelling, our Smart Interviewer can determine if a candidate is agreeable, conscientious, honest, open, and more – and its recommendations result in better, fairer hiring outcomes for hiring managers and candidates, every time. The final choice is always yours, but you’re handed a comprehensive shortlist of the best people for you.

See it in action here.

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The Impact of Picking the Wrong Assessment Is Both Measurable and High

Candidate experience matters

Research shows that applicants who hold positive perceptions about selection are more likely to view the organisation favourably. They also report stronger intentions to accept job offers and recommend the employer to others.

Applicant perceptions are also positively correlated with actual and perceived performance on selection tools and with self‐perceptions.

We know candidate experience matters to recruitment, but it also impacts your bottom line. Your candidates are an extension of your consumer reach. Recruitment can make a measurable difference to your consumer growth especially for a big brand where your applicant pool may be almost as big as your consumer base.

Assessments Have Long Been Used in Hiring. What’s Changing?

The old way to test for traits at scale is to submit applicants to lengthy self-report personality questionnaires. In 2021, these traditional assessments are seen as outdated.

They are long, in some cases taking several hours to complete. This is mainly due to every single statement in the test contributing a single data point in measuring a facet and underlying trait. To get a reliable measure of a facet several similar statements are required. Many of which are not relevant to the role for which they are applying (‘I would rob a bank if I could get away with it’). These aspects quickly lead to boredom and frustration. Test-takers will often answer questions as quickly as possible, often without even reading the test items. They can also create anxiety amongst applicants as they over- analyse the answers. They invariably also give you little back for your efforts by way of learning. Overall, the candidate experience is underwhelming.

That matters today as a poor applicant experience has a direct impact on your recruitment brand and to the business bottom-line.

What’s the potential cost to you of poor candidate experience?

A LinkedIn survey found 27% of candidates who had a negative experience would “actively discourage” others from applying for a job with that company. 41% of applicants with a poor candidate experience ditch brand loyalty and avoid buying that company’s products.

So picking the right assessment to evaluate your graduate pool matters a lot to your business as well as to your future culture.

To discuss using text-based assessments in your organisation – click here

Join the movement

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Have you seen the our Candidate Experience Playbook?

If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.  If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.

Download it here.

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LinkedIn’s CEO is right about soft skills – but how do you measure them?

LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky is right about soft skills | Sapia Ai recruitment software

Recruiters: The corporate hiring machine is evolving. Can you feel it?

As recently as a year ago, many top companies still selected candidates based on the most misleading of heuristics: The school they attended.

Harvard? Right this way! Community college? No thanks, we don’t take your kind around here.

This Pearson Hardman-style hiring strategy may have ‘worked’ in the past. Not any more, for two reasons: A) the talent isn’t out there, and B) everyday people expect a better standard of hiring fairness. They know that opportunity isn’t distributed equally, and that elite colleges are more a proxy for privilege than actual performance potential.

(Funny that it took a labor shortage to show companies that potential can come from anywhere. Psychologists and sociologists have known it, and have been saying it, for decades.)

Regardless, you’ve got LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky telling Fortune that its company is favouring soft skills over college degrees, because such a practice creates a ‘much more efficient, equitable labor market, which then creates better opportunities for all’. He’s right about this approach. Even if you take away the benefits to diversity and inclusion, it makes sense purely mathematically: Now your hiring pool has increased from a few hundred thousand candidates to, at the very least, millions.

Soft skills are more useful, and fairer, than resumes

Resumes foster bias. Despite this fact, we insist on using them. Why? Because, until now, there hasn’t been a compelling reason not to. You could screen, interview, hire, and get warm bodies in seats with relative ease. Business could go on. Consequently, bias became a can that could be continually kicked down the road. Not anymore, for reasons discussed above.

The same is true for hire quality. Google ‘how to measure quality of hire’ and you’ll get a million different answers. Some advocate the for speed- or time-to-productivity approach; others say it’s about measuring ‘culture fit’. One or both of those might be true, but that’s beside the point: hire quality is nebulous not by its nature, but because the inputs (i.e. resumes) are messing with the outcomes.

This is why measuring soft skills is so important. Here’s an example:

We know that conscientiousness (that is, the propensity for someone work diligently and systematically on tasks) is a good predictor of on-the-job success. We also know that structured interviews are the best explainer (at 26%) of employee performance (versus previous job experience, which explains just 3%).

We might construct a valid candidate interviewing and vetting process based on these two facts alone. Fundamentally, we know that if A) we look for conscientiousness, and B) we do it in a structured, fair, repeatable way, we’ll get good candidates. Hire quality will take care of itself. Good inputs, good outcomes. Voila.

(It’s not quite that simple, but you get the point: There are reliable, proven ways to ensure validity, and the two examples cited above are very real and useable.)

Instead we rely on unstructured interviews, unruly hiring managers, and resumes – none of which can determine how hard-working a candidate is. Bad inputs that create bad outcomes. Consequently, we regularly examine hire quality and wonder why we struggle to measure it, or worse, connect it to the wider financial outcomes of our business.

So how do you measure soft skills?

Let’s keep this as simple as possible.

  1. Use structured interviews. Aside from the long-standing research above, an Aptitude Research report from this year found that structured interviews are 52% more likely to result in good hire quality.
  2. Ask questions based on known personality traits and behaviors, because these reliably point to high job performance. You want to know things like conscientiousness, empathy, emotionality, and so on.

Our free job interview rubric contains more than 20 questions designed by our psychologists to help you uncover hire quality. Get it here, use it, and let us know how you found it.

Your companion in accurate measurement of soft skills

There are millions of ways to assess for soft skills in interviews, just as there are millions of ways to calculate quality of hire. You may get some success by going it alone, but humans are, historically speaking, terrible at accurately assessing personality traits (and therefore, hire quality).

Our Ai Smart Interviewer does this very thing. Using deep, always-evolving personality science, our platform interviews and assesses candidates for desirable soft skills and behaviors, and even matches the resultant talent profiles to your company values.

Of course, the benefit is that hire quality is achieved and proven for you – you don’t have to worry about biased interviewers, bad questions, enforcing consistent processes, and the other headaches of recruitment. With that time back, you can focus on your people.

Or, think about it this way: LinkedIn is getting really smart with its hiring. Other companies like Apple, Delta, and IBM are too. Will you be left behind?

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