Written by Nathan Hewitt

The 2 metrics that should matter the most to any recruiter

The Talent Business Model

Any leader with P&L accountability knows that tracking margin (ie the difference between your revenue and what it cost you to earn that revenue) is pretty damn important to your economics. Margins of 60%+ for tech companies is what gives them insane valuations because the cost of adding the 10,000th customer is not much greater than adding the 1000th customer. If you believe that the economics and ROI of your talent business model are as important as your core business model, then you may find applying these two business metrics a useful lens to analyse the ROI of your talent business model.

Business Metrics for Recruiting

Someone who is starting a business, an entrepreneur, uses metrics like ‘CAC’ (customer acquisition cost) and LTV (lifetime value of that customer).  The entrepreneur thinks about much does it take to get a customer and what return do they give you before they churn. Then she transitions to a measure of acquisition and a measure of value for those retained.

Applying these metrics to your talent business model can help identify where to invest your HR budget to drive better ROI.

  • Look at your CAC as your candidate and talent acquisition cost. How much does it cost your business to hire one person, taking into account direct and indirect costs of hiring?
  • Think of your LTV  as the long term value of your talent. How long do your new hires stay in the business? How many of your leadership roles are filled by internal talent which is a lower acquisition cost than external recruitment?
  • How many of your new hires are promoted early? For professional service firms, time to promote may be a performance differentiator.

Look at how AI drives down your Candidate Acquisition Costs?

3 factors drive your CAC:

1. Direct recruitment costs  i.e. how many recruiters do you have on the tools

2. The productivity and speed of your recruitment team (that is, it’s scaleability) i.e. the amount of candidates they screen in an hour, day, week, month

3. The layers of assessment in your recruitment and their costs i.e. are you doing CV screening, phone screening, video screens, 1:1 interviews, panel interviews, group assessments, coffee chats?

All of these layers of assessment, some with some science behind them, most with no science, add to your CAC. We analysed CAC for our customers comparing their ‘old’ recruitment process and the impact of using our AI to do their screening and assessment.

The results are stunning.

PHAI (PredictiveHire AI) can screen 100,000 applicants in around 6 hours,  what it would take a team of 5 recruiters 476 working days to do. A massive 600 x faster. This is based on conservative assumptions like every recruiter screening 7 hours a day, CV screening of 10 minutes per applicant, and 10%  of those CV screened with phone screens of 30 minutes in duration. Those speed differentials compound when the numbers grow because humans can’t scale but technology can.

You can see what the scale of impact is when you look at the cost and time differential for 1000 applicants and 100,000 applicants. The case for AI in recruitment is a no brainer for enterprise and government, and compelling even for smaller businesses with more modest volumes.

Time to speak to one of our team about using Phai? 










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5 Tips to Building a Winning Digital Remote Assessment Centre Experience

As the world embraces remote working, how we recruit and conduct assessment centres has changed.

It’s hard to imagine a world before COVID-19 when things like social distancing were foreign concepts to most of us.

But now almost six months into COVID world, it is clear that how we will live, work and socialise will be changed in some ways forever. With global economies beginning to hit the restart button, we are now seeing the impact of these changes on how organisations recruit.

When it comes to volume recruitment, Assessment Centres or “Group Interviews” have been a staple in managing effective recruitment drives for high demand roles.

Now with the need (and preference) of many to maintain social distancing or minimise in-person interactions, organisations around the world are shifting towards fully remote assessment centres, enabled through technology.

The top 5 tips to facilitating a winning remote Assessment Centre:

1. Adjust all assessment centre activities to remote

The first thing to consider when moving to remote assessment centres is what adjustment or changes you might need to make to the activities you run with the applicants. Group interviews (either 1:1 or 1:2) are generally unaffected, but you will need to remove group activities which involve materials (i.e. lego or straws). Group activities which tend to be most effective are:

  • role-play activities
  • problem-solving activities
  • case studies, and
  • presentations.

2. Allow for tech issues when setting up your digital assessment centre environment

While technology will be your best friend in the transition to remote assessment centres, you won’t be able to control all aspects of this. For example, assessors or applicants might have an unexpected issue with their computer or unstable internet connection. Don’t let this deter you, as the cases are rare – but be prepared for how you will respond or how you may need to adapt to minimise disruptions and keep the assessment centre on-track.

3. Schedule your digital assessment centre in detail and well in advance

Scheduling won’t be anything new to seasoned Group Interviewers. The difference now is you need to be scheduling a few additional factors to make for a smooth day, and engaging applicant experience.

Consider scheduling your day in blocks:

1 – Introduction & roll call

2 – Interviews

3 – Group activities

4 – Wash up and calibration

Tip! You will need multiple video conference links and breakout rooms prepared and scheduled for each of these.

4. Practice makes for the perfect assessment centre

Most of our customers have been doing assessment centres for years, but doing them remotely is a different game.

Your best bet is to do a ‘dry run’ with your assessors, even if only to walk through the process, schedule and technology – that way, on the day, there are no surprises!

5. Take advantage of technology that specialises in digital assessment centres

Last but by no means least, take advantage of technology to do all the heavy lifting for you. Most organisations will have a video conference or collaboration platform which works effectively with multiple ‘rooms’ and large groups. If not, we recommended Zoom, as it has one of the highest video compressions rates ensuring the best possible experience for applicants and assessors. After this, you will need an assessment centre platform, such as LiveInterview, which allows you to manage your remote assessment centres without the need for spreadsheets, hours of admin, and painful calibration discussions.

Want to know more about how we can help you make your remote assessment centres a success? Click here to get in touch.

Make your digital assessment centres easier and fairer with LiveInterview

It is for these reasons that Sapia has launched LiveInterview – the app that specialises in making group interviews:
1. Easier to organise
2. A pleasure to be there
3. Yield better results – especially considering all attendees were preselected using FirstInterview!
4. Totally fair and equitable
5. Consistent and standardised
6. Easy to administer. No record-keeping needed anymore, ever
7. Data-driven objective decision making plus it delivers a better hiring yield.

Watch the video here:

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COVID career anxiety is creating hiring bias!

We know that the global pandemic has caused a disruption in global workforces. Much has already been said about the Great Resignation, and how it has morphed into the Great Reshuffle, a period in which many are looking to reinvent themselves in the light of new jobs and careers. No industries or role types have been spared, either, it seems – even recruiters are leaving positions in the tens of thousands.

With a reshuffle, however, comes uncertainty, doubt, and anxiety. The war on talent may have benefited some, but the path to career reinvention is by no means guaranteed. Consider the following factors, factors job-hunters must face every day:

  • Bias in recruitment. According to a recent survey, 65% of tech recruiters believe their hiring process is biased. You may not get a fair shake, and you may not ever know why.
  • Ghosting. According to CandE research, In 2020, 33% of candidates in North America who completed job applications had still not received a response more than two months later.
  • Unfair competition. 78% of people admit to misrepresenting themselves on their resume.
  • Threats to longevity and progression. According to Harvard Business Review, almost two thirds of the tasks that a manager currently does may be automated by as soon as 2025.
  • Changes to the very nature of work. Noted future-of-work columnist Dror Poleg said it best: “It is not just where or when we work that is changing; it is the nature of work itself. For a growing number of people, work is becoming indistinguishable from leisure. In some cases, the workers don’t even know they are working. In others, workers think they are working while they are, in fact, resting. In the emerging world of work, video gamers are getting paid to play games, and fans are paid to listen to music.”

It’s little wonder that some Great Reshufflers, especially emerging adults (ages 18-24), are experiencing anxiety about working in the post-COVID world. Instability is the only constant. Consider, too, that some people are better at dealing with uncertainty – or, in technical terms, they are higher-than-average in the HEXACO personality traits Flexibility (or Adaptability, as it’s sometimes known).

This hypothesis is supported by at least one study, published last year in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry. It suggested that, “…due to the outbreak of ‘Fear of COVID-19’, people are becoming depressed and anxious about their future career, which is creating a long-term negative effect on human psychology.”

How this translates to good (or not-so-good) candidate experience

The traditional face-to-face interview is typified by stilted small talk and a general air of nervousness. If a candidate is low in Extraversion, high in Agreeableness, or high in the Anxiety and Fearfulness scales of the Emotionality personality domain, their experience of walking into a blind interview is likely to be worsened by the additional stressors left by COVID-19. 

Consider, as is likely to be the case, that the candidate might possess a combination of all three traits, in the proportions laid out above. These people, especially if they are young, may not even bother to apply for a job in today’s climate. 

The ramifications of this are obvious: You risk, at best, filling your workforce with open, disagreeable, type-A employees. At worst, you risk baking unfairnesses or bias into your recruitment process, at the cost of good candidates who don’t shine in awkward face-to-face situations.

How good candidate experience data, and talent analytics, can help you ease gender biases at the top of your hiring funnel

Take this small data visualisation from our TalentInsights dashboard as a key example. Please note here that the following results apply to the outcomes of the hiring process, and not Smart Interviewer’s recommendations.

HEXACO personality data in recruitment | Sapia recruitment Ai software

It presents an assessment of candidate hiring outcomes according to key HEXACO personality traits. The red dots represent female candidates, the blue dots male. Immediately, we can see that when it comes to Conscientiousness – one of the best predictors of workplace success – females and males are more or less identical.

The main differences between the two genders occur, however, in the domains of Agreeableness and Emotionality. Combined, these two traits are good predictors of anxiety and/or aversion to fear. As you can see, females tend to be higher in Agreeableness and Emotionality than males. 

Though the difference is not incredibly significant, it is still present – and it may require a slight change to the way you bring female candidates into your hiring process. The data proves, of course, that your best candidates are just as likely to be female as male – but your recruitment tactics may be producing outcomes that favour males.

How to account for fear, anxiety, and Agreeableness in your recruitment process

We’ve said it before, and it’s the whole reason we exist: A blind, text-based Chat Interview with a clever, machine-learning Ai. Smart Interviewer is our smart interviewer, and it has now analysed more than 500 million candidate words to arrive at the kinds of data points you see above. It helps you combat bias at the top of your funnel, and gives you the Talent Analytics you need at the bottom.

And it works. Take it from the candidates high in Agreeableness:

“I have never had an interview like this online in my life… able to speak without fear or judgement. The feedback is also great to reflect on. I feel this is a great way to interview people as it helps an individual to be themselves and at the same time the responses back to me are written with a good sense of understanding and compassion also. I don’t know if it is a human or a robot answering me, but if it is a robot then technology is quite amazing.”

– Graduate Candidate A

“[It was] approachable, rather than daunting. I found the process to be comprehensive and easy to complete. I also enjoyed that the range of questions were different than those commonly asked. The visual aspects of the survey makes the task seem approachable rather than daunting and thus easier to complete.”

– Graduate Candidate B

The future of work is uncertain. But with a fair and unbiased assessment tool, you can prevent the best talent from being lost under the dust of the Great Reshuffle – and save a lot of time and money doing it.

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When unconscious bias becomes a conscious bias

unconscious bias

A perfect example of unconscious bias manifesting in a conscious and damaging way.

At Sapia we are attuned to research and stories around bias – for most of us, it’s the reason we work here.

Our team has observed the speed with which the blame for Coronavirus has targeted an entire ethnicity.

In this case, I’ve heard some say, “it’s not racism, people are genuinely scared of the spread of the virus. It’s a deadly virus. As it originated in China people naturally worry about anyone from China”.

Unfortunately, this is the very definition of bias.

A flawed logic that seems sensible on the surface, nothing but pure stereotyping underneath. Simply, everyone who looks Chinese are not recent travels from China.

Australia is home to 1.2mil Chinese origin Australians according to the 2016 Census. Should we worry about all of them? Bias has no place in fighting any problem, even when it is a deadly virus. It only creates stress and disharmony.

The irony is this: the virus is a true fair operator. It has no racial preferences.  

At the beginning of this week, one of our team who had come down with a cold shared he would work from home, to keep the team safe from his contagion.

We laughed at the time about him being a carrier of Coronavirus.  By the end of the week, members of our team with holidays booked to visit family and travel in China during the Easter break had cancelled their trip.

They did this before Qantas stopped their direct flights and before the Australian government announced that Chinese people won’t be allowed back into Australia.

The team member who had a cold this week is Sri Lankan by birth. I guess that means we would have all been safe if he turned up to work as he is the ‘right’ ethnicity.

We are on a mission: To solve issues of bias in hiring

As a white immigrant myself, I don’t experience those prejudices. I have had career and life opportunities beyond my dreams, unfettered by racial bias.

Building a technology that gives equivalence to such career opportunities is why we work for our company. Some of our team have been screened out of job openings. Maybe they had the wrong name, went to the wrong school or just didn’t look like a cultural fit?

Unfortunately, AI hiring tools can be biased 

Not all AI is equal. HireVue, an AI-driven recruitment company, has recently been taken to the US Federal Trade Commission with a prominent rights group claiming unfair and deceptive trade practices in HireVue’s use of face-scanning technology to assess job candidates’ “employability.”

Using video is an obvious problem as a data source for reasons around race and gender and their associated biases, but you might be surprised to know that CV’s can be just as flawed and are in much broader use as a first parse for algorithms.

How does AI solve the issues of discrimination and bias in recruitment?

At Sapia, we rely on a simple open, transparent interview via a text conversation to evaluate someone for a role. No visuals, no CV data. No voice data as that too carries the risk of bias. Neither do we take data from Facebook. Using nothing that the candidate does not know about.

Bottom line, testing for bias and removing it from algorithms is possible. Whereas for humans, it’s not.

If you want to learn more about how we test for bias and why bias testing is critical to an AI screening tool get in touch here.

No amount of bias training will make you less biased.  Maybe that’s one reason why using machines to augment and challenge decisions is fast becoming mainstream.

It certainly helps to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in hiring decisions.



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