Last week, our smart interviewer technology was featured in a glowing piece by the Australian Financial Review. The story was picked up by LinkedIn News Australia, who conducted a poll asking users if they were “comfortable being interviewed by a bot”.
The poll garnered more than 6,500 responses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 50% of respondents selected the response “No – it’s a job for humans.” Just under a third of LinkedIn users said that they believe chatbot interviewing is “the future”, while 21% said that it’s appropriate only for certain roles.
When you have over 6,500 responses, you can do some meaningful analysis. In this case, “It’s just for humans” was the prevailing opinion. But, in the comments section attached to the poll, we discovered more about how people feel toward Ai, both as a technological construct and as a tool for recruitment. We bucketed the comments into five recurring themes:
Ai hasn’t made a good name for itself lately – take Amazon’s recent facial recognition debacle as a good example – so it’s easy to see why people are resistant to the prospect of Ai moving into a space historically handled by humans. Take a bird’s eye view, and the notion certainly looks preposterous: How could a machine, asking just five questions, ever hope to recreate the capabilities of a seasoned recruiter or talent acquisition specialist?
That is the problem, though: The more ‘human’ aspects of the recruitment process are ruining the game. Ghosting is rampant, both for candidates and recruiters. Ineradicable biases are creating unfairnesses that permeate organisations from top to bottom. The Great Resignation is putting immense pressure on hirers to move quickly, excluding thousands of applicants based on arbitrary criteria that shift from month to month. Consider, too, these sobering statistics:
For Ai to qualify as a useable, reliable tool, we expect it to be perfect. We compare it, unfairly, against some ultimate human ideal: The chirpy, well-rested recruiter on their best day. The kind of recruiter who has never ghosted anyone, who has no biases whatsoever, and who finds the right person for the right job, no matter what. Here’s the issue with this comparison: That kind of human doesn’t exist.
For Ai to be a valid and useful tool, and an everyday part of the human recruiter’s toolset, it doesn’t need to be perfect, flawless; it only needs to be better than the alternative. Can’t be done? For one example, Smart Interviewer, eliminates the problem of ghosting completely: Each of your candidates gets an interview, and every single person receives feedback. Even better? 98% of the candidates who use our platform find that feedback useful.
(That is to say nothing of the way it removes bias, as if that weren’t enough on its own.)
Ai has a way to go before it will earn the trust of the majority. Again, this is totally understandable. We believe that there is a better, and quicker, way to get there.
To borrow a concept commonly associated with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, we want to create a trustless environment for our Ai and its activities. Not an environment without trust, but one in which trust is a foregone conclusion. In a trustless environment, dishonesty, either by admission or omission, is impossible. Just as you cannot forge blockchain entries, you cannot hide the workings and algorithms that make our Ai what it is.
That is the essence of our FAIR Framework. For hiring managers and organisations, this document provides an assurance as well as a template to query fairness related metrics of Ai recruitment tools. For candidates, FAIR ensures that they are using a system built with fairness as a key performance metric. For us, transparency on fairness is standard operating procedure.
Finally, think about this: When we say we want a ‘human’ recruitment process, what are we really saying? That we want something fallible, prone to biases, subject to the decisions of people who have bad days? What if a trustless Ai companion could help remove all that, without replacing the person? Is that not more human?
To find out how to interpret bias in recruitment, we also have a great eBook on inclusive hiring.
While workplace diversity might once have been considered a ‘nice to have’, today it’s a ‘must-have’ for employers who recognise the value it brings to their organisation.
The idea of workplace diversity is that the people in any organisation’s team should reflect the society in which we live – that is people of different genders, different ages and different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. That seems logical and simple enough, yet achieving diversity is still a struggle for many.
Today, workplace diversity is not just about increasing female representation and employing team members from different cultural backgrounds. While these are great goals, true diversity is about so much more.
Diversity can be broadly sorted into two categories:
Inherent – effectively the defining traits and characteristics we are born with – gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic background, religious and cultural backgrounds.
Acquired – reflecting our experience of the world around us and covering things like education, life knowledge, learned values and skills, socio-economic mobility, political beliefs. These are developed, earned or achieved over time.
It’s the combination of inherent and acquired traits that make people and societies diverse. This holistic view of culture, background, life experience, education, values and perspectives is a top priority for recruiters and employers alike.
Diversity hiring is not about increasing workplace diversity for the sake of diversity. Diversity hiring is all about giving every candidate an equal opportunity, regardless of their background. It’s about identifying and removing any steps in sourcing, screening and shortlisting candidates that may allow discrimination against candidates and personal characteristics that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job such as gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and so on.
By removing biases against individuals or groups of candidates, the process of finding the best candidates to be considered for the role can be based on merit and all the qualities identified as essential for the role and the organisation.
From discovering an opportunity through to offer. It addresses bias, inclusivity and fairness. And ideally, it makes recruiters’ lives easier. This is explored in the Inclusive Hiring e-Book here >
Diversity is embraced by companies who understand the value it brings to their business.
In their 2018 report Delivering through Diversity, McKinsey&Company found that:
While McKinsey’s study was focused on US global companies, their findings are reflected in other studies, white papers and shared experiences of organisations all around the world.
Unsurprisingly, diversity in the workplace can be a deal maker or breaker for millennial and GenZ job seekers. Deloitte found that 83% of millennials are more engaged when they can know a company fosters an inclusive culture.
But it’s not just the next generations. A recent survey by Glassdoor found that 67% of all candidates say it’s an important factor when considering employment opportunities while more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity.
While there’s no doubt that diversity hiring is good for business, for any organisation that doesn’t embrace diversity, the opposite can also be true. Apart from missing out on the benefits that diversity brings to productivity, employee satisfaction and business reputation, employers also risk breaking the law.
Within Australia, diversity is supported by national and state laws that cover equal employment opportunity, human rights, and anti-discrimination in the workplace. It’s essential that all employers understand their own responsibilities and the rights of employees or job candidates. The cost of non-compliance can be severe while the damage to an organisation’s reputation could be matched by irreparable damage to sales, business contracts and their employer brand.
In Australia, it is unlawful to disadvantage employees and job seekers in any way because of their:
Whether innate or learned, everybody is capable of unconscious bias. Reinforced by our own personal experiences, cultural background, beliefs and world view, bias is how we feel about something – a person or group of people, an idea, a thing – and how we use those feelings to make judgements and decisions about those people or things, often instantaneously.
Psychologists and researchers have identified over 150 types of bias that impact the way we engage, assess and interact with others. In the recruitment process that’s 150 ways that otherwise suitably qualified candidates can be overlooked, ignored, put aside or deliberately discounted. You can read more about unconscious bias in our article here.
Because unconscious bias is a universal and inherently human condition, it’s a problem that can’t be solved by any amount of bias training or awareness.
So if humans can’t solve the very human problem, what can be done? Sapia has solved the issue of unconscious bias in hiring by taking humans out of the process for top-of-funnel interview screening through an Artificial Intelligence enabled chat interview platform. It’s an easy way to implement data-driven decision-making with a structured and automated process that provides a level playing field for all candidates.
Adopting Sapia Ai-enabled decision-making to remove bias from the early interview process is one of the easiest ways to get diversity hiring working for you. Here are some further ideas from Sapia’s team to help increase diversity in candidate sourcing, screening and, ultimately, hiring.
More female graduates in technical roles? A better cultural spread across the organisation? More women in middle management? Without understanding how diversity hiring supports your business plans, how would you ever know you’re making progress? Diversity hiring strategies and initiatives should be agreed by your leadership team, documented in HR plans and socialised among all stakeholders.
Developing a reputation as an employer who values and nurtures diversity starts with your own people. Talk to your people to hear what’s important to them and understand if they think any policies (or attitudes) are holding diversity back. Talk to your team about diversity and the benefits it can bring.
Think about policies that may support more diversity in your workplace. Beyond hiring, it may be providing extra time off for community events or religious festivals, or simply providing workplace flexibility and freedom for employees to be comfortable being themselves.
The more your team buy into policies that support, value and celebrate diversity, the more your reputation as a diversity employer will organically grow. And the more it grows, the easier diversity hiring will become… as candidates who value diversity will be lining up to work with you.
Sapia’s automated interview platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with leading Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Even before the interview process, use screening tools in the ATS to filter and sort candidates on skills, qualifications or experience alone. This blind screening to identify candidates with the best potential adds an additional layer of bias-free screening to your diversity hiring.
Undertaking a review of past job ads can help you see where bias may have crept into your recruiting process. Is your language inclusive? Would all candidates feel they could apply regardless of age, gender or cultural background? While being careful not to actually be biased, your words can talk more directly to the candidates you want to attract and explain why they’d be a great fit for your team.
While you’re reviewing the way you reach out to candidates, also consider whether you’re screening or interviewing for the qualities you actually value most or you’re unconsciously guiding the process towards certain types or profiles. Sometimes you need to ask others to check your own bias.
Is it time to fish for candidates in a different talent pool? If you’re relying on the same sources and same screening factors, you’re likely to keep cultivating the same type of candidate. Think about where and how you can connect with a more diverse candidate pool.
If you are targeting more women in specific roles, for example, find relevant interest or networking groups online or within platforms such as LinkedIn and talk to candidates directly. Ask your female employees to recommend their own connections or former colleagues and share job leads. The same principle applies to reaching out to any particular demographic or skill set and employees appreciate having their opinions and recommendations heard and valued.
Especially when you’re starting your diversity hiring journey, you may want to help things along with specific diversity programs that could offer an internship or traineeship to candidates of specific backgrounds. Consider working with local schools, colleges or community groups to make connections and target the appropriate up and coming candidates. It can also be a great way to engage and motivate your own team in supporting diversity hiring goals.
Candidates know text and trust text and questions can be tailored to suit the requirements of the role and the organisation’s brand values. Unlike competitors, Sapia has no video hookups, visual content or voice data. No CVs and no data extracted from social channels. All of which can be triggers for bias– unconscious or otherwise.
Sapia’s solution is designed to provide every candidate with a great experience that respects and recognises them as the individual they are. People are more than their CV and candidates appreciate the opportunity to tell their story in their own words, in their own time. Sapia is the only conversational interview platform with 99% candidate satisfaction feedback. You can read more about blind screening in our article here.
You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now – here – or leave us your details to get a personalised demo
MELBOURNE, July 2020: Australian AI recruitment start-up Sapia, has published peer-reviewed research validating a new AI-based approach to talent assessment that determines personality and job suitability through text.
The research was published by IEEE. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9121971
Personality assessments have long been used to supplement CV data. It is widely accepted that one’s personality can be a predictor of job performance and suitability. Thus, Sapia uses structured text-based interviews, NLP, and machine learning to identify personality traits by analysing text answers to questions related to the job being applied for.
Every candidate gets a “chat based smart interview”. As no demographic data is gathered from other sources such as CVs, the process is blind to gender, race and characteristics that are not relevant in candidate selection. The research validates the accuracy of Sapia’s AI approach. Lastly, it also signals a huge improvement to personality tests, where the candidate experience is underwhelming.
Also Know, Personality AI refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to analyze and understand human personality traits, tendencies, and behavior patterns. This field of AI has gained significant attention in recent years, as businesses and organizations seek to better understand their customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
Barbara Hyman, Sapia (Formerly PredictiveHire) CEO says chat-based interviews address the three big failures of current assessments – ghosting, bias and trust.
“Recruiters are the ultimate ghosters,” Ms Hyman says. “With Sapia, the fact that every single candidate receives a personalised learning profile is gold for candidates and your employer brand. Using text to analyse fit that’s blind to gender, race, age and any personal factors is a must-have in today’s current climate and means every company can introduce bias interruption for every hire and promotion. Imagine what that will do to diversity in hiring”
Principal Data Scientist Buddhi Jayatilleke says “language has long been seen as a source of truth for personality- it defines who we are. This technology offers a direct way to understand personality from language. All is done by using an experience that is human and empowering. Additionally, this capability can be used for assessment and personalised career coaching. Furthermore, it could be a game changer for job seekers, universities, and employers.”
Candidates across 34 countries have experienced Sapia’s unique chat-based interviews. More insight into how the technology works can be found here. https://sapia.ai/science-explained/
Sapia (Formerly PredictiveHire) is a team of data scientists, engineers and HR professionals. Together we have built a product suite that is based on science and built to humanise hiring. Sapia believes that relying on data to drive your most important decisions. Who you hire/ promote, enhances trust and confidence that decisions are fair. We also serve customers in the UK, South Africa, India Australia, and New Zealand.
To keep up to date on all things “Hiring with Ai” subscribe to our blog!
Finally, you can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details to get a personalised demo.
It’s been an exciting start to 2021 for Sapia (Formerly PredictiveHire) and I’m pleased to share that we have been nominated as one of six global HR Tech startups to watch, by the HR Technology Conference and Expo, which is taking place this week.
I’m extremely proud of my team for achieving this feat – it’s been a team effort, and after several months of implementing new processes and initiatives, it’s a wonderful accomplishment. I am thrilled that Sapia has been recognized as one of the leaders in the industry by the HR Technology Conference this year.
Sapia was among six companies chosen from 24,000 applications to have the honour of presenting. It gives us the opportunity to showcase our technology to over four-thousand viewers that will be tuning in over the week. It’s a huge honour to be showcasing how our Ai-enabled chat technology can truly change recruiting.
We launched our exclusive Ethics Charter called FAIR earlier this year; a call to arms commitment that includes a guarantee towards inclusivity, fairness for all, explainable AI, transparency, privacy policies and accountability. We also recently commissioned exclusive research with Aptitude Research to uncover global company attitudes towards automation, technology in talent acquisition and unconscious human bias.
We’ve hit several milestones when it comes to evolving our offering for the better, and presenting at the conference this weekend is the cherry on top. Our biggest priorities right now are raising awareness of the importance of ethical AI and abolishing unconscious human bias. The world right now is at a stage where this is critical for the success of companies of the future and we’re proud to be discussing this and more at Friday’s session.
Sapia will be featuring in a session on innovative HR tech startups on Friday March 19 at 2:00PM ET.
To register for the virtual webinar, guests need to enter their details via this link: https://blog.hrtechnologyconference.com/hr-technology-conference-exposition-spring-set-to-explore-industrys-startup-ecosystem.
More about Sapia
Sapia is a frontier interview automation solution that solves three pain points in recruiting – bias, candidate experience, and efficiency. Customers are typically those that receive an enormous number of applications and are dissatisfied with how much collective time is spent hiring.
Unlike other forms of assessments which can feel confrontational, Sapia’ Chat Interview™ is built on a text-based conversation – totally familiar because text is central to our everyday lives. Every candidate gets a chance at an interview by answering five relatable questions. Every candidate also receives personalised feedback (99% CSAT). Ai then reads candidates’ answers for best-fit, translating assessments into personality readings, work-based traits and communication skills. Candidates are scored and ranked in real-time, making screening 90% faster. Sapia fits seamlessly into your HR tech-stack and with it you will get ‘off the Richter’ efficiency, reduce bias and humanise the application process. We call it ‘hiring with heart’.