The rise in video platforms for hiring suggests we still have as strong a ‘bias’ towards having to see someone to hire someone, as there has been with having to see someone working in the office to trust they are working.
What will it take for that bias to be disrupted?
Mature organisations who have fully remote teams working in 75+ countries, hire remotely via text and/or email. No face-to-face and definitely no video interviewing, which can be a petri dish for bias.
Many companies are hurting right now. COVID-19 is forcing them to make lay-offs and tough decisions about the things that mattered to them. For some, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives have been the first to go. Given the havoc that COVID-19 has created in our economy, this loss of focus is somewhat understandable.
Then George Floyd died after a police officer held him down so he was unable to breathe. In the week since we’ve seen unprecedented statements coming out from companies in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This signifies a huge shift in how companies engage with these issues, but when we’re fighting institutionalized racism, and corporate America is a very much part of the institution, it doesn’t matter how powerful your statement is – unless you’re unwilling to take action and to change internally.
The idea of “blind applications” became a thing a few years ago, with companies removing names on applications thinking that it would remove any gender or racial profiling. It made a difference, but bias still existed though the schools that people attended, as well as the past experience they might have had. Interestingly, these are two things that have now been shown to have no impact on a person’s ability to do a job.
Artificial Intelligence was touted as the end-solution, but early attempts still ran through CVs and amplified biases based on gender, ethnicity, age – even if they weren’t recorded, AI created profiles comparing ‘blind’ candidates to those in roles currently (ie. white men) – as well as favouring schools and experience.
True bias in recruiting can only exist if the application is truly blind (no demographics are recorded) and is not based on a CV, but through matching a person’s responses to specific questions to their ability to perform a job. It has to be text-based so that true anonymity can be achieved – something video can’t do as people are still racially profiled.
To have a conversation about removing bias from your organisation – we would love to chat
Have you seen the 2020 Candidate Experience Playbook? Download it here.
One of the questions we get asked a lot is “what’s the difference between psych testing and predictive analytics”. So today we’re going to unpack this a little bit and look at how the two differ, and where they are similar
Psych testing has been around for decades. It’s an old-school form of predictive analytics. You look at a big group of people who are in the same role and figure out what’s common with their profiles, define a set of questions to test for the common attributes for that role and then apply that as a broad-based test for anyone who is applying for that same role.
It’s been around for a while, so people are familiar with the practice.
Read more: The Changing Role of the Organisational Psychologist
It’s generally expensive, cumbersome to interpret, and based on a very big assumption that if you fit the profile you will be successful in the role.
Psychological assessments have long been used to identify ‘hidden talent’ or ‘potential’ in people with limited work experience. Whilst these traditional assessments have reduced the hiring and promotional error rates, they take time to analyse, are costly, and are built off competencies inherently imbued with bias. It gives a suggestion that you are a fit, but we know that this rarely correlates to actually being successful in the role.
Psych tests are testing your ability to do a test. That’s it. Traditional psychological assessments do not link to actual performance in the role, nor do they have any self-learning functionality. There is no performance data that feeds into psychological assessments and therefore they have limited predictive power.
In the context of Sapia, we use actual performance data to predict a candidate’s likelihood of success in the role they have applied for. The applicant completes an online questionnaire, but in-between the questions asked and the applicant’s responses is a data model. This statistical model draws on many different objective data points to predicts a candidate’s success in the role.
This also enables an efficient and immediate feedback loop about the actual performance of the hired candidate, improving the accuracy of the predictive model over time. Very quickly the predictive model that you use to select high performers becomes completely customised for your business. You build your own bespoke Intellectual Property, which becomes even more valuable with use.
We all try to find patterns to help us make decisions, whether it’s ‘this restaurant looks busy so it must be good’, to ‘this person went to the same university as me, so they must know what they’re talking about’. We are often blinded by our innate cognitive biases, such as our tendency to overweight the relevance of our own experience. We end up in a tourist trap eating overcooked steak because that’s what everyone else was doing.
Our predictions are based on analysing objective data – someone’s responses to a set of questions, compared to the objective performance metrics for that same person in the role. This is a much more reliable and fairer way to make the decision. The democracy of numbers can help organisations eliminate unconscious preferences and biases, which can surface even when those responsible have the best of intentions.
We work closely with the recruiter or hiring manager to drill down into the qualities of a high performer, and then structure a bespoke application process to search for this. This could be a high level of empathy for customer service or the drive and resilience needed in sales.
Like all AI, our system improves with data. It learns what kind of hires drive results for your business, and then automatically begins to look for this with future applications. Ultimately, the more applicants that apply, the better it gets in identifying which people best match your requirements. And the longer you leverage our system, the more effective it gets.
Hopefully, that’s given you a good overview of where we differ, and what some of the advantages of implementing this into your recruitment process. Still, looking for more?
You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details to book a demo
On 26th August, our CEO Barb Hyman facilitated a webinar on “Hiring with Heart” in collaboration with The Recruitment Events Network.
To our surprise, Jeff Uden who is the Head of Talent and L&D for Iceland Foods also joined the webinar.
During the session, Jeff offered some wonderful comments. We took a transcript of Jeff’s input and have jotted it here. It offers insights on dealing with enormous volumes of candidates, offering positive candidate experience and communicating culture from a candidate’s first experience with a brand.
Thanks for your insights, Jeff. Incredibly valuable.
At Iceland Foods, we have started working with Sapia. That was as a result of a couple of things. One was the element of the mass recruitment that we were doing. Just to put it in perspective, in the first four months of this year, we received over five hundred thousand applications.
We wanted to find a way that delivered a level of fairness, a level of consistency around how we sift those applications that then enabled store managers to reduce that amount of time that they are spending on doing the recruitment.
The other thing that we wanted to do was significantly enhance our candidate experience. One of the challenges that I had around the experiences that we had within the business is that it felt like it was really standard. It felt like it was cold; it felt like it came from a computer. We wanted to change how we did that and more importantly give something back to the candidates.
Often nowadays people apply for jobs, and there’s the standard ‘bulk’ response that says if you haven’t heard anything from us in two weeks take it that you haven’t been successful.
As big companies or companies of any size we have a duty to help those individuals to understand why they haven’t been successful and to help them to be successful in the next role for which they apply.
The fact that they won’t be hired into your business is probably the right decision because they wouldn’t have been the right fit given the testing that they have gone through. However, that doesn’t mean they are a bad individual. What we need to do is to help them to understand where their strengths are and where their development needs are, and certainly, that was a massive appeal of working with Sapia.
Going through and reading some of the feedback that we’ve had from the candidates, it’s having a huge effect on the candidate experience.
We had a swift implementation planned. But probably one of the lengthiest parts of it was about actually getting the questions right and getting the language right. We really did spend a decent period doing that.
I just had a quick look at one of the pieces of feedback here, and this is completely unedited:
That’s what’s coming over from the way in which we put the language across within the questions.
We are genuinely really chuffed about how they are engaging far more with us as a brand and how they are feeling like they are getting something back. They genuinely don’t feel like this is a computer process in any way whatsoever; they genuinely feel like they are talking to people.
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If there was ever a time for our profession to show humanity for the thousands that are looking for work, that time is now.
Do you know how much employee turnover costs your organisation? And how much you could save by improving your retention?
Only 28% of organisations can answer ‘Yes’ to these two questions!
For everyone else, it’s a daunting dilemma that’s often swept under the carpet. But that’s obviously not going to solve the problem.
If you really want to do something about your turnover issue, the first step is to fully understand it.
So, we have highlighted the 11 essential things you need to know about employee turnover in this handy infographic!
All the facts in the infographic are hand-picked from our white paper ‘Employee Turnover: The hidden cost crippling business’.
The paper explores virtually every aspect of turnover, including the best metrics to monitor, costs to include when you calculate your turnover costs, and how to go about combating the issue before it gets out of hand.