HR discussing hiring decision

How that bad hiring decision was made

Have you ever wondered how a bad hiring decision is made? Although we try to hire the most suitable candidate, sometimes bad hiring decisions are made. But this isn’t by coincidence, here are some factors that can influence a hiring decision. 

Was there bias at play? 

Humans unconsciously process 11 million pieces of information per second. In order to manage this mass of data, our brains have had to adapt by creating ‘shortcuts’ to help us make decisions. Without this, we would be paralysed into making no decisions or just random ones. This is cognitive bias.  Here are the 4 reasons why bias could influence a hiring decision.  

  • Too much information – Too many great applicants? Or maybe an applicant’s supporting statement is far too long.  If there is too much information humans are drawn to details that support their existing beliefs. For example, Harvard Business School discovered employers aren’t prejudiced against women because of their gender, but because they have the perception that men perform better in certain tasks.
  • Lack of information – In contrast, when there isn’t enough information our brain fills in the gaps. This includes filling in characteristics of a person or a group from prior history or stereotypes. 
  • The need to act fast – Did the position need to be filled quickly? When we need to make a decision quickly we tend to choose the option that is the least risky to avoid mistakes and preserve our status in a group.   
  • What should we remember? In a world packed with information, our brains need to decide which elements will prove useful in the future. Our minds have created a few methods to enhance storage space, for example, the brain prefers generalisations over specifics because they take up less space.

Learn more about bias here. 

Was the recruiter in a bad mood?

However hard we try to prevent it, our emotions are still a key influence when we make a decision. We know from research, as well as from experience, that it is generally a bad idea to make promises when in a good mood and major decisions when in a bad mood. It is harder to rationalise when we are experiencing negative emotions. The brain is focused on how angry or sad we are instead of the decision at hand.

What time of day was it?

Humans have natural energy highs and lows throughout the day which can impact the decisions they make. This study found that judges would give harsher sentences before their lunch break and were more favourable after, despite the cases being similar. Depending on the time of day a recruiter could make the wrong hiring decision because their energy is low. 

There were too many factors at play 

According to this study, we can only take 7 elements into consideration at once. It might be challenging to make the best decision if there is more than 7 equally qualified candidates for a job, or more than 7 important personal qualities detailed in the personal specification. 

However there is a way to ensure that you make the best decision, regardless of how many factors are at play. A platform like Cognisess Pro is able to consider up to 120 attributes in relation to a candidate’s suitability for a role. This is a lot more information than a human can process. The platform then can present it’s findings in a condensed way to aid HR’s decision making.  

Harness the power of technology

We can’t control the world around us. Sometimes our environment will influence our decisions and other times it could be our unconscious bias, an inherent part of being human. Although we can’t prevent these factors we can ensure they don’t allow you to make a bad hiring decision. Technology is free from human qualities like unconscious bias and energy levels, therefore it can be used as a tool to help us navigate a tricky hiring decision. 

Book a demo with us today if you would like to discuss how Cognisess Pro can help you hire the right person every time. 

How our emotions influence the decisions we make

The holiday and New Year season are a wonderful time (for the scientifically minded) to explore insights around the role of our Emotional State. Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer discusses what our emotional state does to us and why that is important. 

As social beings, our interactions are shaped by our current mood and general emotional ‘status quo’ – i.e. our Emotional State. At certain times of the year, such as the winter holidays, we have a heightened awareness of our own and other’s Emotional State. This can often make or break conversations and occasions – as some of us might have found out first hand whilst meeting friends and family over the holidays! 

Are our decisions influenced by our emotions?

We know from research, as well as from experience, that it is generally a bad idea to make promises when in a good mood and major decisions when in a bad mood. We are much more likely to be empathetic and engaging when we are in a neutral or positive mood. Being able to assess how another person is feeling is a tremendous skill. And doing so without being overly influenced by our own Emotional State, is more than just a skill or talent. However, AI is able to help.  

The way we feel or perceive how someone else is feeling will influence how we choose to react. This heightened sensibility is something that makes distinctly superior to AI… or does it?  

AI can see our emotional state 

In the past, we have focussed a lot of our research efforts on developing computer vision. This is used in the platform’s video analysis tool to reliably detect micro-expressions and emotions from a candidate’s video interviews. Using our own dedicated algorithms and analysis we are able to reveal a tremendous amount about a person, for example:  

  • How engaged someone might be in a role  
  • Their suitability for a role were empathy or Emotional State play a big part. We have found this to be especially useful when working with the hospitality industry, in which customer service and mood state is paramount.  

How good are we at decision making?  

Some humans are good at spotting emotional states. A recruiter or manager may be known for their good ‘instinct’ when picking the right candidate. Most of us do these things without thinking about it, or even being able to verbalise it. Whilst this insightfulness can be seen as a great advantage over a machine the approach is also prone to human errors. For example, distraction, stress, fatigue, bias and our own ‘less-than-reliable’ Emotional State.  

However, machines don’t have an ‘off-day’. Which is why at Cognisess we generate greater accuracies and efficiencies with machines in order to open up new opportunities for humans to learn about their own Emotional States and mood patterns. 

Why we need to work with AI  

We are starting to see a reversal of roles between the human and the machine – particularly in candidate recruitment and employee management. Up to this point in time, we have spent a lot of time ‘mentoring’ the machines to mimic what we humans do, like finding patterns and starting to interpret them.  

Going forward, we will see this dynamic being reversed. We will gain knowledge by learning from the patterns that the machines uncover, which in turn will reveal a lot about other people’s behaviour. For instance, this will be particularly helpful when dealing with huge amounts of real-time human data, volumes of videos, and visual information that are too vast for any human to process. 

The ghost of recruitment past is fast becoming the traditional recruiter armed with their ‘instinct’ and the ghost of recruitment future is AI. Which ghost is part of your hiring process?  Give yourself the gift of a future proof recruitment process this Christmas by booking a free demo with us. 

Recruiter holding a computer with a brain displayed

What is computer vision, machine learning and neuroscience?

Computer vision, machine learning and neuroscience are part of the new wave of HR technology. But what are they? Below we reveal their definitions and how they can be used in recruitment. 

What is computer vision? 

Computer vision acts as the eyes of an AI. This technology can visually process the world around them and they can be programmed to analyse the information it collects. For example, computer vision is used as part of our video analysis tool. The technology analyses each candidate’s facial expressions and micro-expressions from their video interview. Micro-expressions are facial movements that happen before we are consciously aware of them. This means computer vision is able to detect a candidate’s true emotion at that moment, instead of what they may like to present to an interview panel.

This tool can be used to recruit across all industries. However, it is especially useful in customer-focused roles where ‘reading people’ or presenting yourself positively or empathetically is required. Computer Vision can observe how easy a person is to talk to, and how approachable they will be to customers – even under pressure.

Learn more about computer vision here.

What is machine learning? 

Machine learning is a subset of AI. Like a brain, it is able to learn and independently come to its own conclusions. It is widely used in our everyday lives, for instance, it is used to recommend you  products online. 

It can be used in recruitment to identify the best candidates for you. For example, our team will give it data on your top performers and machine learning can select the common attributes that make that group successful. It will then use this knowledge to pick the best candidates from the applicant pool. 

What is neuroscience? 

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. By focusing on the brain we are able to reveal its impact on a person’s behaviour and cognitive functions.

This is actually a great resource in recruitment. Using neuroscience we are able to understand a candidate on an individual level, regardless of the volume of applicants. Equipped with this personality and cognitive data you can get to know the candidate before you meet them, you will understand what drives them and how they will react in certain situations. At Cognisess we do this by assessing applicants with our scientifically backed games which will enhance your decision making. 

A powerful combination

Computer vision, machine learning and neuroscience are only beginning to transform recruitment. At Cognisess we apply them in one user-friendly platform. Book a free demo with us to see how we do it. 

Person answering a personality assessment

Why personality assessments alone won’t identify the top talent

More companies are using personality assessments than ever before. NBC News has reported that their usage is increasing by 20% each year. But are they the most effective way to measure and predict job performance? 

Below is the results of Frank Schmidt’s meta-analysis based on nearly a century of workplace productivity data. 

Meta data that measures the most effective hiring methods.

As you can see, applying personality tests alongside traditional recruitment methods create a less effective process than using a multi-level assessment approach…But why is this the case? 

Personality tests are easy to manipulate 

Some candidates may try to reverse engineer these assessments in order to impress an assessor. For example, from a list of words a candidate will choose the most favourable ones to describe themselves, instead of what their truly like. 

This is damaging to the overall hiring process. HR believes the candidate is someone they’re not and can result in the wrong applicant being hired. 

We are constantly changing 

A lot of personality tests are based on the four-quadrant personality model. This model is built to assess our states. These are the more fluid parts of our personality, for example, a person may be highly organised at work but is disorganised in their personal life. It is recommended that individuals frequently retake these tests because a person’s context regularly changes. Meaning it can be unreliable to predict a person’s job performance. 

So we shouldn’t use personality tests in recruitment?  

This depends on how you apply them. A strong recruitment process would include a multi assessment approach that tests a variety of traits, behavioural and cognitive factors. Combining these components make a personality test much more effective. Here are some factors that indicate a strong personality assessment: 

  • They assess stable traits (instead of states). These are traits that are at the core of our personality, for example, how agreeable you are. Our platform uses the Big 5 Personality Model to measure these stable traits, which is the most reliable and scientifically backed personality model. The personality results are accurate for up to 6 months after they take the assessment. 
  • They allow you to compare each applicant’s scores. This helps you assess the strongest candidate. For example, with Cognisess Pro you can compare an individual’s score against the general population and identify the top scores in the applicant pool. 
  • They have an inbuilt ‘lie detector’. This helps detect candidates who are trying to ‘cheat’ by painting themselves in a more favourable light.  For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment you can choose between two options which are equally viable instead of two choices where it’s obvious what the ‘correct answer’ is. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the values they stand for. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job.  

A 360° recruitment process

Finding the right fit means assessing the whole person. By using a variety of assessments you will accurately understand each applicant’s behaviour, personality and cognitive attributes. Taking the time to understand the potential of your applicant pool will ensure you hire the right person who will thrive in a role. 

To get to this outcome you need an effective recruitment process. We have over 60 neuroscience assessments to suit your hiring needs. Please contact us if you would like help crafting a reliable and accurate recruitment process. 

How To Make Work Meaningful (Again)

Here are our keynotes from Dr Boris Altemeyer’s talk at the Bath Digital Festival

Although AI and machine learning are popular buzzwords I don’t think it’s a fad. They are really revolutionising the way we work, how we position ourselves and understand the world of work. If you have seen AI modelling at work there is real potential to build models which have an impact on people’s lives. 

How to make work more meaningful. 

We want to get people in the right position so they are productive and happy, which will make them stay longer. Which is ultimately good news for both the company and the person. 

So how can we measure it? 

These are areas that measure what makes work meaningful. Individually we can rate how important each of these areas are to us.   

  • Achievement driven 
  • Recognition driven 
  • Building relationships 
  • How much support we expect in our work environment 
  • Working conditions 

Collecting the data 

  • If we gather this applicant data we can predict how they would behave in work-related situations before they are hired.
  • If we know a candidate is driven by these motivational areas, we can compare it against the company’s current culture. This will assess if the hire is a good fit for the person and the organisation. 
  • After they are hired we can track them over time to see how they grow alongside the organisation. 
  • It means we can give a company live feedback. They can understand how the organisation and the people within it have changed. This gives them an opportunity to change in order to make work meaningful again.  

What is meaningful to people right now?

At Cognisess we are able to track which of these factors are meaningful and important for each generation at work. 

  • Recognition has increased over time 
  • The level of support needed has grown  – with machine learning we can track and tailor it over time, as the support you need at 21 is different to when you are 40. 
  • The need for relationships at work has decreased – our relationships with our colleagues are becoming purely transactional. It is less important to network and work with the right people. 

The future of work

At present, even the most abstract things can be automated to be quicker and more efficient. Some may worry that AI and automation will make work obsolete.  However, what humans excel at is really difficult to automate. 

Humans are able to hold multiple and completely different options about themselves at the same time and think they are true, for example, I’m corporate, conscious and also a rebel. From a psychological point of view this is completely fine, but from a data and AI point of view it’s highly frustrating as we can’t model it. At the moment there are attributes humans are just better at like creativity and situational judgement. It’s not that we are not trying, it’s just really hard. 

At the moment, AI, automation and machine learning have made the more menial tasks in certain jobs redundant. This means we can focus on redefining how we work and how we can make work meaningful. 

If you would like to watch the full talk, click here.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact us below.

4 Upcoming Bath Digital Festival Events Not to Miss Out on

Bath Digital Festival 2019 is next week, bringing a variety of technology and science events to the South-West. 

With over 80 events to choose from, which ones should you attend?  Here are 4 talks that will help you envision and enthuse about our digital future, from computers recognising emotions to how AI will affect the workplace.  

Making Work Meaningful (again) – the Future of Work and AI

12pm – 12:45pm, Friday 25th October 2019

Perfect for: Anyone who wants to discover how AI will affect the workforce

The advent of AI has left many wondering: are humans obsolete soon? What can I do at work that will not be automated?

This talk will explore how humans can use AI and advances in Psychology and Neuroscience to understand better what makes the human mind so unique, and what we all bring to the table – in our own individual way

Interested in the event? Book your tickets here.

How to Teach Your Computer to Recognise Happiness

3pm – 3:45pm, Friday 25th October 2019

Perfect for: The tech curious 

As machine vision has rapidly improved in recent years, there has been a surge in applications of this technology to the human face. It can detect facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. 

In this talk, we will cover the technical details of how cutting edge technologies like facial recognition software work, and discuss some of the potential uses and misuse. 

Interested in this event? Book your tickets here. 

Understanding the benefits of VR in psychological care

11am – 11:40am, Friday 25th October 2019

Perfect for: Anyone interested in psychology and VR 

Virtual reality technology is still sparse in most mainstream care environments. Jed Brown’s research has been focused on “What’s holding us back from implementing VR treatments more widely?” A year on, he believes that he understands part of the problem, and perhaps more importantly, part of the solution.

Interested in the event? Book your tickets here. 

Exploring Opportunities for a Career in Tech 

12pm – 2pm, Thursday 24th October 2019

Perfect for: Parents looking to re-enter the workforce

Learn about how you can transform your creativity and problem-solving skills into a Digital Career. We will be helping parents and career movers matching their skills to jobs alongside The Factory, Mayden Academy and ADLIB

Interested in the event? Book your tickets here. 

How your gaming habits could help you secure a job

In the past, video games have had a bad reputation. But video games are actually good for your brain. Every time you play a video game it exercises your brain’s neuroplasticity. This is the part of your brain that helps you learn new skills. As you get older your brain’s neuroplasticity naturally declines. However, playing video games is known to have a positive impact on this ability regardless of your age. 

We live in a world where we are always trying to improve ourselves or be constantly productive. We all need to relax from time to time, otherwise, we can suffer from cognitive fatigue.  Because video games are fun, they allow us to switch off from the daily grind whilst unconsciously improving our skills at the same time. 

They also have a number of benefits. These researchers found that playing these games can help your perception, attention, memory, and decision-making skills. These skills aren’t only important in video games, they can also be used throughout our lives – particularly in the workplace.  Video games can increase your reaction time, which can be useful if you are working in a role where you need to respond quickly, for instance, a doctor who works in a hospital.  

Video games can also help you get a job. 

More and more companies are using games to assess applicants for jobs to create a more engaging experience. But these games are different from the ones you can play on your Xbox.  They are scientifically-backed and are designed to assess a candidate’s behaviour, abilities and future job performance. In 2018, the global gamification market was valued at $5.5 billion. In the future, these games may be a common part of most recruitment processes. 

Will gamers have an advantage? 

When it comes to games used in job applications, gamers may have a slight advantage. But they aren’t cheating, they have done the work to increase these skill areas. Just as much as a person who has been practising the guitar for a year will be better than a complete beginner. 

But this doesn’t mean that people who don’t play video games will be at a disadvantage in the gamified job application process. For every ability a video game can train there are other activities that can improve these skills. For example, a text-based adventure game will improve your reading ability, but reading a book will also do this. Video games are just a popular and fun way to develop these important skills. 

Technology helps us improve our lives. From conveniently paying for your meal deal on your phone to AI assistants like Alexa. Video games not only help you improve your skills but are also fun to play. This happy median will also help companies in the future fully understand job applicant’s abilities and help an individual discover their talent.

How can Gamification benefit your recruitment process?

Gamification is a common buzzword in HR. However, what actually is it —and more importantly— how can it help your recruitment process? 

What is gamification? 

Gamification is more than just adding a game into your application process. These scientifically-backed games are an opportunity to truly assess a candidate’s behaviour, abilities and job performance. 

 According to our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer:

 “Gamification is great if it’s applied in the right way. But it should never come first. First of all, we need to define what we actually want to assess and then the gamification on top provides us with a new tool to generate better, clearer and truer data.”

Gamification is about understanding how people’s brains interpret information. For instance, assessing how well a person multitasks and prioritises. For years the ‘in-tray exercise’ has been a popular method of judging this. However, this task can be anxiety-provoking and competent candidates may underperform when they are fully aware that every decision they make will affect their job prospects. With gamification, we can build models that are very similar to daily tasks in a role without directly mimicking them. By engaging the candidates, they relax and forget it is a test situation. Test anxiety is common amongst applicants, and gamification can help combat this problem. We have even received feedback from past candidates surrounding this:  “This was a very unique and fun way to assess individuals. It allowed me to relax and was the first time I have ever enjoyed being assessed”. Because a candidate feels more relaxed, HR will get a lot more accurate data on their abilities. 

Candidates can’t second guess a game

Some candidates may try to reverse engineer their application. But with gamification, it’s difficult for a candidate to do this. For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment you choose between two options which are equally viable instead of two choices where it’s obvious what the ‘correct answer’ is. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the values they stand for. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job.  

Accessibility: more applicants, more talent

The games we have developed can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world, which widens the talent pool. In the past, applicants who live in remote locations or have mobility issues wouldn’t have been able to physically attend assessment centres. Now they have an equal opportunity to showcase their abilities for a job. 

Breaking down cultural barriers 

It is also important to take into account the visual content of the games. Using shapes that have pre-existing cultural connotations may put candidates from those backgrounds at a disadvantage. For example, in a line up of shapes, they may choose the one that is perceived as lucky in their culture instead of the correct one. In our games, we use shapes that are universal and have no cultural connotations so everyone has an equal chance. 

More data in less time 

These games can also collect a large amount of data around how people make decisions and tackle problems in a short space of time. This means the application process can be much shorter. HR will be able to consider talent which may have otherwise dropped out of a longer application process, whilst using that data to enhance their decision making.

The future of recruitment? 

Gamification is a more engaging, accessible and less pressured method of collecting accurate data to get a fuller picture on a candidate. With all these benefits, why wouldn’t you use it in a recruitment process? In 2018, the global gamification market was valued at $5.5 billion. In the future, gamification may be a common part of most recruitment processes. On the surface, it may look simple but it is an expert skill. If you are interested in gamification, get in touch as we have experts who have been researching, testing and applying it extensively for years.

Book a demo with us to play our extensive library of scientifically-backed games or find out how you can use gamification in your next recruitment process. 

a woman empowered in a meeting room

Will AI empower women & how?

We are all striving to become more inclusive because regardless of a person’s gender, ethnicity or background everyone has talent and potential. With more women working than ever before, gender equality is at the forefront of most HR professional’s minds. However, there is a lack of females in leadership positions, for instance, only 25 females are CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.

This imbalance can be observed across the workforce, with men and women respectfully dominating certain industries. For example, currently 80% of US software developers are men and 85% of social workers are women. But why is this the case? The effect of life domains on girls’ possible selves study suggests that culture, socialisation and gender role stereotyping discourages females from traditionally masculine subjects such as physics and mathematics. This may influence career choices later on, which further reinforces job role stereotypes. Therefore, these stereotypes based on gender can impact society heavily but the ever-growing change for equality will help open industries to all.

Will this ever change? 

We are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, and as a result, new technology such as AI and automation will transform industries and workforces. Employees will dedicate less time to routine tasks like data handling, focusing more on adding value to the company. More jobs will require a personal touch using interpersonal skills, creativity and problem-solving abilities which will favour humans over AI and other technologies. According to a study by PWC, women could initially be impacted by the development and implementation of AI and automation. However, in the long term, it is suggested that more males could be affected. This should inspire women to retrain or change career in order to stay ahead of the curve which may mean applying for roles they haven’t considered before.

Currently, there is a lack of females in STEM related fields.  Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments that: “You can only hire in a balanced way for diversity if the talent is there and they have been educated in that field.” As this industry grows, there will be even more roles available in STEM industries. Initiatives have been created to encourage women to take STEM subjects. If this is successful, more females will be hired in typical male dominated roles. This will also mean a more diverse applicant pool. But how can HR managers ensure they are hiring the best candidates for a role, regardless of whether a position is traditionally held by a male or female?  

How can HR support this change? 

More and more businesses are introducing AI into their recruitment process. There are many benefits to adopting this technology, it saves you time, money and people power whilst allowing you to find candidates who fit into your company’s culture and team as well as the role you’re recruiting for. AI technologies can enable you to create a fairer and more diverse recruitment process. As humans are naturally prone to bias, it can sometimes influence decisions the workplace. It is common within the recruitment process as you are judging candidates on a range of skills and attributes to match the job role. However, factors such as gender and culture should not affect applying for a job (read our blog to find out more). AI removes the bias created by humans as it has the capacity to be completely objective.

“If AI doesn’t empower women, then we are doing it wrong”

Dr Boris Altemeyer

It is possible to create a recruitment process that is fair for all. But how do you define ‘fair’? Even if you programme AI software to identify the best candidates with a 50:50 gender split, it may still not be entirely fair. For instance, an applicant pool could have a larger amount of stronger female candidates. Therefore, not only would these qualified applicants miss out on this job opportunity, but the organisation wouldn’t necessarily be hiring the best candidates for the role. Dr Boris Altemeyer also reveals that “The AI needs to learn what is fair and balanced. We need to agree what we tell the AI to do in order to get the best possible outcome.” 

At Cognisess, we remove biases by making it optional for candidates to disclose age, gender, race or even the schools they attended. More significantly, this personal information is never considered in Cognisess’ set of assessments. Our system is mostly interested in assessing how your brain works. From this, recruiters can focus purely on what matters when hiring an applicant. This is called blind recruitment and it provides decision makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role regardless of background, age, gender or ethnicity. This creates an environment for recruiters to make objective and well-informed decisions about a candidate’s potential.

Creating equal opportunities for all with AI

At Cognisess, we are constantly pursuing a fair recruitment process for all. We recently investigated if gender bias was present in one of our client’s hiring processes. Although more male applicants applied for their graduate scheme, more female candidates were successful. When candidates were asked to complete a variety of cognitive, emotional, personality Cognisess assessments, there was no bias present. The number of passed and rejected candidates reflected the difference in applicant volume of each gender. The final stage of the graduate process was a video interview. The gender was revealed in this section of the process due to the video aspect. However, in this part of the process female applicants were more likely to pass this stage than males. This could be an indication of higher presentation skills in female candidates, but it could also reflect a subtle bias in the human assessors marking the video interviews. 

This shows the effect humans could have on a recruitment process. It is important to note that bias can happen towards any group of people, including males. This is why it is important HR teams constantly refines this in order to truly hire the best applicants.  

Initially, women will be the most affected by the fourth industrial revolution. But this could be an opportunity for them to step outside stereotypical female roles and realise their potential. With a more diverse applicant pool organisations will need to ensure they have a recruitment process in place that is fair for all. If you would like to discuss how AI and People Analytics can enhance your recruitment process, book a free demo with our expert team. 

retail workers working

Volume Recruitment in Retail: Harvest the volume, find the quality

From Christmas shopping to the rush to buy summer holiday essentials, retail is a high tempo sector regardless of the season. Hiring experienced and qualified staff is important to maintain high standards of service, but this can be challenging when there is a high turnover of staff and a high volume of applications in the talent pipeline. According to Labour Market Review, 60% of employers report that applicants lack important customer handling skills and only 11% of employers think their employees have all the necessary skills to work in their store. That increases the pressure to find the right talent as unsuitable workers who may find themselves as the face of a brand could damage a customer’s perception of the company and affect sales. But how can hiring managers guarantee they have made the right decision when involved in high volume of applicants and acute time pressures to fill vacancies quickly? The answer lies in harnessing the power of Predictive People Analytics from platforms like Cognisess.

Time is precious, recruitment is expensive

Sorting through a high volume of applications is a time consuming and costly process. On average, it takes 42 days to fill a position. In addition, Oxford Economics reveals that the average fee for replacing a departing staff member is £30,614. Costs typically includes £5,433 for logistics, such as agency fees and advertising, and wages during the time when a new employee is yet to reach optimum productivity level, believed to be an average of 28 weeks at a cost of £25,182. Therefore, reducing churn should reduce overall recruitment costs massively and in turn, these costs can be re-distributed across the business to improve business performance.

That’s why one of our clients, a popular UK furniture retailer, started to use Cognisess Pro. Since deploying Cognisess Pro, they have processed nearly 10,000 applications for multiple roles nationwide. Sorting through such a high volume of candidates had previously proved to be too time intensive for their store managers, who really wanted to focus more of their time on the customer experience, sales and optimising the performance of their current employees. By harnessing the recruitment and assessment features of Cognisess Pro, hiring managers were able to transform the application and hiring process by reducing the manual time and resources needed and in doing so generated a more accurate outcome.

Widen the talent pool – don’t narrow it.

When typically faced with the pressure of hiring in retail, managers tend to take short cuts and aim for applicants who appear (on the surface) to meet the basic job fit criteria and resemble candidates they have seen before. As such, many potentially suitable candidates can be ignored or overlooked and others who may not be suitable at all and are liable to churn are often hired. But of course with such time pressure to hire with limited time and resources, it is natural to narrow the field of opportunity rather than expand it.

Cognisess Pro is designed to take the strain of volume recruitment by accurately and scientifically filtering out at an early stage candidates who are simply not suitable based on the basic requirements of the job role. This automated process immediately relieves pressure on traditional manual sifting putting time and control back in the hands of hiring managers. In the case of our furniture retailing client, we provided a process to successfully handle the high volume of applicants by focusing on their abilities and attributes for the role within a ‘blind’ recruitment process which means the system had no visibility of race, gender or age. These characteristics may well have been unconsciously or consciously taken into account by humans previously and can be reliably avoided by using Cognisess Pro. Read more about removing bias in recruitment in our previous blog post

By using a series of Cognisess’ scientifically backed assessments to profile what good looks like amongst our client’s most successful employees, we were able to provide a benchmark and job profile. With the results, the software can automatically compare and rank every applicant’s scores against a series of cognitive, emotional and personality attributes which indicates how well-matched an applicant is to the specific job role. Not only did this give every applicant a fair chance, it also meant that the widest possible volume of applicants could be considered. Without Cognisess Pro, this opportunity would be too prohibitive in cost and resource terms.

How do you hire and keep the best candidates? 

Harnessing People Analytics through the Cognisess Pro platform is a hundred times faster and accurate than any human assessment. This includes widening the search for retail roles to attract applicants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences – many of which would be overlooked during traditional manual processes. And although some applicants may have the relevant transferable skills – others simply wouldn’t have the abilities or personality that the position requires. Cognisess Pro understands what to look for – in an instant.

However, even after hiring a candidate, it can be difficult to know you’ve hired a high quality applicant who will stay the distance in retail for the long term. Last year, Korn Ferry found that part-time retail employees have an 81% turnover rate on average, this means the retail sector is having to constantly recruiting to fill positions which is intensely resource hungry, disruptive to operations and puts pressure on delivering sales targets in such a highly dynamic customer-facing environment. Meta-data analysis by Kristof-Brown  found that employees who relate to a company’s culture are more satisfied in their role and more likely to stay. Hiring people who fit into the team they work with and the culture of the store may help them feel comfortable in their environment and more likely to perform well. 

Cognisess Pro provides additional levels of People Analytics insight in the recruitment process to complement this opportunity. Our Culture Fit tool helps recruiters understand whether an applicant will fit into their company’s culture, and our Team Fit tool rates how well an applicant’s personality traits and skills would fit the store team’s profile. This gamified set of assessments means analysis can be made at an early stage and without having to invest in time off the floor to hold individual and team fit meetings. This allows managers to identify candidates who have a natural fit to their company’s culture and to a team’s unique dynamic energy before even meeting them. This additional level of insight means you are not only selecting the best candidate for the role, you are also investing in an employee who is more likely to thrive and stay.

Be confident – find and hire the right talent

Constantly replacing retail employees is a drain on time and cost. Hiring the wrong talent for your company only exasperates that problem. By using Cognisess Pro and harnessing the power of People Analytics, managers can rely on our data-driven platform to quickly and accurately make the best people decisions every time. Find out how Cognisess Pro can expand and improve your applicant pool, book a demo with us today.