man stressed with laptop

How your stressful thoughts affect your immunity and what to do about it

Monica Durigon explores how we can combat stressful thoughts. She is a qualified nutritional therapist and member of BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine). You can view the original post here.

I have written on the topic of immunity before. Still, I feel compelled to do it again as the current Corona Virus infection has reached pandemic proportion, and new research and data are emerging daily.

We receive constant updates on vaccines developments, the number of infections and deaths, government debates about the best strategies for containment and endless reminders of the symptoms and actions to take to prevent and cope with the virus.

We are constantly reminded that the most effective way to avoid infections is by washing our hands with soap ( often and thoroughly), avoid touching our face ( where the virus can gain access to our mucosal cavities and enter our body ) and social distancing and isolation.  This is valid and standard advice applicable to any viral and bacterial infections.

How can we support our natural immunity?

What has been mostly missing from big media is information on how we can support our natural immunity. There is no cure for this virus; however, we can influence the way our immune system responds to it and as a result, possibly alleviate its presenting symptoms and support a quicker recovery.

I would like to highlight the importance of recognising and remembering that the level of impact of this virus, is different amongst the population. Currently we know that the elderly and people with pre-existing health issues are at risk of severe health consequences. These individuals should do their best to avoid their exposure to infection by immediately considering social distancing and discuss the course of actions with their medical team. You can find more information on who is considered at higher risk here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

The constant bombardment from the media with the statistic of infections and death, criticisms to the government interventions, stories about European isolation and discrimination, doomed opinions from experts and far too many non-experts … pointless polemics …are enough to drive a sense of worrying and anxiety even in the most relaxed and zen-minded of us.

We all understand from a logical perspective that, worrying does not change the situation…and, in this current situation, worrying is not only pointless but plainly counter-productive for our health because of its effects at the biological level.

There is a whole relative new science, psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)  which studies the complex communication between the brain and the immune system and their implications for health.

However, there has been minimal discussion about the effects that stress, fear and anxiety can have on the immune system. The psychological stress that many amongst us are experiencing at the moment induces the same release of chemicals in our body that other type of stressors would.

Negative thoughts and worries about what has happened and what might happen in the future produce a physical change in the body.  I recond that it is essential to be aware of this, to understand how this happens and to adopt behaviours which can modify these adverse biological outcomes.

In straightforward terms:

1) You worry- feel stressed, anxious, powerless, fearful …

2) In response, your brain releases the hormones CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), ACTH (  adrenocorticotropin hormone ) and ß-endorphin

3) These hormones travel to your adrenal glands and initiate the release of cortisol and catecholamines ( adrenaline and noradrenaline).

This “communication route”, called the HPA axis ( Hypothalamus- pituitary-adrenal axis ),  produces the “fight or flight” response.

How the cascade of hormones involved in this axis can affect the immune response

Cortisol and the catecholamines can directly suppress the actions of some immune cells, ( T lymphocytes and macrophages) which produce and release cytokines ( chemical messengers ) such as interleukin -2, interferon-Y, interleukin 12( and many more). These molecules are pro-inflammatory, and some of them pyrogenic ( which means they induce a fever) and are needed to fight viruses. Elevated levels of cortisol, noradrenaline and adrenalin, suppress the production of these pro-inflammatory cytokines and the immune responses to viruses are compromised.

What can you do to decrease your worrying thoughts and maintain a calm and rational mindset in the current situation?

To help you stay calm and rational in this current situation, consider including in your daily routines, some rituals or activities which enable your nervous system to have a break and reset. Yoga, breathing exercises and medication are effective and proven methods to recalibrate your stress response. I use an online platform called Gaia https://www.gaia.com to practice yoga at home, and I find the following apps helpful to maintain my meditation practice: Headspace https://www.headspace.com and Insight Timer https://insighttimer.com.

A simple exercise such as deep belly breathing for few minutes can reduce your stress response and bring you back into a parasympathetic response (the rest and digest mode of the nervous system vs the fight or flight mode).

You can use these tools whenever you need to check out of your head during the day, but I also recommend that you make them part of your day in a more structured way. Add them to your routines, perhaps the easiest way to have them to follow a well-established habit such as brushing your teeth in the am and pm. All you need is a few minutes per day to reap some benefits.

Another tool that I found extremely helpful in keeping in the zen area is a daily gratitude practice. I would recommend that in the evening you close your day by listing a few events, small gestures, acts of kindness that happened in your day. Gratitude is the mother of all good feelings, and God knows we need them now, and we need to remind our self of the kindness and beauty that is still present in our life.

What supplements can we take?

From a nutrients point of view, I found that L-theanine is a helpful supplement to relax. If taken in the evening to facilitate relaxation before going to beds, L-theanine and lemon balm combined are even more useful. L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in high concentration in green tea and can modulate inhibitory neurotransmitters, selective serotonin, and dopamine (your happy and calming hormones) to bring about anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) and calming effects. L-theanine can also improve cognition and attention, perhaps due to changes in alpha brain wave activity. Research shows that an effective dosage is between 200 to 400mg per day.

Another nutrient which might be used to decrease anxiety is magnesium. Research has demonstrated that magnesium attenuates the psychological response to stress by modulating the release of ACTH ( in the brain) and cortisol ( from the adrenal glands). It has a relaxing effect on the musculoskeletal system as well and improves cardiovascular function by reducing high blood pressure which goes hand in hand with anxiety and elevated stress.  5,6,7

You can add some powdered magnesium to a cup of well-stewed chamomile tea for even more calming and soothing feelings. Avoid magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate formulas as they are less bioavailable. Choose a bisglycinate or mixed formula. I use a variety of magnesium supplements ( not at the same time ):  High Potency Magnesium by Viridian ( 1 x day ); MAG365, natural flavouring formula  ( 1 heaped teaspoon mixed in hot water or chamomile) or a  complete formula called MegaMag Calmeze which includes amino acids ( L glutamine, L theanine and L taurine ), vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6and vitamin C, nutrients which have been proved to help modulating the stress response. Be aware that if you have impaired kidneys function, you should not take more than 350mg of magnesium per day.

From a general nutritional perspective maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is essential for having stable moods.  Constant spikes and drops of glucose in the blood due to a diet rich in refined carbohydrates ( and perhaps also under-optimal in terms of proteins, fats and essential nutrients)  lead to irritability, cravings, dips in energy and initiate a stress response.

Adrenaline and cortisol are some of the hormones that help maintain blood sugar levels. They, along with glucagon are called “stress” or “gluco-counter-regulatory” hormones – which means they make the blood sugar rise. Elevated cortisol secretions, as previously explained, will interfere with the immune response and long term high amount of glucose in the blood leads to insulin resistance, the step which precedes the development of diabetes type 2.

I have explained in detail how to maintain a healthy blood sugar level by implementing a low glycemic diet in my previous blogs. Click here for explanations and practical advice.

Finally, I just wanted to conclude this blog by offering you a song which I find soothing and deeply relaxing for the body and the mind. I first heard it in one of my yoga classes a month ago, and it has become my regular soundtrack while I get ready to go to sleep. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

“In dreams “by Jay Jagdeesh

Wishing you the best of health and vitality.

an ethical job applicant

Ethical Hiring with AI: Can it spot a lying applicant?

On paper, a candidate could be perfect for a role. They have relevant experience alongside their impressive list of qualifications. But is this candidate too good to be true? How do you know he’s telling the truth? Sometimes it’s difficult to know if you made the right hiring decision until the applicant has started in the role.   

How honest are candidates? 

A new report by Checkster titled Is Your Company Hiring Charlatans? A study of ethical standards in the hiring process has uncovered that candidates aren’t being completely honest when they apply for a job. Key findings include: 

  • 60% of candidates have claimed or are willing to claim that they have expertise in skills they have no knowledge in. 
  • 42% have lied about relevant experience.
  • Over 50% of applicants have said they worked at a company longer than they had, so they can omit an employer. 

With this in mind, how can you identify the candidates with the relevant skills and experience? In the past, you may have had to rely on your emotional intelligence to identify a lying candidate. But technology is making it easier to create an ethical hiring process.  

Stay ahead of the game

The games on our platform can measure over 120 attributes. The study has revealed that over half of candidates will lie about their abilities. However, this can be prevented by using scientifically-backed games in the application process. For instance, Adam may write in his cover letter that he is achievement-driven, but our assessments can reveal how achievement-driven he really is. You get to know a candidate before you meet them, allowing the most relevant candidates to demonstrate their skills and stand out from the less qualified. 

Using these games in the application process will also prevent candidates from actively reverse engineering their applications. For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment candidates have to choose between two equally viable options, instead of two answers where it’s obvious what the ‘correct one’ is. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the true values they stand for. 

Find the right candidate for you

By creating a recruitment process that actively tests the applicants on the job’s key abilities will reveal how skilled they actually are. Our platform focuses on finding the right candidate by assessing how suitable they are for the role and company through our cognitive or personality games. 

To find out more about how we cater to job fit, book a demo with us today. 

a self-disciplined woman

Are self-disciplined people happier?

It is surprising to think that self-control could make you happier.

This groundbreaking 1998 research found that self-control is like a muscle. You can exercise this muscle by resisting that morning cup of coffee for another hour. But as the working day progresses your self-control ‘muscle’ gets tired, affecting your performance. Professionals have tried to combat this by beginning with the most challenging tasks in order to get the most out of their self-control abilities. Other high performers decrease the number of decisions they make in a day, Obama once told Vanity Fair that: 

“You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

We’re entering an age where technology will decrease the number of decisions we make or make it easier. For instance,  AI will make processes and decision making a lot simpler by either performing our mundane tasks or advising what the best hiring decision is. Allowing us to apply self-control to the most important tasks. 

Happiness and self-discipline

This study found that self-disciplined people are happier. The research also revealed that participants who had higher self-control were better at choosing the best option when conflict arose than people with lower self-control. It’s not surprising that this ability would aid high achievers who regularly need to make the right decisions for a company. 

What do high performers have in common?

We identify and work with top performers from a variety of sectors. Although each sector has its unique attributes that ensure success there are a few traits which are universal. Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments on this: 

“These studies are an excellent example of the assessments and consequent results that we see in graduates on Management Fast Tracks. The ability to suppress initial urges to ‘react’ and consciously prioritise and ‘ignore’ unhelpful distractions or ‘reactive urges’ is key to become highly proficient in many areas. The outstanding people we have had the great pleasure of assessing and working with tend to score high on the attribute of Response Inhibition. It will be interesting to see whether this allows them to maintain higher levels of emotional wellbeing over time as well – often critical in the roles that they are in, and generally beneficial for all of us to look after.”

Each individual has their own unique set of abilities. Within a team of people there is going to be varying levels of will power. A team can support each other in improving their self-control, for instance, only bringing in healthy snacks so no one is tempted by junk food. In general, we believe a strong team has a range of abilities. For example, an extroverted person is able to effectively engage with clients, whilst an introvert on the team can problem solve an issue they are having. 

Discover how self disciplined your teams are 

On our platform you can assess an employee’s Response Inhibition, allowing you to see if they are reaping the benefits of this attribute. However, you can save time by assessing your team as a whole with our Team Fit tool. 

Team Fit is designed to assess how well a team functions in relation to interpersonal chemistry (Social Cohesion) and diversity of thought (Cognitive Fit). The process is designed around a combination of standardised online assessment instruments and customised surveys for teams of up to 100 members. You can also view reports detailing descriptive feedback, key takeaways, general feedback and insights. Armed with this scientifically backed information, it will make managing a team slightly easier. Find out more about Team Fit here.  

There are many methods we can use to improve our self-control to optimise our day and the decisions we make. Teams may find it easier to support each other in improving this ability. Finding out what your team’s Response Inhibition or collective abilities are will allow you to optimise your decision making. Book a demo with us to try our Team Fit tool. 

Inclusive Growth book with Cognisess

Cognisess featured in Inclusive Growth

Promoting diversity and striving to be inclusive is at the forefront of most HR professional’s minds. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Toby Mildon’s new book, Inclusive Growth, enables you to achieve this. It provides a practical framework for your organisation to transform into a sustainable and inclusive workplace. 

The book explores the many avenues you can change, from culture to collaboration. We are also proud to feature as part of the solution to this. In the book we discuss how the platform encourages cognitive diversity in an organisation. To be successful, businesses need different types of people. Knowing if your organisation has enough leaders, problem solvers and planners allows you to hire new people to fulfil these needs.  Our data is accessible, transparent and can be anonymous in order to ensure the focus is on a candidate’s abilities, not their gender, ethnicity or age when it comes to hiring. 

Dr Boris Altemeyer, our Chief Scientific Officer comments that: 

“It is wonderful to see that Toby’s passion and knowledge can now be shared on a wider scale via this great book. Since the very beginning of our work together, it was very clear that Toby’s and our perception were very much aligned: diversity and inclusivity are not just essential, but also highly beneficial for everyone, and more often a mindset shift rather than a resource question. 

We are grateful to be part of this book. Our case study is an example of how technology can assist this mindset shift and make inclusivity and diversity of thought a seamless part of standard practices.”

Buy the book today to start your organisation’s journey to inclusivity and read more about how Cognisess can assist with this. 

HR solving puzzle of IQ vs EQ

EQ vs IQ: Why your IQ score isn’t as important

The IQ test was created in 1904. Nearly 100 years later, we’re beginning to discover how there is much more to human intelligence than IQ.  

On the whole IQ tests assess your reasoning, memory, mathematical and language skills. Contrary to popular belief, IQ only measures a specific set of cognitive abilities and is not a measure of your overall intelligence. 

 Your score can also change over time, this can be due to a number of factors such as childhood development or your environment. The National Institute of Mental Health uncovered that employees who work in complex environments will perform a lot better on the tests over time than those who are in jobs that don’t challenge them. This demonstrates that intelligence isn’t fixed and there are factors that can improve our IQ. 

EQ is more valuable than you think 

We are starting to realise our emotions can help us in the workplace. For instance, a leader who is delivering negative feedback to a sensitive employee will need to use their emotional intelligence (EQ) to understand the best approach to take. 

Generally, emotional intelligence is:

  • Self-awareness – an understanding of your own emotions and how they could affect others.
  • Self-regulation – this is the ability to think before you react to a situation and the degree you are able to control your moods and impulses.
  • Internal motivation – rather than pursuing a goal for a reward, you are motivated to achieve for personal reasons, for instance, personal development.
  • Empathy – you are able to recognise and understand other people’s motivations.
  • Social skills – you are able to build a network and manage relationships.

More and more studies are revealing how beneficial emotional intelligence is to all of us. The World Economic Forum found that 90% of top performers at work also have high emotional intelligence.

Over the next few years, we will see AI being introduced into our workplace. Although machines are more proficient in processing and understanding large amounts of data, they can’t replace human connection. Dr Boris Altemeyer, our Chief Scientific Officer, revealed that: 

“The advance of technology means we can focus on what humans are truly good at. This can fall into the area of EQ: managing emotions of others (and ourselves, of course) and taking them into account in our decision making. After all, many aspects of our economy are now about generating and selling emotional experiences, not just logical solutions. This means that – particularly in customer-facing jobs – EQ can be many times more important than just high cognitive functioning / IQ.”

Although AI may excel in abilities assessed in IQ tests, machines struggle to perform EQ attributes. Therefore, your EQ score is going to be just as important as your IQ score in order to thrive in the future workforce. 

Everyone is different. Every role is different. 

A person is so much more than their IQ score. It only measures a specific part of who they are. When you hire someone you want to understand the candidate as a whole, not just their cognitive abilities. We have created Cognisess Pro with this in mind. Our scientifically backed assessments can show you how emotionally intelligent a candidate is, alongside cognitive and personality traits that are important in a role. Every role is different, which is why we are able to assess up to 120 attributes for a job. 

Although IQ is important, we are beginning to realise that our score can change over time. EQ is just as valuable in the workplace and we are beginning to champion different types of intelligence. Let’s celebrate them together, book a free demo to get a personalised insight into recruiting the right emotional intelligence and IQ abilities for your company. 

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.  

– something that can accurately read the right Emotional State without being affected itself. Perhaps that’s something that ought to be on your Christmas list for next holiday season – just before you get to your family gathering? 

Looking at a closed feedback loop of emotion recognition and appraisal, we may be soon able to identify whether the emotional state of an employee or their manager affects their appraisals or performance and if so, how. Some might think this is an unwelcome intrusion on our privacy – but perhaps if you are a police officer, a care worker, an air traffic controller, a pilot or a surgeon – that could be a crucial piece of information to know. Likewise, it can be generally helpful to better understand which type of Emotional State is most conducive to (and predictive of) a good outcome in different decision-making and interaction scenarios – this is very much important within customer service environments where we can get the mood ‘just right’ – or very, very wrong. 

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 tips to improve your recruitment process

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track, organise and maintain all the information involved in the recruitment process. This is especially true when you have hundreds, if not, thousands of applications for one job role.

It is common knowledge that recruiting can be a time consuming and costly process.  But how can we improve it? Here are 4 tips to help you refine the recruitment process.

Streamline your recruitment process

The recruitment process needs to be rigorous if it’s going to find the right talent, but it also needs to be streamlined, consistent and fast. Using technology can drastically reduce the time spent by your recruitment team. Online assessments such as Cognisess Pro can help narrow down the talent pool quickly by removing applicants who miss the requirements. This means the technology is doing all the hard work for you and gives you a simplified view of all your candidates.

Outline the job description clearly

It can be frustrating when applicants apply for a job role which they clearly aren’t suitable for or when they don’t quite understand the job role. This uses up your valuable time by having to review and reject these applicants. To avoid this problem, it starts with the job description. Ensuring that the job description is clearly outlined with a clear criterion. For example, degree-level education or certain skill requirements.

Technologies have been developed to help reduce this and again, filter out individuals based on talent. For instance, gamification can be used to analyse individuals based on their true skills and attributes, which additionally enhances your decision making. This ensures your candidates will have the right skill set for the job advertised.

Keep communication clear, consistent & personal

Throughout the process, there can be many stages with multiple emails and further correspondences between candidates, managers and agents. Therefore, you need to make your processes as clear and consistent as possible to ensure fair and equal treatment of all applicants. Implementing an applicant tracking system (ATS) can help reduce miscommunication and errors in the recruitment process. In fact, 81% of job seekers say employers continuously communicating status updates to them would greatly improve the overall experience.

Whilst you still want to have a personal touch throughout the recruitment process, applying technologies to assist with your applicant management can help keep communication consistent and personal with each candidate. This is especially important when candidates are also your customers.

Harness recruitment analytics

You may not see the relevance in recruitment analytics, but it can be really insightful as an HR manager or recruiter. Analytics are readily available with many software solutions nowadays making it even easier to get to grips with recruitment analytics.

In addition, people analytics can add to this by providing an insight on current employees to shape what candidate you are looking for going forward. Understanding what people analytics and recruitment analytics can do for your business is the next step to successfully recruiting candidates.

Contact us today to find out how we can help refine your recruitment process