Coronavirus Leadership Values you can use to recruit future leaders

A leader is truly tested when they have to navigate their people through difficult times. Many leaders are successfully navigating the challenges COVID-19 are presenting. But what attributes do they have in common and what can we learn from them? In this blog, we also explore how you can use technology to recruit for these types of leaders. 

Leading with empathy and honesty 

We all know these are challenging times, so it’s even more important to be supportive and transparent to your team.  Although it’s important to stay positive, lying can affect our relationships with others. This study shows it impairs our ability to read emotions. Long term this may affect a leader’s ability to make the right decisions surrounding the team’s dynamic or morale. 

Research has also found a link between empathy and job performance, by being empathetic towards your team it allows them to feel supported, so they can thrive in their job. Because your employees are navigating uncertainty in their own lives, it’s important to acknowledge that they might be feeling anxious, and concerned for both their personal and family’s health. As a leader, it’s important to check in with your employees and make sure they have access to the resources they need so they can fulfil their potential.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a strong example of this type of leadership. Her regular Facebook live streams allow her to keep her country updated and have an organic and down to earth approach. 

These attributes are part of emotional intelligence, a highly sought after trait. But how can you identify emotional intelligence in future leaders? 

You can measure a person’s emotional intelligence through our scientifically backed assessment. You can simply add this game into your application process, enabling you to confidently recruit a candidate with high emotional intelligence. 

Agile

There have been many rapid shifts this year for companies. At the start of the year,  businesses had to quickly deploy their employees to work remotely. Agile leaders were able to establish new communication channels, tools and methods to maintain a sense of community in the company. 

When Andrew Young, a managing director of Accenture’s Talent and Organisation/Human Potential practice, spoke to Wired he commented that: “In fast-changing conditions, agility really matters. You need to respond quickly, but you also need to have a stable core of leadership and talent and culture. To deal with the challenges going on outside the organisation you need to make changes inside. It is a bit like trying to get your bike pedals moving while not falling off the bike.”

The ongoing changes of COVID-19 and new technology mean that it will be essential for high performing future leaders to possess this trait.  

Valuing their people 

The beginning of the year was an especially uncertain time for businesses. But organisations used their most valuable asset to thrive – their people. Without them generating ideas and juggling childcare with Zoom meetings, it wouldn’t have been possible. During this time leaders need to show employees that they are valued, but how can technology help with this? 

In order to value your people, you need to understand them. Our Culture Fit tool identifies the attributes your employees share so you can understand your culture and recruit people who also share these traits. This data will allow your leaders to understand how to engage their team. For example, if our Culture Fit tool identifies that your employees are goal-oriented, you can motivate them by creating targets for them to meet. 

COVID-19’s rapid changes that have challenged leaders globally. However, it has also highlighted the attributes leaders need currently and in the future. If you would like to discuss how we can help you recruit your future leaders contact us today. 

paper and pens to write about the top workplace skills

The top skills needed in 2020 and how you can assess candidates for them

Although every role requires different abilities, some skills are essential regardless of the job. 

LinkedIn has analysed millions of job postings from every industry to identify the most transferable skills. These include: 

  • Communication 
  • Problem Solving 
  • Operations 
  • Analytical Skills
  • Microsoft Office
  • Project Management 
  • Presentations 
  • Marketing 
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership

Perhaps a few of these skills are required in the positions you’re currently recruiting for. But how can you assess thousands of candidates for these skills? Although an applicant might effectively write about their excellent problem-solving skills, you may discover later on that they don’t possess this ability. This is time that could have invested in a more suitable candidate and money that could have been spent on a better hire. 

Our award-winning platform has over 60 scientifically-backed games that can assess a variety of cognitive abilities, personality attributes and workplace skills such as numeracy. This also includes a few of the most sought after transferable skills LinkedIn has identified. 

Problem Solving 

This skill is essentially the ability to identify a task and break it down into achievable components. Whatever role you’re recruiting for, problem-solving skills will be essential, from solving customer complaints or fixing a technical issue. Ensuring new hires have strong problem-solving skills is critical to keeping an organisation running effectively. 

Our problem-solving assessment tests a candidate’s ability to solve a problem in a certain number of moves with an added time constraint. This allows you to observe how well a candidate can solve a situation under pressure, and how considered each of their decisions are. The assessment enables you to understand each candidate’s actual problem-solving abilities. 

Leadership 

In this challenging time it is essential to have strong leaders who can lead your company to success.  Finding leadership qualities in the early stages of the recruitment process can be challenging. Selecting the most promising candidates early on will increase your chances to hire the best talent later on.

People who possess leadership qualities like creating and carrying out business projects. These people like to take action rather than thinking about a task for an extended period. 

Our scientifically backed personality assessment can identify leadership traits. The assessment is based on the Big Five Personality Traits, which are the building blocks of everyone’s personality.  

It is also important to invest in your current talent. TINYpulse found that employees who feel they’re progressing in their career are 20% more likely to be still working at their companies in a year’s time. By using our career interest assessment, you will be able to identify employees who would be interested in leadership roles. You can then encourage them to apply for future leadership roles at your company. 

Communication and Presentation Skills

In the age of remote working, it’s more important than ever to be able to communicate with your colleagues and clients through email or Zoom meetings. Being able to present effectively to sell a product or deliver a project to your manager is also useful in this ‘new normal’ to engage and hold their listener’s attention. Therefore, it is essential to test these skills in the recruitment process. 

In our Ask me and Meet Me features candidates record themselves answering several questions that have been set by the company. This tool is particularly beneficial to observe how candidates present themselves and understand what sort of first impression they give.  

Over half of communication is non-verbal, so our DeepLearnTM Video Analysis tool analyses each person’s face frame by frame for attributes such as positivity, confidence and resilience. This tool is a simple way to meet everyone in your candidate pool and observe how they present themselves. 


These skills are relevant to most roles, and you can easily implement these tools across the jobs you are recruiting for. If there are any essential skills or abilities that you look for in your recruitment please contact us. Our expert team will be able to recommend the relevant assessments that will help you recognise talent and enable potential.

3 types of survey that will identify your employee’s needs

Companies are moving beyond sole reliance on traditional surveys to more agile listening strategies, driven by advances in technology. In response to current events, we have created some new custom surveys that will allow you to assess your employee’s needs. 

Pulse survey 

Sometimes you need employee data quickly. These are short surveys that provide access to employee opinions and reaction to events. We recommend sending these weekly. Here are some of our pulse surveys: 

Mood – How do you feel? 

This tracks mood and sleep every time an employee logs into their Cognisess account. It builds a picture of the relationship between mood, sleep and productivity.

Ask Me (work related) video diary

This is to track or record how an employee is feeling using the Ask Me video tool. It can be used for appraisal, ideas and feedback. Alongside listening to their feedback, you have the option to view how the person is truly feeling. The machine vision used by our DeepLearn™ uses highly advanced algorithms that read from 27+ points on the face. It tracks the differences of the positions over time to establish a picture of the emotion that is being expressed by a person. 

Employee survey 

We recommend sending these on a monthly basis. These will give you a thorough insight into your employees and culture. Here are a few of our new employee surveys. 

Leadership Check in 

This template is for the executive leadership team to get a pulse on their employees to make sure they have the support they need while working from home during the Covid19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Listening in challenging times

This template is for employees to understand trends and changes over time and can be used to monitor engagement. Questions include: What are the biggest challenges you anticipate you will have in meeting your customers’ needs? And, my manager makes an effort to keep in touch with me when I’m working from home. 

Coping in a new world

This template is for employees and how they adapt to changes to working from home. Questions include: Are you meeting set criteria working from home?, Are you finding new ways to work efficiently? And, do you have a similar routine/structure as you did at work?

Health and wellbeing 

Employer response to COVID-19 

This template is for employees and relates to Covid-19 and working in a different way. Sample questions include: What policies/aspects do you feel have worked during this time? And what level of flexibility is provided by your organisation when it comes to getting work done? 

Mental Wellbeing 

Checking in on your people in this challenging time is important. A dip in work performance may be due to low mood instead of lack of work ethic. This template is for employees and focuses on areas of job satisfaction, personal & mental wellbeing.

You can add your own questions, allowing you to ask the questions that are valuable to your organisation. 


Alongside these advanced survey tools, Cognisess Pro has over 60 scientifically-backed assessments that will help you further understand your employee’s personality and abilities. Harness the full power of Cognisess Pro today by booking a free demo. We look forward to helping you to recognise your employee’s needs, talent and potential.

How can Cognisess Pro empower your employees post lockdown

Now more than ever is the time to listen to what your employees need. Here is some advice and tools to uncover this information successfully. 

Firstly, understand and empathise

Your employees are looking for support to help them through this crisis. As they navigate uncertainty in their own lives, acknowledge that they might be feeling anxious, unsettled, and concerned for both their personal and family’s health. Be there to listen and make sure they have access to the information and resources they need.

Be proactive

Anticipate needs and questions that might come up and make a plan. And if you’re unsure what your employees’ concerns are, find out by asking for feedback. Boosting your employee listening strategy during this time can help you better communicate and act on a plan that has a more meaningful impact.

What strategies and tools can you use on Cognisess Pro?

Employee Surveys. Comprehensive employee surveys that deliver a thorough understanding of organisational culture, experience and engagement and links to business performance.

Targeted Pulse Surveys. Sometimes you need employee data quickly. These are short surveys that provide access to employee opinions and reaction to events.

Daily Mood and Sleep. Daily monitoring of an employee’s mood and sleep, with an emphasis on Health and Wellbeing. You will be able to assess how your workforce are generally feeling, which can inform your general strategy moving forward. 

• Games and Assessments. Targeted games, assessments and questionnaires for employees to focus on different aspects of wellbeing, self discovery and their talent and potential.

Supporting remote working 

Cognisess Pro can also be accessed anytime and anywhere, your employees will be able to access it from home if they choose to work remotely after lockdown has ended. Allowing your people to give feedback to you whilst working where they feel most comfortable. 

By listening to your employees you empower them. Cognisess Pro is built for HR to understand and unleash employee’s potential.By gaining this understanding using our tools you can build a stronger and united future workforce. Book a demo to start this journey today.

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. 

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. 

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. 

Dragon Boat Race in Aid of The Mountain Way

On a lovely Sunday in early September, the annual race of the Dragons has yet again hit the calm waters of Avon. Teams from local businesses in Bath have risen to the challenge to support charities. The event also attracted strong local support, that was entertained by the live music, a friendly competition and sunny weather.

Cognisess has triumphed and brought the Gold Dragon back to their office on Argyle Street this year. The company, founded by CEO Chris Butt, is proud and happy to help raise awareness of The Mountain Way – a charity led by Andy Shaw, the founder and veteran of the Falklands War.  

Mr. Shaw was very kind to pay a visit to the Cognisess office. He delivered a moving and inspiring speech about his experience in the field. The little-known stories of soldiers are too often being swallowed by the feelings of guilt and shame only to erupt as PTSD later. The condition has led to one veteran taking his own life every 5 days in the UK.

Mr. Shaw has developed a method of how to tackle the problem. He takes a veteran on a pilgrimage to the mountains of France. With his guidance the person in distress gently learns to let go of the past and move onto the next chapter of their lives.

Mr. Shaw commented:

“As the founder of The Mountain Way I would like to thank the good people of the city of Bath for their very positive support last Sunday, the 8th of September, for showing up and competing in an exciting Dragon Boat Race, which saw teams battling it out for supremacy. We had a wonderful day on Sunday and very much look forward to next year’s event. We hope that more teams will be able to join us in what is a fun day for all concerned.”

Charity Designability also raised £10,000 at the event.  Dragon Boats will hit the waters of Avon next year again, but the race for Cognisess and The Mountain Way are not finished yet. The aim is to raise awareness of the cause and help as many veterans as possible. Get involved and help protect those, who risk their lives protecting us!