We’re all human, so we can’t help our unconscious bias but AI can help reduce it in the recruitment process

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. But this approach adopted by our brain can lead to patterns of illogical thinking – this is called cognitive bias.  

It is thought there are at least 175 types of biases, this diagram allows you to explore all of them. But to keep things simple, we’ve grouped the biases into four types of typical hurdles the brain encounters every day:

  • Too much information – Our brain uses a few ‘shortcuts’ to condense information. A key aspect of this is humans are drawn to details that support their existing beliefs. An example of this was uncovered in a research paper by Harvard Business School. They 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. We also assume people we are familiar with are better than people we don’t know.
  • The need to act fast – 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.

How can bias affect the recruitment process?

Unfortunately, we can’t eliminate these biases and they can sometimes seep into the recruitment process. In a recent study, researchers sent a number of CVs to businesses. These applicants had similar levels of experience, the only aspect which differed were their names – the applicants either had stereotypical black, Latino or white names. They also asked a group of people to physically hand in their CV at a number of companies, again, they each shared similar qualifications but were different ethnicities. The researchers found that white applicants received 36% more callbacks than African Americans and 24% more than Latinos. The study also uncovered that racism in hiring hasn’t changed since 1989. Although we all want to ensure a recruitment process is as fair as possible and we may not intentionally be applying bias, our brain is automatically applying these bias ‘shortcuts’ to make decisions quickly.

Being unconsciously biased is an inherent part of being human – even if we try to avoid it or correct ourselves. So, once we realise we can be prone to unconscious bias despite our best efforts, we should be turning to AI as a helpful tool to help keep us compliant and open up the recruitment process.

How can AI transform the recruitment process?

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, revealed to Information Age that “AI doesn’t have to understand its own unconscious bias, because it has none. AI does not need diversity and inclusion training. It’s incapable of taking an instant dislike to someone, secretly wondering whether someone’s planning on starting a family, or hiring someone who’s pleasingly similar to them.

As AI isn’t human it has the capacity to be completely objective. This can be used as a tool to help HR create a fairer recruitment process. For instance, Cognisess Pro, our market-leading recruitment platform driven by AI, makes it optional for candidates to disclose age, gender, race or the schools they went to and can also hide this information from assessors too. More significantly, this personal information is never taken into account for Cognisess assessments – our system is mostly interested in assessing how your brain works. This way 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 to create an environment for recruiters to make objective and well-informed decisions about a candidates potential.

The Cognisess platform is data-driven with over 50 assessments to choose from and measures over 120 human attributes. The insights created from this data has been proven to assist companies like AB InBev, CIL and IHG  make better informed and fewer bias decisions about recruitment and assessments. For example, hotel giant IHG has recently ensured a gender equality of 93.75% through their recruitment process using Cognisess Pro, enabling a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management compared to their more traditional recruitment processes.

Attract more talent, increase your diversity

There are many benefits of using an AI recruiting platform like Cognisess Pro. Using this software provides an opportunity to increase diversity in a company’s workforce. A more diverse team can equate to a more profitable company, a McKinsey report uncovered that “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” It can also attract more talent to apply for a company with 67% of applicants wanting to join a diverse team.

As our brains have over 175 individual biases, it can be hard to be sure we are making a totally objective hiring decision. It makes sense to use AI as a tool to facilitate a fairer and more efficient process to help us accurately hire the best person for the role – every time. It is incorporating the best of both worlds, a recruiter’s years of experience with AI’s objective stance. Adopting AI in HR has never been easier. Our team of People Analytics experts can guide you through the first steps of adding AI to your HR processes. If you would like to find out more please get in contract or book a FREE demo of Cognisess Pro, the most advanced People Analytics and AI Assessment Platform on the market today.

People Analytics will change the way HR makes its decisions: but what’s driving this change?

Amongst marketing colleagues throughout any sector of business, it is inconceivable that customers would not have their fingerprints and footprints of their data analysed to the nth degree to better understand their value, buying behaviours, patterns of consumption and preferences.  CRM and other data driven disciplines like ASO, SEO, NPS are the life-blood of decision making in marketing. Sure hunches in marketing are still important – but only if they are backed up with data. So, why is it the case, that HR do not as yet apply the same rigour in better understand human potential and performance when making key hiring and appraisal decisions?

HR and People Management have always been an inherently human set of processes…. the clue is in the title. But are people necessarily the best judge of people? Traditionally HR, hiring managers and recruiters are trusted with the responsibility of using their experience to assess and select the best talent available in the market. Knowing what a ‘good hire’ looks like is part logic (reviewing CVs and experience track record) and part intuition (having a feel for whether the person will fit the organisation through interviews).  Both of these practices are fraught with inconsistencies, inaccuracies, subjectivity and even bias (unconscious or otherwise). But in fairness to the HR profession it has been very difficult, up until now, to replace the wisdom of experience with anything else.  But advances in Big Data, Cognitive NeuroScience, automation and machine learning – have heralded a new era of certainty and reliability in the form of People Analytics: the science of assessing people through data.

New Technology – New HR Solutions

Humans and AI are finally able to start working together to make better business decisions. In a recent McKinsey study, 47% of executives have embedded at least one AI capability into their business process.  However, HR remain the function which is least convinced of the benefits to their organisations in deploying AI in HR falling way behind operations, product development, service delivery and marketing and sales. Lack of coherent internal and external data sets, lack of skills to operate in an increasingly digital and data driven HR environment and lack of leadership to drive changes in traditional practices: are some of the main reasons cited for lack of uptake amongst businesses for People Analytics.

As a pioneer in bringing machine learning and People Analytics into the HR market over the past 5 years, here are a number of key benefits that Cognisess have delivered for those companies who have been early adopters for AI in HR.

Saving time – AI has an appetite for data. It is able to process applicants and identify the top candidates faster than an employee manually organising them. This means HR managers can spend more time preparing applicants for the role. Recently the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, was able to interview their strongest candidates just 3 days after they’d sent in their application. Before employing Cognisess Pro’s people analytics, it took them 10 days. Cognisess saved them time, enabling them to hire the best talent faster.

Saving money – One bad hire can cost €45,000 (£39,294) in loss of productivity. Predictive analytics cannot foresee the future, but in can prevent unsuitable candidates from advancing through the process. It reveals not only the best talent –  but also those candidates who will fit or adapt into a specific company the culture, thrive in the role and therefore stay – thus saving companies a considerable amount of money and resource in the long term.

Increasing diversity, decreasing potential bias – Humans are naturally biased, and although we all do try to minimise it, our bias is always subconsciously present. In the past, there was no way to eliminate it from the recruitment process – predictive analytics and machine learning has completely transformed this. For instance, Cognisess Deep Learn ™ our AI engine, doesn’t take into account race, gender, age or background. Instead, it focuses purely on a person’s cognitive ability and emotional and social attributes to perform to any given role. This change allowed hotel giant, IHG, to eliminate potential bias by 93% from their recruitment process. This not only increases their prospect of developing a truly diversified workforce, but also demonstrates a clear commitment to fairness and inclusion for the employer brand.

How will it transform HR?

“Companies who adopt a predictive analytics system create a brighter future. They not only gain useful objective data on their applicants and employees, but they also gain insight about their talent pools. Managers can identify strengths and weaknesses – even uncovering hidden talents!” Comments Chris Butt, CEO of Cognisess. This approach encourages employees to develop their adaptability and skills whilst managers can better envision a person’s progression in a business by using AI to create complete picture about people and their potential.

As People Analytics become more affordable, accessible and user-friendly we will see many more companies recruit and appraise through a predictive analytics platform, whilst dialling back less reliable traditional recruitment methods. Forward thinking companies such as DFS and Knight Frank are already using our predictive analytics platform, Cognisess Pro to transform their approach. Cognisess Pro’s objective method of assessing talent works well to support and validate recruiters ‘gut instincts’ about a candidate with the data and evidence to back up why they are a good fit for the role. With Cognisess Pro, companies can constantly refine the attributes they are looking for whether it’s short term memory or emotional intelligence – or any other of 120 attributes the platform analyses.

The benefits for HR

Increased Efficiency

With 73% of applicants abandon job applications if they take longer than 15 minutes, there is clearly an art to retaining candidates until the end of an application. Cognisess Pro’s gamified assessments engage the candidate whilst gaining insights for the recruiter – 90% of applicants have a positive experience on the platform. “Our clients often see an increase in applications using our platform.” Reveals Chris Butt, CEO of Cognisess. A positive application experience also leaves candidates with a good first impression of a business.

Increased Diversity

With ethnically diverse teams outperforming non-diverse teams by 35%, it consciously pays to focusing on a person’s innate abilities and skills to identify what a balanced and diverse team fit looks like. Predictive analytics create a fairer process for all by removing subjectivity and bias. Typically recruiters are disposed to hiring the type of person they personally connect and recognise through experience or preference – rather than ability or potential.  Having a more objective approach greatly increases the chances of a building a more diverse and productive workforce.

Increased Speed to Hire

People analytics allows HR to recruit quickly cut through the volume of applicants and information to identify the best talent whilst creating a positive and fair process for every participant. Simultaneously the technology allows recruiters and managers to monitor and benchmark their existing employee talent pool to quickly spot opportunities to redeploy talent – rather than always reaching for an external solution.

Learn more about AI in HR

Cognisess is already supporting some of the world’s leading businesses to transform their approach to managing talent and potential. 

For more insight, download our recent case study with global hotel giant IHG.

What is unconscious bias and why it should be reduced in talent recruitment?

Unconscious bias: a brief overview

Every one of us carries a degree of unconscious bias. This is informed by our personal experiences, stereotypes and cultural context. It’s the way our brains make quick judgements about people and situations without us even registering it. Ultimately these inherent biases can impact decision-making in the hiring process. For instance, during a study by PNAS, participants were invited to review a number of job applications. Despite the applications being randomly assigning a male or female name, each reviewer was more likely to conclude:

  • The male applicants were better qualified than female candidates.
  • They were inclined to hire male candidates over female applicants.
  • The male applicants were deemed more worthy of a higher starting salary than the female candidates.   
  • They were more willing to invest in developing a male candidate than a female one.

This is a prime example of unconscious bias at play. Although reviewers didn’t deliberately discount females because of their gender; their unconscious bias did. Ultimately this would impact on the hiring decision, career development and salary of the candidates. It may have even prevented the best candidates from being considered for a position.

Can bias ever be eliminated or at least reduced?

“Because we are all human, we all harbour conscious and unconscious biases. Sometimes they’re useful – like when we stubbornly always choose to stay at our favourite brand of hotel; but often they’re not. Even when we try our best to identify and minimise them, they are always there as they form an intrinsic part of being human,” revealed Cognisess CSO, Dr Boris Altemeyer: “

Although this bias is instinctive, there are methods recruiters can use to minimise the risk of affecting hiring decisions. The emergence of artificial intelligence provides an effective solution to reduce bias. According to Dr Altemeyer: “AI doesn’t have to worry about understand its own unconscious bias, because it has none.”

Cognisess Pro, our market leading AI recruitment platform, makes it optional for candidates to disclose age, gender, race or the schools they went to and that can be hidden from assessors too.  More significantly this information is never taken into account for Cognisess assessments. This is called ‘blind recruitment’ and focuses purely on the attributes and abilities that matter when hiring a candidate. This process provides decision makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role – regardless of background. The platform is data-driven with 50 assessments to choose from measuring over 120 attributes. This range of data has been proven to assist companies like AB InBev, CIL and IHG  make better informed and fewer bias decisions about recruitment and assessments.  For example, hotel giant IHG has recently eliminated potential bias by 93.75%using Cognisess Pro, enabling a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management compared to their more traditional recruitment processes.

Why should companies strive to minimise it?   

It is a given that leading recruiters are committed to a fairer recruitment process for applicants. This is important in building a credible employer brand and reputation to compete in the talent market.  But making a conscious effort to remove bias also provides other significant benefits. “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”  according to a recent Mckinsey report. Adopting an approach like Cognisess Pro which can reduce or eliminate bias, will lead to the development of a more diverse workforce.  “Teams which have a more diverse composition bring so much more to the business in terms of having strength in depth to maximise opportunities like problem solving, creativity, customer empathy and innovation which can benefit a company in both the short and long term,” confirmed CSO, Dr Altemeyer.

Additionally, a recent analysis of talent attraction strategies revealed that  67% of applicants want to join a diverse team .  Focusing on this will support companies to attract more candidates and the best talent into the applicant pool.

Taking the first steps to address bias

“In the battle for talent, not every company is going to win the hearts and minds of the top 3% of graduates every year – and that thinking in itself is a form of bias”, stated Cognisess CEO Chris Butt: “Therefore companies have no other option to but too look beyond the obvious to identify talent in its many forms and how it can ably fill the skills gaps they have.”

Cognisess Pro is the most advanced People Analytics and Assessment Platform on the market today bringing AI to HR. It is helping companies create a fairer process and pinpointing the best person for the role based on ability and potential – not gender, age or race. If you are uncertain of how to best start the journey of integrating AI into your HR processes, contact us today to schedule a demo and a two-week trial.

Three Good Reasons to Utilise AI Over Traditional Recruitment Methods

AI is on the rise. 38% of companies now use AI and 62% of companies are expected to by the end of the year. But what is the buzz about? Why are so many businesses beginning to utilise it? In this blog post, Cognisess will reveal why AI is applied over traditional recruitment methods.

It’s the less biased approach

Subjectivity and bias are unavoidable traits in humans. There are 150 types of unconscious biases in the workplace, so it’s difficult to be completely objective when hiring from a CV. Cognisess Deep Learn™, our AI algorithm, isn’t programmed to take into account gender, race or age. 69% of executives agree diversity is an important issue. Deep Learn™ focuses on the skills of each individual, creating a fairer hiring process and a more diverse workforce.

The best AI tools employ a range of data to calculate well-rounded results. Amazon’s AI CV tool only operated with one type of data, a CV. The AI was taught what a good hire looked like from their male-dominated workforce data  – from this it learnt a successful candidate would be male so began to discount females.

On Cognisess Pro it is optional to disclose age, gender and race – but it’s never taken into account for our assessments. Cognisess focuses on the attributes that matter when hiring a candidate. The platform is data-driven with over 50 assessments to choose from and over 120 attributes. This range of data enables a less biased approach compared to a traditional CV.   

It cuts time and costs

Traditionally hiring a candidate is a lengthy process, the average time to fill is 40 days in the HR sector. 67% of professionals report AI saves them time. The recruitment timescale with AI decreases, for instance, here’s how effortless it is to hire through Cognisess Pro:

  1. Setting up a job and posting it online only takes 25 minutes,
  2. It only takes 15 minutes for each candidate to complete our sophisticated assessments.
  3. When you review the applications, instead of attempting to read all the application forms in your inbox Cognisess Pro has already analysed them and calculated a percentage of how suited each person is to the role. This allows you to review the top talent for the role, without searching through a mass of applications.

It costs a company £3,000 on average to hire one person. Cognisess has saved companies £250,000 purely on assessment centres after switching from traditional methods to Cognisess Pro. It performs the menial work for you, enabling a more efficient hiring process.

It allows you to retain your employees

78% of business leaders perceive employee retention as important or urgent. While one third of new hires leave after six months. It is a notorious issue, an employee leaving can lead to customer dissatisfaction, damaging your brand image as a result.  

Traditional recruitment methods aren’t able to assess whether a candidate will fit in with your company culture – but AI can. If you know a candidate will fit in with your culture, they will more likely to remain in the role. On top of Culture Fit, Cognisess Pro is able to predict current and future performance – reducing the risk of a bad hire. If a new employee is a good fit for the role it will create a loyal and engaged relationship with the company.

Adopting AI into at least one aspect of your recruitment process will enhance it. AI doesn’t make hiring decisions for you, it is there to present its analysis for you to make a balanced hiring decision.

If you are unsure how to incorporate AI into your recruitment process, contact us today to schedule a demo and a two-week free trial of Cognisess Pro – the most advanced People Analytics and AI Assessment Platform on the market today.

 

Why Amazon’s Ml / AI CV Selection Tool Developed a Bias

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments on why Amazon’s AI recruitment tool developed a sexist bias.

It is very interesting to see that a tech giant with, arguably, access to the absolute best talent in this area has admitted defeat. Their AI was simply automating bias, rather than removing it.

Based on our experience, it is not entirely surprising that this occurred. Relying on CV information for job fit is a limited, risky and biased approach. It is affected by factors such as language proficiency, the locus of control (how much you attribute things happening to you as being a result of your own actions), as well as education and social economic status.

Many high profile individuals rely on professional writers to fine-tune or completely ghostwrite their CVs. Therefore using mere a CV as an indicator of potential job performance relies on one – questionable – assumption: what you did in the past and are able to document coherently is indicative of what you are likely to do in a complex and changing environment.

It has been shown in research – meta-studies in particular – that CVs are not a reliable indicator of performance. Therefore, Cognisess starts at the point of which decisions are made: the brain.

The Cognisess Deep Learn framework that underlies many of our features doesn’t take the same approach as an AI CV selection tool. We are interested in learning as much as possible about a person to make a considered decision, whilst assessing their individual potential. However, personal information such as CV data is only a fraction (and actually the least part) that we are interested in.

Objective metrics such as the ability to inhibit automatic responses, paradigm-shifting, or problem solving, are not impacted by your ability to express how good you are at them. Which is why Cognisess use accessible game mechanics to measure them.

Whilst one can argue that there are gender differences between certain aspects of brain preference and function, this is far less of a concern in our complex profilers. If one were to select an employee purely based on one attribute, it wouldn’t paint a full picture of a candidate. However, when we build profilers with up to 140 separate aspects, each of which can have individual weights, target values, and thresholds, these effects arguably become insignificant.

The wealth of data that can be generated on cognition, emotion, behaviour and emotion detection in videos via AI, allows employers to take the crucial step to calibrate what ‘best’ truly looks like. In many cases, the Amazon AI recruiting tool will lead to additional scrutiny on what has caused the bias in workforce diversity including the poorly established or biased KPIs.

Contact us to schedule a demo and a two-week free trial of Cognisess Pro – the most advanced People Analytics and Assessments Platform in the market today.

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Humanising AI

 In light of recent data privacy and GDPR developments and the associated fallout, this recent article from the Guardian which quoted Cognisess raises some interesting and valid points.  We do welcome this debate and think it is very timely.

However, whilst it rightly challenges where the human value is within these new systems – it perhaps underplays the significant benefits that predictive analytics and AI can offer job seekers and employees when done right.

We have seen the introduction of AI and automated processes, working in parallel with trained professionals, bringing greater transparency and less bias than traditional HR and recruitment practices, which can often be inherently flawed, with limited accountability. And that can only be a good thing.

Cognisess Platform Dashboard

We have also noted this technology enabling a greater democratisation of human capital, particularly with startups and SMEs who need access to affordable and dependable tools that are currently only available at a premium price to bigger companies. It’s the smaller players who have fewer resources and need to move with greater agility, who will benefit most from this revolution. Of course, the bigger companies will benefit from managing their scale better with greater transparency but it’s the army of smaller businesses who have the greater need to work smarter, faster and take greater risks in their talent acquisition efforts.

While the games and quizzes the Guardian mentions do indeed help to indicate which candidates might or might not be the best fit for a role, they can also empower people, from students to seasoned professionals in helping them to understand exactly where their talents lie and therefore more easily find the right opportunities to fulfil their potential.

Currently we rely on hearsay as to why we might not be successful for a job role or promotion. But now you as a candidate or employee can expect an accurate and transparent account of where your skills did not match on that occasion. This is a tremendously human improvement from the current level of feedback one might expect. Over stretched Human Resource professionals will never have the time or tools to accurately feedback detail to all candidates with the same speed and accuracy as the AI will.

yondur
Yondur Platform

And rather than ‘bewildering’, these tools are designed to help identify attributes which may often be overlooked by a fatigued or distracted interviewer. It is no fault of recruiters or employers that the job market is becoming increasingly complex. The bewilderment factor is in fact more prevalent from the speed at which the demand for new skills and capabilities are emerging.

Through candidate focused platforms like our Yondur.com and others, candidates can now freely familiarise themselves with a range of assessments and job requirements, and use these supporting resources to help them with both their search and their personal development.

Undoubtedly, workforce and HR Analytics is a rapidly evolving and growing industry and increased competition is a good thing, but quality will remain as important as ever, as will delivering real value and reliability for employers and employees alike. We believe that systems like Cognisess Pro will in fact add a stronger human dimension – if for no reason other than managers will have the time and accurate information to make the best people decisions.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be running a series of articles to highlight some of the work we’ve been doing in these areas with our advisors and clients to ensure that maximum transparency and data integrity is enshrined throughout the Cognisess platform and procedures.

For more information about how Cognisess uses AI to reduce bias for HR and recruitment practices contact us at support@cognisess.com.

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Cognisess featured in BBC technology channel

Cognisess and CEO Chris Butt featured in BBC’s Technology of Business channel which was looking at the impact of automation & machine learning on our recruitment  processes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42905515

The article was examining whether there was a potential erosion of human values that automation and machine learning were starting to bring to such an important process and posed the question: Does an over-reliance on technology mean recruiters are losing the personal touch? CEO Chris responds to some of the important points raised in the article as matters relating to recruitment, talent and human potential are interweaving with new technological breakthroughs in AI and automation.

CEO of Cognisess, Chris Butt in one to one meeting

As a company that has been pioneering in the field of Predictive Analytics for People for over a decade, I am increasingly being asked to comment about the developments of these emerging technologies. This has especially increased over the past 6-12 months where it has suddenly started to capture the attention of many ordinary citizens who are now being exposed to technologies like Cognisess Pro – our enterprise platform that supports talent recruitment and employee performance assessments. The simple view is that this technology is here now – and it’s going to stay. It is only going to become more prevalent – not less. So in answer to the key question the BBC posed above; automation & AI technologies are an opportunity to become more personal and personalised – not less.

Perhaps another bold statement, but the reason why major companies of all sizes and from all sectors are turning to technologies like Cognisess Pro & Deep Learn(TM) is because they are simply overwhelmed by the sheer scale, speed & volume of handling people and their data within ever increasing complexities of the 21 century workplace. In this scenario of woods & trees – HR and Recruit teams are increasingly likely to fall into practices which are inherently rushed, superficial, subjective, bias or even misinformed. And who can blame them? Pressures on reducing costs and speeding up hiring and assessments of people mean that HR and Recruiters have no choice but to turn to new technologies to speed up processes and make them more accurate. But that needn’t necessarily depersonalise or dehumanise the process – quite the opposite. In fact, these technologies mean that candidates and employees can not only look forward to being handled in a way that is not only inherently fairer, more accurate and insightful – but also in a manner which is far more personalised than any HR or Recruiter would ever have the time to be.

Our job and career profiling tools can assess a candidate’s skills, personality, cognitive and emotional aptitude and ultimate fit against 1200 different job roles, a number of teams or an organisation’s entire culture. Not only that, we can produce a personal digital profile that can show you – as a candidate for a new job or promotion – exactly where you did or did excel against every other candidate. So, in this respect, a candidate would get immediate, honest and objective feedback on their fit, their potential and which were the areas that they did or did not match up to against other leading candidates.

Is it 100% accurate, 100% of the time? Perhaps not (yet). But it is certainly provides a more accurate, more immediate and more personalised set of actionable insights into how we, as people, are ultimately assessed. And that what most of us really want when putting ourselves forward for opportunities – whether they are well within our experience levels or stretching us into new opportunities. So let’s bring it on and be ever more transparent.

For more information about how Cognisess uses machine learning to help recruitment contact us at support@cognisess.com

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CSO of Cognisess presents Deep Learn at Cognition X Round Table

Dr Boris Altemeyer, CSO of Cognisess, joined the panel at Cognition X’s Round Table event at the Wayra Accelerator in London.

The agenda explored the Impact of AI on HR and Recruitment with 50 leading HR professionals attending from across different industry sectors. Cognisess, a leader in predictive people analytics, presented its Deep Learn vision and capability and how the company is delivering AI solutions across the HR and Workforce Analytics market. Cognisess discussed the real and practical opportunities for HR to embrace the nascent potential of AI based on a number of respective high profile client case studies including IHG and Ab InBev.

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AI – Enemy of the (Emotional) State?

Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, takes a look at the emotional tensions that can bubble to the surface during the holiday period and projects how these may indeed one day become a thing of the past.

The holiday and New Year season are a wonderful time (for the scientifically minded) to explore insights around the role of our Emotional State, what it actually does to us and why that is important.

As social beings, our interactions are very much 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, this can lead to a heightened awareness of our own and other’s Emotional State, which 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!

The way we feel, and more significantly the way we ‘think’ or perceive someone else is feeling will greatly colour how we choose to react. This heightened sensibility is something that makes us very human and distinctly superior to AI… or does it? 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. Also, we know 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: and that is where AI might come into play.

Over the past year, we have focussed a lot of our research efforts on developing computer vision: the use of video analysis on our platform to reliably detect micro-expressions and emotions from the videos that job candidates and/or employees have uploaded. Using our own dedicated algorithms we’ve been able to normalise and effectively ‘stabilize’ all the data feeds to reveal a rich dataset for every video. This data can then be assessed and analysed to tell us a tremendous amount about how engaged someone might be about their working experience, a prospective job, or how likely they may be suited to a role where empathy or Emotional State plays a big part – such as in a client facing or carer role, for example. We have found this to be especially useful through working with the hospitality industry, in which customer service and mood state is paramount, where we have harnessed computer vision and emotional state analysis to determine what ‘good’ in that environment looks like.

We have seen in the past how good some humans can be at spotting Emotional States, and how this might lead to a recruiter or manager being known for their ‘instinct’ in 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 or inconsistencies caused by distraction, stress, fatigue, bias and own ‘less-than-reliable’ Emotional State. This doesn’t apply to machines, who don’t have an ‘off-day’ or the ‘wrong mood state’ – hence our interest at Cognisess in getting the best from both worlds as it opens up new opportunities for humans to learn about their own Emotional States and mood patterns as well as generate greater accuracies and efficiencies.

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.

In all cases 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 us humans do, finding patterns in what we do and starting to interpret them. Going forward, we will see this dynamic being reversed, and it is us, the humans, who stand to gain by learning from the machines about the patterns that they uncover and what that most likely tells us about them and their behaviour / behavioural intentions. This is going to 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.

So, if the ghost of recruitment past is becoming the traditional recruiter with their ‘instinct’, then the ghost of recruitment future will be AI – 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?

For more information about how AI helps recruitment and what Cognisess does contact us at support@cognisess.com

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Deep Learning: Changing HR Forever

Cognisess’ guest blogger Technology4JB takes a look at the opportunities emerging in the people & talent space to use the power of AI and Machine Learning. It provides an easy to understand guide for HR Professionals who are considering what the benefits of this new technology might be.

One of the latest advancements in technology is deep machine learning, which focuses on the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to adapt and learn from users’ behaviours through brain-like structures called neural networks. Among the industries set to be disrupted by deep learning is human resources.

AI is now being tested out on a number of different Internet of Things connected devices. Gartner claims AI will soon be integrated into every software by 2020, which research VP Jim Hare calls “the biggest gold rush in recent years.”

Tech giant Samsung has been testing deep learning by applying it in various devices, including in ultrasound equipment and in their latest smartphones through Bixby. According to the information shared by O2, Galaxy S8’s Bixby makes things easy for users to ‘do what they want, when they want’. Samsung’s propriety mobile AI assists users in completing tasks, tells them what they’re looking at, learns routines, and remembers what users need to do. This latest development in mobile AI can help further drive the adoption of deep learning in human resources.

With the amount of data that is available in the hiring process, machine learning can unearth more efficient approaches for identifying strong candidates. Through a model that is trained based on data made from example collections, companies are able to create accurate predictions instead of following a static procedure.

There are certain ways that deep learning can assist in making the HR process more efficient such as the following:

Evaluate more candidates quickly

From a nearly endless pool of possibilities, algorithms can help HR in finding and recruiting candidates quickly and effectively. AI can accomplish the time- and labour-intensive task of searching for the right applicant, such as screening CVs or scheduling interviews. Deep learning excels at statistical analysis and pattern recognition that makes evaluating CVs of successful employees easier and helps identifying whether an applicant comes with similar traits and experience that is required for the position. Aside from automating high-volume tasks, the technology integrates seamlessly with the current recruiting process, so it doesn’t disrupt the workflow. Since time for recruitment processes are reduced, it’s less likely for a company to lose the best talent to some of their competitors that aren’t using similar processes.

Improves quality of hires

Based on the statistical figures presented by CareerBuilder about the cost of a bad hire, the study showed that 41% of companies stated a bad hire cost them in the region of £20,000, while 25% said it cost them £40,000. The report even includes the often-cited Harvard Business Review study that revealed 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.

With deep learning and AI present, HR employees will be able to use the data gathered to standardise an applicant’s experience, skills, and knowledge based on the requirements of the job. This enhancement in recruiting is projected to lead to happier and more productive employees, who are less likely to leave their jobs.

Enhance employee satisfaction

Since algorithms work with the idea that ‘A is equal to A,’ the technology will be able to improve employee satisfaction via regular, unbiased performance reviews. Deep learning has the ability to evaluate employee performance based on the data provided to the system and without any personal bias. It can examine past performance trends of individuals, teams, or departments as well as predict future outcomes. Research published on Digitalist Magazine discussed how AI can end bias as the technology can learn how to filter irrelevancies out of the decision-making process. It can quickly select the most suitable applicant from a pile of CVs and guide HR employees based on what it calculated objectively to be the best candidate and not based on personal prejudice. The data collected is assessed by deep learning and can give HR managers and directors insights into the next necessary steps to take to improve the performance of the employees when the software spots a potential problem.

With deep learning and AI performing many of the routine tasks quicker, it makes the whole HR process efficient and employees more productive. While it’s highly unlikely that AI will replace humans in the HR field, its comprehensive capabilities to provide data-driven solutions will undoubtedly be a huge part to the continuing evolution of the industry.

Written by guest blogger Technology4JB

For more information about Cognisess get in touch at support@cognisess.com