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The [code] writing’s on the wall for global recruitment

Dr Boris Altemeyer, chief scientific office, Cognisess


Cognisess is a predictive people analytics company that supports companies in selecting, recruiting and managing employees by eliminating bias and making the recruitment process fairer, more efficient and more accurate.


Global recruitment faces two disruptive challenges in the next decade. Globalisation will become even more complex and the speed of technological change will become more rapid.


Globalisation is entering a new period of tension and competition as geo-politics such as the Trump administration and Brexit re-cast the old order of world trade towards a new operating system for the global economy. Meanwhile disruptive technologies are cleaving into long standing business sectors that have enjoyed many decades of certainty and, in some cases, hegemony.


The international recruitment sector is in no way protected or immune from these changes. In fact, it’s more vulnerable than most as it continues to base its model on CVs, interviews and executive search.  All of which are incredibly time intensive, expensive and unreliable.  


Global executive search specialists CEO Worldwide self-diagnosed the problem citing “the traditional model of cross-border executive recruitment is overpriced, inflexible and slow with C-level search commanding inflated fees with no guarantee of success”.


Another recent study revealed almost half of HR managers struggled to find good candidates with an international outlook with “culture shock” and “language barriers” cited as the main issues. With 50% of graduate employees now living outside of their home company and 80% working for multinational companies, the scale of the issue is already too big for most international recruiters.


There’s a pressing need to find solutions that navigate the nuances and complexities of dealing across the multinational cultural and corporate borders. Currently the real talent agenda is often obscured by processes that are based on human decision making which are subjective and often biased, hemmed in by our unconscious (or conscious) default settings around racial and cultural stereotypes.


Luckily for employers – but perhaps not so lucky for traditional recruitment firms – the answer to this lies in the revolutionary coming together of two new 21st century disciplines: cognitive neuroscience and Machine Learning.


Cognitive neuroscience introduces an entirely new dimension around evaluating and developing human talent whereby our cognitive faculties are entirely measurable and capable of rapid learning.


The second aspect of this is Machine Learning. The recent development of artificial intelligence (AI) means we can literally process and analyse millions of data points from an individual or individuals in real-time. Furthermore, Machine Learning algorithms are capable of continually and independently learning and analysing as more data builds up.


These two revolutionary inter-disciplines have led to the development of new tools that can process thousands of candidate details at the push of a button. Machine Learning tools can also instantly benchmark the data against past and future capabilities and performance relating to industry norms and not only provide an accurate prediction as to a candidate’s suitability but also reliably predict future performance and development capabilities.


This level of processing power and accuracy is way beyond any human resource capability and can be provided at the fraction of the price that the industry currently charges. These tools are now being deployed to replace traditional interviews with developments such facial recognition software that can analyse expression, positivity and a range of other emotional states.


AI clearly wins hands down in terms of manging speed, scale and delivering value for money – but what about the other issue of complexity and nuance? How does AI and neuroscience help us ensure we selecting the candidate with the best fit – not just the right credentials?


Increasingly academic performance, CVs, interviews and personality tests are becoming redundant. Not only are they time heavy, subjective and unreliable, but they often fail to unearth a person’s true self and capability.


Just because a candidate may appear to have a degree of language difficulty at interview stage, it’s no indication of their cognitive ability to overcome or even command that challenge. Just because they may not appear to culturally fit the corporate or national construct, it’s no indication they cannot rapidly adapt to assimilate and exceed within your cultural environment.


Machine learning and cognitive neuroscience help us sidestep subjectivity and bias to reveal the true worth and potential of a person’s talent.


No wonder a recent LinkedIn report predicted “automating the screening and hiring process in order to eliminate human bias and time limitations will shape the future of recruiting.”  We entirely agree, except the future that is described here is already with us now.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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