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Finding fit for purpose talent in 2018 and beyond

Yi Xu, CEO and founder of Human


Finding talent that is right for the role and matches the business’ culture is an ongoing recruitment challenge for many companies and HR directors today.  There is also a great deal of pressure involved when it comes to selecting the right candidate for the job because that person needs to be compatible, have the right personality and skill set for the company, as well as being a good fit ‘culturally’ for the team. 


This is by no means an easy task; how do you ensure you have the full package every time? Successful managers know that appointing the wrong person could make or break the business, not to mention the fact that poor recruitment decisions can be costly mistakes and can have a detrimental effect on the bottom line. It is estimated that hiring the wrong person can cost between three and five times the persons’ annual salary, so it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.


Removing judgement and bias


The interview process itself is short and sweet in comparison to the longevity of someone’s career at the right company, but many managers wrestle with recruitment decisions because traditionally the interview and subsequent recruitment process has always been a bit of a gamble. Interviewers judge people on their own benchmark, which can differ from person to person and from day to day. As such, there is a great deal of human bias and judgement involved in this process and more importantly, an element of subconscious discrimination too.


They say, ‘first impressions last’ and that is usually how appointment decisions are made – on first impressions. This can be an issue for businesses who are essentially recruiting on gut instinct and while this kind of human reaction has its place to a degree, it’s not fool proof and one person’s ‘instincts’ differ to the next, so it is difficult to find a middle ground and make an informed choice. Human intervention like this is leading to hundreds of costly recruitment errors every day while many people who may have been suitable candidates for a role, are losing out on the opportunity altogether simply because ‘one size fits all’ selection approaches are out dated.


Understanding human behaviour


When appointing someone you need to consider the impact on team dynamics because even if someone has the right skills and experience, if you bring the wrong kind of personality into an already successful and functioning team it can upset the apple cart and have a negative outcome. Will that person ‘play well’ with the rest of the team? Do they share the same vision, values and goals? How can you be sure they will fit culturally?


Both cultural fit and diversity are said to have an impact not only on recruitment but on retention of staff too. When considering diversity for example, we should not simply consider, gender, background, geography factors, but more importantly, the diversity of personality, which is harder to quantify if judged by another human without bias, although machine generated data can provide a view on the same benchmark.


New advances in technology can certainly help to remove a certain level of human bias and offer a more accurate way to understand human personality and behaviour, giving employers a greater opportunity to predict and make better, more informed decisions.


The problem with psychometrics


Using software that has the ability to read candidates’ subliminal facial expressions live, during job interviews is something that is becoming more relevant in the recruitment process and the capability of such software is becoming far more advanced than in previous years. In the past, companies have trialled and used processes such as personality profiling tools and psychometrics, which involves a form of ‘sifting’ in line with a narrow set of pre-determined characteristic traits.


Whether or not psychometric profiling works really depends on how the data is used in the recruitment process to form a hiring decision for the employer. There are both pros and cons here whether this is used earlier or later in the stage of the process. The challenge of traditional survey-based psychometric assessments is that the answers tell the employers what the candidate wants to be perceived as, or who they think they are, but in most cases this does not represent who the candidate truly is – namely because human intervention plays a part in those answers. Another weakness is the various benchmarks of the answers given by candidates, i.e. for candidate A, a grade 3 out of 10 can be very different from that of candidate B when they answer the same survey.


Any technology or new process can present barriers including artificial intelligence innovations but it is about understanding how specific technology works and how you can interpret the data it generates. You need to remain objective when analysing any data and minimise the bias when translating it.


Artificial emotional intelligence


The best way to use current innovations in technology is to look at software that can decipher facial expressions in real time and then convert these into a range of deeper emotions and specific characteristic traits to support the recruitment process. Using perceived characteristics scores based on subliminal facial expressions will allow employers to form an unbiased view on the same benchmark read by the software. 


Using Artificial emotional intelligence (AEI) in this way will take recruitment decisions a step further into the more dynamic realms of characteristic detection – which is something we all look to understand during the interview process. Really it is about understanding human behaviour in its raw state, the character of the individual person and how that translates to the role we are recruiting for.


Imagine you don’t know who the candidate is behind a video interview; their age, gender or race doesn’t matter. You simply screen those candidates based on their personality traits (or the big five personality traits you are looking to understand. For example: Passion, honesty, confidence, outgoing, stress, reaction etc.). Using the data from an exercise like this will support the overall decision by giving unbiased levels of insight and intelligence into what kind of person you are interviewing, not who they think they are, but who they actually are.


What next?


Using the power of deeper-rooted technology within the realms of AEI we are now able to look at how someone is feeling at that point in time and also what kind of person they are. This will also reveal certain human behavioural traits, which can be used to great advantage when selecting the right person for the job.


Using such technology will also help the HR profession in the future to learn about their patterns of decision-making through the view of ‘machine’ based data and to learn from those previous mistakes.  AEI can also support greater, more in-depth insight into employee satisfaction levels, which is seldom openly communicated to employers by staff and this could be invaluable in increasing employee retention rates in future years too.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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