Using behaviour-based recruitment to make hiring fair and efficient

behaviour-based recruitment

Robert Newry, CEO, Arctic Shores, discusses how behaviour-based recruitment helps organisations make the hiring process fair and efficient

This year has been pivotal in many ways, with remote working and onboarding changing the way that companies across the board hire talent. With the pandemic acting as a turning point for many, now has also been the time for many businesses to look to technology to provide solutions that take acquisition to the next level, creating fair, engaging and efficient hiring. Job applications have been spiking by 1300%, yet 63% of job seekers are likely to reject a job offer because of a bad candidate experience, and 60% quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Evidently, it’s time for a rethink.

Ruling out unconscious bias

One reason that many large companies across the board, including Siemens and PwC, are moving away from traditional hiring processes, is the impact of unconscious bias. Past experiences such as schools, companies a candidate has worked for, and even their name, can all play a part in unconscious decisions that determine who is placed in a role.

With a high volume of applications also increasingly common, especially during the pandemic, manual sifting can leave recruiters with decision fatigue. The quality of important decisions declines, leaving the recruiter more likely to take the easy-option or illogical shortcuts. Not only does this have an effect on the quality of talent, but could also lead a recruiter to be susceptible to making a biased decision.

Making the acquisition process more effective

Fair hiring is also a long-standing challenge, but one that companies can easily overcome by leveraging smart technology. The pandemic has added another level of complexity to this, as without the typical face-to-face assessment centres or realistic job previews, it’s now harder than ever to predict which candidates will excel in a role.

The natural inclination has been to replicate these methods online. However,  we’ve seen this cause problems for government agencies. When trying to build a realistic job preview for their candidates online, two issues arose:

  1. Understandably, candidates were not faced with an authentic experience. The online format was less intense, making it hard to see deep enough to predict candidates’ suitability.
  2. As the online format couldn’t replicate the on-job experience, candidates found it hard to predict whether it was the right opportunity for them.

This meant identifying the right hire was much less predictable and couldn’t be rooted in the appropriate data. It’s a problem shared globally as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Measure what matters

One change that organisations are looking at is measuring behavioural fit for a role through new forms of assessments. Allowing a candidate’s suitability to be measured on their behavioural traits means that every candidate can break free from the narrow system holding them back. Using interactive tasks, rather than typical questions, accurately captures work-relevant traits like creativity, resilience and emotional stability. Employers can finally measure true potential, while ensuring a consistent, engaging experience. This has two benefits: fair and predictive hiring.

By giving candidates a platform to showcase their authentic self, without the need for self-report or manual review, behaviour-based assessments (BBAs) can strip out bias and guard against adverse impact. In fact, some providers guarantee no adverse impact at all.

This kind of technology rests on the foundations of cognitive neuroscience, replicating well-established clinical experiments in a more engaging, mobile-first format. Once the tasks capture each candidates’ unique behaviour, data science automatically maps that data against each role’s bespoke fit profile.

There are a few companies offering BBAs out there and the results of this approach to assessment are often remarkable:

  • Siemens UK doubled the number of women who progressed to the final stages of their process
  • BAME hires at Kantar grew by 7% in one year
  • Almost half of Arcadis hires were female, an increase on previous years

With this new way to assess, government agencies finally have the right tools to build the diverse, dynamic teams they need. BBAs ensure the right candidates actually reach the assessment centre stage; not only do they capture candidates’ behaviour, but they also compare that data automatically to a ‘fit profile’ – a framework of the key behaviours for a given role. They see real insight in the context of what they’re looking for. This puts predictive hiring in easy reach – even in lockdown.

Thales, the French multinational, is a great example. Recognising the risks of running an online assessment centre in isolation, they turned to BBAs. That additional layer of behavioural insight meant the right people got to the assessment centre stage. This resulted in conversion rates of 2:1.

As we look to 2021, government agencies now have the opportunity to set an example when it comes to a technology focussed future. With the help of BBAs, hiring will become more inclusive and fair, while also being completely predictive. The future of assessment is here, and it’s behaviour-based.


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