Dr. Fred Rafilson
As a polished, dynamic, and highly skilled industrial/organizational psychologist with many years of experience in all aspects of the assessment industry, Fred has authored and published over 30 employment exams that assess cognitive abilities, skills, personality traits, motivation & attitude, etc.Follow Follow
Storytelling About Talview With Fred Rafilson
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 150. This week we have storytelling about Talview with Fred Rafilson. During this episode, Fred and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Talview.
Fred is chief I/O psychologist at Talview and an expert in all things I/O psychology and assessments. He has also authored and published over 30 employment exams designed to assess cognitive abilities, skills, personality traits, motivation and attitude and more. Hundreds of companies and federal, state and county/municipal agencies have utilized Fred’s assessments for their workforce. Additionally, he conducts research and evaluations and provides presentations and training to executive-level private and public-sector groups. His passion to provide a level playing field for every individual to achieve their best career really comes through during the podcast.
Talview is an end-to-end, AI-powered hiring and proctoring solution created to unify recruiting. It allows access, breaks obstacles and crosses divides for all involved. Thousands of recruiters and instructors in more than 120 countries use Talview to humanize and democratize large-scale recruiting and credentialing methods. The tech integrates with top ATSs, LMSs, HR technology and assessment providers, while their ‘plug and play’ solution seamlessly automates the recruiting to certification process to enable data to flow smoothly throughout all systems.
A few things we cover today: What are employers focused on assessing in potential candidates for remote versus in-office environments? Where should assessments fall into the recruitment funnel? Give an example of a fantastic Talview customer story.
There’s more, of course! Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 24 minutes
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Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens, or should happen, when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
Ladies and gentleman, this is William Tincup, and you are listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Fred on, from Talview, and we’re going to be talking about the use case of the business case for Talview. So, let’s just jump right into it.
Fred, would you please introduce both yourself and introduce Talview?
Sure. Thank you, William. I’m happy to be here, drinking coffee with you in the morning. I really appreciate it.
Talview offers an award winning talent measurement platform that really seamlessly orchestrates talent workflows for screening, interviews, assessment and proctoring. Our mission, which I think is really significantly different than some of our competition, is to provide a level playing field for every individual to achieve their best career. We really believe in breaking down barriers and allowing people all over the world, regardless of their demographic, or possible disability, or whatever barriers they may face, that they should have an equal chance of succeeding in their career, based on their skills and abilities. Through our end-to-end digitized platform, we can make this a reality.
I am the chief IO psychologist at Talview. I think most of your listeners are probably familiar with IO psychologists, but we focus on the psychology of work, and what are the skills and abilities required to perform work effectively, and efficiently and successfully. And, some of the things we also do are develop assessments to see if people have those skills and abilities. I like to think it’s not rocket science. If there’s a good match between the people and the job, they’re likely to be more successful.
That’s what I do, I’m an assessment guy. I have, I don’t want to tell you how many years experience in this field, but let’s just say-
More than five.
Yeah, more than five for sure.
It seems like five was at the first cup of coffee this morning, but whatever.
I originally started working for a couple of large testing firms years ago. I went on to form my own company that developed and provided exams to hire police officers and firefighters, which was fascinating. We became the largest company in the country to do that. I later sold that to my employees and it still is the biggest company in the country that’s doing that. It gave me a lot of great experience, including high stakes exam and defense. I actually developed an exam that went all the way to the Supreme Court and was upheld by the Supreme Court, it was a landmark testing case.
From that, I really got interested in providing expert services, working with customers and clients to make sure that their tests are fair, that they’re job related, that they’re unbiased and that they’re meeting their needs. What I do at Talview is really to work with our assessments, to make sure that we have assessments that are linked to various important roles for which our customers might need to hire throughout the economy. I make sure that our tests are fair and unbiased, as I talked about. Really, that’s the DNA of what we do. And, many of our clients are Federal contractors, so they need to meet OFSCCP requirements. Everyone needs to follow the EEOC, or the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission guidelines for fairness. So I work with our customers to ensure that all of those guidelines and regulations are met.
And also, one of the things that I love and that is really a differentiator and a huge strength of Talview, is working with our artificial intelligence capabilities and assessments that rely on artificial intelligence, to ensure that those assessments are also fair, unbiased and job related. It’s just such a cool area and it’s so important now. The future is here, as you know. It’s going to do nothing but expand. It’s really cool that Talview is at the forefront of that. I’m excited to be part of that team.
There’s the long, psychologist answer to your question. I apologize, I’m really [crosstalk 00:04:37].
No, no. I love IO folks. I’ve spoken at PsyOp a couple times, and I absolutely love IO folks. And, probably something for the audience to understand is, you mentioned fairness a number of times, is y’all do a great job of validating, or invalidating, but making sure … It’s a relentless pursuit, you’re always trying to make sure that something wasn’t missed and you’re always trying to make it better.
Take folks into that process, kind of like how the sausage is made. When one of your clients comes to you and says, “Okay, we want to do something pre-hire, in the hospitality space, with this type of thing,” there’s off the shelf stuff, yeah of course. But, they want something that’s really true to them, and their culture and what makes them unique. How do you go about that process?
It’s a great question, naturally. You’ve done this before. But, I really see it as two questions. One is how do we develop assessments in general, that are going to be unbiased? And then, two is how do we tailor that process for someone who comes in wants something unique? So really, you just asked me a three hour question, but I’m going … I’m guaranteeing myself another slot on your show, but I’m going to answer the question as best I can in 1000 words or less.
The first thing I think is making sure that all of our assessments, or assessments in general, are fair and unbiased. I think no one goes into the process of saying, “Hey, I’m going to make an exam or an assessment that’s not fair to women, or not fair to Hispanics, or Asians.” Everyone has great intentions. “It’s going to be fair, it’s going to measure things that are job related. Look, my questions are beautiful. How could this possibly have any bias against anyone?”
And, what we know as psychologists is that people have unconscious, cognitive biases, lots of them. And they’re unconscious, meaning we don’t know about them. Even the best item writers and the best subject matter experts, they don’t understand the differences between cultures, and they don’t understand the nuances between different demographics and biases exists, we’re people. One of the things we do is go to great lengths to field test these items, to correlate these items with work performance and to make sure, “Hey, are those correlations or are those regression lines?” Meaning, do test scores predict work performance at the very same level, for all of these different demographic groups. Do the test items function in the same way, are they fair?
Sometimes, they’re not and sometimes, we don’t know why they’re not. You’ll look at an item and say, “Oh, it looks good to me, but clearly there’s a problem here. You need to throw that item out.” If we can figure out how to fix it, it’s gone. So a lot of work goes into developing tests that are fair and unbiased.
And then, the next stage, I’m going to try to keep this train running along the track that you’ve laid down in front of me but I have a tendency to diverge, so just push me back if I go to far. The next phase then, a customer will come to us and say, “Hey I have this particular role. I’m looking for a frontline worker for my retail stores. What can I do?” And then we would say, “Well look, we’ve got pre-determined batteries of tests, already designed for those particular roles. We know that, for your particular role, we’re going to want to measure a person’s integrity, we’re going to want to measure their cognitive ability and we’re going to want to look for a cultural fit within your organization.”
So we can work with you to use our existing platform, and use either traditional assessments that you’re familiar with. But now, which is really cool, we can use artificial intelligence and gather what we call behavioral insights, right from a candidate’s interview responses. All of those assessments together can say, “Hey, yeah this person is definitely within range for what we know would make a successful employee in that particular role and in that industry.”
A quick step back, about the behavioral insights, because I think it’s something people will be interested in and are interested in. It’s what I would call a non-traditional assessment, whereas you and I are very familiar with traditional psychometric assessments, whether they’d be LIBRIX scale, or multiple choice types of questions, or even situational judgment questions. What we’re doing with our behavioral insights is to actually take your responses to very neutral interview questions, not looking at personality, not looking at those types of things, and taking their responses, using natural language processing and turning it into text. And then, running it through a lexicon of different neuro linguistic dictionaries and we can tell by your word usage, how you fall on different facets of personality and different facets of behavior.
It’s an amazing, new field of neuro linguistics, or psycho linguistics some people call it. We’re able to do some amazing assessment and prediction of job success, based on those types of assessments. I know you’re looking more for use cases, but I think people will find it interesting that that is really a direction that assessment is going to go and Talview is really leading the front for that.
So getting back on track, and I apologize for the divergence there, the next thing we might do is to say, “Okay, now we’ve picked this battery for you, this assessment battery. You’re up and running, you’re assessing your candidates.” You want to do a couple of things. You’re an enterprise client and you want to make sure everything is fair, so we are going to monitor your test usage. We are going to look at passing rates, and look at differential tests and question functioning, and make sure that, regardless of your demographic or disability, whatever we happen to be looking at, that the tests are working the same way.
Again, it doesn’t matter what a great job we do of developing tests, how hard we try, we need to continually look and that’s something that you touched on earlier. It may very well be that, for whatever reason, your particular population in a particular geography, the tests functions somewhat differently. We just don’t know until we look. We do our best to ensure that doesn’t happen, but we look. We make sure everything’s good, if so we report it to you. If we see some issues, we can then help figure out, “Where do we need to change this, what do we need to do,” and we can make those changes. And of course, we can help you report all of that for your OFSCCP audits, or whatever it is you may need to do.
And then, I think the final part of your question is what if somebody wants something completely unique, and that would be some sort of unique test development. Then, what we would want to do is start from the very beginning and it’s good, solid IO psychology. We would want to conduct a job analysis, we would want to really look at that job, observe people on the job. Talk to them, have them fill out surveys, talk to their managers. Find out, what do they do? What are the tasks they perform, what are the skills that they need to do their jobs, what abilities do they need to have? What are examples of good or poor performance, and what led to those examples, what types of behaviors?
Once we can get that figured out, it becomes really clear. “Hey, here’s what we need to select for, these are the skills, knowledge, abilities, other personal characteristics that are going to indicate whether someone is successful. And also, this is the level of those skills and abilities that really seems to be the sweet spot for success in that particular job.” That’s really the foundation. Once we can do that, and really understand that role and what it means to be successful in that role, we can then either develop or link you to existing assessments that are going to put you right in that sweet spot, and ensure that your candidates are a perfect fit for that role and very likely to succeed.
Again, there’s my long, IO psychologist answer. I don’t seem able to do anything but.
No, trust me, I’ve interacted and drank with enough IO psychologists to know that … Again, we’re dealing with complex things so it’s not like it’s a yes, no answer. None of these are going to be yes, no answers so don’t apologize. It’s to be expected. We’re talking about really important things.
I want to throw three things in front of you and you just pick the things that seem to be most interesting. In the world that we live in, the ecosystem of hiring and HR, we’ve started to see that folks want to assess or they want to hire … Let’s just say that. They want to hire for potentiality, that’s one that comes out a lot. Soft skills, that’s another that comes out a lot. And then, a third, thriving at remote, so those that would thrive in a remote environment versus an office environment, et cetera. Or, a hybrid environment.
What do you see? And again, you’re on the front lines, you get to see this stuff every day. And then, you can take any of those and dismantle them, or play with them in any way you want to.
It’s fascinating. I’m going to start with remote. The COVID pandemic really through frontline workforces and their companies hiring practices into completely disarray. Some businesses, like eCommerce companies, had to bump up their hiring efforts. Whereas others, including say hospitality, were laying off staff in droves. The labor market saw huge shifts, while recruitment was forced to move online practically overnight.
Along with workers moving remote, recruitment has moved to remote. I think that touches on your question. One of the things about Talview is that it’s an entirely remote platform, including remote proctoring, remote help for candidates who are looking for jobs. It can be from the very beginning of the process, when a candidate goes to either your website or a job board, and they’ll interact with a chat bot and talk about their skills. The chat bot can point them in the direction of jobs in that organization that might be appropriate for them. At which point, they can upload their resume and our AI can screen their resumes and say, “Okay, it looks like you may be suited for this job,” or not, if not. It may send you to another job and the cycle repeats.
But if yes, “Hey, we have a few assessments. Are you ready to take them now?” Part of the whole remote issues and the candidates we’re dealing with now is the candidate experience. Everything needs to be geared toward the candidate experience. This is also part of remote working and part of remote hiring. If we have someone on the line, we don’t want to lose them. Candidates aren’t going to wait around for weeks, for the next step of a hiring process. We’ve got you now, why don’t you take these assessments now. They can take these assessments, it’s all automated, the recruiter never needs to touch this. They can complete those assessments and they can be scheduled right for an asynchronous interview, where they’re going to answer questions.
And again, part of your question, an off tangent response, is that everything needs to be remote first so these candidates can handle this all on their phone, from remote locations. They don’t need to have great equipment. Of course, it helps if they do have a laptop, but they don’t need one. They can then take an interview right on their phone, they can answer these questions. And while they’re taking that interview, they can be assessed on those soft skills that you were talking about, through something like our AI-based behavioral insights application.
All of this stuff is happening, it’s so cool. I think your question is right on target, because people want to hire for potential soft skills, remote workers and that’s what our platform is designed to do. But not only that, is that the whole recruitment and selection process needs to be re-geared and retooled for that and that’s what we’ve done.
I think, another around about point to what you’re saying, is not only do workers want to do this, but in order to do that they need to reimagine their hiring process. They need to reimagine it by getting rid of some of these old siloed, and fractured and compartmentalized parts of their hiring process. They would deal with applications, and they would deal with resumes, and they would spend thousands of man hours scheduling phone calls and doing interviews. And then, giving out assessments, which were often paper and pencil or they were online on different platforms. And then, they had to sort through that to find the analytics, and get reports together, and then somehow sort through that to stack rank these candidates. Whereas now, it can be reimagined and it can all be handled through the use of AI, and all online and all digitized. It’s instantaneous. We call it instahire, but it’s instantaneous which is really critical for that.
And then, it’s interesting that through the whole process, using this neuro linguistic capability and artificial intelligence, we can get that assessment of soft skills. We can look at their personality characteristics with the big five personality model, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, and the various facets of the big five. As well as looking at other things, like integrity and workforce safety, there’s so many different dimensions that we can work for. All of those things, I would argue, are hiring for potential. We believe very strongly that, in today’s labor market, you need to be able to look internally not just externally.
You’ve got talent within your organization. If you’re hiring someone for an entry level role or for a frontline role, you don’t want to lose that person. We want to keep them through the entirety of their work lifecycle. We can bank that data, we can keep it in our database, it’s always available. As new roles become required for your organization, we already have a warm candidate pool ready for you to access, thereby speeding up the process and helping you meet those goals, I guess, hiring for potential, soft skills and remote workers.
I won’t apologize this time.
No, no. Again, this is what people are asking for and it’s just great that you’ve got ways to solve that for them. If they really care about potentiality, great, we can get there.
Two questions, to end up. One is, I know you get asked and have historically been asked this question at least 1000 times, where in the funnel, where in their process should they put assessments? And then, the second and last question will be tell me your favorite innovative customer story, without naming names of course. Just something that you look at and you’re like, “Wow, that’s really cool.”
Okay. I love the first question. I love them both. Thank you, William, you ask great questions. But, let’s go with the first one first.
Where in the funnel, that’s such a good question. The quickest and most predictive assessments should go earliest in the funnel. So we can take the top of that funnel, with 10s of 1000s of candidates, and do quick, and very accurate, and very job related, very fair assessment of cognitive ability and eliminate a great number of those candidates by saying, “You know, these people just aren’t within the range of what’s required for this particular role.”
We can then also, again because it’s automated and because it’s basically instantaneous, we can look at those behavioral insights through that initial top of the funnel. Again, it’s all automated, it’s not requiring any recruiter hours. I’ll talk about that, I think in your second question a little bit, for customer stories.
Traditionally, it used to be that, “Well, we’re just going to do a cognitive ability test up front, then we’re going to narrow the pool a little bit and we’re going to do some sort of a personality, or behavioral or motivational, attitudinal test for the next group. But that’s going to be labor intensive. And then after that, we’ll move onto interviews.”
Now, since it’s all automated, we can say, “Cognitive ability, personality and interview, all up front. We’re going to give everyone a chance,” which is part of our DNA, of breaking down these barriers. “Instead of eliminating these people, we’ll give everyone a chance now, and now we’ll truly see who comes to the top, based on a much wider pool,” which has the tremendous added benefit of increasing your diversity, equity and your DE&I goals. So really helpful to be able to work with a larger pool at the top, and because of automation, we can narrow that down to a smaller group with very few man hours. So, kind of a round about answer to that question.
And, I would say favorite customer story, that’s a good one. I’m going to go with ZS Associates, it’s an IT case study. Their challenge was very inconsistent evaluation metrics across their interview panels. They had an increased time to hire because of very large candidate pools and lengthy processes, high operational costs and a very poor candidate experience. I’m choosing this one because I think it’s generic enough that it’s going to resonate with a lot of the listeners.
The solution that we proposed and that they used was, number one, remotely proctored assessments to ensure test integrity. We used our behavioral analytics approach throughout the interview, to gauge soft skills and cultural fit. I talked already extensively about that. And of course, having a single hiring platform to automate the recruitment process. This is the solution we brought in and the results, which I think are amazing, one of my favorites.
Number one, they wanted to see, “Well, how well does this process match what we did manually,” which is an interesting comparison. But certainly, people want to see that. “Here’s what we’ve been doing for years. How does this match it?” We were able to effectively match 80% of the candidates, between the panel recommendations and our machine insights. Now, here’s the cool thing. Not only were we able to do that, but we did it in a 70% reduction in time to hire, we saved the company 8500 hours of billable time, which translated to $840,000 in operational costs, all due to this streamlined recruiting and assessment process.
For me, I think that’s one of my favorites. It’s cool to see it in IT. I love that they used some of our cutting edge technology to do that. I think it’s a good one.
That was fantastic, both answers. Fred, thank you so much for carving out time for us and our audience.
You’re very welcome, William. I’m happy to do it anytime.
All right. Next time, we’ll do something topical and we’ll tear into something really, really specific so we can really peel the onion a bit. Thanks again, Fred. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast, until next time.
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William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.