Throw away the CVs, Barb Hyman says AI ‘recruits best’

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

HOW RELIABLE is artificial intelligence (AI) to recruit talent? According to Barb Hyman, who created, it’s the only way. is the AI-driven recruiting program that is being used by some of Australia’s biggest companies and government departments.

Ms Hyman said candidates were assessed through the AI tool of natural language processing. Job candidates are asked to answer five questions on their mobile phones. It’s all done by text.

“It’s mobile-first because that’s where people live. These days you have to meet people where they are,” Ms Hyman told Talking Business

“It’s five questions, questions you would ask in an interview. ‘Tell about a time you delivered amazing customer service. What did you learn from that?’ ‘Tell us about a setback in your life. How did you pick yourself up and move forward from that’.

“It’s a structured interview which is the high water mark of what is regarded as fairness and calibration and we have built and experience around that and that simplicity and ease is what candidates love about it.”

AI interprets what businesses really want and need

Ms Hyman said most business and agencies know what they need for a successful candidate and this is also defined by the data.

“We know through our data there is certain profile of success, a DNA if you like, of someone working in customer service, and that’s different to someone working in sales,” Ms Hyman said.

“What we are able to do through our algorithms and our innovation is extract, from your 200-300 words, that DNA. We can tell whether you are someone who is a high critical thinker or low critical thinker. Someone who is high on humility or low. And that’s what we’re matching to.

“We can discover that with accuracy of 85 percent-plus and without any bias. We don’t use any CV data, no social media data. There’s no information about you. You could be 50 or 10. It doesn’t make a difference to machine.”

CVs are old, unreliable technology

Ms Hyman said this system worked a lot better than using ‘the old CVs’.

The Sepia-ai recruitment program worked more effectively, she said, because CVs were an “outdated data point”.

“It doesn’t reveal who are, it’s pretty easily gameable these days. It’s more a description of what school you went to, your GPA (Grade Point Average in education), the experience you’ve had which a lot of research shows is not predictive of performance,” Ms Hyman said.

“So if you’re applying for a job to a company like Woolworths which uses predictive hire, you don’t need to submit your CV, it’s irrelevant.”

Ms Hyman said past performance indicated on a CV was no indicator of how someone would perform now.

She also said some clients, such as Energy Australia, use because they want to bring about a culture change.

“They don’t want the same people who go from one contact centre to another,” Ms Hyman said. “They want the hairdresser who has the ability to stand all day, engage with customers, incredible empathy, great listening skills. Why can’t a hairdresser make a great call centre operator?

“You get to see talent that no one else does and discover undiscovered talent because you’re not relying on the CV.”


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

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