Proud FINALISTS of a Bath Life Award 2021

In a record-breaking year for nominations, Cognisess is named a finalist in the People Services category.

As we scale up and our global reach strengthens, we are still proudly a Bath based company. Looking forward to the Awards night on 9th September.

(Look out for information about our new, central Bath offices, coming in June …)

Bath Life Awards 2021

Adverse Impact and Cognisess

By Nick Jarman

Recognise Talent – Enable Potential – Encourage Diversity

The Cognisess Approach

Adverse impact refers to employment practices that appear neutral but have a discriminatory effect on a protected group. Adverse impact may occur in hiring, promotion, training and development, transfer, layoff and even performance appraisals.* 

People analytics offer many advantages when it comes to managing a hiring process, maximising the quality of a company’s new hires and reducing any Adverse Impact found in a process.  

The merits of removing human elements of a selection process are many, not least in saving a huge amount of time that would normally be spent sifting through CVs, reading cover letters and processing hundreds and thousands of candidates manually.  

As well as this, reducing manual processes in selection can help alleviate a lot of potential bias, from an unconscious lean towards candidates with similar interests and backgrounds to preferring candidates with similar work experiences and ignoring those demonstrating high potential but lacking in past opportunities to demonstrate it in the workplace.  

Making use of data-driven analytic processes can help the best candidates to be identified, regardless of who they are, where they have come from and what they have previously achieved in their career.  

Cognitive assessments are the gold standard for how people analytics methodology can be used in predicting future job potential. However, this form of assessment has been associated with differences between demographic groups.  

Personality assessments provide fantastic data to enrich an overall view of a candidate’s suitability for a particular type of job. These assessments don’t have particularly high validity in predicting future performance when used in isolation but in combination with cognitive assessments can be invaluable in providing a holistic view of a candidate. Another big advantage of this form of assessment is in the small differences found in personality attributes across ethnicity, gender and age.  

At Cognisess we don’t rate candidates based solely on their attribute scores. We make use of an algorithm which takes Attributes judged to be important in the role and assigning them weightings used to predict future success in a role. By using these ‘Profilers’ we are able to minimise any differences known to affect candidates of demographics at the level of each attribute, thus facilitating the reduction of bias in any hiring decisions. Further to this, we can reduce a data set comprised of several Attribute scores and reduce this into a percentage match score, making the sifting of large candidate cohorts as simple as the click of a button.  

The use of different cut-off scores for accepting/rejecting candidates can influence the demographics of candidates sent through to the next stage of a selection process. Ultimately this is the more salient end-measure of Adverse Impact in a process and so it is important to be able to be able to discover the effects of different Profilers and cut-off scores before finalising any decision in candidate selection. This is easy to do with a Profiler, ensuring the best and most-informed decision is always made and the least possible amount of Adverse Impact is found within the selection process.  

Harnessing statistics, psychometrics and flexibility, Cognisess can aid the fair selection of the most capable, and the most diverse range of candidates for your role.  

*Society for Human Resource Management 2020 

White Paper – Why your Graduate Assessment Centre Needs an Overhaul

Head of Commercial and Operations, Dr Jared Skey reflects on changes in the world of graduate employment over the last 40 years.

In a world with a far greater number and variety of graduates, a more sophisticated approach is required when hiring.


Graduate recruitment in the 2020s is a large-scale complex challenge.

A considered approach to graduate recruitment and development is needed.

A modern, games-based approach plays a key role. 

To read the full white paper click below:

Cognisess introduces ‘first of its kind’ talent retention platform

West of England Combined Authority has put together a number of initiatives to support businesses in our region to recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Our recruitment app, Yondur has been identified as a tool to help keep talent within the region. Yondur will be developed as WECA’s ‘Regional Talent Retention Platform’.

Yondur, developed by Cognisess, is a tool for individuals to identify their skills, compile a sophisticated digital CV, career match and ultimately match with jobs.  A range of assessments are presented as a series of games which measure both ‘hard’ skills such as mental arithmetic and spelling and ‘soft’ skills, like emotional intelligence.  The Regional Talent Retention Platform, once developed, will use similar assessments to identify displaced talent within the region and re-distribute that talent locally.

Intended Users of the Platform:  

  • Employees at risk of or who are being made redundant
  • Employees looking for employment in their existing role/ sector
  • Employees looking for employment in a new role/ sector
  • Businesses at risk of or that are making employees redundant
  • Businesses with workforce pressures aiming to avoid or minimise redundancies
  • Businesses with a recruitment requirement
  • Practitioners supporting businesses and or employees to use the platform.

Cognisess’ CEO Chris Butt impresses that:

“Replacing the CV with Yondur – a more meaningful, engaging and objective digital passport – will support job seekers across the region find the roles and career opportunities that best match their talent & potential. There are significant changes happening in society and the economy, due to Covid, that now require a fresh approach to hiring and nurturing the region’s human capital. 

We are excited to work with WECA and local employers to build the tools that will support their ambitions to scale and keep people in the West Country. We’ve so much to offer as a region but retaining and supporting talent begins with finding the right job and career path and Yondur will be the marketplace.”

Read the press release here

Career change and up skilling solutions for older workers from our Partner BUSY at Work Australia.

Career change and up skilling solutions for older workers

Recognising Talent. Enabling Potential.

The BUSY Group Ltd is the Australian agent for Cognisess – an award-winning, powerful human resourcing tool and provider of the world’s most comprehensive predictive people analytics software platform.

Developed in the United Kingdom by a unique team of psychologists, data engineers, human resource specialists and neuroscientists, Cognisess utilises neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict people and workforce performance of your individuals, teams and organisation.

For individuals looking to change career trajectory or up-skill, the platform can be utilised to identify personal career interests and skills and guide them to job opportunities that may not have been previously considered or explored.

With the unique insights provided by Cognisess, The BUSY Group offer personalised advice
and guidance on up skilling for a current job, transitioning into new roles within a current industry or pathways to new careers, including options for relevant education and training.

It helps older workers answer the question “What’s my next career move?”.

Human Generated Data

Cognisess uses over 50 combined measures, using an online platform with gamification and questionnaire methods, to objectively assess performance and gather insights across 11 areas and 150 attributes:

  • Cognitive ability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Behaviour
  • Team dynamics
  • Social cohesion & personality
  • Core skills
  • Workforce KPIs
  • Career Interests
  • Career values
  • Video & sentiment analytics
  • Feedback loop Solutions A powerful platform & portfolio of measurable performance areas allows you to build AI/Data- Driven, agile solutions that put your people at the centre of your business. Through Cognisess, The BUSY Group can provide a number of tailored solutions which are designed to unlock the potential of your teams and individuals within your organisation or manage change.

These include:

Workplace and Talent Analytics – assessing individual potential, strengths, weaknesses and workplace personalities

Recruitment and Benchmarking – spotting unique talent and personal strengths to help organisations find the right person aligned to job requirements

Team Cohesion within your workplace – understanding team dynamics, strengths and gaps to enable better task allocation, leadership potential, succession planning and future hire decisions

Organisational Dynamics – combining teams more effectively to ensure a strong workplace culture and maximise productivity

Change Management utilising unbiased insights

Cognisess allows organisations to uncover higher potentials, predict performance and reshape the future of talent.

The BUSY Group can work with your organisation to assist your human resourcing decisions, inform career trajectories for individuals, improve workplace culture and encourage stronger team performance.

For further information visit:

Assessment Benchmarking Recruitment

Team Fit Performance Engagement Insights

Career change and up skilling solutions for older workers

Adverse Impact and Hiring

What do we mean by Adverse Impact?

By Nick Jarman – Research Assistant at Cognisess

…Adverse Impact is most pertinent when it has a negative effect on candidates of a protected class, namely: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status, Pregnancy/Maternity.”

Any candidate, for any role, within any organisation, could potentially be adversely impacted by the way they present themselves at each stage of the selection process.

This Adverse Impact is most pertinent when it has a negative effect on candidates of a protected class, namely: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status, Pregnancy/Maternity.

Adverse Impact can be felt even during apparently neutral processes, a measure of indirect discrimination.

An important aspect of indirect discrimination is that it is often identified statistically. The intention to discriminate is irrelevant. The output of the selection process is the most important factor.

It is worth noting that a policy is not indirectly discriminatory if the action is objectively justified in the absence of a less disadvantageous method of producing the same measure.

Although Adverse Impact can be measured during each stage of a selection process, a general rule of thumb is that the hiring-rate of each minority group must be 80% of the hiring rate of the majority group within that company. For example, if males comprise the majority class within the organisation and 90 males are hired from a pool of 100 then the hiring rate from each other minority group must be at least 72%.

How can we mitigate Adverse Impact in our hiring process?

There are a few general ways in which Adverse Impact can be reduced during a selection process. For one, regular monitoring of pass rates at every stage of the selection process will allow apparently neutral policies to be statistically explored regularly and often. The result is a process within which any indirect discrimination can be detected and rectified before it causes Adverse Impact for any particular class of candidate.

Another method of reducing Adverse Impact in a selection process is by focusing specifically on job-relevant competencies. These might be identified as a result of rigorous job analysis based on the job description, or can be more generic competencies specified at the beginning of the hiring process. The result of a specific focus on job-relevant competencies is to judge every candidate on the exact same competencies, regardless of their personal characteristics, thus removing irrelevant stages.

Related to this is the use of standardised interview techniques. Rather than having a more free-flowing personal interview where the interviewer’s personality and individual interests may be a source of unconscious bias, the interview will contain set questions designed to measure aspects of the job-relevant competencies defined at the start of the hiring process. In addition, constant monitoring of any assessors used within the selection process will serve to identify any unconscious bias creeping into any decision making process before it becomes an Adverse Impact. It also informs the focus on ongoing assessor training.

A final way to help reduce Adverse Impact in a hiring process is to make use of a diverse panel of assessors. This serves a myriad of purposes, not least to help reduce any unconscious bias present within any individual assessor. Introducing a wider diversity of thought will also help reduce any naivety that might occur in establishing the selection process.

Request a demo to learn how Cognisess can address Adverse Impact in your hiring process.

Contact Polly Hill to be kept up to date with Cognisess Insights. –

Spotlight: Oscar De Mello

In the spotlight this week we have Oscar De Mello, Head of Commercial and Innovation at Cognisess.

Where did you work before Cognisess? 

I worked at the University of Bath as a commercial and innovation manager for CAMERA; a large research centre that specialises in machine learning and computer vision techniques for the entertainment industry. We also researched and developed new solutions for the health and rehabilitation marketplace. 

It was an exciting role because I was in between industry and academia, brokering new partnerships to enable them to work together to create new innovative products and services. I was responsible for writing grant bids to develop new projects and grow the centre and I’m pleased to say that during my time there, I brought in a significant amount of funding. I also created a commercial team to deliver motion capture services to the industry. It gave students work experience opportunities and allowed them to learn new techniques and technologies. 

What attracted you to Cognisess?  

I met Chris Butt (Cognisess’ CEO) and Boris Altemeyer (Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer) when they came into CAMERA to discuss computer vision techniques to track micro-expressions on people’s faces. It led to a collaborative bid.

We got on well and I was excited by the product and their energy. Later, Chris asked me to join the company and it was just too good to say no!

Chris had successfully guided the company through the start-up phase and was looking to pull together a senior leadership team. I came on board to lead the client accounts and revenue side of the business in May 2019 and I haven’t come up for air since.

It’s really exciting to work for a company at this stage of its growth. When I joined, Cognisess was beginning its scale-up phase. I had a great opportunity to shape things and am proud to have a significant impact on the business’s direction. 

I was attracted to the fact we have a fantastic in house R&D team. The team’s expertise includes data science, psychology and neuroscience. Companies of this size don’t typically have this resource and it offers the opportunity to drive something genuinely innovative! 

What do you do in your spare time? 

I have a 5-year-old and a 10-month-old and they occupy most of my free time. I also have a springer spaniel called Donut who is 9 years-old and is wonderful, but a little hectic sometimes!

The kids keep me busy. However, when I do have some time to myself, I love playing and watching sport. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was a kid too, and have been (very slowly) trying to learn the piano. It’s not going well!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

I love to cook.  I find it relaxing and it’s my anecdote to any stress. My favourite food to cook is a curry. I’m actually half Burmese. My surname, De Mello, is of Burmese origin. Growing up there was always a curry being made in the kitchen, and my Grandma was the queen of the Curry Puff! If you don’t know what that is I advise to look it up and have a go!

Currently, what is the biggest challenge clients are coming to us for and how can our platform provide a solution for this?

One of the biggest hiring challenges is diversity. You can understand the diversity within a talent pool in two ways: Firstly, there is diversity based on gender, age and ethnicity. Secondly, there is diversity of thought, which is just as important and often overlooked. There is plenty of occupational psychology literature that evidences that having more diversity in the way people think and interact leads to greater productivity, creativity and innovation in companies and it’s a core focus for Cognisess.

It’s a difficult challenge to assess cognitive and social diversity, but we are one of the world’s leading solution providers. 

What’s your drink of choice?

I’m partial to a glass of malbec or a rioja.  

What is your favourite type of music? 

I’m a massive Radiohead fan, much to my wife’s dismay. I also like rock and indie music. Boris, our Chief Scientific Officer, and I share a love for a bit of vinyl. I love listening to old R&B from the 40s, 50s and 60s. 

Are there any platform features which clients are surprised to find when they sign up?

It’s usually the granularity we offer in general, and our team analysis feature gets a lot of attention. I think when companies begin to use our platform they know we’re going to be an excellent solution for recruitment, however, what they don’t always know is that our software can track incoming employees over a number of years and visualise how they impact on the team they sit in.

With this information, leaders can make more informed decisions about team composition and align them to the objectives that the team is driving towards, like a group project. This capability is not commonplace in the market, and people are usually surprised with the level of detail and insights we can offer them. 

What’s your favourite part of the platform? 

The games! (My favourite is Mondial.) The data and insight we gather from them is fantastic and unparalleled in terms of what we can tell a business about its people. Ultimately, the primary aspect that draws people in is the games. When people try out the games at events the professional veneer that they’ve been holding slips and they start to get competitive. I think watching people enjoy the games is the most engaging part of what we do.  

What do you think makes us stand out from our competitors? 

Simply put, we are the most comprehensive solution on the market. We are a single solution for your talent requirements, whether that be talent retention or attraction. No one offers to the same depth in assessment, survey and team analysis solution.

The top skills needed in 2020 and how you can assess candidates for them

paper and pens to write about the top workplace skills

Although every role requires different abilities, some skills are essential regardless of the job. 

LinkedIn has analysed millions of job postings from every industry to identify the most transferable skills. These include: 

  • Communication 
  • Problem Solving 
  • Operations 
  • Analytical Skills
  • Microsoft Office
  • Project Management 
  • Presentations 
  • Marketing 
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership

Perhaps a few of these skills are required in the positions you’re currently recruiting for. But how can you assess thousands of candidates for these skills? Although an applicant might effectively write about their excellent problem-solving skills, you may discover later on that they don’t possess this ability. This is time that could have invested in a more suitable candidate and money that could have been spent on a better hire. 

Our award-winning platform has over 60 scientifically-backed games that can assess a variety of cognitive abilities, personality attributes and workplace skills such as numeracy. This also includes a few of the most sought after transferable skills LinkedIn has identified. 

Problem Solving 

This skill is essentially the ability to identify a task and break it down into achievable components. Whatever role you’re recruiting for, problem-solving skills will be essential, from solving customer complaints or fixing a technical issue. Ensuring new hires have strong problem-solving skills is critical to keeping an organisation running effectively. 

Our problem-solving assessment tests a candidate’s ability to solve a problem in a certain number of moves with an added time constraint. This allows you to observe how well a candidate can solve a situation under pressure, and how considered each of their decisions are. The assessment enables you to understand each candidate’s actual problem-solving abilities. 


In this challenging time it is essential to have strong leaders who can lead your company to success.  Finding leadership qualities in the early stages of the recruitment process can be challenging. Selecting the most promising candidates early on will increase your chances to hire the best talent later on.

People who possess leadership qualities like creating and carrying out business projects. These people like to take action rather than thinking about a task for an extended period. 

Our scientifically backed personality assessment can identify leadership traits. The assessment is based on the Big Five Personality Traits, which are the building blocks of everyone’s personality.  

It is also important to invest in your current talent. TINYpulse found that employees who feel they’re progressing in their career are 20% more likely to be still working at their companies in a year’s time. By using our career interest assessment, you will be able to identify employees who would be interested in leadership roles. You can then encourage them to apply for future leadership roles at your company. 

Communication and Presentation Skills

In the age of remote working, it’s more important than ever to be able to communicate with your colleagues and clients through email or Zoom meetings. Being able to present effectively to sell a product or deliver a project to your manager is also useful in this ‘new normal’ to engage and hold their listener’s attention. Therefore, it is essential to test these skills in the recruitment process. 

In our Ask me and Meet Me features candidates record themselves answering several questions that have been set by the company. This tool is particularly beneficial to observe how candidates present themselves and understand what sort of first impression they give.  

Over half of communication is non-verbal, so our DeepLearnTM Video Analysis tool analyses each person’s face frame by frame for attributes such as positivity, confidence and resilience. This tool is a simple way to meet everyone in your candidate pool and observe how they present themselves. 

These skills are relevant to most roles, and you can easily implement these tools across the jobs you are recruiting for. If there are any essential skills or abilities that you look for in your recruitment please contact us. Our expert team will be able to recommend the relevant assessments that will help you recognise talent and enable potential.

3 types of survey that will identify your employee’s needs

Companies are moving beyond sole reliance on traditional surveys to more agile listening strategies, driven by advances in technology. In response to current events, we have created some new custom surveys that will allow you to assess your employee’s needs. 

Pulse survey 

Sometimes you need employee data quickly. These are short surveys that provide access to employee opinions and reaction to events. We recommend sending these weekly. Here are some of our pulse surveys: 

Mood – How do you feel? 

This tracks mood and sleep every time an employee logs into their Cognisess account. It builds a picture of the relationship between mood, sleep and productivity.

Ask Me (work related) video diary

This is to track or record how an employee is feeling using the Ask Me video tool. It can be used for appraisal, ideas and feedback. Alongside listening to their feedback, you have the option to view how the person is truly feeling. The machine vision used by our DeepLearn™ uses highly advanced algorithms that read from 27+ points on the face. It tracks the differences of the positions over time to establish a picture of the emotion that is being expressed by a person. 

Employee survey 

We recommend sending these on a monthly basis. These will give you a thorough insight into your employees and culture. Here are a few of our new employee surveys. 

Leadership Check in 

This template is for the executive leadership team to get a pulse on their employees to make sure they have the support they need while working from home during the Covid19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Listening in challenging times

This template is for employees to understand trends and changes over time and can be used to monitor engagement. Questions include: What are the biggest challenges you anticipate you will have in meeting your customers’ needs? And, my manager makes an effort to keep in touch with me when I’m working from home. 

Coping in a new world

This template is for employees and how they adapt to changes to working from home. Questions include: Are you meeting set criteria working from home?, Are you finding new ways to work efficiently? And, do you have a similar routine/structure as you did at work?

Health and wellbeing 

Employer response to COVID-19 

This template is for employees and relates to Covid-19 and working in a different way. Sample questions include: What policies/aspects do you feel have worked during this time? And what level of flexibility is provided by your organisation when it comes to getting work done? 

Mental Wellbeing 

Checking in on your people in this challenging time is important. A dip in work performance may be due to low mood instead of lack of work ethic. This template is for employees and focuses on areas of job satisfaction, personal & mental wellbeing.

You can add your own questions, allowing you to ask the questions that are valuable to your organisation. 

Alongside these advanced survey tools, Cognisess Pro has over 60 scientifically-backed assessments that will help you further understand your employee’s personality and abilities. Harness the full power of Cognisess Pro today by booking a free demo. We look forward to helping you to recognise your employee’s needs, talent and potential.