With Tengai we are challenging the traditional job interview by opening up “the black box of recruitment”. Why is this our mission? In the end, it all comes down to three things. First, a passion to create a fair job interview process where candidates get a chance to show their potential. Second, a mission to seriously attempt to mitigate bias throughout the recruitment funnel. And finally, a vision to make the labor market more diverse and accessible for all.c
Creating a More Unbiased and Fair Job Interview
The idea behind Tengai originated at Swedish recruitment and staffing agency TNG, where our CEO Elin Öberg Mårtenzon and our CPO Sinisa Strbac initiated an innovation lab called TNGx. Over the past 15 years, TNG has specialized in unbiased, data-driven, structured and competency-based hiring. Always aiming to create an inclusive, fair and more transparent candidate experience, while removing unconscious prejudices to deliver more diverse teams.
In order to fulfill their vision, TNG has augmented and designed its own recruitment and hiring tools. Their aim is to assist recruiters to be more objective during the selection and assessment phase. However, when looking at the job interview – the most critical stage of the recruitment process – unconscious bias appeared to be the last roadblock.
Therefore, TNGx was developed to focus specifically on the interview. The diverse team of specialists, leaders, and recruiters was lead by Elin and Sinisa and their vision to integrate 15 years of unbiased recruitment methodology in a diversity and inclusion software. TNGx aimed to give hiring managers and recruiters more objective candidate-data. Especially in regard to soft skills and personality traits. The goal was to create a human-like experience, free from unconscious bias. A place where candidates would engage in an active dialogue with the robot. Most importantly, a place where they could feel safe, comfortable to be honest so they really could show their potential and competencies. And this is how Tengai was developed.
Facilitating a More Fair Job Interview
These basic principles work as the foundation for our software and unbiased recruitment methodology.
1. Challenging the Requirement Profile
We are challenging job-requirements by questioning old truths. Because hiring managers should be thinking in terms of possibilities and future achievements. Instead of basing the hiring decision on look-alikes and historical background.
2. Blind, Anonymous and Objective Interview
Presumptions around age, gender, culture, ethnics, and religion color our judgment. Therefore, Tengai AB has developed an interview process that is anonymous and objective in order to reduce unconscious bias.
3. Inclusive Recruitment Marketing
We create talent marketing that uses inclusive language. For example, this means that they don’t use words associated with age, gender, and culture. As well as, sharing all available positions on open platforms and social media for any interested job seeker.
4. All Candidates are Treated Fair and Equal
All job seekers get to conduct the validated robot interview, which is proven to objectively assess soft skills and personality traits for that specific role. So it is not the highest scoring candidate that is most important. But the one with the right skill-set.
5. Psychometric, Data-driven, Measurable
Our process defines competence and measures KPI’s for personality traits, motivation, aptitude, knowledge, and experience. And the objective approach ensures consistency and brings more structure into the process.
6. Transparent Process
Recruiters can follow the process in real-time with Tengai Recruit™, where every step is mirrored online. With our user-friendly software hiring managers have the option to customize the process to fit specific recruitment needs in a completely transparent and fair way.
Entering Furhat Robotics, a Swedish award-winning tech company specializing in social robotics. Tengai’s application is running on the Furhat platform and its operating system. Making it possible for TNG to implement their unbiased and fair recruitment methodology in a diversity and inclusion software. In other words, Furhat Robotics provided the conversational platform on which TNG programmed the D&I software application. And it’s the software that controls how Tengai behaves and her capacity to conduct structured and situational-based interviews.
Today, the Tengai team continues to use Furhat’s platform in order to update and develop the recruitment tool to create a fair job interview experience. A great example of a successful collaboration between innovative companies with one shared mission.
What’s In The Name?
The name Tengai derives from several sources. Firstly the name actually derives from a hat worn by Komuso, Japanese mendicant monks within Zen Buddhism during the Edo period of 1600–1868 called Tengai.
A traditional Tengai is made of woven straw and covers a monk’s head and face. So by wearing a Tengai, the monks “removed their ego” and could focus on what was at hand and nothing else. Exactly how we think an interview should be done. In other words, a recruiter should only focus on skills and competencies. And not let their own biases or prejudices affect them. This includes not judging someone’s looks, tone of voice, gestures, ability to hold eye contact or their handshake.
But the name also pays homage to Tengai’s “birth mother” TNG and the company’s core mission to work with unbiased recruitment. As well as, to Furhat Robotic’s technical know-how within artificial intelligence.