SA talent screening company Avita taking on global competitors and winning

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Talent acquisition is a pressure cooker. And the pressure is rising.

There is a scarcity of skills and cultural fit. This is compounded by high staff turnovers, exhausted teams and urgent deadlines.

Often, it’s the job of a tiny talent team to alleviate this pressure and fill the mounting gaps.

On average, South African talent acquisitions teams are flooded with 1 400 CVs per advertised vacancy. This number escalates to 20 000 CVs for high volume roles like internships.

Finding the right match takes time but with time comes the potential of losing talent. The top 10% of candidates are snapped up within the first 10 days.

The truth about talent acquisition

Screening for talented candidates often takes talent managers away from value-driven tasks.

One talent manager explains that they spend hours acting like a call centre agent, trying to get candidates on a call to schedule a meeting or have a pre-interview. 

She explains that, at this point, the candidate is often at work and awkwardly answering questions, or has completely forgotten about applying to the company. Or, comically, when she called and said where she is calling from, candidates assumed they were about to be sold something and replied “No thanks. I already have insurance.”

All this takes time. But the division who requested a new team member doesn’t have time.

When interviews finally take place, talent teams and division managers often realise cultural or skills fit is missing and they spend the rest of their time politely asking questions.

Many candidates aren’t actually interested in the role and worst of all, many candidates never have an opportunity to be seen because time is too limited and their CV isn’t a perfect match.

This pressure cooker leaves talent teams exhausted, managers frustrated and candidates inconvenienced or unseen.

How to alleviate this pressure?

Enter technology.

International companies have been testing South African waters with hiring automation software, text interviews, and one-way video interviews to change the process.

However, these companies have struggled to quickly get a foothold into the market because of their hefty price tags, lack of physical presence and cultural understanding and, sometimes, questioned fairness of their use of artificial intelligence (AI).  

Talent within

These giants have been battling where a home-grown company has been succeeding. At Play Talent, a talent solutions provider, has developed a product called Avita that is disrupting the status quo.

Avita is a virtual screening software solution that automates screening interviews so talent managers don’t have to.

From the moment the job is released, candidates can begin interviews. The solution uses cutting-edge technology where a life-like avatar asks a list of questions to candidates. These questions are either selected by the company or chosen from a list of scientifically-proven questions provided in the software.

The candidates are then recorded and talent managers can watch these recording on demand with an ability to pause and fast forward.

There is no need to book meetings and candidates don’t waste money on petrol. Talent managers simply email a link to the candidate, who can have their interview when best suits them – usually at a time without load shedding.

The interviews are then shared across the team, rated and put forward with instant notifications so candidates are not frustrated by waiting for replies.

Why is Avita succeeding?

Empathy, expertise and deep technical understanding.

The team behind Avita have a deep understanding of both the South African landscape and the pressure cooker that is talent acquisition.

Avita takes into consideration the needs of talent from all backgrounds. The interview can be conducted via a phone with a fractional use of data, making Avita accessible to almost everyone. The solution is intuitive, user-friendly and uses plain language.

“Our purpose is to equitably and meaningfully create authentic matches so talent acquisition teams, candidates and businesses alike can fulfil their potential,” explains Christelle Hargroves, CEO of Avita.

“To do this, we have invested heavily in research and development to ensure that we remain at the forefront of technological advancement.

When you build technology, it’s not just a matter of what you build, but in most cases your success is determined by “how” you build it. You need to remain vigilant of technology trends and you need to discern what is useful and what is not.

You need to test and adapt your application to domestic markets and then international markets. Each market has different needs and different regulatory frameworks.”

The solution has made hiring 70% more efficient while allowing companies to first-line screen candidates at scale. Avita boasts with a 98% candidate satisfaction rate and 100% of Avita customers have said they would recommend the solution as they are not only hiring fast but hiring right.

With a proven track record of success, and rapid expansion in the African market, Avita is preparing for its global expansion and demonstrating the power of African innovation through its commitment to customer and candidate understanding and satisfaction. For more information, go to: