Instant Talent Analytics is a new technique that can provide an assessment of an individual without requiring the individual to take a test. Tom Janz has more.

Instant Talent Assessment Appeals. But does it work?


Instant Talent Analytics is a new technique that can provide an assessment of an individual without requiring the individual to take a test. It requires no time for the talent—the people from the current or future workforce– to answer questions, solve puzzles, play games, react to scenarios, answer interview questions, or “sell me this pen.”

What gets analyzed has to exist already. Public data available online includes: LinkedIn profiles, Twitter feeds, authored blogs, stored game play and code samples. Accurate instant talent analytics has many use cases ranging from: (1) pre-deal human capital due diligence for corporate acquisitions, (2) fast mapping of pivotal teams into High Value vs. Development Worthy vs. Better Elsewhere talent types, (3) locating the best talent for executive search firms to tactfully pry from their client’s competitors, (4) fast, cost-effective sorting of all new job applicants in talent acquisition flows, and (5) sales acceleration via optimizing first impression impact with target sales prospects.

This paper investigates the construct validity of one of the most reportedon instant talent analytics services, DeepSense (This Artificial Intelligence Can Predict How You’ll Behave At Work Based on Social Media). It addresses Instant Talent Analytics validity by correlating my professional judgment on 14 personal characteristics with DeepSense machine-generated scores for a sample of 120 professionals in my personal network.

This paper validates the machine learning-generated algorithms active on the DeepSense persona analytics service, focusing on intentionally public data harvested primarily from LinkedIn and Twitter. Previous writing on this topic has appeared in the HR Examiner — 1 Short, Shorter, Shortest: Online Tests vs. Social Media Analytics (10/2018), and 2 Deep Thinking about Deep Learning (2/2019). This post extends that early work by expanding the sample size from 56 to 120 and by adding the big five and DeepSense performance factors. It reveals the correlations between machine-produced and personal expert judgement for: 1] Four DISC factors, 2] Five ‘Big five’ personality factors, and 3] Seven behavioral factors generated by the data scientists at DeepSense. This time, these correlations rested on a data set of 120 professionals, most from the talent management and recruiting professions.

The Full Norm Sample

The full sample, consisting of all persons I have assessed using DeepSense, includes both persons well known to me and people whom others asked me to analyze. The total N of persons machine scored was 432, 121 females and 310 males. There are 108 PhDs. This it is not a random sample, but rather people I know well enough to rate on 14 of the 16 characteristics, plus people I don’t know, but who were included in projects or promotions.

The Sixteen Personal Characteristics


The Seven DeepSense Performance Characteristics ( Means and SDs on the DeepSense scores, N=432)


Factor Name 
1 Attitude and Outlook Keep a positive attitude even when facing problems and setbacks; Recover quickly from setbacks; Optimistic vs. pessimistic 7.3 .76
2 Need for Autonomy The need to be free of the command and control of others;  Low scores like having others make the tough decisions,  know what is expected o them 5.6 .52
3 Team Skills Work well within teams; Put the best interests of the team over personal interests;  Notice and assist struggling team members when possible 6.3 .82
4 General Regard Earn respect and is generally liked by peers, bosses & customers; Acts with consideration for others, controls impulsive instincts.   6.1 .74
5 Bias for Action Quickly leap into action when faced with opportunities/problems; Act first and seek forgiveness later instead of gaining team support/approval  7.4 .62
6 Role Stability Adjust well to the needs of the role ; Remain in the chosen role over time, moving up the ladder in that role  vs. changing jobs and roles frequently.   5.1 .79
7 Learning Ability Quickly master new material, pick up subtle clues and patterns; curious about why things work; always learning new things relevant 5.8 .66


The Four DISC Characteristics


Factor Name 
1 Dominance Taking control, makes decisions, buys off or coerces others to get their way 5.6 1.3
2 Influence Gains agreement through relationships, clarifying common interests. 6.7 1.1
3 Steadiness Maintain predictability—the status quo, shows patience and sympathy 6.1 1.2
4 Compliance Follow the rules and do what you say you are going to do, be punctual 7.0 1.5


The Big Five Personality Characteristics


Factor Name 
1 Open to Experience Curious, creative, artistic, risk tolerant, sometimes emotional, adventurous 5.7 1.9
2 Extroversion Assertive, energetic, gains energy from relationships, values others approval 5.6 1.8
3 Emotional Stability Initially Neuroticism (now reversed)- Control impulses, remain calm and cool 5.9 2.2
4 Agreeableness Compassionate and cooperative, trusting and helpful, values collaboration 6.3 1.5
5 Conscientiousness Organized, dependable, trustworthy, diligent, and honest 6.2 1.8


The Known Personal Network Sub-sample

From the full dataset of 432 people, 120 were selected based on my history of working or spending non-work time with the person. There were 98 males and 22 females in this sub-set. The next table holds the simple correlations between my personal factor ratings (on a simple 1-10 scale) and the DeepSense machine-scores for that scale. The DISC scale ‘Compliance’, the Big Five scale ‘Emotional Stability’ (Neuroticism reversed), were not rated, since in the larger norm sample they correlated poorly with a simple linear unit-weighted composite of the 16 factor scores. Learning Ability was rated in view of the historically strong role of mental ability in predicting future job performance.

Correlations between my personal rating and the DeepSense machine scored factors (n=120).


Combining the Factors into a Business Leadership Index

The Disc, Big Five, and performance factor scores available from DeepSense provide a comprehensive profile of personal characteristics that power making stronger first impressions. For talent professionals, a clear picture of top candidates, new coaching clients, and assigned business leaders before meeting them for the first time drives better outcomes. Interpersonally savvy talent professionals have the time to think through how to best deliver their value proposition to new contacts, adjusting their style to fit the target person. Without it, they have to figure out style preferences at the same time as making their opening pitch. For sales professionals meeting new client prospects for the first time, they can focus on what to sell, having an edge over competitors that have to focus both on what to sell and how to sell it at the same time.

2016-12-09 hrexaminer eab bio photo tom janz full.jpg

Tom Janz, HRExaminer.com Editorial Advisory Board Contributor

Sometimes, it’s all about making quick, accurate talent decisions vs. getting off to a great first impression. For the current workforce, it can be about a quick mapping to reveal functions, roles, or business units most in need of talent adjustment. Then mapping the current talent into those people best suited for: [1] Self-guided development vs. [2] Coach-guided development, vs. [3] Career counseling. For the future workforce, it’s about quickly sorting candidates into the following action categories: [1] Schedule for decision interviews ASAP, [2] Gather and review further validated self-report assessments, and [3], Collect performance or risk confirmation assessments.

Carrying out any of these decision-based tasks requires combining the DeepSense performance factors into a single number. Focusing on the personal factors that correlated with the unit weighted composite of the 16 factors, I created a weighted composite to reflect those factors that correlated significantly (both positively and negatively) with the simple unit-weighted, overall score.

The composite was named —the Business Leadership Index. The 10 biggest drivers were, in order:

  1. DISC: Influence
  2. Big Five: Conscientiousness
  3. DS: Team before Self
  4. DS: Positive Resilience
  5. DS: General Regard
  6. DISC: Dominance (Reversed)
  7. DISC: Steadiness
  8. DS: Emotional Control
  9. Big Five: Agreeableness
  10. Big Five: Openness to Experience (Reversed)

This composite, while driven entirely by empirical findings, takes on a distinctly human tone. The reversal on Dominance makes sense. People who insist on winning every battle, forcing those who disagree into submission face increasingly costly resistance over time. The reversal on Openness to Experience was a bit more puzzling. Openness to experience would be a good thing for someone working on creating innovative value, but not so positive when applied to those whose role centers around plan execution, or replication. People high on Openness to Experience can lack a strong focus on execution and results, being too distracted by bright shiny objects that come along.

Extroversion, a positive correlate of sales effectiveness, turns up negative here. Extroverts can spend too much time talking and debating, enjoying the interaction a bit too much. They can end up trying to please everyone, a sure path to reduced effectiveness. A bias for action contributes positively to sales and innovation value, but can leave team members resentful that they were not consulted. It can also lead to unanticipated consequences and errors of omission, and we see a negative weight in the Business Leadership Index. A high need or autonomy can lead to having a difficult time fitting into and harnessing corporate teams and resources, making it harder to scale what might be productive ideas.

When the weighted composite of the DeepSense machine scores was correlated with a similarly weighted composite of the personal network member ratings, the correlation was a substantial .71.

In Conclusion

This study reported the relationship between the author’s professional evaluation on 16 personal characteristics of 120 members of his professional network and machine-derived scores on the same factors. The characteristics included scales from two widely used personality frameworks—the DISC and Big Five. An additional seven performance factors created directly by DeepSense, the Instant Talent Analytics service investigated in this study. Correlations between the expert judgments and the machine scores ranged from .35-.75, demonstrating strong construct validity. A linear weighted composite of 14 of the characteristics, judged to index Business Leadership, produced a .71 correlation between the expert scored and machine scored summary scores. The DeepSense results rise substantially above the IBM reported results, and rise slightly above the Golbeck, Robles, and Turner results as well.

I titled this paper– Instant Talent Assessment Appeals: But Does It Work? These findings answer a big part of the question, but not the whole question. We now know from this and other studies cited the companion research paper The Accuracy of Instant Talent Analytics, that DeepSense factor scores correlate strongly with external expert ratings for a personal sample of 120 professionals and with widely used assessments of those factors (i.e. the DISC and Big Five). What remains to be seen is how well the DeepSense 16 predictive factor scores predict measure of future job performance and thus value to the organization. That is the $64,000 question. Stay tuned. That research is underway and will be reported out within the next month or two.


An Overview of Automated Scoring of Essays. Semire Dikli. (2006) The Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment. Volume 5, Number 1 · August 2006.

Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans. Wu Youyou, Michal Kosinski, and David Stillwell (2015) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. January 12, 2015

Deep Thinking about Deep Learning. Tom Janz (2019) HRExaminer, February 2019.

Perceptions of personality in text-based media and OSN: A meta-analysis. Konstantin O. Tskhay, Nicholas O. Rule. (2014) Journal of Research in Personality, 49, 25–30.

Personality in 100,000 Words: A large-scale analysis of personality and word use among bloggers. Tal Yarkoni. (2010) Journal of Research in Personality. Jun 1; 44(3): 363–373.

Predicting Personality with Social Media. Golbeck, Robles, and Turner (2011) Alt.chi: Playing Well With OthersMay 7–12, 2011 • Vancouver, BC, Canada

Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior. Michal Kosinski, David Stillwell, and Thore Graepel. (2013) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 9, 110 (15) 5802-5805

Short, Shorter, Shortest – Online Tests vs. Candidate Social Media Analytics. Tom Janz (2018) HRExaminer, September 2018.

25 Tweets to Know You: A New Model to Predict Personality with Social Media. Pierre-HadrienArnoux, Anbang Xu, Neil Boyette, Jalal Mahmud, Rama Akkiraju, Vibha Sinha. (2017) IBM Research -Almaden, San Jose, CA, USA

Understanding Personality through Social Media. Yilun Wang. (2015) Department of Computer Science, Stanford University.

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