Stellar Reduces Screening Costs By 65% With Curious Thing

Learn how Stellar improved their hiring process, reduced screening costs and created better access to candidates with Curious Thing.

Stellar Reduces Screening Costs By 65% With Curious Thing

“The process remains human-led, with AI providing us with better data to make better decisions in a more efficient way.”

Rik Johnson

Head of Intelligent Automation and Strategy at Stellar


  • Reduced screening costs by 65%
  • 26 hours per week saved
  • 5% improvement in candidate conversion rate
  • Positive candidate responses!


Stellar is a company that helps businesses build and deliver amazing customer experiences. Through their customer management, consulting and Intelligent Automation services they help businesses across industries better connect with their audience. In order to maintain their award-winning standards, Stellar focuses on recruiting high-quality candidates in all departments. In the words of Rik Johnson, Head of Intelligent Automation and Strategy at Stellar, “Bringing the right people into your business not only delivers the right outcomes for your stakeholders, but it also propagates your culture organically.”

Rik began looking for a new solution when she realised Stellar’s recruitment process wasn’t allowing access to all candidates. Candidates who already had jobs were finding it difficult to arrange phone interviews during working hours. Stellar was therefore only reaching 60% of their applicant pool. This was a huge problem as they were potentially missing out on top talent because of a simple timing issue! Rik knew there had to be an AI solution that would solve this problem and so she began searching for a solution.

Recruiting more people without needing more people

Rik needed a tool that would allow full access to Stellar’s candidates without requiring extra work for recruiting staff. In fact, the ideal tool would screen all candidates so the Stellar recruiting team could focus on what they do best: assessing capability in nuanced human scenarios, identifying culture fit and articulating and ensuring the employee experience.

Rik explored all available tools including resume screening and video interviewers.

“We took a look at resume screening but a resume matters much less to us than a conversation. We investigated video screening, and while the technology is cool, it didn’t feel right for us as so much of our communication with customers is faceless”, said Rik.

When Rik found Curious Thing and realised it was a voice-only screening solution that was available 24 hours a day, she was interested. When she discovered Curious Thing also analyses what candidates say for behavioural attributes and preferences, she knew she had found the right solution.

Implementing a digital recruiter

Stellar partnered with Curious Thing to create their digital recruiter, Ella.

“Ella sounds engaging but digital. She doesn’t pretend to be a human but we’ve given her a female voice and name so it’s not completely alien” said Rik.

With Ella, the Stellar team are now able to access their entire candidate pool. 31% of Stellar’s candidates are now completing their screening with Ella outside of regular working hours. On top of this, bias has now been removed from the screening process.

“Ella functions to the right level for screening – she doesn’t do small talk, she doesn’t go off on tangents, and she doesn’t react to people stumbling or saying something peculiar. She has no bias about names, backgrounds, gender, age, accent or intonation” said Rik. This ensures everyone gets a fair go and top talent isn’t missed due to hidden bias.

The outcome

By allowing access to candidates after hours and making the shortlist process easier, Stellar has made their hiring process more efficient and reduced 65% of their screening costs!

On top of this, Curious Thing has also helped Stellar assess soft skills. Soft skills are picked up during interviews and assessed based on a comprehensive scoring system. This means Stellar’s recruiters can view final results and create shortlists saving up to 26 hours per week.

With the gift of more time, recruiters are able to prioritise the next interview stage by tailoring human recruiter interviews to help tease out underlying preferences to ensure they’re setting people up for success. As a result, Stellar’s hire rate from shortlisted candidates has increased by 5% and counting.

“The process remains human-led, with AI providing us with better data to make better decisions in a more efficient way,” said Rik.

What candidates had to say

The candidate journey is as important to Stellar as customer experience. When the team received positive feedback from candidates about their conversation with Ella they knew Curious Thing was a keeper.

Here is an example of the feedback Stellar received:

  • “It was actually better speaking to a robot rather than a human as (there was) no emotion when you answered the questions. Every question had a purpose.”
  • “Speaking with Ella was interesting and it made me feel comfortable about the future.”
  • “(Ella) would ask questions after you answered that related to the first question.”

Looking to the future

Rik will continue to find new ways AI can help enhance process at Stellar. This includes continuing to explore the ways Curious Thing can benefit their hiring process. Visit this blog on the Stellar website to read about Rik’s experience with Curious Thing in her own words and get more insight into how she approaches innovation and problem-solving.

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