Using Technology to Eliminate Hiring Bias 0

Using Technology to Eliminate Hiring Bias

 

People often unknowingly rely on unconscious bias to make a hiring decision. To overcome this problem many recruiters are turning to AI tools to tackle discrimination in hiring and cut down on the effect of these human biases. However, these advanced technologies aren’t a magical, one-sizefits-all solution to every hiring problem, though. Instead, companies must consider a combination of both the approaches where our human judgment is aided by AI to address any biases and improve hiring processes, internal cultures and end goals.

“According to a study conducted by McKinsey, hiring bias can negatively affect the bottom line of your organization. The study further states that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those who aren’t gender diverse, likewise ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform those who aren’t ethnically diverse.”

Hiring targets and shortage of skilled resources may be giving recruiters nightmares, but another important phenomenon that is eroding recruiters’ efforts is ‘unconscious bias’ in the hiring process. Right from sourcing, screening, shortlisting candidates to interviewing them, each step in the recruitment process is usually affected by unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is so deeply ingrained in the human mind that it affects the thinking and decision making of both – the recruiter and the hiring manager, without them even realizing it.

According to a study conducted by McKinsey, hiring bias can negatively affect the bottom line of your organization. The study further states that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those who aren’t gender diverse, likewise ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform those who aren’t ethnically diverse.

To eliminate unconscious bias the only reliable solution as of now is Artificial Intelligence or AI as we know it. MNC’s such as Loreal use chatbots for screening potential candidates using a standard set of questions on the basis of qualifications and cultural fit, after which the list of best-fit candidates is mailed to the recruiter thus saving the recruiter’s time and reducing the risk of unconscious bias. Similarly, Tech Mahindra uses UVO, an in-house developed bot that helps recruiters in filtering suitable profiles based on the job description. In addition to screening profiles, UVO also helps in answering candidates’ queries, which is a win-win since bots are available round the clock to answer queries and the response time is in milliseconds.

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Platforms such as HireVue, an online video interviewing platform, are helping organizations in digitally accessing and ranking video interviews of candidates to shortlist the best fits. Hilton was one of the first hotel chains to use AI in its recruitment process. It uses AllyO to screen the numerous job applications received on a daily basis. In addition to using AllyO, Hilton uses HireVue which allows the hotel chain to interview multiple candidates at the same time without the recruiter being present. This takes care of the first level of screening with ease.

However, like there are two sides to every coin, the use of artificial intelligence in hiring does not come without its flaws. A case in point being that of Amazon. Amazon’s recruitment tool was found to be biased towards women candidates’ CVs. The tool had taught itself to screen out women CVs based on the last 10 years of hiring data that was fed into it, to begin with.

Points to Consider before Considering AI for Recruitment

1. Decide What Area to Use AI for – Based on the size and skillset of your organization one can decide in which step of recruitment AI needs to be applied, does your organization want to use AI tools in screening and sourcing alone or its use can be extended to testing the skills of the candidates as well through customized tests.

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2. Human Touch – Using AI in the recruitment process cannot mean the absolute lack of human intervention. Positive and candid interaction with a recruiter who is well versed with the area of hiring can uplift the candidate’s experience and provide a great first impression of the company. While bots may be available round the clock and may be able to answer almost all queries that a candidate might have, nothing beats the human touch and involvement.

3. Equip the Teams – Before your organization joins the bandwagon of companies using AI for recruitment, consider the change management requirements for the various stakeholders involved. Do they have the necessary training to comprehend the outcomes of the AI tools? Do they understand why these tools are being used instead of the traditional approach? Are they onboard with using these tools? Diving straight into the use of technology without taking all involved parties on the same page may turn out to be a wasteful exercise.

Takeaway

While many organizations are still following the traditional approach of involving recruiters right from the start to the end of the recruitment cycle, it might be time to consider the use of technology which uses a data-driven approach leading to hiring diversity. Neither of the approaches is 100% foolproof, but with time and using a combination of both the approaches one can be assured of a workforce that is truly diverse.

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Parul Bahl is an evolving HR professional working as the Senior Manager HR at DLF Limited. Prior to this, she worked as the HR Business Partner at the TATA Consultancy Services. She has been recognized as a Global Top Performer in Resource Management for the year 2013-14. She is passionate about providing the best candidate experience and thinking out of the box to create business value. Her specialities include- Talent Engagement, Performance Management, Learning and Development, and Resource Management. 

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