Bias has always been an issue when it comes to hiring. To say you can avoid bias, even with training, is hopelessly optimistic since unconscious bias is inherent in us all, regardless of age, gender or race. Bias can’t escape us even if we’re made aware of it and make a concerted effort to avoid it. That’s not to say that being aware and completing training doesn’t help. It does. But it can’t eliminate it.
Issues like Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement have reached a critical point, and have made headlines recently, giving further insight to the inequalities of bias. One of the many positive outcomes of the #MeToo movement has been the spotlight it has shone on gender inequality in the workplace, including salaries, advancements, discipline and in hiring practices. Even more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought the unfair and unjust treatment of people of color to much wider public attention. Like gender inequality, racial inequalities in the workplace can include employment practices to cover unequal pay, disparity in promotion, discipline and unequal hiring practices.
Many companies have made a push to correct these injustices or at the very least to even the playing field by raising awareness of implicit bias and offering diversity incentives. These businesses are making a concerted effort to drive diversity and inclusion and to provide employees with the tools to mitigate bias.
But what else can we do beyond awareness training and initiatives?
One answer lies in recruitment technology — in the form of automation.
In your quest to find top talent could your search techniques result in unconscious cognitive bias? Almost certainly, yes.
A technique known as “blind hiring”, which is a practice that anonymizes or ‘blinds” demographic information, can be put into place using automated sourcing and search tools. Using specific search parameters you can then search for candidates through employment background and job titles while also focusing heavily on desired skills. What you need is an AI solution that brings back a shortlist of stack-ranked individuals based on these criteria alone. This approach takes race, gender, sexual orientation or any other demographic factor out of the picture.
A word of caution though, search parameters matter. Even these can have bias behind them. Be careful and aware when choosing and utilizing parameters to further ensure that bias doesn’t factor into the hiring process at this stage.
Anonymization of resumes
Now, you have the blind hiring process in place. You’ve searched, found and have arrived at a shortlist of perfect candidates for your client’s job opening. To further protect these candidates from unconscious bias you can use a tool that will strip all demographic elements from the resume – including the candidate name, school, fraternities and organizations. This same tool will automatically brand the resumes with your agency information and add your contact information.
Removing data that could contribute to biased decision-making leads to hiring decisions based on a candidate’s competencies and talents, rather than other demographic factors.
A recent Forbes article spoke of a moral imperative being the major driving force behind many efforts to build a diverse workforce. But it also drove home the fact that employers are seeing the significance of diversity “as a source of competitive advantage,” specifically a growth facilitator.
Studies show that gender and ethnic diversity correlate with company profitability.
Another factor among reasons to push for diversity is companies with a more diverse makeup are notably more productive as shown in numerous Harvard studies.
All things considered, it seems evident that blind hiring results in a much more diverse workforce. To achieve diversity in a business is not only highly advisable, but increasingly desirable and even essential. And morally speaking, it’s the right thing to do. Recruitment automation solutions are making this a much more achievable task for recruiters through AI searching, matching and anonymizing at the start of the hiring process.
— M. Christine Watson, Marketing Director, DaXtra Technologies
To learn more about unconscious bias and solutions which can help to eliminate it from recruitment, check out these articles: