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Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment Technology

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

A recruiter's ultimate goal is to find the best candidate for a role. However, this is problematic because there is so much room for subjectivity and interpretation around what 'the best candidate' actually embodies. That subjectivity is where bias creeps in, so how do you achieve objective recruitment? Research has regularly shown that regardless of how hard we try to eliminate our conscious or unconscious bias, it will always be there, and it's very difficult to mitigate it. And this is no different for HR and recruitment professionals when searching and interviewing candidates. Why should I care about bias as a recruiter or HR professional? The danger for recruiters is that with inherent biases in the initial stages of recruitment, you could overlook top talent. This could result in poor hiring outcomes such as poor people to job or organisation fit, low employee or manager satisfaction, higher turnover as well as the risk of a homogeneous workforce with low diversity in talent. As most hiring managers know, diversity is not just a buzzword or box to be ticked. It should be a fundamental aspiration for all organisations. Diversity has a direct correlation with more innovation and better financial performance. Talent acquisition is the most effective way an organisation can increase diversity within its workforce. So it stands to reason why so much importance has been laid on the hiring process. Human resource specialists must identify and employ strategies to increase their likelihood of finding more diverse candidates. With this priority in mind, it's important to look at how we can maximise attempts to remove bias from the hiring process. Common types of Cognitive Bias There are many ways that unintentional bias and discrimination can creep in through the hiring decisions we make, thereby hindering equal opportunities in talent selection. Below are a few common biases that Behavioural Scientist Dr Pragya Agarwal mentions that you might find in the recruitment process.

  • Confirmation bias - the tendency to favour information that conforms to your existing beliefs.


  • Leniency Bias - effectively rating someone too high because of your own personal context.


  • Personal Similarity Bias (also known as Affinity Bias) - favouring someone with a similar background, culture, experience or characteristics as yourself.


  • Halo Effect - one's overall impressions of a person are influenced by how you feel and think about their character.


  • Selection bias - unfairly comparing and contrasting against someone or something else to justify your choices.


  • Unconscious bias - when you form an opinion about candidates based solely on first impressions.

Ultimately we are all human, and implicit bias will naturally occur at some stage of the hiring process. However, it's especially important to try and remove as much subjective decision-making at the early stages, such as candidate screening. This allows employers to assess a wide variety of differing candidates before making a decision. This gives the highest possible chance of a candidate with the best skillsets to be selected as well as enhancing the qualified diversity of a workforce. Five ways to get better at inclusive hiring Reducing bias and employing more inclusive hiring tactics will help you hire more people.

  • Write more inclusive job descriptions. Be mindful of how you write your job description by favouring neutral language. Technical, coded and gendered language can deter some candidates and attract a more homogenous group. This decreases the chances of a varied range of applicants.


  • Standardise assessments. To maximise objectivity, ensure you create a level playing field for any assessments and scrutinise language and criteria. Also, ensure that every candidate is assessed consistently by the same people against the same scorecard, with feedback collected post-interview instantly, to ensure transparency, consistency and fairness.


  • Focus on skills instead of subject matter. Most jobs require some subject knowledge, but subject knowledge is not the determining factor in whether someone can or can't perform a role. Soft and transferable skills are far more valuable to organisations as they make the learnable subject matter relevant within an organisation's context. Focusing your interviews on transferable and technical skills will help remove barriers to entry.


  • Move away from auto-cv sifting technology. CV sifters are riddled with as much bias as people as they favour CVs with specific job titles, keywords, years of experience and sector backgrounds. Yes, these metrics are important, but they also create major barriers for great candidates who have just come from a non-traditional background.


  • Broaden your talent pools. When promoting job opportunities, ensure you advertise far and wide and proactively engage with marginalised communities to let them know your workplace welcomes them.

Another important step in the screening phase is to define and stipulate the required capabilities and critical skills clearly. This ensures you are targeting those most qualified. Recruiters must also limit the potential for information about the candidate that's irrelevant to job performance through application forms and other materials.

Using recruitment technology to expand the Talent Pool The talent pool can also be expanded and nurtured for recruiters through features such as AI job matching and candidate recommendations, as well as retargeting of previous candidates for roles they may not have seen or considered yet. While on the candidate side, machine learning and natural language processing functions (through chatbots and other touch points in the recruitment process) can tailor tone, style and even foreign languages to the individual through conversations, thereby being more inclusive to a broader pool of job applicants. Video interviews have also become a revolutionary new way to reduce bias and gain in-depth candidate insights while increasing the speed of screening and interviewing. Many organisations use this method now but are careful to select accessible providers as most video recruitment systems are inaccessible. Recruiters and Hiring Managers, particularly in highly competitive fields, often struggle with how to build and scale bigger and better teams efficiently. Hiring is often heavily dependent on time, money and resources spent sifting through hundreds of CVs; missing out on quality hires due to human errors and bias. AI and machine learning like clu is positively transforming recruiting workflows for more objective decision-making and, ultimately, better hiring outcomes for both candidates and employers. It is just our responsibility to make sure the transformation is both ethical and inclusive for all people, not just the ones traditional bias deems worthy of an interview.



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