To find out how to interpret bias in recruitment, we also have a great eBook on inclusive hiring.
If you look at the hard data, though, there is still so little real progress despite so many initiatives and positive intent.
The recent Bersin report shows that, surprisingly, diversity in the U.S work context is going backwards.
That’s because it has to involve some discomfort that cannot be avoided.
A recent post about the impact of non-inclusive hiring on a 21-year-old job-seeker attracted 35k views and countless efforts to help him find a job.
It was great to see, but what about the other few million candidates out there who haven’t had the benefit of a social media post to get a job?
Unless we solve the root of the problem, the post achieved little.
Inclusiveness is often a journey, but the most immediate thing we can all control is removing bias from hiring and promotion.
This is literally something that you can start doing tomorrow. Addressing systemic bias is more complex but removing unconscious bias is something we can solve for now.
Get me out of here!
From a candidate’s perspective, applying for a job is demoralising and exclusive. It often involves playing a game, glamping up for a video interview, mind-numbing multi-choice questions, only to be ghosted 99% of the time.
We have been speaking about candidate-first for a decade, now is the time to do it.
You and I both know that adding more headcount will not help the issue [of recruiters being overworked], since it’ll just result in more people doing more tasks.
At one point, we had General Motors in a position where we were having quarterly go-to-market meetings every quarter.
As a leadership team, we met to determine what we wanted to achieve in the next quarter and what it would take to get there.
When I started running the go-to-market functions for my boss, Cyril George, I told him that no one here knew what their KPIs were because it wasn’t clear; it was like everything was on fire all the time.
So we began having these go-to-market meetings, and a significant portion of them focused on the tech and innovation that we were driving to resource the team.
Then someone asked, “What’s the point once we implement all of this?”
I knew the subtext was, “Are we laying people off? Are we getting rid of recruiters?”
I responded, “No, the point is for you not to be working 65 hours a week every week.”
The room fell silent; there was no slow clap, just disbelief and shock.
They thought, “I don’t think that’s real,” but it is.
That’s what tech can do, you know.
Not only can it help for one quarter, but it can also make a difference for years to come.
So, stop thinking of buying tech for new best practices that it can bring, and start thinking of it as a way to extend our capacity sustainably and meaningfully.
Yeah, I see it the same way, in terms of giving you leverage.
Every time you hire someone for your team, you gain more leverage, allowing you to achieve more.
Technology does the same thing, but on a larger scale.
Listen to the full episode of our podcast featuring Kyle Lagunas here:
To find out how to interpret bias in recruitment, we also have a great eBook on inclusive hiring.
In the late 1970s, as the world was changing around them, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra realised they had a problem. Specifically, a white male problem; the profile of nearly every musician.
In what is largely seen as the genesis of the blind interview, in 1980 the orchestra changed their audition process completely. Musicians were placed behind a screen so the auditioning panel couldn’t know the gender, race or age of the musician they were listening to. It’s said they even put down the carpet so the sound of high heels on the stage could not be heard.
All the panel could hear was the music.
Of course, the result of this blind screening was profound. Hiring decisions were made on the quality of the performance only. In just a few short years, the ‘white male’ orchestra was transformed to more equal gender representation with musicians further diversified by their cultural backgrounds.
Not only has the Toronto Symphony Orchestra continued to use blind screening ever since, but it was also quickly adopted by most major orchestras around the world.
Beyond the concert stage, blind screening and blind recruitment practices are used by government, academic and business organisations globally. Because when it comes to identifying the best qualified or best-fit candidates, all you need to hear is their ‘music’.
Are tall people more likely to get higher paid roles? Do the best looking candidates always get the job? Will Michael or Mohamed be the best fit for your team?
While it’s easy to recognise bias in other people, it’s usually harder to admit that we are biased ourselves. That’s why it’s called unconscious bias. It’s something we all have and something we can all be affected by.
Unconscious bias is about making assumptions, stereotyping or a fear of the unknown in how we assess other people. It can be innate or it can be learned and it’s created and reinforced through our personal experiences, our cultural background and environment.
Think of gender bias, ageism, racism or name bias – these are some common biases that need no explanation. However, psychologists and researchers have identified over 150 types of bias that impact the way we form opinions and make judgements about people, often instantly.
In a two year study titled Whitened Résumés: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market published in the Administrative Science Quarterly in 2016, academics from the University of Toronto and Stanford University looked at racial and gender bias during resume screening.
In one US study, they created and sent out resumes for black and Asian candidates for 1,600 advertised entry-level jobs. While some of the resumes included information such as names, colleges, towns and cities that clearly pointed out the applicants’ race or status, others were ‘whitened’, or scrubbed of racial clues.
Amongst many insights, they found that white-sounding names were 75% more likely to get an interview request than identical resumes with Asian names and 50% more likely than black-sounding names. Males were 40% more likely to get an interview request than women.
Still need convincing?
Another 2016 study by The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany examined how ethnicity and religion influenced a candidate’s chances of landing an interview. 1500 real employers received otherwise identical applications, complete with a photo, from Sandra Bauer, Meryem Ӧztürk, or Meryem Ӧztürk wearing a headscarf.
These are just two of many research studies that suggest bias and discrimination are rife in the hiring process. In a 2017 UK study, only a third of hiring managers felt confident they were not biased or prejudiced when hiring new staff, while nearly half of those surveyed admitted that bias did affect their hiring choice. 20% couldn’t be sure.
When it comes to hiring, we all have our own thoughts about what an ideal candidate is supposed to look like. The problem is that our own bias can get in the way of the right decision.
If you’ve already pre-determined a candidate’s suitability by their age, gender or the school they attended, then you could be missing out on employing the candidate with the best qualifications. Or while you’re thinking about the best ‘cultural fit’ for your team, you’re actually missing the opportunity for the best ‘cultural add’.
But what if you could take bias out of candidate screening and hiring process? Is that even possible?
Just as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra hid the identities of auditioning musicians behind a screen, there are several ways to bring blind hiring to your recruitment process:
Nearly all hiring decisions will involve a human to human interview. But take a step back in the process and blind screenings can ensure that all candidates are competing on a level playing field. With the opportunity to be assessed only on qualifications or skills, the best candidates for a role can be identified.
Blind screening is about making candidates anonymous – removing details from applications or CVs that reveal details that may colour the recruiter or hirer’s assessment. It makes it easier to make objective decisions about a candidate based on skills, experience and suitability without the distraction (and the damage!) of bias.
Unconscious bias can be triggered by someone’s name, their gender, race or age, the town they grew up in or the schools they attended.
Before making a final decision, many employers like to test a candidate’s skills or knowledge by setting a task or challenge. Others undertake personality or other testing to assess a range of relevant qualities such as aptitude, teamwork, communication skills or critical thinking. Candidates can be assigned an identifying number or code to retain their anonymity through blind testing, though this is often best done through a third-party service provider.
With face-to-face, phone or video interviews, it’s clearly impossible to keep candidates anonymous. Blind interviewing is possible, however, using a written QandA format or by using next-generation chatbots or text-driven interview software. Most recruiters and employers would agree, however, that there would be few if any, times it would be appropriate to make hiring decisions based solely on blind interviewing and without an in-person interview.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Interview Automation
Sapia is a leading innovator and advocate in using technology to enhance the recruitment process. Our AI-enabled, text chat interview platform has been designed to deliver the ultimate in blind testing at the most important stage of the recruitment process: candidate screening.
Firstly, you will never have to read another CV again. Especially in bulk recruiting assignments, Sapia can help recruiters find the best candidates faster and more cost-effectively. CV’s are littered with bias-inducing aggravators. With Sapia, blind interviews are at the top of the recruiting funnel, not CV reviews.
By removing bias from the screening process, we’re helping employers to increase workplace diversity. It also delivers an outstanding candidate experience.
Reviewing and screening CVs is the most time-consuming part of any recruiter’s job and Sapia can put more hours back in your day.
Sapia evaluates candidates with a simple open, transparent interview via a text conversation. Candidates know mobile text and trust text.
Our platform removes all the elements that can bring unconscious bias into play – no CVs, video hook-ups, voice data or visual content. Nor do we extract data from social channels.
What candidates do discover is a non-threatening text interview that respects and recognises them for the individual they are, providing them with the space and time to tell their story in their words.
As candidates complete and submit their interview, the platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to test, assess and rank candidates on values, traits, personality, communications skills and more. By bringing this blind interview into the upfront screening, recruiters can gain valuable personality insights and the confidence of a shortlist with the very best matched candidates to proceed to live interviews.
The platform has a 99% satisfaction rate from candidates and they report they are motivated by the personalised feedback, insights and coaching tips that the platform provides, along with the opportunity to provide their feedback on the process.
Free from biases of the candidate’s race, gender, age or education level, Sapia’s platform delivers blind interviewing, testing and screening in one. Helping to build workplace diversity brings benefits for everyone – it can help lift employee satisfaction, boost engagement and productivity and enhance the reputation of your business as a great employer.
We believe there is a formula for trust when it comes to interviewing …
Final human decision supported by objective data. Or more simply:
Trust = (Inclusivity + Transparency + Explainability + Consistency) – Bias
Find out more about our AI-powered blind recruitment tool and how we can support your hiring needs today. You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now – here. Else you can leave us your details to receive a personalised demo
It offers a pathway to fairer hiring. Get diversity and inclusion right whilst hiring on time and on budget.
In this Inclusivity e-Book, you’ll learn:
You know the common definition of insanity? The one where the same thing gets done over and over again, but the end result doesn’t change? It might not be a big deal when talking about your daily commute, but taking the same old approach to hire key personnel could be an expensive mistake.
Industry studies estimate bad hires cost up to 2.5 times the dollar amount of that person’s salary – and the damage doesn’t end there. Mismatched employees disrupt workplace chemistry, productivity, and profitability.
In response to poor hiring decisions, a growing number of companies now employ predictive screening and hiring models. Engaging predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) – or algorithms that ‘think’ like humans – to help with the legwork historically performed by recruiters.
AI and predictive analytics look at historical data and then apply the learnings to new data to predict future outcomes. So, predictive hiring models can predict who will make it through the interview process, outperform their peers and still be around a few years down the road.
“Today, HR has a seat at the table, and in order to maintain that business partnership, you need to have an analytics framework.”
Andy Kaslow, CHRO, Cerberus
A 2016 survey revealed a strong desire to drive talent acquisition through data and analytics. Two hundred executives at large U.S. firms want technology to play a bigger part in the hiring process. And the clamour for analytics isn’t confined to a younger crowd. Two-thirds of decision-makers who desire data-driven solutions fell between the ages of 45-64.
Although there is a general consensus that data-driven and predictive hiring will make hiring decisions more accurate, many HR professionals still view it as cumbersome and costly to implement.
And it can be true.
Understanding the data needed to make an impact, and figuring out the best techniques and algorithms to use is difficult.
And it can be expensive to hire data scientists, and other key technical personnel needed to implement a full scale HR analytics system.
But, there’s no need to go it alone or to do it all at once.
Rather than setting up in-house HR analytics teams, most companies opt to engage a vendor who specialises in custom predictive screening and hiring models. Finding a vendor that works with you to solve your hiring challenges will significantly cut cost and time to implement.
The crucial first step of any successful project is to define what that success looks like. And implementing predictive hiring isn’t any different.
Have a think about the biggest issue your organisation is facing at the moment that better hiring decisions will solve.
For example, you might have the issue that a lot of new hires are leaving your organisation after a few months. Or you might have a company culture in need of strengthening, and need to hire people who fit with your ideal culture.
When you have honed in on the issue you want to solve, you also need to start thinking about the data that will be required to solve your challenge.
To give you an indication of the type of data you might need, consider these examples;
(These indications are based on the data required if you were working with us at PredictiveHire)
After defining the issue you want to address with predictive hiring, it is time to find a shortlist of vendors that can help you achieve your goal.
Make sure you look for vendors who are able to build predictive hiring models focused on your specific issues, whilst making sure the candidate experience isn’t compromised.
When you have your shortlist of vendors narrowed down, make sure you perform your due diligence. Some vendors will be a better fit for the challenge you wish to solve with your predictive hiring model.
Make sure your shortlisted vendors address these key questions;
Ai for Hiring – Buyers Guide: The 8 Questions You Must Ask
All of these questions are important to address to ensure the project’s success.
Implementing new software and processes will always require some level of change management, for example; following the ADKAR or Kotter change management approaches. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of support the vendor will offer you during the roll-out.
Following these three steps will ensure you are off to a good start with your predictive hiring project – and can start reaping the rewards quickly.
Resisting this change may put your company at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace.
A recent MGI study found that AI can significantly improve the bottom line for businesses willing to incorporate them into their core functions. And the time really is now. Early adopters will enjoy a significant data-advantage in only a few years.
“[Leading businesses] use multiple AI technologies across multiple functions. As these firms expand AI adoption and acquire more data, laggards will find it harder to catch up.”
McKinsey Global Institute, June 2017
In the words of Gartner Research’s senior vice president Peter Sondergaard, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.”
You can try out Sapia’s Chat Interview right now, or leave us your details to book a demo