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Advancing diversity with embedded recruitment technology

Diverse hiring is a necessity for modern businesses, but achieving this isn’t always easy. Here’s how we use technology to prevent bias from playing a role in hiring.

Diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging are values many companies claim to champion, but few businesses understand how necessary these values are to success. Diverse workforces are not just nice to have; they are essential in order to remain competitive in today’s market. Organisations that reject diverse hiring are putting themselves at a massive disadvantage.

It’s been known for a while that culturally diverse teams are more creative than workforces without a range of experience, but it goes deeper than that. When your organisation is made up of people from a variety of different backgrounds, with many different experiences, you will have access to a wide range of talents and ways of looking at the world.

This makes diverse teams more effective at solving problems, better at making investments and more likely to boost innovation, all of which leads to higher revenue. There are many different ways companies can improve their diversity and inclusion, but it starts at the hiring process.

This is easier said than done; many steps of recruitment, from writing job adverts to the interview stage, have the potential to be sidetracked by unconscious biases. However, these are obstacles that businesses can successfully overcome, and doing so will ensure they are able to embrace diverse hiring and use it to drive success.


Understanding bias in traditional recruitment

It’s easy to think of recruitment bias as a conscious moral flaw. We picture bigoted people determined to exclude particular demographic groups from employment. However, the truth is that most bias is completely unconscious, and this can be even more insidious. Without meaning to, recruiters can dismiss excellent candidates because of an unchecked bias they may not know about.

This has been seen time and time again. When asked to evaluate a series of male and female candidates for the same job, one study found recruiters would change the criteria they were looking for so that the male candidates would be the better fit. When musicians auditioned for roles, concealing their gender made it 50 percent more likely women would advance to the next round of selection.

The recruiters in these studies probably were looking to hire the best candidates, irrelevant of gender, but our biases are often not conscious and they can lead us to make poor decisions.

This is not just true for gender, but for all characteristics. A BBC study sent out a pair of CVs to a range of employers. The two CVs were identical besides the names; one was from someone called “Adam”, the other from someone called “Mohamed”. Despite their skills and experience being exactly the same, “Adam” was offered three times as many interviews as “Mohamed”.

Bias is difficult to correct for, because it is hard to spot. However, changing recruitment processes can lead to improved outcomes when it comes to diverse hiring. Allen Embedded has created a range of hiring methods that prevent bias from playing a role in talent acquisition; here’s how we do it.


The role of Allen Embedded: How we reduce bias with our technology

In all the examples above, the key problem is the same: unconscious bias. However, why should our opinions come into play at all when we’re searching for candidates? Surely we should be looking for skills, experience and qualifications, and longlisting candidates that meet our requirements? With the help of technology, that’s exactly what we do.

When our clients embed us within their organisations, we bring our AI-powered search engine with us. Our search specialists are able to use this to map out a talent pool using data, searching purely for the abilities and qualifications that are needed for the role. We can therefore bypass bias by not focusing on demographics at all.

By automating the search process like this, we can make talent acquisition about more strict criteria that cannot be adjusted by recruiters to match their preconceived biases. This ensures our clients are able to hire the talent that best suits their business, which will naturally bring in a more diverse workforce.

We use our tech for much more than this. For example, the copy of our job adverts is generated by AI to ensure the language isn’t skewed to be more appealing to any demographic group. Gendered language is common in job adverts, and leads to fewer women applying for roles. We use tech to ensure this is not the case for our clients.


Overcoming challenges and ethical considerations

We know that our tactics are not perfect; no recruitment method is. However, we work hard to ensure we remove bias from the equation as much as possible. One common problem with tech-based recruiting is algorithmic bias. This essentially means that algorithms and AI can unintentionally be programmed to replicate the biases of the people that created them.

Our search system is kept simple for this reason. We don’t want our AI to decide what type of candidate to look for; that is something we work together with our clients on. We determine what skills, qualifications and experiences we want our ideal candidate to have, and search purely for those. There is still a risk of unconscious bias creeping in, but we believe this is the most effective way to recruit fairly.

If you can use technology to mitigate bias, it is absolutely essential you do so. Diverse workforces are not a luxury; they are a crucial aspect of modern business, and embracing inclusion will make your business stronger. Our embedded talent acquisition solution is designed to prevent bias from playing a role in hiring, and we’re proud to use it to make our clients’ organisations more diverse and more successful.


If you want to achieve more effective recruitment with Allen Embedded’s end-to-end talent acquisition services, get in touch today.


Posted in: Allen Embedded / Blog / Client

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