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Can technology solve your workplace diversity problem?

The evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies has provided businesses the opportunity to blindly recruit some of the top talent across the world. New innovations have helped to streamline the recruiting process through automation and the removal implicit biases. These innovations range from AI systems that filters resumes using predictive analysis, to robots that facilitate job interviews and customer support. But many critics question the idea of solely basing a candidate’s eligibility on written qualifications. Is it ethical to judge someone based off a piece of paper? Of course, it’s not! I’m sure that everyone agrees with the premise that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. So, it’s understandable that people question its ethicality. But numerous studies have demonstrated the overwhelming benefits of using AI-powered solutions over traditional recruiting systems.

The best approach when creating your recruiting strategy is to incorporate both smart technologies and human recruiters. This gives you the ability to get a more comprehensive list of well-rounded candidates as it may highlight recruiter’s blind spots and eliminate any potential biases. With this you get the benefit of the smart capabilities as well as personal judgment based on human interactions. The evolution of AI technologies could potentially eliminate hiring discrimination against women and minorities more effectively than ever before.

The Obstacle of Personal Bias

Bias is conditioned into our brains through past experiences, personal beliefs, and stereotypes. Innately and at times unconsciously we make judgments on others based on the gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. However, hiring biases often have a negative impact on your goal to recruit and retain top talent. It can unconsciously impact your entire hiring process from the resumes you prefer, the candidates you select, the questions you ask, and ultimately the decisions you make when selecting a candidate. Therefore, it’s crucial that all companies prioritize forming a diverse recruiting team alongside these AI technologies.

A 2021 study by University of Chicago and University of California, Berkeley tested the difference a name had on job interview opportunities. The researchers submitted thousands identical resumes for entry level position to 100 different companies. They used random names that were stereotypically white or African American. The applicants with the white-sounding names overwhelming received more job interview requests than those with African American names. This demonstrates that, whether conscious or unconsciously, people (including women and minorities) believe white men are the most competent workers. But we know that to be false. With recruiter's personal bias influencing so much of the recruitment process, it’s no wonder that many have lost faith in traditional recruiting.

Slow Adoption

Implementing strong AI systems in addition to your diverse recruiting team helps to eliminate any potential biases, while also maintaining a human connection with candidates. It’s a great way to perform checks on your recruiting practices as well. Many companies will be slow to adopt these technologies because they may fear the “digital takeover”, or they may simply be content with their current systems and its biases. Eliminating biases will inevitably result in more diverse recruits, which for some may be huge problem in their effort to hire strong “cultural” matches. Often time, companies that want strong cultural fits are hiring people from similar backgrounds who look alike, talk alike, and act alike. This is a problem that even the most diverse companies struggle within their efforts to be a culture centric workplace. So, it’s foreseeable that some companies will be slow to adopt as it provides an even playing field, based solely on skills, for all potential recruits.

While hiring people who are outside of your culture fit may be an adjustment for companies, it is necessary. Numerous of studies have demonstrated that the benefits of a diversity far outweigh any potential cons. It is a known fact that diverse workforces generate more creativity, high profits, and a massive return on investment.

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