Is AI A Help Or Hindrance When It Comes To Diversity?

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The worst thing you can do for diversity is to do nothing. If your company is anything like the average, you have serious representation issues at all levels. You are likely paying men more than women. You are not recognising the work of women, and especially women of colour, when it comes to promotions. Your parental leave policies are gendered, driving women out of work while keeping men in their jobs. Building a diverse company starts with recruitment and continues with promotion, work culture, and benefits. How might AI and recruitment tech help increase the diversity of your hires?

First, ask yourself what you are doing currently. If you are not doing any, or just a few of the below, adopting recruitment tech and AI can help improve your status quo. Doing nothing would be the worst outcome for your company’s diversity

1. Who are you hiring? Is your candidate pool diverse? 

Are your hires diverse? Are you tracking and monitoring hiring metrics?

Diverse hires are more likely when there is a diverse hiring pool. In order to reduce applicant numbers and focus on viable applicants, you may be prioritising top colleges for your recruitment efforts. This not only has limited effects on candidate quality, but also hurts diversity due to the representation problem at leading universities. Opening up the candidate pool has traditionally been costly, requiring more hiring managers to evaluate applications. Recruitment technology helps automate the hiring process, saving hiring managers time. Hiring AI such as interview analytics further reduces the workload for hiring managers. Using AI can help you expand your applicant pool and find the right candidates from any background rather than having to focus on top colleges as a shortcut. 

2. How are hiring decisions made?

Are you tracking what is being assessed during the recruitment process? Is it relevant to the job? Can you explain to candidates how they are being evaluated in a meaningful way?

Human biases play a prominent role in recruitment decisions, and they harm diverse candidates. For example, interviewers are bad at detecting personality traits that are linked to job performance during interviews. They are missing out on crucial information and basing their decision on irrelevant personal characteristics of candidates. In addition, human decision making is a black box. It is unlikely that you are tracking or recording how your hiring managers are making decisions. Hiring technology can help by identifying the competencies and characteristics you should be basing hiring decisions on, and measuring those reliably across candidates. You can provide meaningful answers to candidates who inquire about what they are being evaluated on and why. 

3. Are all your candidates treated the same? 

Are you using the same process, and assessing the same skills and competencies for all your candidates? 

Decades of research in organisational psychology show that standardised recruitment tools are the best at identifying good candidates. This includes structured interviews and psychometric assessments. To implement these in a recruiter and candidate friendly way, you will need recruitment technology. Standardised interviews used to require extensive and costly training of hiring managers. Interview analytics offer a light touch alternative that still delivers the benefits of structured interviews: all candidates are evaluated in the same way, based on job-relevant competencies. In addition, you can optimise hiring algorithms to measure performance while maintaining fairness – this would be incredibly difficult to do with a group of hiring managers. 

4. Are you measuring whether your hires are performing? 

Are they staying at the company? Are they getting promoted?

Finally, if you are implementing points 1-3, but are failing to monitor your hiring process and outcomes, you might miss out on one of the main benefits of recruitment technology. Having well-structured recruitment data opens the possibility to connect recruitment with internal performance data and feed this information back into your recruitment process. Over time, you will improve diversity and performance outcomes by optimising your recruitment process to identify the right talent for your organisation.  

In summary, your recruitment practices are an important gatekeeper for representation. Wide sourcing and structured, standardised evaluations are the gold standards for hiring. Traditionally time-consuming and expensive, these practices are feasible for most organisations today through the use of technology and AI. Once you have structured your hiring process, apply the same to your internal progression. Finally, remember that opportunity allocation is the first step to diversity. Inclusive culture, equal pay, benefits and other inclusive practices will make sure your selection efforts bear fruits.

About the author: Franziska Leutner is the co-author of The Future of Recruitment: Using the New Science of Talent Analytics to Get Your Hiring Right with Reece Akhtar and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. Out now, published by Emerald, priced at £18.99

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