3 Ways to Use Technology to Mitigate Hiring Bias and Improve Workforce Diversity

As organizations examine the need to vastly improve their workforce diversity efforts, many have recognized that not only is it just the right thing to do—it’s also crucial to their ability to perform. As GR8 Place to Work CEO Michael C. Bush noted, his firm’s study of more than 2,000 companies “found that key metrics related to equity and inclusion not only drive stronger company innovation, but also predict whether companies will thrive or stumble.”

While improving workforce diversity involves addressing a myriad of factors, including the organization’s culture and degree of inclusivity, the ability to attract diverse talent is essential to progress. Numerous tools exist that can support talent acquisition teams, particularly as they work to implement technology intended to eliminate human bias from the company’s hiring process. For talent acquisition teams wondering where to focus their efforts, consider the following applications and approaches as you determine how best to move forward.

#1. Host virtual recruiting events for internship and early-career hiring needs.

Virtual recruiting events, which have become one of the most common hiring strategies during the pandemic, provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to level the playing field by expanding the schools from which they recruit with the specific goal of realizing more diverse student applicant pools. In addition, reducing the focus on four-year degrees as a requirement and tapping into new sources of talent by recruiting virtually from bootcamps and other similar programs can significantly improve the organization’s ability to connect with a broader range of candidates.

Employers can also look beyond simply participating in the virtual campus career fairs that most colleges and universities will be hosting and take advantage of the ability to host their own virtual events for students. An end-to-end Virtual Recruiting Event Solution supports active hiring events, as well as online seminar-styled sessions that can bring the employment experience to life, such as “meet the experts” or “get to know a recent new grad hire.” Teams that take advantage of the versatility of these events will be better positioned to connect with and engage diverse student talent and, ultimately, convert them into hires.

#2: Create job posting content that appeals to more diverse candidates.

Thanks to technology’s ability to analyze the text of millions of job postings, talent acquisition can benefit from data-driven insights regarding how language affects job posting response rates, especially when the goal is to broaden the candidate pool. More specifically, software applications can flag corporate jargon, insider acronyms and words that tilt toward a masculine tone within job postings while displaying alternate phrases that, based on the past performance of millions of job postings, are more likely to increase the number and diversity of applicants an organization receives.

#3. Use AI-driven sourcing and assessment applications that allow for recruiter oversight.

The hesitation among organizations to use these technologies has been the risk that the algorithms will actually reinforce human biases, particularly when machine learning is involved. In this instance, data sets riddled with bias as a result of an organization’s past hiring decisions, as well as performance management practices, is the culprit.

While these concerns are valid, they don’t have to prohibit organizations from using AI-driven sourcing technologies effectively. Instead, organizations should focus on gaining visibility into the risks and then plan for the associated corrective actions that will help them manage the risks. For example, regular internal audits of algorithmic results are an important step, and organizations can also look to third-party audits for an additional layer of protection. And, for those that choose to purchase sourcing and assessment technology from a vendor, make sure you understand how they approach algorithmic integrity, especially as related to hiring bias.

Finally, keep in mind is that you don’t need to rush these initiatives to scale, either, especially when proceeding more cautiously is more likely to result in the strong foundation required for future success. Start with a smaller pilot program that can be closely monitored and assessed before applying your hiring technologies more broadly and with the benefit of lessons learned.

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