Diversifying Recruitment methods in Tech Companies to reduce AI bias

Original article was published by David Yakobovitch on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


Diversifying Recruitment methods in Tech Companies to reduce AI bias

Recruitment Trends and Bias

Bias in the recruitment process is increasing with most companies scoring poorly according to a 2019 Gartner poll. The Amazon incident where AI systems biased¹ against women shows major recruitment problems among companies today.

Artificial intelligence works best with human augmentation and addressing diversity bias is a step towards making AI systems² work better.

Salesforce¹⁰ is addressing bias through their inclusive culture, which attracts diverse talent and tech companies should follow this example.

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A human-centered approach is required when addressing the bias problem and most organizations disregard logic in their hiring process leading to bad outcomes. Technology solutions such as machine learning and artificial intelligence cannot work alone and this is where the human factor comes in.

Diversity in Tech Companies

Artificial intelligence deployment is accelerating with enterprises benefiting from this technology. The success of the current AI adoption³ comes under threat as companies favor one group over the other complicating AI fairness across the board.

1. Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is one benefit of diversity among tech companies as this attracts new people to join teams and offer their expertise. Unlike companies with a majority of a single racial pattern, those with diverse teams perform better because of new ideas.

Employees feel comfortable working in a diverse environment compared to other groups. Oracle has had success in adopting a diverse workforce with a score of 5 compared to most tech companies.

2. Innovation and Creativity

Innovation⁴ in diverse tech companies is higher because different minds come together and develop new solutions. On the contrary, less diverse companies struggle since employees use similar mindsets in tackling problems.

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IBM is one big tech company facilitating diversity in the workplace with the company experiencing high innovation in the last decade. The leadership in diverse companies fosters innovation from the top and employees replicate the same in their operations.

3. Engagement Levels among Employees

The goal of diversity in the workplace⁵ is enhancing engagement among employees including exchanging ideas and discussing solutions to problems. Tech companies adopting diverse employees report higher engagement levels as different minds collaborate on different areas of operation.

CISCO adopted the diverse recruitment technique⁶ in its hiring methods with much success. According to CISCO, diversity in recruitment changed their model of business by empowering employees to take charge of their mission objectives.

4. Creating a Culture of Inclusion

Tech companies need inclusivity in their operations and, by adopting diverse working patterns; they have experienced benefits with Oracle an example. Oracle implemented an inclusive culture in its model by diversifying recruitment methods.

According to the CEO of IBM, developing a culture of inclusion changed the direction of the company and helped them make a difference in the competitive market. The profitability of IBM increased as inclusivity increased in the company.

5. Conflict Resolution Management

Modern organizations require conflict resolution strategies and, recruitment diversity aids companies in addressing challenges. Diverse recruitment in tech companies not only reduces bias in #AI but also offers new ideas about conflict resolution.

Amazon has made progress in conflict resolution as the tech company adopted diverse hiring techniques in advancing its strategic objectives.

Tech companies should not undermine conflict resolution as new challenges in operations management. The example of Amazon in using diversity in hiring to reduce conflicts exemplifies the importance of a diverse workforce in the current tech industry.

Current Diversity Initiatives by Tech Companies

Successful implementation of AI systems in organizations and among consumers comes down to investing in diversity. Despite this, tech companies have not focused their resources to boost diversity.

Besides the creation of a diverse workforce, most tech companies focus on other areas of diversity with less influence on their operations compared to racial diversity.

For instance, tech companies look at #education, religion, and disability in their diversity efforts and forget about racial cohesion. Facebook continues to face criticism for not having black employees in their AI Research Division and, the example highlights the practical situation in the technology industry.

1. The balance between Work and Personal Life

As digital transformation continues, companies are increasingly changing their schedules with more emphasis on better experiences for employees. Consequently, employees can enjoy their working lives and become productive in the process leading to a diverse #workforce.

Tech companies such as Google have parks and social places where employees rejuvenate as they work. These changes attract diversity because of the benefits involved.

2. Candidate Pools

Another initiative by tech companies is creating the requirement of minorities in their final pools when recruiting. Slack¹¹ is using the candidate pool method with the company reporting diversity as minority candidates have higher chances of selection.

Black candidates have slim chances of ending up in the candidate pool for tech companies with Hispanics as well.

The candidate pool threshold is changing the diverse workforce in tech companies by reducing bias in the hiring process.

3. The Personality Assessment Test

Personality is critical when developing an inclusive workforce because of absorbing qualified employees who match the required traits. By using the personality assessment tool, a company reduces bias because of looking for new ideas in their employment.

Etsy¹², an online e-commerce business adopted the personality assessment test in conducting hiring with much success. According to the CEO of Etsy, personality review helped the company to focus on new individuals missing in their teams. Diversity is not only about race but also about attributes such as personality traits.

4. Clear Communication on Job Postings

Collabera Inc. from New Jersey understands the importance of diversity in their operations with the company using designed job postings for their recruitments.

Collabera¹³ uses direct communication in their job postings and assists candidates to assess their capabilities before the application process. According to Collabera, these changes in job posting inform prospective candidates about their expectations, and this assists in recruiting diverse candidates.

4. Technology Solutions

Artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions enable real-time communication of #data during the recruitment process and enable companies to track hiring trends. Bias in hiring⁹ complicates the mission of every organization and AI solutions support by reviewing candidates hired versus those not selected.

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The hiring process requires humans and augmenting with technology generates better results. Apple uses technology solutions such as machine learning and analytics to track hiring patterns and make prudent decisions that boost workforce diversity.

Diversifying Recruitment Methods

Let us review challenges faced in diversification of recruitment methods:

1. Addressing the Stereotype Factor

The biggest challenge in enhancing recruitment diversity is stereotypes. Companies face challenges addressing stereotypes about recruitment diversity with most achieving minimal results.

However, Knotel¹⁴ is addressing the stereotype problem in recruitment by educating employees. Education programs¹⁰ at Knotel focus on employee understanding of diversity and the benefits of collaboration. Training employees on diversity creates a positive mindset and fosters a culture of inclusion.

2. Lack of Standardized Interviews

A survey conducted by Bloomberg in 2019 found that tech companies lack standard interview procedures needed to increase diversity in the workforce. Tech companies continue using the same approach of hiring and this fails to address the diversity problem.

Facebook is an example of a lack of standardized interviews in recruitment with the company among the least diverse #techcompanies. Standardized interviews promote the selection of diverse candidates and make the recruitment process a success.

3. Assessments Screening

There are concerns about recruitment tests with poor assessments that in turn affect organizational diversity. Lack of screening tests before the recruitment process ensures that bias incidents do not appear by selecting candidates based on qualifications.

Companies such as Amazon face criticism because of poor assessment screening methods, which affect the diversity of the workforce. These tests undermine the qualifications of some candidates and end up selecting those not qualified. This further leads to a less diverse workforce.

4. Lack of Collaboration in Recruitment

The recruitment process requires collaboration because of reviewing the qualifications of candidates. LinkedIn has developed tools for recruitment that foster collaboration with companies using the social network for sourcing candidates.

Companies using the LinkedIn platform benefit from collaboration tools including team interviews and giving candidates detailed information about the required qualifications. By collaborating during the hiring process, companies engage with candidates and use the fairness in selecting the qualified ones.

5. Education Programs on Bias during Hiring

Educating teams in organizations about bias in the hiring process enables understanding of implications and developing solutions to unfair hiring practices. Bias in recruitment occurs when organizations lack education programs on unfairness during the hiring process.

HP is another tech company investing in educational programs to accelerate a diverse workforce. The company has developed training programs that educate employees about best practices around diversity and methods of supporting the mission.

6. Minimal Support from Top Leadership

The C-Suite should lead the way in addressing bias in hiring but unfortunately, most companies lack the commitment to get things done.

Organizations mention about diversity in their operations and lack an execution plan according to a ZDnet poll conducted among tech companies. The top leadership offers direction and policies on hiring practices with few success stories on diversity management.

A Diverse Workforce is Within Reach for Corporate Organizations

A diverse workforce comes with many benefits including increased profits besides social cohesion among employees. Companies that lack diversity struggle to become competitive in the market and comes down to shifting the recruitment policies and focusing on new ideas. Assembling a team means fairness in recruitment and most companies disregard this principle with negative implications.

From Cisco to HP and Knotel, these companies are changing their recruitment processes. Tech companies need to reorganize their hiring practices around gender, race, age, and education among others to boost diversity. Religion and disability are other areas that need consideration as companies look to address #recruitmentbias and achieve a diverse workforce.

Works Cited

¹Bias, ²AI Systems, ³AI Adoption, ⁴Innovation, ⁵Diversity in the Workplace, ⁶Diverse Recruitment Technique, ⁷Culture of Inclusion, ⁸Conflict Resolution, ⁹Bias in Hiring, ¹⁰Education Programs

Companies Cited

¹⁰Salesforce, ¹¹Slack, ¹²Etsy, ¹³Collabera, ¹⁴Knotel

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