CEO and Co-Founder of The Talent Games.
For organizations hiring in today’s world, talent shortage and a growing skills gap may apparently seem like the biggest challenges. But many employers struggle with something stubborn that lurks behind these issues: “institutional unconscious bias.”
Unconscious biases, also known as implicit biases, kick in out of the blue even when recruiters try hard not to discriminate against a job applicant on the basis of their gender, race, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, religion or any other factor.
However, what’s important is to recognize the drastic affect it has on hiring decisions and understand how it catalyzes prejudicial judgments about candidates; not only does it make harder for applicants from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to get hired, but it also leads to employers losing out on valuable, talented people who can drive spectacular business results. In a nutshell, this unwitting discrimination stemming from unconscious bias proves to be socially unjust, fiscally unproductive and commercially detrimental to a company’s bottom line.
Francesca Gino, professor at Harvard Business School, said unconscious biases have a negative effect on our judgment, causing us to make decisions for one person or group, with no thought for others. Resultantly, they can impede various efforts in the workplace.
Moreover, while the moral imperative is typically the major driving force behind these efforts to build a diverse workforce, employers are increasingly realizing the significance of diversity as a source of competitive advantage, and specifically as an extraordinary growth facilitator. In fact, according to a McKinsey study, companies with a stronger diversity and inclusion strategy may be rewarded with a significantly higher market share.
Organizations that are making a determined effort to hire a more diverse staff, however, face a host of barriers, out of which unconscious bias remains a formidable one. Fortunately, technologies that use AI and machine learning can help ameliorate the effect of these hidden biases when they are utilized in a thoughtful manner. Nonetheless, many companies also seek to use a plethora of training tools and programs to better educate their recruiters and hiring managers along the way.
Let’s look at some recruitment technologies that help circumvent unconscious hiring bias:
AI-Powered Gamified Assessments
AI-powered gamified assessments backed by neuroscience can provide accurate, unbiased and predictive candidate data, leveling the playing field for all applicants. Plus, they enable recruiters to gain insights into a candidate’s true skills and potential, which the CV may fail to showcase. An inordinate number of companies, including Nestle, Novartis and Shell, have harnessed the power of gamified assessments in their recruiting strategy in an effort to increase candidate engagement, reduce screening time, build brand awareness and eliminate bias.
Blind Resume Screenings
Hiring managers can implement a sophisticated blind resume screening platform to strip away identifiable characteristics, such as age, gender, ethnicity or level of education, in order to prevent different cognitive biases from creeping into the selection process. This also ensures recruiters focus on a candidate’s specific qualifications and talents, not on their demographic characteristics.
A blind, systematic process, therefore, helps improve the chances of including the most competent candidates in your interview pool by anonymizing applications, thereby uncovering some hidden gems and sourcing diverse candidates.
Data-Driven Video Assessments
It can be quite tricky to figure out if a candidate will succeed in a job role. Luckily, video assessment tools can analyze verbal and nonverbal cues to predict a candidate’s emotional engagement, problem-solving style and thought processes. While video interviews run the risk of discriminating based on a candidate’s appearance, if the questions in the interviews are well-structured and assessors are trained to make unbiased decisions, the interviewing process can be a transparent one.
With data-driven video assessments, HR professionals also acquire the ability to spot inaccuracies and even lies. For example, emotion recognition software can review facial and voice cues during video assessments to determine if a candidate has lied about inflated salary history or an exaggerated skill set. Given the fact that 58% of employers have caught a lie on a resume, this is exciting news for recruiters.