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Incognito hiring: How AI & VR enables bias-free decisions
Lipi Agrawal | HRKatha | New Delhi | Thursday, 05 January 2017

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Organisations are now leveraging platforms that ensure the hiring process is devoid of any recruiter biases.

Human subconscious is a powerful influencer and when it comes to biases, one doesn’t realise how strongly can these deep embedded subconscious biases impact the decisions. The realisation comes much later, when organisations experience low diversity ratios or lack in certain traits or relative productivity. However, hiring can now be made bias-free using artificial intelligence enabled tools and techniques. Organisations are also leveraging software platforms that ensure the hiring process is devoid of any recruiter biases.

One such platform is Interviewing.io, which is specifically developed for tech-hiring. This platform mutes the extraneous details such as school, gender, age, and race and puts the developer’s problem solving skills and technical ability first. Using a voice API (application programming interface) and a voice modulator, Interviewing.io provides a bias-free platform for interviews. It can make a man sound like a woman and vice-versa and the interviewer and the candidate can choose to don various avatars keeping their identities anonymous. With this, one can code and solve technical challenges anonymously.

Another software known as GapJumpers allows organisations to select talent through blind auditions. This means that instead of looking at a resume and assessing an applicant based on name, schools attended, companies worked for and titles held, the only thing employers can measure is candidates’ performance on a skill-based test.

Going ahead, even virtual reality has the power to bring about a revolution in making hiring bias-free. Through VR enabled platforms, hiring managers can get a list of candidates already vetted for their skills through code reviews and may only be identifiable to the recruiter through their avatar names. The interviewer and candidates can each other or to say each other’s avatars in a virtual space through their headsets, ensuring that there are no biases of any kind as the candidate can choose to modify their identities as per their liking. The idea has already been put to test by a company, PowerToFly that helps women get hired.

There are other useful tools as well like Textio which allows organisations to write bias-free job descriptions. Co-founded by a linguistics Ph.D., the software provides a field for employers to enter their job descriptions, and offers feedback as they type. Along the way, it uncovers key phrases and spots biases. It highlights words and phrases and classifies them as ‘negative’, ‘positive’, ‘repetitive’, ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. It also offers insights about strengths and problems with job descriptions, like good use of active language or too many clichés and jargon. Job descriptions also receive a score, along with recommendations for how to improve.

With such tools handy, hiring is ought to become more efficient. This is also one aspect where technology seems to be smarter than humans as it helps overcome human limitations that lay hidden in the subconscious. With more developments in the space and with larger use of AI and cognitive computing, bias-free hiring is set to gain more efficiency and accuracy, boosting diversity across organisations.

© 2016 HR Katha

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