Is Artificial Intelligence The Key To Recruiting A Diverse Workforce?

by Kim Elsesser

Many organizations are struggling to find strategies for recruiting a more diverse workforce, and some are turning to artificial intelligence (AI). But artificial intelligence got a bad rap last year when news got out that Amazon’s internal AI recruiting tool had “learned” gender bias. So, is AI beneficial to those seeking diversity, or will it just exacerbate the problem? One recruiting firm has found that AI is an effective strategy for increasing the diversity of candidate pools, as long as its implemented correctly.

The Problems With Using AI In Recruiting

Amazon scrapped its internal AI recruiting efforts after realizing that the test recruiting program they designed was biased against women. The computer models were trained with résumés submitted to Amazon over the previous ten years. Not surprisingly, most of these résumés came from men. Therefore, the computer models “learned” that men were superior job candidates.

As a result, the models became biased against women, generating lower ratings to graduates of two all-women’s colleges and penalizing résumés that contained the word “women’s” as in “women’s chess club captain.” Although the programs could be altered to become neutral to these particular terms, Amazon decided to scrap the project out of fear that the models may develop other discriminatory selection criteria.

The Benefits Of Using AI In Recruiting

Despite Amazon’s setbacks, Genevieve Jurvetson, cofounder and CMO of the artificial intelligence-based recruiting firm, Fetcher, believes AI is an essential tool for those seeking a more diverse candidate pool. “If you get too caught up in the fears surrounding AI, you miss a huge opportunity,” Jurvetson says. She explains that there are innumerable criteria that you can use to find good candidates that are not remotely gender-related. Jurvetson claims that Fetcher’s use of AI techniques allows them to bring minorities and women into their clients’ hiring pipeline in a way other recruiting methods just can’t.

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