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07.11.2022 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Automated recruitment software and avoiding bias

Automated recruitment software and avoiding bias

Automating your recruitment has a considerable amount of benefits! Automated recruitment software can save you time, effort, and it can generally tidy up the recruitment process.

However, as automated recruitment software is on the rise, so are questions about whether this type of software can help to tackle bias in recruiting. Or whether it may, in fact, reinforce these biases.

Harvard Business Review has previously talked about how specific software can begin to prioritise candidates who match a recruiter’s previous applicant choices. But, even recruitment technology without this ability is at risk of bias, unless they’re used correctly.

Below, we discuss three common bias pitfalls in an automated hiring process and show you how to avoid these to keep your recruitment as diverse as possible!

1. Screening questions

Being able to include screening questions in an application process automatically is an excellent way to cut down on applications that aren’t suitable. But, it is essential to be mindful of the questions you are asking so as not to discriminate against minority groups or automatically disqualify large groups of people.

Firstly, ensure your questions are relevant, absolutely needed, and aren’t based on personal aspects of applicants’ lives. For example, mentioning age or marital status opens the door to judgement and is illegal in many countries.

Keeping the questions to only those that are absolutely necessary to perform the role, such as mentioning fluency in certain coding languages, will ensure you’re not unfairly discriminating.

Secondly, be sure to tailor the questions to the role rather than have a blanket set of questions for all your roles. For example, while being bilingual may be essential for a customer support role, therefore making asking this screening question a sensible choice, the same skills may not be needed for your Office Manager. Therefore, be sure only to include a question like this on the relevant roles.

2. Shallow recruiting pools

Some automated recruitment software may give you the option to post your role to a job board automatically after building it. And, while this is certainly a time saver, if you’re using the same job boards every time you post a vacancy, then you are targeting the same audience each time.

Instead, it may be a good idea to consider automated recruitment software with a multiposting feature and a wide range of available job sites.

For example, JOIN allows you to post your open position across over 10 different free job boards, and over 100 premium platforms. This includes a number of diversity job boards and niche job boards. The result? A much wider pool of applicants and the option to tailor your search to match a diversity recruiting strategy and concentrated talent.


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3. A lack of understanding around bias

Lastly, while recruitment software is constantly evolving, improving, and working to be smarter, it is still unable to understand bias like a human hiring manager. Therefore, it is important for you and your team to understand bias when you’re hiring.

This can sometimes mean using your initiative during the hiring process. The best way to overcome this is to still benefit from the speed and efficiency of automated recruitment software while using your judgement. For example, while hiring software may recommend a candidate educated to a degree level, if you find a candidate from a less privileged background who also has the skills and experience needed for a role and adds culture to the team, too, they may be the perfect hire!

Another great way to do this would be to discuss certain hiring biases with Employee resource groups (ERGs) in your business. They will have a great awareness of the kind of bias companies can show against minority groups and can help guide your process to avoiding these.

Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion

Want to ensure further your hiring process is not opening the door to bias? A great way to do this is through further educating yourself on diversity topics.

If you’re unsure where to start, our blog articles on diversity, equity, and inclusion can help give you an understanding of topics within this area.

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