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How To Prevent Hiring Discrimination at Your Company October 6, 2014

Posted by Darwin in Uncategorized.
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When you’re hiring someone new, how do you choose the right person for the job? Do you look at what is on paper or do you rely on gut feelings as well? Employers use a variety of factors to decide who is right for the job, but for most, the bottom line is how they feel about the person. But that can cause serious problems down the road if you do what most people do unconsciously – hire someone that looks and acts like them.

The Problem: Human Beings Are Inherently Biased

When an interviewer meets with an interviewee, they often have the subconscious habit of “look-like-me/act-like-me” hiring. That means that when faced with basically equal candidates, they will unconsciously choose based on race, gender or possibly economic status. They aren’t being prejudiced on purpose – it is just how the human brain is wired.

Is The Answer Big Data and Modern Computing?

It is a simple enough equation. If you want to stay as unbiased as possible, you should look at the facts objectively. Just like a computer. In fact, that is what is happening in many companies, where data mining can lead to a completely objective decision about who to hire. Many are hoping that this will lead to a more diverse workforce where a minority has exactly the same chance as a non-minority to get hired.

But big data at work has some risks. The White House and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have both expressed concerns over how the data will be used and whether it would allow companies to discriminate against minorities and those with a lower socio-economic status. The FTC is calling it “discrimination by algorithm.” so the right application is essential.

Recruitment data mining and use doesn’t have to be difficult. One of the most promising apps that can make using data for H.R. an easy and effective task is called the Applicant Tracking System or ATS, a fully equipped software solution for recruiting that not only collects data from prospective job applicants, but then organizes and analyzes the data collected so that a hiring decision can be reached. In this way, all candidates are evaluated equally and a recruiter or employer can see the big picture.

There will never be a replacement for the “gut feeling” in hiring practices, and there shouldn’t be, as it is one of the most effective tools for judging someone. But it shouldn’t be your only hiring standard, and you should look at the data to ensure that you aren’t making a serious error that could cost you down the road.

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