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Think there’s no bias in your hiring process? AI says think again

A new breed of artificial intelligence tools aim to reduce bias in the recruitment and hiring phases

By | Phil Albinus |

When Jahanzaib Ansari was looking for work in 2016, his resume was not the problem. Despite a CV boasting experience as a programmer and attending the University of Toronto, Ansari’s job search soon hit a dead end. At the suggestion of a friend, he changed his first name on his resume and saw almost immediate results.

“I wouldn’t hear back from employers until my [colleague] said, ‘Why don’t you just Anglicize it?’ I went with variations of Jason, Jordan, Jacob, and literally in four to six weeks, I got a job,” says the CEO of Knockri, a technology firm that created an artificial intelligence tool that aims to reduce bias in the hiring process. Ansari’s experience led him and some friends to start the Toronto-based AI company to help companies recognize their inherent brlind spots when hiring new talent. “It’s an unconscious bias that has been built [into society] for several decades,” he says.

And it’s a type of discrimination in the hiring process that members of the African-American community, those with Jewish names or those like him, with Muslim names, have all experienced, Ansari says.

As organizations increasingly address diversity, equity and inclusion in the aftermath of the widespread racial unrest of 2020, they have found that deficiencies in all three areas converge at a central point: the recruitment and hiring process when human beings are reviewing the qualifications of job applicants. To address this, recruitment and hiring leaders are beginning to adopt AI-powered solutions in hopes of reducing inherent biases when creating job postings, gathering and reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates and choosing the best candidate to hire.

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