This article is in reaction to HBR article: Will AI Reduce Gender Bias in Hiring.
Thinking about what to write, I went back to my time at IDEO. When I was hiring my replacement, we used a data analytics tool with the hopes of writing a job description that was approachable. At IDEO, diversity is always something we want; but we struggle to get diverse applicants in our funnels. In the spirit of experimentation, we started playing with different tools and found one tool that allowed you to eliminate language that might result in less woman to apply. By making simple little changes in words, organization, and context setting, we were able to reach a wider audience. And, I thought to myself: well, isn’t that neat?! Using data analytics in the hiring process, that’s a good thing.
That’s when I came across with the article titled: Will AI Reduce Gender Bias in Hiring? Initially, I was very excited about the prospect. That said, the more I read the more I cringed. I imagined myself as a candidate applying to a job where I knew AI was being used to score me, and I almost pied a little in how nervous that would make it. I mostly became worried about two things:
- How are nerves/stage fright accounted? Knowing me, I would do much worst online… and even more, if I knew I was being analyzed by a screen.
- Privacy concerns. Does the company have a legal obligation to let me know they are analyzing me? Moral obligation? Who decides?
- Adding algorithms to any process automatically makes the barrier to contribution higher. Is it worth it? We want everyone to be able to collaborate, but using this… will we trust it too much? Will people be intimidated by the technical side of it?
- At the end of the day, the algorithm can still be trained to have the same biases that you have, how do you avoid this?
In theory (or as a philosophical argument) I like the aim of this article. I agree that the way we conduct interviews is broken and it could use the help of technology. That said, I like enhancing the current process with analytics before and after, but I don’t like the idea of changing the interview to fully online just for the sake of getting big brother data on me.