Seven tech tools to mitigate bias in hiring

In Blog, Diversity & Inclusion by Rachel Murray

Now, more than ever, tech companies, in particular, are looking at ways to increase the number of underrepresented employees in their workforce. We, of course, encourage education as one way to deepen your understanding of biases that can lead to a more homogeneous workforce. But we do understand that companies may also want to use technology to help the process move along more quickly. Tackling bias in hiring is a natural first step because there is plenty of research to back up the existence of biased hiring practices and there are proven strategies to mitigate that bias. Companies can now use tools to create more inclusive job descriptions, run blind resume reviews, create structured interviews, and more. Below we break down a few popular tools that aim to do just that.

Inclusive Job Descriptions

If you’re struggling to get candidates to respond to your job posting, you may want to start with your job description. If you’re not sure how to write an inclusive job description, these tools will help review them and make them accessible to a wider audience.

Textio – Textio is one of the earlier tools developed to help companies write better, more inclusive job descriptions. Calling their tool the “augmented writing platform”, they’ll take your existing job description, score it, and make suggestions on how to get a better score. The higher the score, the more likely people who wouldn’t have applied before will. You can try it for free on their site, too!

Gender Decoder – Gender Decoder is a free tool that helps companies review their job descriptions to ensure that gender-coded language (example: ‘driven’ = masculine, ‘dependable’ = feminine) is reduced/removed. The tool’s word list was created based on research that shows that women will be less likely to respond to a job listing if coded with more masculine language, leading to the job itself appearing more likely to be ‘for men’. This tool helps remove that particular bias and is maintained on GitHub.

Sourcing Candidates & Reviewing Resumes

Some tech companies are trying to find ways to source underrepresented candidates in unconventional ways, while at the same time, debiasing the resume review process. You’ll notice a trend here – everyone wants to do away with resumes!

Hundred5 – Hundred5 helps source candidates by providing companies with the tools to create a social media campaign around their job posting, focusing on job requirements. Once an applicant is matched based on their skills and is interested, they’ll take a test that companies create using Hundred5’s test creation tool. Companies can test technical, creative, or softer skills in a fun, engaging way (we tried their demo test, it was fun and we got a 92% on their SEO test!). They have pre-made templates which you can use, or you can create your own. The idea behind this is that resumes are outdated and we should be focusing on people’s skills rather than a list of places worked and past education. We love it. We also love that they include their pricing!

Skillist  – Similar to Hundred5, companies use Skillist to turn their job descriptions into a list of skills, to which candidates can then apply anonymously by completing a test. The company won’t receive any identifying information about that candidate until the company expressed interest in the candidate. They’re also working with organizations like YearUp to help diversify the candidate pool.

Unbiasify Chrome Extension – Unbiasify is a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to toggle on and off names and photos from various sites including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, to mitigate the unconscious bias we might have when looking at someone’s name or face. So cool, so simple, so free and easy!

Interviewing

The interview process can be particularly painful. In fact, we recently wrote an article about it. The technical interview can be particularly intimidating but can be a much more useful way to test someone’s abilities on the job over a standard behavioral interview. We discovered one tool that works with companies as well as candidates, to help mitigate bias in interviewing.

Interviewing.io – Interviewing.io aims to achieve two important goals – first, to help interviewees get better at technical interviews and second, to help companies hire those that can ace an interview without any identifying information. Resumes aren’t considered here at all, it’s about the skills.

All Inclusive

There is only one platform we were able to find that encompasses much of the above. It’s worth trying if you’re looking for a most-in-one solution.

Talent Sonar – Talent Sonar combines a lot of what we discussed above in an all-in-one platform. It offers help with writing an inclusive job description, it offers a way to view resumes without identifying information, it has a tool to allow the company to choose which hiring categories are most important (education, skills, certifications, referrals, etc), it provides a resume review tool that bubbles up the resumes that match best with the hiring categories the company focuses on, and finally, it helps create questions for the interview, ensuring a structured interview process, and allows each interviewer to input their feedback so you can see how each candidate performed. Talent Sonar has been around since 2014. It’s one of the more seasoned tools listed here and is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to quickly automate debiasing in your hiring practices.


Are there any tech-based tools that you’ve tried and like (or didn’t like)? If so, tell us! We believe that learning about bias and ways to mitigate them is critical to creating a more truly inclusive environment. But we value and appreciate these tools that are working hard to support this learning, and help us to ensure that our biases can stay in check.

Photo credit: iStockPhoto