When software fails and what to do about it

November 9th, 2018 | Industry News

One topic dominates the blogs and industry publications this month – diversity

Over in the USA, the advertising industry is battling with its engagement with the #MeToo movement. It’s not just the problem of an obvious lack of women and people of colour in senior positions in advertising – with the PR problems this brings. It’s also that this can cause some notable backfires in major advertising campaigns, for example Pepsi’s appalling campaign that used Kendall Jenner as a ‘peace maker’ at a Black Lives Matter rally… by offering a police officer a can of soft drink. Described as ‘trivialising’, ‘tone deaf’ ‘dangerously complacent’ the ad was quickly pulled and cost the PepsiCo president Brad Jakeman his job.

More diverse companies means more diverse recruiting and agencies that don’t keep pace by both influencing their clients and being influenced by them, are going to find they are in a diminishing recruitment pool. Recruiting software needs to be sensitive to overall diversity, in an organisation and as wide as in a sector or industry, if it is to genuinely benefit the recruitment agencies that use it.

Diversity II – software bias and its aftermath

Widely reported is the news that Amazon has bailed on an artificial intelligence recruitment tool being built in-house, because it demonstrated inherent bias against female candidates. After running the tool for a year, Amazon discovered that it had been ‘trained’ using largely male resumes so that it ended up downgrading women. This highlights the imprints of using recruitment agency software UK wide or internationally, that has been designed without inherent bias.

The best recruitment software for agencies needs to be a powerful model that avoids inherent bias, forestalls financial or legal difficulties and allows the deployment of data on a significant scale to be as clean and effective as possible. This means that the enterprise designing the software needs to be expert and professional, to recognise its role in providing web based recruitment software is not simply SAAS but also the ability to support recruiting businesses in shaping a model of recruitment that gives the organisations they support the best opportunities to identify, work with and retain a diverse and excellent base of candidates.