There's no 'silver bullet' in diversity hiring


From applicant tracking systems that aim to reduce unconscious bias, to talent intelligence platforms that model the ‘perfect’ candidate – recruitment tools today are being developed alongside the most innovative technologies.

Take blind assessments for instance. Modern recruitment solutions are designed to focus only on skills essential to the job and ignore non-critical details such as the name, age, gender, and ethnicity of the candidate. The goal of this form of augmented screening is to build a diverse talent pipeline.

But, as sophisticated as your recruitment tools may be, having the right technology is only one aspect of hiring for diversity, according to one expert on AI-powered recruitment.

“[HR leaders] are looking for that silver bullet that’s going to solve their entire problem,” Maaz Rana said of employers’ misconception of HR tech. Rana is co-founder and COO of Knockri, which specializes in video-based soft skills assessment.

“When an employer is looking to help improve their metrics for diversity and inclusion, a lot of times they go about and look for different technological solutions that might help them through their funnel,” he said. “That’s great but that’s not where the story ends.”

The multitude of options available today has made it tempting for HR managers to look solely to software solutions as that silver bullet. But building a diverse and inclusive workforce requires a cultural shift – not a quick fix.

“People are starting to understand that we need a much more holistic approach to the kind of problems that we’re trying to solve within HR,” said Rana.

“We have to make sure that there’s adequate diversity training among the people who are interviewing candidates or even within the general workforce,” he said.

“It’s very easy to just rhyme it off – diversity and inclusion,” Rana said. “But what really is inclusion? It’s about making sure that somebody is able to excel in the environment they’re brought into.”

More than a stop-gap solution, AI-enabled recruitment tools are meant to help decision-makers cultivate their workforce. In the case of Knockri, the tool is used in the early stages of screening and shortlisting, and zeroes in on the soft skills that are believed to help candidates flourish in their role.

By eliminating barriers to diversity, recruitment managers gain access to quality candidates from various backgrounds who are likely to contribute to the organization’s growth.

Ensuring different segments are represented in the workforce can also impact a company’s bottom line. Research from McKinsey & Company showed companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the fourth quartile, while companies promoting racial and ethnic diversity were 33% more likely to.