Monday, Jan 09 2017

Can AI Eliminate Hiring Biases?

Written by

Armada AI

 

Most companies know the value of a diverse workforce, but finding the right candidates can be a challenge for tech-oriented companies. Even unintentional bias can impact hiring decisions, making the diversity gap harder to close. To combat the effects of unconscious bias, some organizations are leveraging a relatively new technology to help solve the problem. And that solution is artificial intelligence.

 

Understanding Bias

The majority of the population don’t consider themselves to hold biases in regards to diversity. However, many people make decisions under the control of unconscious bias. Often, people are more comfortable communicating with individuals who share certain characteristics with themselves. And this innate desire for comfort incidentally affects our choices.

 

Additionally, people maintain preconceived notions regarding who a person should be. For example, if your company is looking for someone who is bilingual in English and Spanish, you may picture a certain kind of person in your head who you imagine meets the criteria. If someone qualified comes in, but does not match the image you had, you may find yourself making assumptions about their capabilities. And this can occur even when you have solid evidence that your assumption was incorrect.

 

AI and Avoiding Bias

AI has the capacity to serve as an unbiased third party in regards to candidate analysis. These systems can be designed with machine learning principles and can review data for potential patterns that may reflect unconscious bias within recruiters and hiring managers. Once this information is obtained, the development of strategies to improve internal hiring practices.

 

Additionally, AI analysis is helpful in tracking which policy changes and hiring techniques are ultimately successful in improving diversity within IT teams. As more information is collected regarding the effects of new strategies, decision-makers can make adjustments to create more favorable results.

 

Open Communication

Since AI tools are unbiased by design, it is easier to open communication channels regarding unconscious bias in the workplace. Employees, recruiters, and hiring managers aren’t being judged by individuals for behavior that is not necessarily intentional. Instead, decision-makers can approach employees with the benefits of this analysis in promoting diversity in hiring. It also provides an opening to encourage employees at every level to speak up if they see potentially biased hiring practices.

 

AI can provide useful information to employees at all levels as well. Technology at this level has no regard for the internal hierarchy of the company. That means patterns can be identified and presented whether the person being examined is entry level or a C-level executive. In fact, the unbiased nature of the analysis is ideal for reviewing the activities of all personnel involved in hiring decisions. This gives every person an opportunity to improve to meet the diversity goals of the organization at large.

 

By combining AI and traditional hiring methods, your organization can evaluate candidates more objectively, ensuring technical capabilities and growth potential are given more weight as decisions are made.

 

If you are looking for IT professionals to join your team or would like more information about how your organization can increase the diversity of its workforce, The Armada Group can help you locate top talent to meet your needs. Contact us and speak with one of our professional recruiters about how you can reach the diversity goals of your business.

7 Resumes

The current IT job market significantly favors job seekers. This makes it harder for hiring managers to find the candidates they need to fill job vacancies and can increase the time required to complete the hiring process. To find the best applicants, you must give significant consideration to the content of their resumes. However, not every section is as important as others.

If you want to locate qualified candidates more quickly, here are some tips on what to look for in a resume, and what you can ignore.

Look for: Social Media Links

Resumes have a limited amount of space to review one’s prior education and experiences. However, social media profiles geared towards their professional lives can fill in many of the gaps. Applicants are more inclined to include links to their LinkedIn profiles directly on their resume. When this information is provided, take a moment and see what their profile has to offer. You may find answers to questions that resumes simply can’t answer.

Ignore: College GPAs

Unless a candidate has just graduated from college, a GPA provides little indication regarding their capabilities today. While a degree provides a solid foundation for entry-level positions, 15-year-old grades and test scores are essentially meaningless in comparison to more recent certifications and professional references.

Look for: Quantified Data

Numbers speak volumes. Having hard data about the number of users an IT professional supported, the size of a project budget that was managed, or the percentage reduction of the overall costs associated with a service give you metrics that can be easily compared. This helps you understand the value a candidate has provided in previous positions, and shines a light on any potential they may have for your organization.

Ignore: Objective Statements

The objective statement has lost its usefulness. Most candidates just state their desire to land a job, further their career, or some other banality. In some cases, objective statements even make the candidate look less appealing. However, if you choose to bypass this information when a resume still includes it, you may find the other information enticing.

Look for: Spelling and Grammar

While some of the rules regarding how a resume is written contradict those in other writing styles, it should still be well-composed with no grammar or spelling errors. A resume is an important document, and an applicant not taking the time to perfect the information contained therein may suggest a lack of attention to detail in other areas.

Ignore: Resumes that Don’t Meet Stated Application Requirements

Alternative resume formats, including infographics and other visually stimulating options, are gaining ground in many industries. While using these options can be completely appropriate, if your application materials specifically request a traditional resume, and one is not provided, then you may want to move on. Failure to follow basic instructions in an attempt to stand out is still a failure to follow instructions.

Look for/Ignore: Keywords

Keyword use has benefits and drawbacks. Some resumes are crammed full of keywords to help them get beyond the roadblocks created by applicant tracking software (ATS), but they don’t always provide value. Just because a large number of keywords are represented doesn’t mean the candidate is by default a better choice than someone who used them more sparingly. However, a heavy use of keywords can also indicate the candidate has a broad range of experience that may be useful.

Ultimately, keywords can be a factor, but shouldn’t be the only factor when determining which applications to interview.

The staffing professionals at The Armada Group can help you sort through the resumes to find those who possess the skills you need. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.

5 Celebrate the Holidays

Holiday celebrations do more than just improve morale for a day. Having annual traditions in the workplace can increase employee motivation. It also contributes to team building efforts and leads to more productive teams.

 

While most organizations focus on providing opportunities to celebrate the traditional winter holiday season, there are a number of other holidays that can be celebrated. By scheduling regular events, you encourage your employees to look forward to the celebrations and keep spirits high throughout the year.

 

To experience the benefits that only workplace celebrations can bring, here are some tips to get you started.

Unity and Togetherness

Even though most people spend a disproportionate amount of time around their co-workers, those interactions are rarely social or celebratory in nature. By adding holiday events to the regular schedule, you encourage everyone to come together for a reason other than completing a work task. The relaxed atmosphere gives employees a chance to bond while enjoying themselves. Supporting these connections can help teams function optimally and might lead to better performances on future projects.

Morale and Motivation

The ability to have a holiday event at work helps employees feel appreciated. This improves the overall mood in the workplace and allows the employee to fully dedicate themselves to their employer. Having a break from routine is a morale booster, especially when the celebration focuses on fun and relaxation.

Recognition

While holiday events do not have to double as recognition events, it is often an easy adjustment to make. Being recognized for accomplishments and success demonstrate that members of management notice the hard work they put in and appreciate the effort. This can include longevity celebrations focused on key milestones with the company, such as the 10-year mark, as well as those focused on recognizing employees who have experienced a significant accomplishment during the year. Consider reviewing both professional and personal victories of your employees to show you take a particular interest in the well-being of your team.

Choosing Appropriate Holidays and Events

It is important to pick the right moments for celebrations. While the winter holidays often lead to an event, it is important to avoid parties with specific religious connotations. Most workplaces are filled with diversity, so focusing on a holiday closely associated with a particular religious preference is often not appropriate. However, seasonal celebrations can be created without referencing any particular religious or cultural preferences.

 

You can also hold regular events that are not specifically tied to holidays, such as annual employee appreciation events. Additionally, recognizing birthdays on a monthly basis or other major life events, like weddings, births and graduations, can also provide excellent opportunities to celebrate.

 

If a large project is nearing completion, consider creating a celebration surrounding the accomplishment. Not only does a recognition event of this nature disrupt the monotony that may have taken over the workplace, it also provides excellent stress release after the fact.

 

The professionals at The Armada Group understand the value of employee motivation and recognition, as well as how proper hiring can improve morale. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.

7 Remote Employee

 

A lot of the collegiality of a workplace comes from being in the same place at the same time. Working on-site means employees can bond over chitchat during a coffee break; it also means they're able to drop by the boss's office or a colleague's desk to ask questions. When workers aren't on-site, they lose these interactions that make employees feel like they're part of a team. Here are six ways to overcome the distance and keep your remote team members engaged.

Don't bug your remote employees for status updates.

Managers ask for status updates from on-site workers, too, but it's easier to tell what's going on because you can see what's going on. Use technology to give you the same insight for your remote team, with activity trackers and team communication tools that help you know where their time and effort are going.

Keep in touch with them regularly.

Just because you aren't bugging them for status updates doesn't mean you shouldn't have routine conversations with them. Make sure you communicate on a regular basis, and be available for ad-hoc discussions as needed.

Talk about things besides work.

You take time to know your on-site employees' families and how they spent their weekend. Take the same time to get to know your remote workers. If you treat them as a person, not just a resource, they'll be much more engaged and committed to your project.

Accept that remote workers have their own schedules.

Don't expect your remote workers to adhere to your work schedule. The productivity of working off-site is enhanced when they can work on a schedule that works for them. Judge the quality of their output, not the specific hours they're at their desk.

Include them in team conversations and decisions.

It's easy to forget to include remote workers in team discussions, but if all decisions come to them without having asked their opinions first, they'll feel their opinions don't count. Also, make sure you consider your remote team equally when handing out favorite assignments and opportunities for advancement.

Have periodic face-to-face meetings.

It isn't always possible to meet remote employees in person, but you should try to have occasional face-to-face meetings. Bringing them to your office site gives them a chance to bond with the team. At the very least, include video conferencing at occasional meetings to put a face to the names and establish a basic personal connection.

 

The Armada Group knows working with remote employees is tough. Contact us for more tips or to search for employees who work efficiently on-site or off.

12 Leadership Team

 

Organizations today are being stressed and changed by technology like never before. Companies aren't just using technology to automate backend processes; technology is changing how they sell and deliver products to customers, and even what products they develop. In many industries, a "digital transformation" is necessary for companies to remain competitive, survive and strive.

 

For most organizations, making the shift to viewing the business as a digital business isn't easy. It takes vision, leadership and commitment from the top down through all layers of the organization. Without that push from corporate leadership, it's too easy for companies to coast along, doing what they know how to do, without making changes…until the changes become necessary, but too little, too late.

 

This means that no matter how much a company wants to "promote from within," that strategy may not be sustainable. People who've been inside the business may have a commitment to that business, but they are necessarily shaped by their experience, with their vision likely limited by the box they've been working in. For companies that need to transform themselves, thinking outside the box is most likely to come from those who've never been inside the box in the first place — which means you may need to hire from the outside, rather than boost from the ranks, in order to reinvent your business.

 

It also means you may need to look for someone with less experience than you think the position needs. You need someone who has a new and different understanding of your business than the experienced personnel. This doesn't mean someone with less ability; it means someone who's closer to the changes coming your way rather than someone who's steeped in the old way of doing things.

 

Because the digital transformation is so crucial to company success, it's critical that you work with an organization that understands the difficulties of making change and of defining the kind of person who can help you make that change. Talk with The Armada Group to learn how our recruiting services can help you understand the skills you need to bring to your organization and identify the right people to transform your business.

 

2 Bad Culture

 

There's nothing worse than starting a new job only to find out the work environment isn't right for you; it's far better to realize it's a problem workplace before you accept their offer. Here are seven ways to spot a bad office culture before you accept the job.

The office space is run-down.

Not every company is going to have designer-selected accessories, and the desk chairs might not all match. But if the chair they give you to sit in at your interview is broken, if you see signs that copiers are out of order, and if the walls are desperately in need of a paint job, it's a sign that the company isn't investing in its workspace and doesn't care about the facilities available to its employees.

The company's founders got squeezed out.

In technology startups, the founders are often the driving force behind the company's success. Losing the founders can mean the company is in trouble and investors are hoping to salvage it; or it can mean the company will soon be in trouble, as the creative minds with vision have moved on to new projects. It can also mean all projects and employees are under close scrutiny.

The interview is all about what the company needs.

Certainly, you should expect the bulk of the interview to be questions directed at you, to help the company determine if you have the skills for the job. But there should be time allotted to explain the company and project to you, and for you to ask questions. If the hiring manager doesn't have time to hear your questions now, they probably won't want to hear them after you're hired, either.

The only part of the workplace you see is the interview room.

This may be related to the fact that the office space is rundown (see bad sign number one), but may also be because the company is afraid to let you feel the vibe of the workplace and see how employees interact with each other—if they even interact at all.

You aren't impressed by the company's leadership.

In most cases, you don't get to meet the company's CEO, even if you're interviewing with a small company. So take the time to find a video of them online, on the company site or elsewhere. If they aren't inspirational, you probably won't find working for the company to be inspiring, either.

The interviewer seems surprised you're there.

Your time is valuable, and the company should have a prepared schedule of interviewers who've reviewed your resume before you arrive; they should certainly know what job you're interviewing for! If the company isn't prepared to meet with you, they may be having a bad day or they may be poorly managed.

The interview is stressful.

Obviously, interviewing is a tense process. Some companies may add stressful challenges not directly related to job skills, such as asking you to solve a puzzle rather than writing sample code. Other companies may ask a lot of questions about how you manage stress, or talk a lot about their intense pushes to make deadlines. Pay attention to the questions you're asked for what they reveal about the stresses you'll encounter on the job.

When you're looking for a new job, it's helpful to get insight into the workplace environment even before you schedule an interview. At The Armada Group, our recruiters know the details of the jobs and companies we're recruiting for, and we'll match you to a job that matches your technical skills and your personality. Contact us to start your search today.