How technical recruitment is broken

Ask business leaders what their current challenges are and no doubt one of the most common answers will be talent – finding a capable and diverse workforce – says Razvan Creanga, CEO & co-founder of hackajob.

With recent research showing that diverse companies are more resilient in terms of innovation, more so than ever businesses are aspiring to create a diverse workforce. However, accomplishing it in practice has proven slightly more challenging than predicted – especially in technical fields.

Historically, biased behaviours of discriminating against women or those of different racial ethnicities are widely-known. However, if you’re a candidate in today’s market, you may unintentionally be subject to another stream of prejudice: unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias can be seen very clearly affecting the tech landscape. The industry has evolved significantly and at a rapid rate, however its hiring process is lagging behind.

In short, technical recruitment is broken. So, how can we fix it?

Recently conducted research, Blueprint For A Diverse Workforce, suggests that within the US, women hold only 20% of roles within tech. It is a shocking statistic considering 51% of the global population is female. What’s more, further research has demonstrated that 39% of hiring managers are poorly trained in unbiased decision-making and this is actively contributing to the gender pay gap. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take another two hundred and sixteen years until the gap is closed.

While recruitment bias awareness training programmes are becoming the new norm, this alone cannot solve the problem of the lack of diversity in the technical sector. I believe humans are likely unable to see past this unconscious bias and that it is time to turn to something entirely neutral: artificial intelligence.

By allowing applicants and jobs to be matched using data and skills testing, talent can be sourced and recruited on an entirely meritocratic basis.

What’s more, it is more efficient to use AI in hiring strategies. Around 52% of those in charge of talent acquisition admit that sourcing the right candidates is the hardest part of their job, particularly when inundated with applications. By implementing AI as part of the recruitment process, businesses can save time and money.

There’s also no need to worry about AI replacing the role of the recruiter. It is a tool to complement a people-led recruitment strategy, taking the pain out of ensuring that candidates’ technical skills are a fit for complex roles such as developers, software architects and data/infrastructure engineers. If anything, allowing recruiters and employers to really focus on the empathetic or softer skills they may also be looking for.

What businesses should be striving for is the elimination of potential unfair bias towards age, gender, ethnicity – and the creation of more diverse workforces, chosen entirely for their real-world skills and not what they can cram into an interview or CV. Smart technology eliminates the risk of unconscious bias that so often hinders the growth of a business and fosters the workplace diversity tech companies are striving to achieve.