Tips for HRs, managers, recruitment team: Reimagining the way we hire

An organisation’s personality is defined by its culture and its people’s alignment with that culture but experts insist that while hiring, assess every prospective and hire predominantly on their ability to fit into the company’s culture over skillsets. This is because skills can be acquired and people can be trained if they have the aptitude for a certain job role but if they do not have the right attitude that matches the organisation’s culture, then they will never be happy with their job.

“The new normal”, specifically post Covid-19 pandemic, has unleashed a wholesome different working scenario leading to work-from-home, remote interviewing and much more. However, are we still stuck in the tunnel of old cognitive biases and prejudices?

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Ruchira Gokhale, Head Consulting at Interweave Consulting Pvt Ltd, shared, “Some key shifts are noticeable in the hiring landscape. Most of this is owing to the fact that hiring practices that worked well for predominantly homogenous talent pools of the past are not only proving defunct in the case of diverse talent pools but also run the risk of being discriminatory. As equal-opportunity employers, organisations are going to great lengths to land a diverse slate, to begin with. This includes casting a wider net by advertising in newer channels/networks, explicitly encouraging diverse candidates to apply, and reviewing adverts and job descriptions for inherent biases – one research points out that job listings with gender-neutral wordings get 42% more responses.”

She advised, “Sensitising hiring managers and recruiters to the impact of unconscious bias is seen to be an ongoing effort in this direction. This helps address the tendency of hiring more of the same or those who will easily ‘fit in’, both of which can be barriers for diverse candidates to get through. Personal questions that were once considered a conversation starter in interviews have now been taken off the table entirely. Equally important is the overarching messaging that is shifting towards hiring for potential, and not purely for the experience, which is to say that we hire someone who can do the job and not necessarily someone who’s done it in the past. This is a difficult yet important one to embrace because it calls for organisations to build capability in setting up diverse candidates for success through up-skilling if need be. Organisations are rightly prioritising and reimagining hiring as the first inclusive step in the direction of a diverse workforce.”

According to Anshutosh Seth, CEO at Risebird, diversity and inclusion in the corporate world from all segments of society are still debatable. He said, “Biases entailing gender, religion and institutional-based, are to be pinned here. Regardless of the brilliant skills, the potential candidates of such different socio-economic backgrounds face dismay. This perhaps shuts down the idea of societal diversification and egalitarian fundamentals because of “presumed industry standards.” It’s high time that the general stereotyping needs to be swept off the ground. Biases such as preferring a particular gender for coding jobs while preferring the other gender to work in Human Resources need to be challenged. Artificial intelligence (AI) driven human evaluation systems which are free from all biases and emotions, could be a blessing here.”

He highlighted, “The AI-driven method may involve a human expert who can judge scientifically based on the data provided by AI-powered tools. This system will enable adaptive intelligent questions to be asked based on different competencies and percentile levels and AI can constantly learn and make it more accurate over a period of time. It may present a real-world environment that is more relatable to the job rather than conversations being more prone to biases. Moreover, it could be used to check the candidates’ attitudes and emotions and to know whether the right candidate is applying via voice and face biometrics, and this entire system can be video driven to get a better experience. Thus, AI-driven human evaluation systems may assist in the objective assessment of the candidates’ emotional quotient. Once the foundation of AI and objective assessment is established, we still need millions of human experts on a single platform as they possess the necessary skills that they have acquired over a period of time. If such a solution can be made available on demand, it will enhance diversity and inclusion and, in turn, will help the companies achieve higher milestones.”

Christopher Roberts, Managing Director at Engaged Strategy, recommended, “Never indulge in the bias of any kind towards any gender, race, sexual orientation, place of origin, etc. Have staff who come from various walks of life, have differing interests and come with a multitude of skill sets. Have cross-geography teams including business analysts, business strategists, marketers, etc and employees who have other interests such as culinarians, artists, professional classical dancers, a writer, life coaches and future-thinking analysts who are encouraged to follow their passion outside of working hours. Such a diverse cohort empowers every organisation as the staff provides a wholesome perspective to a problem that results in identifying a powerful solution. It also encourages out-of-the-box thinking and helps develop better business outcomes.”

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