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Contxto – From an ethical standpoint, what my friend said was outrageous. “You have to add your picture to your CV,” he repeated patiently.
Adding a photo could lead to hiring bias. I told him so and even emphasized that it’s frowned on in places like the US and Canada.
“True enough, but you’re in Mexico where that stuff matters,” he sighed.
It was the first time I was crafting my CV to hunt for a job and had asked a friend for advice. His feedback in general made sense… but adding a picture bothered me.
I didn’t want a recruiter to consider me for a position based on how I looked, but rather on what I’d achieved and knew. It was naive of me to believe it was possible. But now perhaps technology can help us turn this idea into a reality.
Mexican startup Lapieza.io, is using a touch of artificial intelligence (AI) to fight biases in the hiring process and the team will formally launch its platform on August 11.
But that’s not all the startup is up to. It’s also opening an investment round to help recruiters quickly find candidates for specific roles in software development.
Hiring bias: An uncomfortable truth
Like it or not, HR departments are composed of humans. This simple fact means there’s always the slightest chance of them having misguided preconceptions when it comes to hiring.
It might be in terms of wanting candidates from elite universities or an inclination towards people with certain skin color. These notions are unconscious yet they can keep talented people from landing a job.
This very real problem inspired entrepreneurs Karen Colin, Pol Morral, and Carlos Martinez to officially launch Lapieza.io this year.
An ugly precedent
The use of AI for hiring processes has its share of skeptics.
And that’s because, for many, it’s hard to forget Amazon’s failed experiment. From 2014-2015, the e-commerce giant attempted to hire staff using machine learning.
The problem was, its algorithm “learned” that the ideal candidates were men because that’s the type of profile recruiters and programmers gave it.
It’s also something that came to mind when I talked to Lapieza.io co-Founder, Pol Morral.
But he assured me the startup has found a workaround while simultaneously using machine learning to make the hiring process more efficient.
Lapieza.io puts your skills to the test
As a company looking to hire, when you connect with the startup’s platform, you specify the job opening and designate the skills you want for the position.
Then, through Lapieza.io’s platform, they can pick on which third-party sites (like LinkedIn) they want to publish the job ad. This saves them the trouble of having to manually publish the same job opening on multiple websites.
People interested in the position are redirected to Lapieza.io. From there, they take a short test to see if they comply with the designated skills the job requires. They also take a test to pick the values with which they can relate.
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Afterwhich, the algorithm kicks in to analyze the answers and create a short-list of candidates that fit the specifications the company made.
These results are forwarded to the recruiter who cannot view the applicant’s name, CV, level of studies, or any other information that can lead to bias. They only see the person’s answers to the test and compatibility in terms of values.
If it all checks out, only then can they access more of the candidate’s data.
Is this a sheer-proof way of eliminating bias?
Unfortunately, after the testing phase, everything is left in the recruiter’s hands. But at least for an initial sweep, it offers the possibility of giving everyone a fair chance.
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