Adverse Impact and Hiring

What do we mean by Adverse Impact?

By Nick Jarman – Research Assistant at Cognisess

…Adverse Impact is most pertinent when it has a negative effect on candidates of a protected class, namely: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status, Pregnancy/Maternity.”

Any candidate, for any role, within any organisation, could potentially be adversely impacted by the way they present themselves at each stage of the selection process.

This Adverse Impact is most pertinent when it has a negative effect on candidates of a protected class, namely: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status, Pregnancy/Maternity.

Adverse Impact can be felt even during apparently neutral processes, a measure of indirect discrimination.

An important aspect of indirect discrimination is that it is often identified statistically. The intention to discriminate is irrelevant. The output of the selection process is the most important factor.

It is worth noting that a policy is not indirectly discriminatory if the action is objectively justified in the absence of a less disadvantageous method of producing the same measure.

Although Adverse Impact can be measured during each stage of a selection process, a general rule of thumb is that the hiring-rate of each minority group must be 80% of the hiring rate of the majority group within that company. For example, if males comprise the majority class within the organisation and 90 males are hired from a pool of 100 then the hiring rate from each other minority group must be at least 72%.

How can we mitigate Adverse Impact in our hiring process?

There are a few general ways in which Adverse Impact can be reduced during a selection process. For one, regular monitoring of pass rates at every stage of the selection process will allow apparently neutral policies to be statistically explored regularly and often. The result is a process within which any indirect discrimination can be detected and rectified before it causes Adverse Impact for any particular class of candidate.


Another method of reducing Adverse Impact in a selection process is by focusing specifically on job-relevant competencies. These might be identified as a result of rigorous job analysis based on the job description, or can be more generic competencies specified at the beginning of the hiring process. The result of a specific focus on job-relevant competencies is to judge every candidate on the exact same competencies, regardless of their personal characteristics, thus removing irrelevant stages.

Related to this is the use of standardised interview techniques. Rather than having a more free-flowing personal interview where the interviewer’s personality and individual interests may be a source of unconscious bias, the interview will contain set questions designed to measure aspects of the job-relevant competencies defined at the start of the hiring process. In addition, constant monitoring of any assessors used within the selection process will serve to identify any unconscious bias creeping into any decision making process before it becomes an Adverse Impact. It also informs the focus on ongoing assessor training.

A final way to help reduce Adverse Impact in a hiring process is to make use of a diverse panel of assessors. This serves a myriad of purposes, not least to help reduce any unconscious bias present within any individual assessor. Introducing a wider diversity of thought will also help reduce any naivety that might occur in establishing the selection process.

Request a demo to learn how Cognisess can address Adverse Impact in your hiring process. http://www.cognisess.com/request-demo

Contact Polly Hill to be kept up to date with Cognisess Insights. – polly@cognisess.com

How Cognisess can empower and reskill the post-pandemic workforce

The pandemic has radically changed the workplace. The way we work has been transformed and there’s been an inevitable surge of technology. For many years, we have discussed the fourth industrial revolution and AI’s impact in the workplace as a disruptive technology. A disruptive technology is when a technology completely transforms an established industry, examples of this include Uber and the smartphone. Machines and algorithms are expected to create 133 million new roles but will replace 75 million positions by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum

This disruptive technology will soon perform the many mundane tasks humans usually undertake. This will not only save time, but allow your employee’s focus to shift to more meaningful work. But in order to do this around 1.4 million employees will need to reskill by 2026. People are the heart of any organisation. Ensuring they have the skills to thrive will allow your business to the same. Many companies are beginning to do this, since the coronavirus outbreak 42% of businesses have increased their reskilling efforts. 

In this blog, we will explore how our platform can facilitate the reskilling process throughout your organisation. 

Assess your employee’s skills

To upskill your workforce you will need to identify their skillset. This will enable you to choose the most appropriate method of training. 

Cognisess has over 60 scientifically-backed assessments which cover hard skills, such as mental arithmetic and spelling, alongside soft skills like emotional intelligence. Soft skills are increasingly in demand due to the advances in technology, so it’s likely you’re aiming to develop this type of skill in your employees.

On the platform, you can select the assessments that are relevant to your upskilling programme.Following this, you can simply assign the assessments to hundreds of employees at once. 

Discover hidden talent

According to Mercer, 78% of employees say they are ready to reskill. The results of the assessments are not only beneficial to the organisation, but the individual. Each test result shows the employee’s skill level in comparison with the general Cognisess’ population. This experience allows the person and the business to have a better understanding of their abilities.

Additionally, their results may uncover hidden talents they didn’t even know they possessed. This may give them the confidence to thrive throughout the retraining process and move into a role they never expected to succeed in. For example, they may thrive in leadership, which LinkedIn identified this year as an in-demand skill. Discovering and investing in your current talent will also create engaged employees, who are more likely to stay at your organisation long term.

Evaluate the process 

It’s important to establish a dialogue with employees before, during and after the upskilling process. A simple method of undertaking this is through our survey tool. It can be stressful for employees to upskill, especially if they are juggling a busy workload, their survey feedback will allow you to adjust the programme so your people can thrive. You could also create a survey so that employees can share what they would like to train in. Not only does this give them a platform to voice their opinions, but also gives HR valuable insight and recommendations for future training. 

You can choose from our survey templates or create your own. The tool is simple and user friendly and allows you to send surveys to departments, individuals or the whole organisation instantly. 

Read more about our surveys here.

Upskilling your employees will ensure they’re ready for the future of work so your organisation can thrive. Our award-winning platform is ready to help you undertake this through our assessments and surveys. If you would like to find out more, please book a demo with our expert team today.

Virtual meeting platforms vs video interview tools: which is the best solution for you?

a virtual meeting platform

We live in a world where more and more companies are shifting their hiring processes online. 

To protect candidates and recruiters during this time, many companies are choosing to conduct their interviews virtually. But with so many different platforms, which one is the best for you? Some companies choose a virtual meeting platform such as Zoom, whilst others opt for a video interview tool. In this blog, we will discuss which one is the best solution for your organisation.  

Connection problems or pre-recorded answers

When you’re interviewing through a virtual meeting platform, Wi-Fi connection problems may affect the interview. This is frustrating for candidates, and it may affect the quality of their answers. They may be the best candidate for the job, but due to these issues the interviewer can’t properly assess them. Additionally, if the assessor is having connection problems, it can affect the candidate’s interview experience and their perception of the company. 

The Cognisess’ virtual video interview tool allows candidates to pre-record their answers. This will enable them to fully communicate their experience and expertise without lagging or breaking up. The assessor can also review their answers multiple times. On some virtual meeting platforms you can record your meeting. However, the quality may be affected if you did have connection problems in the session. Additionally, because it records the full discussion (not individual answers like on Cognisess Pro) you may spend a lot of time trying to find a particular section of the video. This time could be more valuably spent elsewhere. 

Extra tools to enhance your recruitment process

Our virtual interviewing tool not only helps you interview candidates efficiently, but also has an optional feature to enhance your decision making. 

Our DeepLearnTM  Video Analysis tool detects a candidate’s true emotion, instead of what they may like to present to an interview panel. This tool is particularly beneficial for sales positions where first impressions and body language is essential. Our Computer Vision technology can analyse from 27+ points on the face, searching for emotions such as positivity alongside other attributes relevant to the job frame by frame.  As a result, a business can identify top talent from their entire applicant pool. This feature is not present on virtual meeting platforms.

How can you reduce bias virtually? 

Every one of us carries a degree of unconscious bias. It’s the way our brains make quick judgements about people and situations without us even registering it. This is informed by our personal experiences, stereotypes and cultural context. Ultimately these inherent biases can impact decision-making in the hiring process. This can affect not only face to face interviews, but virtual interviews too. 

Being unconsciously biased is an inherent part of being human – even if we try to avoid it or correct ourselves. Once we realise we can be prone to unconscious bias despite our best efforts, we should be turning to AI as a helpful tool to help keep us compliant and open up the recruitment process. Applying our video analysis tool will generate objective data that can support better decision making. 

Learn more about biases here. 

An all in one platform 

If you choose a video interview tool that also has an inbuilt ATS and assessments like Cognisess Pro, you can conduct the whole recruitment process in one place. No need to remember numerous passwords or open multiple tabs on your computer. This is convenient as you can track the entire candidate journey and review their progress at each stage of the process to make an informed decision.


Virtual meeting platforms and video interview tools will both allow you to interview your candidates. However, video interview tools have added features that can enhance the hiring process by reducing bias, avoid connection problems and allow you to organise your whole recruitment process in one place. All these features can be found on Cognisess Pro. If you would like to explore these features for your virtual hiring process, book a demo with us.

How to create a fairer recruitment process for BAME applicants

black woman job interview

The recent Black Lives Matter movement has created an awareness of the prominent racial inequality globally. In fact, last year the Guardian reported that black Britons and those of South Asian origin faced shocking discrimination at levels unchanged since the 1960s.

Perhaps your company wants to support this movement by creating a fairer recruitment process. Currently, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) applicants face an uphill battle in the hiring process. Applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds have to send 80% more applications than a white British person before they get a positive response from a company; according to a study by the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Even if they progress onto an assessment centre or interview stage, black and ethnic minority candidates are 14% more likely to be rejected than white candidates. 

But why is this the case? 

Humans unconsciously process 11 million pieces of information per second. In order to manage this mass of data, our brains have had to adapt by creating ‘shortcuts’ to help us make decisions. Without this, we would be paralysed into making no decisions or just random ones. This is called cognitive bias.  Every one of us carries a degree of unconscious bias and is informed by our previous personal experiences, stereotypes and cultural context. 

Although we may not intentionally be applying bias, our brain automatically applies these ‘shortcuts’ to make decisions quickly. For example, Harvard Business School discovered employers aren’t prejudiced against women because of their gender, but because they have the perception that men perform better in certain tasks. Ultimately, these inherent biases can also impact decision-making for BAME candidates in the hiring process. 

How can you rectify this?

Unconscious bias is an inherent part of being human. Once we realise we can be prone to unconscious bias, despite our best efforts, we should be turning to AI as a helpful tool to help keep us compliant and open up the recruitment process.

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, revealed to Information Age that “AI doesn’t have to understand its own unconscious bias, because it has none.” Because AI is objective it can assist you in identifying the strongest candidates. 

Learn more about unconscious bias here. 

Solution: Blind Recruitment 

Creating a fairer recruitment process is simpler than you think with an AI-driven recruitment platform such as Cognisess Pro. Our AI can assess and objectively identify the best candidate by purely focusing on skills and abilities. By combining this with blind recruitment you will create an overall fairer process. Information such as age, gender and race is hidden from assessors and is never taken into account for Cognisess assessments. These details may unconsciously influence a hiring decision. This is called ‘blind recruitment’ and focuses purely on the attributes that matter when hiring a candidate, for instance, emotional intelligence, task switching and resilience. This process provides decision-makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role – regardless of background.

Taking the time to craft a fairer application process may also increase the number of diverse applicants who apply. Additionally, a diverse team has a variety of benefits. For example, it can equate to a more profitable company, a McKinsey report uncovered that “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Cognisess Pro was recently awarded best AI product in HR by CogX. The platform is data-driven with 50 assessments to choose from measuring over 120 attributes. This range of data has been proven to assist companies like AB InBev and IHG  make better informed and fewer bias decisions about recruitment and assessments.  For example, hotel giant IHG has recently eliminated potential bias by 93.75% using Cognisess Pro, enabling a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management compared to their more traditional recruitment processes.

Although we can’t help our unconscious bias, we can use AI as a tool to help reduce these biases to strive for a fairer recruitment process. Schedule a free demo to find out more.  

Advice and tools to conduct successful video interviews

notepad and coffee to prepare for a video interview

The coronavirus is affecting the way we hire. Many HR recruiters are now working remotely and are reaping the benefits of video interviews. In fact, 67% of companies are now using video interviews to hire workers according to the recruitment company, Walters People. 

In this blog, we will explore how to successfully conduct a video interview and the differences between face to face and video interviews.  

How to set up a video interview

This interview may be a candidate’s first verbal interaction with your company. Here’s how to make a great first impression. 

Pick a suitable environment 

Select a room which will be quiet and free of disruptions. Once you find a place, look behind you, this is what the candidate will see during the interview, remove anything you wouldn’t want the candidate to see. 

Additionally, choose a place in the house where you have a strong internet connection. Lag, video freezes or the call dropping will disrupt the interview. 

Test your webcam and microphone

If your webcam isn’t built-in, place it on top of your screen so you’re eye level with the applicant. Most video call providers allow you to test your webcam before a call. In this mode, ensure that you can see your whole face and check if there is light obscuring it.

It’s also important to test the audio. If you wear headphones check if they have a microphone, otherwise the applicant won’t be able to hear you.

Why video interviews are different

Technical difficulties 

This study found that interviewees who have technical difficulties are often perceived poorly by the assessor. This means the best candidates may not get hired due to a bad internet signal. Instead, ask the candidates to record their answers to give everyone a fair chance and eliminate the possibility of a great answer being ruined by the call dropping.

 Lack of non-verbal communication 

Many interviewers may say they have a good gut instinct. Gut feeling is a great resource, but it is the imperfect and human equivalent of processing lots of data (such as the applicant’s body language and communication) and coming to a conclusion. However, a lot of these decision-making factors disappear in a video interview. 

Researchers at the George Washington University “analyzed 12 studies on technology and job interviews published between 2000 and 2007 and believe that the absence of body language, eye contact and rapport building in video interviews can hurt a person’s chance of landing the job.” For example, you may not be able to read someone’s body language if the screen only shows part of their face. 

This may seem problematic, but by using technology to enhance your decision making and assist you with these potential ‘blind spots’ will allow you to hire the most suitable candidates. 

The solution: Cognisess’ Video Analysis

By using our DeepLearnTM Video Analysis tool our technology will be able to detect a candidate’s true emotion, instead of what they may like to present to an interview panel.

Each candidate records themselves answering several key questions that have been set by the company. Our Computer Vision technology is then able to analyse from 27+ points on the face, searching for emotions such as positivity alongside other attributes relevant to the job frame by frame.

As Cognisess Pro isn’t human, so it has the capacity to be completely objective (read our blog on unconscious bias in humans here). As there isn’t any human involvement in the analysis process, it supports a less bias hiring decision. Our tool isn’t programmed to see race, age or gender – it is purely assessing what an applicant is non-verbally communicating. This becomes a vital tool when companies are pursuing policies of inclusion, diversity and fairness.

A sample of the emotions the tool can identify 

  • Confidence and control. When customers are interacting with your business, they want to talk to someone who is in control of a situation and confident in their abilities. You can now measure this before you hire an applicant.  
  • Positivity. An upbeat employee not only improves morale in the workplace but their positive nature will help them successfully communicate with clients. For example, if a client sees a sales executive who is sincerely positive about a product, they are more likely to buy it. 
  • Expressiveness.  Some people make everyone they talk to feel like they are being truly listened to. A high level of expression (within reason) is seen in western cultures as a sign of high levels of engagement in the subject of the conversation.
  • Resilience and grit. This allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere, despite rejection and a lack of noticeable process over a period of time. 

As a result, HR professionals can draw conclusions from their expertise and the data presented to them. They can listen to the content of the answer (verbal communication) as well as understanding how candidates are feeling (non-verbal communication). 

Technology can help us navigate through the rapidly changing world of work. Using our video analysis tool will allow you to hire confidently and remotely. Knowing that you’ve given every candidate a fair chance, whilst finding the best fit for your company. Book a free demo today to explore how you can enhance your video interview process. 

Ethical Hiring with AI: Can it spot a lying applicant?

an ethical job applicant

On paper, a candidate could be perfect for a role. They have relevant experience alongside their impressive list of qualifications. But is this candidate too good to be true? How do you know he’s telling the truth? Sometimes it’s difficult to know if you made the right hiring decision until the applicant has started in the role.   

How honest are candidates? 

A new report by Checkster titled Is Your Company Hiring Charlatans? A study of ethical standards in the hiring process has uncovered that candidates aren’t being completely honest when they apply for a job. Key findings include: 

  • 60% of candidates have claimed or are willing to claim that they have expertise in skills they have no knowledge in. 
  • 42% have lied about relevant experience.
  • Over 50% of applicants have said they worked at a company longer than they had, so they can omit an employer. 

With this in mind, how can you identify the candidates with the relevant skills and experience? In the past, you may have had to rely on your emotional intelligence to identify a lying candidate. But technology is making it easier to create an ethical hiring process.  

Stay ahead of the game

The games on our platform can measure over 120 attributes. The study has revealed that over half of candidates will lie about their abilities. However, this can be prevented by using scientifically-backed games in the application process. For instance, Adam may write in his cover letter that he is achievement-driven, but our assessments can reveal how achievement-driven he really is. You get to know a candidate before you meet them, allowing the most relevant candidates to demonstrate their skills and stand out from the less qualified. 

Using these games in the application process will also prevent candidates from actively reverse engineering their applications. For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment candidates have to choose between two equally viable options, instead of two answers where it’s obvious what the ‘correct one’ is. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the true values they stand for. 

Find the right candidate for you

By creating a recruitment process that actively tests the applicants on the job’s key abilities will reveal how skilled they actually are. Our platform focuses on finding the right candidate by assessing how suitable they are for the role and company through our cognitive or personality games. 

To find out more about how we cater to job fit, book a demo with us today. 

Why personality assessments alone won’t identify the top talent

Person answering a personality assessment

More companies are using personality assessments than ever before. NBC News has reported that their usage is increasing by 20% each year. But are they the most effective way to measure and predict job performance? 

Below is the results of Frank Schmidt’s meta-analysis based on nearly a century of workplace productivity data. 

Meta data that measures the most effective hiring methods.

As you can see, applying personality tests alongside traditional recruitment methods create a less effective process than using a multi-level assessment approach…But why is this the case? 

Personality tests are easy to manipulate 

Some candidates may try to reverse engineer these assessments in order to impress an assessor. For example, from a list of words a candidate will choose the most favourable ones to describe themselves, instead of what their truly like. 

This is damaging to the overall hiring process. HR believes the candidate is someone they’re not and can result in the wrong applicant being hired. 

We are constantly changing 

A lot of personality tests are based on the four-quadrant personality model. This model is built to assess our states. These are the more fluid parts of our personality, for example, a person may be highly organised at work but is disorganised in their personal life. It is recommended that individuals frequently retake these tests because a person’s context regularly changes. Meaning it can be unreliable to predict a person’s job performance. 

So we shouldn’t use personality tests in recruitment?  

This depends on how you apply them. A strong recruitment process would include a multi assessment approach that tests a variety of traits, behavioural and cognitive factors. Combining these components make a personality test much more effective. Here are some factors that indicate a strong personality assessment: 

  • They assess stable traits (instead of states). These are traits that are at the core of our personality, for example, how agreeable you are. Our platform uses the Big 5 Personality Model to measure these stable traits, which is the most reliable and scientifically backed personality model. The personality results are accurate for up to 6 months after they take the assessment. 
  • They allow you to compare each applicant’s scores. This helps you assess the strongest candidate. For example, with Cognisess Pro you can compare an individual’s score against the general population and identify the top scores in the applicant pool. 
  • They have an inbuilt ‘lie detector’. This helps detect candidates who are trying to ‘cheat’ by painting themselves in a more favourable light.  For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment you can choose between two options which are equally viable instead of two choices where it’s obvious what the ‘correct answer’ is. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the values they stand for. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job.  

A 360° recruitment process

Finding the right fit means assessing the whole person. By using a variety of assessments you will accurately understand each applicant’s behaviour, personality and cognitive attributes. Taking the time to understand the potential of your applicant pool will ensure you hire the right person who will thrive in a role. 

To get to this outcome you need an effective recruitment process. We have over 60 neuroscience assessments to suit your hiring needs. Please contact us if you would like help crafting a reliable and accurate recruitment process. 

4 tips to improve your recruitment process

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track, organise and maintain all the information involved in the recruitment process. This is especially true when you have hundreds, if not, thousands of applications for one job role.

It is common knowledge that recruiting can be a time consuming and costly process.  But how can we improve it? Here are 4 tips to help you refine the recruitment process.

Streamline your recruitment process

The recruitment process needs to be rigorous if it’s going to find the right talent, but it also needs to be streamlined, consistent and fast. Using technology can drastically reduce the time spent by your recruitment team. Online assessments such as Cognisess Pro can help narrow down the talent pool quickly by removing applicants who miss the requirements. This means the technology is doing all the hard work for you and gives you a simplified view of all your candidates.

Outline the job description clearly

It can be frustrating when applicants apply for a job role which they clearly aren’t suitable for or when they don’t quite understand the job role. This uses up your valuable time by having to review and reject these applicants. To avoid this problem, it starts with the job description. Ensuring that the job description is clearly outlined with a clear criterion. For example, degree-level education or certain skill requirements.

Technologies have been developed to help reduce this and again, filter out individuals based on talent. For instance, gamification can be used to analyse individuals based on their true skills and attributes, which additionally enhances your decision making. This ensures your candidates will have the right skill set for the job advertised.

Keep communication clear, consistent & personal

Throughout the process, there can be many stages with multiple emails and further correspondences between candidates, managers and agents. Therefore, you need to make your processes as clear and consistent as possible to ensure fair and equal treatment of all applicants. Implementing an applicant tracking system (ATS) can help reduce miscommunication and errors in the recruitment process. In fact, 81% of job seekers say employers continuously communicating status updates to them would greatly improve the overall experience.

Whilst you still want to have a personal touch throughout the recruitment process, applying technologies to assist with your applicant management can help keep communication consistent and personal with each candidate. This is especially important when candidates are also your customers.

Harness recruitment analytics

You may not see the relevance in recruitment analytics, but it can be really insightful as an HR manager or recruiter. Analytics are readily available with many software solutions nowadays making it even easier to get to grips with recruitment analytics.

In addition, people analytics can add to this by providing an insight on current employees to shape what candidate you are looking for going forward. Understanding what people analytics and recruitment analytics can do for your business is the next step to successfully recruiting candidates.

Contact us today to find out how we can help refine your recruitment process

How your gaming habits could help you secure a job

In the past, video games have had a bad reputation. But video games are actually good for your brain. Every time you play a video game it exercises your brain’s neuroplasticity. This is the part of your brain that helps you learn new skills. As you get older your brain’s neuroplasticity naturally declines. However, playing video games is known to have a positive impact on this ability regardless of your age. 

We live in a world where we are always trying to improve ourselves or be constantly productive. We all need to relax from time to time, otherwise, we can suffer from cognitive fatigue.  Because video games are fun, they allow us to switch off from the daily grind whilst unconsciously improving our skills at the same time. 

They also have a number of benefits. These researchers found that playing these games can help your perception, attention, memory, and decision-making skills. These skills aren’t only important in video games, they can also be used throughout our lives – particularly in the workplace.  Video games can increase your reaction time, which can be useful if you are working in a role where you need to respond quickly, for instance, a doctor who works in a hospital.  

Video games can also help you get a job. 

More and more companies are using games to assess applicants for jobs to create a more engaging experience. But these games are different from the ones you can play on your Xbox.  They are scientifically-backed and are designed to assess a candidate’s behaviour, abilities and future job performance. In 2018, the global gamification market was valued at $5.5 billion. In the future, these games may be a common part of most recruitment processes. 

Will gamers have an advantage? 

When it comes to games used in job applications, gamers may have a slight advantage. But they aren’t cheating, they have done the work to increase these skill areas. Just as much as a person who has been practising the guitar for a year will be better than a complete beginner. 

But this doesn’t mean that people who don’t play video games will be at a disadvantage in the gamified job application process. For every ability a video game can train there are other activities that can improve these skills. For example, a text-based adventure game will improve your reading ability, but reading a book will also do this. Video games are just a popular and fun way to develop these important skills. 

Technology helps us improve our lives. From conveniently paying for your meal deal on your phone to AI assistants like Alexa. Video games not only help you improve your skills but are also fun to play. This happy median will also help companies in the future fully understand job applicant’s abilities and help an individual discover their talent.

Will AI empower women & how?

a woman empowered in a meeting room

We are all striving to become more inclusive because regardless of a person’s gender, ethnicity or background everyone has talent and potential. With more women working than ever before, gender equality is at the forefront of most HR professional’s minds. However, there is a lack of females in leadership positions, for instance, only 25 females are CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.

This imbalance can be observed across the workforce, with men and women respectfully dominating certain industries. For example, currently 80% of US software developers are men and 85% of social workers are women. But why is this the case? The effect of life domains on girls’ possible selves study suggests that culture, socialisation and gender role stereotyping discourages females from traditionally masculine subjects such as physics and mathematics. This may influence career choices later on, which further reinforces job role stereotypes. Therefore, these stereotypes based on gender can impact society heavily but the ever-growing change for equality will help open industries to all.

Will this ever change? 

We are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, and as a result, new technology such as AI and automation will transform industries and workforces. Employees will dedicate less time to routine tasks like data handling, focusing more on adding value to the company. More jobs will require a personal touch using interpersonal skills, creativity and problem-solving abilities which will favour humans over AI and other technologies. According to a study by PWC, women could initially be impacted by the development and implementation of AI and automation. However, in the long term, it is suggested that more males could be affected. This should inspire women to retrain or change career in order to stay ahead of the curve which may mean applying for roles they haven’t considered before.

Currently, there is a lack of females in STEM related fields.  Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments that: “You can only hire in a balanced way for diversity if the talent is there and they have been educated in that field.” As this industry grows, there will be even more roles available in STEM industries. Initiatives have been created to encourage women to take STEM subjects. If this is successful, more females will be hired in typical male dominated roles. This will also mean a more diverse applicant pool. But how can HR managers ensure they are hiring the best candidates for a role, regardless of whether a position is traditionally held by a male or female?  

How can HR support this change? 

More and more businesses are introducing AI into their recruitment process. There are many benefits to adopting this technology, it saves you time, money and people power whilst allowing you to find candidates who fit into your company’s culture and team as well as the role you’re recruiting for. AI technologies can enable you to create a fairer and more diverse recruitment process. As humans are naturally prone to bias, it can sometimes influence decisions the workplace. It is common within the recruitment process as you are judging candidates on a range of skills and attributes to match the job role. However, factors such as gender and culture should not affect applying for a job (read our blog to find out more). AI removes the bias created by humans as it has the capacity to be completely objective.

“If AI doesn’t empower women, then we are doing it wrong”

Dr Boris Altemeyer

It is possible to create a recruitment process that is fair for all. But how do you define ‘fair’? Even if you programme AI software to identify the best candidates with a 50:50 gender split, it may still not be entirely fair. For instance, an applicant pool could have a larger amount of stronger female candidates. Therefore, not only would these qualified applicants miss out on this job opportunity, but the organisation wouldn’t necessarily be hiring the best candidates for the role. Dr Boris Altemeyer also reveals that “The AI needs to learn what is fair and balanced. We need to agree what we tell the AI to do in order to get the best possible outcome.” 

At Cognisess, we remove biases by making it optional for candidates to disclose age, gender, race or even the schools they attended. More significantly, this personal information is never considered in Cognisess’ set of assessments. Our system is mostly interested in assessing how your brain works. From this, recruiters can focus purely on what matters when hiring an applicant. This is called blind recruitment and it provides decision makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role regardless of background, age, gender or ethnicity. This creates an environment for recruiters to make objective and well-informed decisions about a candidate’s potential.

Creating equal opportunities for all with AI

At Cognisess, we are constantly pursuing a fair recruitment process for all. We recently investigated if gender bias was present in one of our client’s hiring processes. Although more male applicants applied for their graduate scheme, more female candidates were successful. When candidates were asked to complete a variety of cognitive, emotional, personality Cognisess assessments, there was no bias present. The number of passed and rejected candidates reflected the difference in applicant volume of each gender. The final stage of the graduate process was a video interview. The gender was revealed in this section of the process due to the video aspect. However, in this part of the process female applicants were more likely to pass this stage than males. This could be an indication of higher presentation skills in female candidates, but it could also reflect a subtle bias in the human assessors marking the video interviews. 

This shows the effect humans could have on a recruitment process. It is important to note that bias can happen towards any group of people, including males. This is why it is important HR teams constantly refines this in order to truly hire the best applicants.  

Initially, women will be the most affected by the fourth industrial revolution. But this could be an opportunity for them to step outside stereotypical female roles and realise their potential. With a more diverse applicant pool organisations will need to ensure they have a recruitment process in place that is fair for all. If you would like to discuss how AI and People Analytics can enhance your recruitment process, book a free demo with our expert team.