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Is virtual recruiting the answer to gender neutral hiring?

Woman Looking at the Display Screen at the Photo of People, virtual recruiting concept

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Iffi Wahla, CEO and Co-Founder of global hiring platform Edge, explores the way in which recruiting from a global talent pool can help boost diversity.

Iffi co-founded global HR recruitment platform Edge in 2020, which connects companies with high-quality, reliable full-time talent from around the world. 

Iffi Wahla

A Pakistani-American entrepreneur, he has travelled extensively and, along with his co-founder, encountered hundreds of remarkable individuals whose ambitions were limited by their local economies. This experience was behind the creation of the Edge Platform Marketplace, with a mission of democratising access to fair wages and jobs around the world, whilst also giving businesses access to qualified professionals around the globe, 99.5% of whom are college graduates. Before setting up Edge, Iffi founded successful insurance agency Provence in 2015, which had a completely remote team.

Despite advancements in workplace diversity and inclusion, gender bias remains a persistent challenge in recruitment.

Unconscious biases, both explicit and implicit, can seep into the hiring process, leading to gender-based disparities in candidate selection. Traditional hiring methods, such as resume screening and interview assessments, may inadvertently perpetuate these biases, hindering the creation of diverse and inclusive work environments. Yet as we know, more diverse teams result in more diverse thought processes, meaning more inclusive innovation, better products and improved customer experiences. So how can businesses look to overcome that challenge? With modern workplaces evolving, and new technology being adopted all the time, there has been a significant shift towards virtual recruitment methods, which is rapidly emerging as a powerful tool for fostering diversity within the workforce.

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Reducing bias

The majority of virtual recruitment platforms today are AI-driven. The use of AI brings a range of benefits, including increased efficiency, improved candidate experiences, and enhanced objectivity in decision-making, but moreover it can make a significant impact in promoting gender neutrality in hiring practices. It has the potential to mitigate gender bias by introducing a data-driven and standardized approach to the hiring process. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, AI tools can analyze large datasets to identify patterns and correlations, minimizing the impact of subjective judgments that may be influenced by gender-related, or other, stereotypes. 

Effectively it allows blind recruitment, anonymizing resumes by removing personally identifiable information, such as names, pronouns, and other demographic details. AI can be programed to conduct objective screening of resumes, focusing on specific skills and qualifications relevant to the job. This ensures that initial assessments are based solely on a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and experience, preventing unconscious biases from influencing early-stage decisions and resulting in a more meritocratic hiring process.

Borderless recruitment

Traditional recruitment methods may unintentionally limit the candidate pool to local or familiar networks, resulting in employees with similar backgrounds. Virtual recruitment however breaks down any geographical barriers, and allows organizations to tap into talent pools worldwide. This not only broadens the reach of job opportunities, but also allows companies to connect with candidates from a range of backgrounds. The ability to conduct interviews, assessments, and communication virtually ensures that individuals from various regions, ethnicities, and cultures can participate in the hiring process, which naturally promotes a more inclusive workforce.

A fairer process

Virtual recruitment allows for more flexible scheduling, which helps to accommodate candidates from various time zones and those with diverse personal commitments and requirements. This inclusivity in scheduling ensures that a wider range of candidates can participate in the interview process. In addition, a virtual interview process will often make the use of standardized questions and evaluation criteria more commonplace, ensuring greater consistency and fairness across all candidates.

Not without its challenges

One of the primary challenges associated with AI in recruitment is the potential for algorithmic bias. If the training data used to develop AI models contains inherent biases, the algorithms could inadvertently perpetuate or even amplify those biases. It is therefore crucial for organizations to regularly audit and update their AI systems to mitigate this risk, and teams need to be aware of this and trained up to manage against it.

By breaking down geographical barriers, reducing unconscious bias, and fostering inclusivity, virtual recruitment contributes significantly to building a diverse and dynamic workforce. Organizations that embrace and leverage virtual recruitment methods stand not only to benefit from a broader talent pool but also to create an inclusive environment whilst promoting innovation through diverse perspectives. As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the professional world, virtual recruitment is undeniably a key tool in advancing the principles of diversity and inclusion.

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