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Is Resume Screening Software Biased?

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Is Resume Screening Software Biased?

Resume screening software is a quick and easy way to scan lots of resume data without actually reading resumes.

The option to automate resume screening – which most talent acquisition leaders say is the most challenging part of recruitment – is enough to perk the ears of any high-volume hiring team. That’s why resume screening software and AI screening software are growing in popularity. But are these tools effective? And do they solve, or perpetuate, bias?

As companies increase their hiring volume, recruiting teams have to find ways to do more with less. Resume screening is incredibly time-consuming, taking up to 23 hours per hire. And we all know, the longer it takes to screen and hire, the less likely you are to snag a top candidate.

With so many advancements in AI, why would humans still need to read resumes?

A better question might be: With so many advancements in AI, why are we still so reliant on resumes? Resumes are problematic for many reasons:

  • They’re self-reported descriptions of work experience and education
  • They include half-truths, exaggerations, and lies of omission
  • They say nothing of knowledge, skills, or character
  • They put too much emphasis years of experience and gaps between jobs
  • Information is hard to verify, because a resume is not an official document
  • Job seekers can easily optimize a resume using keywords, or hire a professional resume writer

What we’re doing when we use resume screening software is making an ineffective process faster. After news broke of Amazon’s resume screening tool that showed bias against women, this type of AI is under increased scrutiny. But, in Amazon’s story and others like it, it’s not the technology that’s to blame. It’s the underlying data – in this case, the resume.

A 500-700 word document, even when it contains action verbs and job-related keywords, isn’t a good predictor of success. AI doesn’t change that.

Luckily, there are other ways to screen candidates at scale:

  • Pre-screening questions are a simpler, lower-tech option. Instead of training AI to scan for keywords on a resume, you could simply ask candidates what is it you want know. Do you have four years or more experience in customer service? You can do this through your ATS, or in your video interviewing platform.
  • A pre-hire assessment integrated into the application process is another good option. This is how American Airlines fuels all their front-line hiring. According to Rob Daugherty, Director of Global Talent Acquisition:

With a  name like American Airlines, we get a lot of applicants. It’s almost impossible to understand who’s a fit and who isn’t. The assessment helps us focus on candidates with the right personalities and skill sets.”

  • Video interviewing software has also proven its value in time and cost savings. By replacing the phone screen with pre-recorded videos, most companies see at least a 60% reduction in candidate screening time. At Virgin Atlantic, video interviewing enables recruiters to screen 3X more candidates per day.

AI-driven technologies have unlocked exciting gains in efficiency. What’s important is that we’re driving efficiency in the right areas – not just hiring people faster, but hiring the right people faster. It’s also important that technology is used to inform our decisions, not make our decisions for us. Learn more about AI and the future of hiring in our on-demand webinar: How to Keep Your Hiring Process Human in the Age of Automation.

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