Unconscious bias happens as a result of the human brain trying to process vast amounts of data quickly.
It can be quite useful actually: our brain sorts information into groups, making it easier to process. However, if you’re a recruiter for a large corporation, dealing with thousands of applications, this can lead you to make split second decisions based on stereotypes - whether you are aware of it or not.
Usual solutions tend to involve unconscious bias training or keyword tracking software, but one firm is looking to neuroscience instead.
Oxford based ‘deeptech’ company MeVitae claims to have developed the first ever cognitive recruitment system, using a combination of neuroscience, space technology and machine learning to compensate for the 'limitations' of the human brain.
MeVitae connects directly into a company's existing application tracking system, runs its analysis and sends the results back to the client as an anonymous but ranked shortlist with the most suitable candidates. 'Its pretty much invisible,' says co-founder and CEO Riham Satti.
Suitability is determined objectively using algorithms that draw on data from the web - and even the content of specific university modules - to find the candidate whose skills and experience are most suitable to the role. An ‘anonymising module’ also removes any information that could potentially bias an application, like gender or ethnicity, without removing the context.
For example the sentence 'I am a female founder supporting communities of girls in tech' would instead read as 'I am a founder supporting communities in tech'.
The longer MeVitae is used, the more responsive it becomes, as the AI starts to learn the company's recruiting behaviours. However, the software isn't designed to replace recruiters but merely provide them with a genuinely diverse list of the most suitable candidates - the company ultimately has discretion over who it chooses to interview.
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