Home Business Insights & Advice Why companies are using AI-based recruitment checks to flag racism and other risk indicators in candidates

Why companies are using AI-based recruitment checks to flag racism and other risk indicators in candidates

by John Saunders
14th Apr 21 10:32 am

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appeared in front of millions of TV viewers to talk about their experience with racism, the media storm that followed had a few lessons in it for companies and recruiters as well. This is an age of round-the-clock news, social media trials, and heightened social awareness. Here, evidence of racist or discriminatory behaviour can be as much of a reputational risk for a brand or a business as it can be for a government institution.

Only last year, two senior-level women employees at Pinterest resigned on grounds of racism at the workplace. The tech company faced a great deal of backlash and had to admit that its workplace culture needed rebuilding. This kind of situation can quickly escalate into a reputation crisis for a company. A business may even run up losses in hundreds and thousands of pounds trying to recover and rebuild from such a crisis. After all, it can take years to build a good reputation but it only takes minutes to tear it down.

Business reputations are largely built from the inside out, majorly influenced by workplace culture and employee action. So, HR managers and recruiters need to stay doubly alert, especially when assessing potential hires. The good news is that with smart hiring tools like AI-based reputation checkers, you can detect behavioural red flags in a candidate at an early stage and minimise the risks of bad hiring.

Using AI-based recruitment checks to flag racism

A large number of companies today are using these kinds of tools to upgrade their hiring process. The need for new technologies arises from the fact that we live in a digital age when active internet users make up about 60% of the global population. It makes sense that companies would check out candidate profiles by scanning through their social media activity, online information, and public records. In fact, statistics show that currently a whopping 70% of recruiters use online media to screen their candidates.

But the overwhelming nature of digital media means that for successful online reputation checks, you need quick and cost-effective ways to trawl through scores of pages of search results, search suggestions, social media accounts, images, media mentions, news, websites, links, etc. All this must be done without missing any critical details amid the data noise.

An intelligent search and review tool like Yoono can do the heavy lifting much better than manual reviews or older technology can. The smart/ AI algorithm automates the process of searching online information on candidates, filtering unusable data, analysing digital footprint, identifying concern areas, producing usable insights, and presenting simplified reports, all within a matter of minutes.

The results can often make or break hiring decisions. An AI-powered candidate screening and vetting system can help flag problematic characteristics like racism, misogyny, bigotry, and bullying early in the day. For example, Yoono runs recruitment checks against over a thousand websites of concern, screens for over 500 negative terms, and can be configured for specific hiring criteria to deliver optimum search and analysis results.

Why AI-based recruitment checks for reputation are necessary

We know too well that hiring missteps can cost an organisation in more ways than one. If you hire a candidate who has a record of racist or sexist behaviour online, they are likely to behave inappropriately at the workplace as well, disrupting a culture of inclusion and driving other employees away. They might go on to become the cause of a controversy, which would reflect negatively on you as an employer and lower stakeholder confidence.

A bad hire may even cost an organisation as much as up to five times the employee’s annual salary. This can include costs of replacing the employee, rebuilding the organisation’s reputation, and settling negligent-hiring lawsuits.

However, these types of risk indicators are not apparent in a traditional application process for a job. Interviews and CVs can be manipulated to fit the employer’s requirements and the majority of jobseekers have misrepresented themselves on job applications at one point or the other.

The risk and probability of poor hiring are further amplified by the rise in prejudicial and hateful behaviour around the world, particularly among online users.  Research shows that an alarming number of people exhibit hate speech or other forms of discriminatory behaviour online, and there exists a link to a global increase in violence.

This makes it crucial to have thorough reputation checks during recruitments, since for any organisation, the reputational risk from allegations of racism or sexism can be vast and injurious.  The use of AI tools for recruitment checks can minimise this risk and strengthen your reputation management practices.

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