How Companies Can Use AI to Reduce Bias in Hiring

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According to industry insight, if a company makes a wrong hire based on any unconscious biases, this can cost the company up to 75%  of that new hire’s annual salary. Thankfully, artificial intelligence (AI) can help companies reduce human bias to make hires based on skills and talents.

Right now, 24% of companies say that they’re using AI to acquire talent. But 84% of hiring managers or employers think that this is the key to hiring in the future.

If you’re trying to find more diverse applicants, keep reading to discover all the ways AI can help you.

Access to More Applicants

One of the ways AI can reduce bias in hiring is that you’ll have access to a larger pool of applicants. Often, some recruiters will post a job description on a job board or LinkedIn to source applicants. However, that only attracts specific candidates who have access to or knowledge about those sites. It also only attracts candidates that are actively looking for a job.

If recruiters want passive candidates, they need to source them themselves, which takes up a lot of time. One-third of a recruiter’s week is spent just sourcing candidates. Because of how time-consuming this task will be, recruiters will often limit how many candidates they source to only a small percentage of the pool.

They might look at candidates from other companies, through employee-referral programs, or for candidates who graduated from certain universities. However, these pools aren’t great places to find a diverse pool of applicants.

That’s where AI comes in.

Now, recruiters can fill in data about what candidates they’re looking for to an AI tool, just like’s AI sourcing software is very good at recognizing patterns through machine learning and natural language processing. The algorithm will comb through candidates sourced from a variety of different resources.

Because there are more talent pools that AI is pulling from, you’ll have a more diverse set of candidates.

Analyze Skills

Since AI is very good at picking up on patterns, the software will identify different skills they think a candidate might have. It will do this by looking at what kind of company they worked at, what position they held, and what keywords they use in their resumes.

Xuan Smith, CTO of , says that “[The] software identifies people based on their work history, on how long they were at their job, and what their company does. However, we don’t consider education in our algorithm because we don’t find it to be a huge predictor of success.”

By looking at these critical indicators, AI can determine the candidate’s hard skills. However, a recruiter will need to take the selected candidates and interview them to determine if they have the soft skills required for the job.

AI can still help find great candidates who have the hard skills in an unbiased way. This way, you can find a diverse range of candidates and interview candidates who may have never made it to the interview stage otherwise.

While there is still a chance there could be hidden biases in the interview process, the AI helps give you an even slate of candidates to work with. The candidate will have made it through regardless of their gender, name, race, or what school they intended. This is just one more step toward your company’s inclusive and diverse culture.

Eliminate Unconscious Bias

One of the main problems with hiring practices is the unconscious bias that some recruiters might have. AI can fight unconscious bias to source candidates and present a list of candidates based on qualifications rather than unconscious biases.

However, AI needs to be designed in a way that removes bias. If you have biased data that you put into an AI platform, you will have a list of biased candidates. However, if you go through your data and make a conscious effort to reduce existing biases, AI can be a powerful tool.

Ignores Demographic Information When Sourcing

One reason AI can help reduce unconscious biases is that you can ignore some aspects of a candidate’s profile. Hiring teams, hiring managers, or recruiters can program AI software to ignore different demographic information when sourcing candidates. For example, you can remove any biases one might have towards age, race, or gender during the recruiting process.

You could even have the software ignore zip codes, cities, countries, or colleges. This information could correlate with specific demographics or socioeconomic status, so this is another way you ensure that you have a list of candidates based on their merits.

Remove Biased Language

In some cases, you can even use AI to comb through your job descriptions and remove any discriminatory language that might be deterring people like female candidates from applying.

When you remove this type of language from your applicant pool, you’ll be more likely to attract a diverse range of candidates and improve your chances of making diverse hires.

Certain words in job postings will deter some people from applying. While the language may not be intentionally harmful or offensive, it is another hidden bias in the hiring process that AI can help remove.

AI will read a job posting and make a fair judgment about how effective your job posting is. It could even offer suggestions and edits on making the job postings more neutral to encourage different types of people to apply.

Risks to Look Out For

AI algorithms operate based on whatever data you put into AI tools. Because of this, companies and recruiters need to be careful of the information they plug into the software. If the data is biased, the AI will produce biased results.

For example, if you previously have only hired people from Ivy League schools, you won’t want to put that data into an AI hiring platform. With that data, AI will only be able to source candidates from a specific educational background, and you’ll be missing out on many other qualified candidates.

AI is not a quick fix or a magical tool that will immediately improve your diversity hiring. If you try to use it that way, it could set you back instead. However, if you’re going to use it, make sure that groups that aren’t represented as much are still showing up in your results. Before actually using a hiring tool, run a few tests to ensure that it works properly.

Use AI to Reduce Bias in Hiring Today

AI can be a helpful tool in hiring as long as it’s used correctly. It can help recruiters improve the diversity of their candidate pool, but it can also save recruiters time on sourcing candidates.

Smith said, “We found that recruiters are interested in talking to people and making that connection. A large portion of recruiting time is spent sourcing candidates, so what we do is automate that type of funnel sourcing so that recruiters can get back to what they care about, which is talking to candidates.”

If you’re interested in eliminating bias through AI in your hiring process, contact us at .


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By Alyssa Harmon