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Are computer games the answer to ensuring hiring diversity?

When recruiting for any role there are clear laws governing discrimination based on race and gender. However, regardless of laws there will always be unconscious bias that effects selection. No amount of legislation or training can prevent this, or the impact it has on who
companies recruit. The only way to solve the problem is by removing the human element – so, robots it is then? Well, we don’t have to go that far as one solution which is becoming
more widespread is the use of gaming in the early selection process.
Gaming has been used before in the recruiting process, however it has only focused on marketing a certain role or company, and still relied on the traditional routes of CVs and interview as well. Encouragingly, the new generation of games are informed by behavioural and neuro sciences and will select candidates based on what is key for the employer. Most importantly, they will avoid any human bias. Organisations can predetermine what are the key traits they require, for example, altruism or the ability to weigh risks and rewards.
But can games really help recruitment diversity? Unilever North America is attempting to find out. Last month they announced they had recruited for hundreds of new roles, including entry level interns and marketing and finance jobs, based on games developed by
tech company Pymetrics. Online games selected candidates who were then given a face to face interview.
Unilever have billed the experiment as a great success, especially in the area of increased educational diversity. The results highlight some interesting changes:

  • Hundreds of thousands of people applied from 2,600 different colleges and
    universities – about eight times the number of schools represented last year,
    including community colleges. This showed an increase in socioeconomic diversity.
  • The hiring pool also increased in the area ethnic diversity.
  • Recruiting was less skewed towards male candidates Unilever has claimed, noting
    that “gender balance was achieved”

We will have to wait and see if the new recruits at Unilever turn out to be more successful than their predecessors; however the results are very encouraging and offer a path towards making recruiting a much fairer process.

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