diversity & inclusion: it’s no longer about why; it’s about how.

March 25, 2019 Bill Doyel

Bill Doyel, director of solution consulting, Modern Hire

In talent acquisition today, the idea of building a business case for diversity and inclusion initiatives is long gone. There are many examples of companies with diverse workforces that deliver higher revenues, generate faster innovation and attract better talent communities. It’s no longer about why, it’s about how. How to build the best strategy, how to select the right technology, and how to implement a diversity and inclusion program that propels your business forward.

Diversity and inclusion are especially critical to successful hiring and recruitment. According to McKinsey, organizations that value diversity outperform those that don’t. Their latest research shows that companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to see higher-than-average profits than companies in the lowest quartile. This is why the number of executives who cite inclusion as a top priority has grown 32% since 2014, according to Deloitte. A study of 171 German, Swiss and Austrian companies shows a clear relationship between the diversity of companies’ management teams and the revenues generated from innovative products and services.

Diversity is the next area of innovation in hiring. Organizations that take a wait-and-see approach, even for the next 24 to 36 months, will be behind the curve. Talent acquisition leaders who have implemented proven, validated HR technologies are already realizing immediate ROI and risk mitigation in hiring. They’re also seeing ROI over the long term with faster, better hiring performance that meets their strategic objectives. With hundreds of solution providers, it’s important to evaluate your options carefully.

supporting diversity goals by reducing bias

One vital strategy for achieving greater diversity in hiring is the reduction of unconscious bias. Every second of the day an individual receives approximately 11 million pieces of information. The human brain, however, can only consciously process about 40. To cope with this information overload, people make decisions without consciously thinking about it. These quick judgments are influenced by background, culture, environment and personal experiences. During interviews and hiring, individuals have the potential to make decisions based on opinions they’ve formed about different groups or sets of people, often without realizing it. Like it or not, this introduces unconscious bias into the hiring process.

candidates confirm bias exists

Modern Hire conducted a survey of 500 candidates and 500 talent acquisition professionals to understand more about their feelings, attitudes and beliefs as it relates to artificial intelligence (AI) and hiring. The State of AI in Hiring research indicates that well over half of candidates and recruiters feel technology and artificial intelligence will be able to drive down bias in the hiring process. Among candidates who say they’ve experienced discrimination, 56% said they believe AI may be less biased than human recruiters. Forty-nine percent (49%) of those who have experienced discrimination also believe AI may improve their chances of getting hired.

Modern Hire research: bias and discrimination are notable problems in hiring.

taking action

Companies are looking to both training and technology to help close the gap. Randstad Sourceright’s 2019 Talent Trends survey of more than 800 human capital and C-suite leaders uncovers that 45% of organizations say they conduct diversity training to minimize unconscious bias. More than one-third (37%) are using AI, big data and machine learning to reduce bias. About one-third (34%) also use these technologies to help source and attract diverse candidates.

As the digital revolution in HR technology surges on, many tech solutions have come to market that aim to reduce bias. From rewriting job descriptions to implementing a blind review process to reducing gender bias in onboarding documentation, HR technologies that promote a more inclusive experience are being evaluated at every stage of the hiring process.

minimizing bias during candidate review

One area organizations are exploring is to reduce unconscious bias during hiring manager reviews. For example, Modern Hire’s AI assistant, Mira, provides a blind review process during on-demand video and voice interviews — focusing solely on the content of candidates’ interview answers. A candidate’s identity and voice are concealed until after the hiring manager enters feedback and a yes/no decision to advance the candidate is recorded in the platform.

The benefits of taking this approach include:


  • All candidates go through the same experience, are asked the same questions and are given the same opportunity to respond.
  • Configurable rating and review interview guides help improve consistency and mitigate bias.
  • Reviewers can be given disclaimers, instructions and a set of criteria when reviewing behavioral/competency-based responses.
  • This technology helps extend candidate reach, expanding potential to engage a more diverse slate of candidates.

where to go from here

There is no out-of-the-box solution to creating greater diversity and inclusion in an organization. Talent leaders need to carefully determine what specific parts of their hiring process are causing a lack of diversity. Is it bias in the screening process? Is it that they aren’t looking in the right places? Is it a problem with biased job descriptions? Is there bias in the interview process? Do companies need to implement organization-wide training and certifications?

The HR tech landscape is currently exploding with a variety of solutions that can address each of these issues. Navigating that landscape will require both diversity and tech expertise to find the tools that will help your organization most.

Want to learn more about supporting workplace diversity strategies with HR tech? See trend 04 in Randstad Sourceright’s 2019 Talent Trends Report for more data and insights.


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about the author

Bill Doyel

As Director of Solution Consulting at Modern Hire, Bill Doyel is responsible for leading a team of product experts and evangelists that help educate the market on the benefits and best practices for interviewing technology. Bill has a proven background of consulting and project management within both the human capital and higher education industries. With over six years of experience at Montage in a variety of roles, he serves as our senior product expert and strategic consultant. Previously he served as a senior consultant for a higher education software company as well as the associate registrar at DePaul University. Bill earned both his B.F.A in Production Management and M.S in Public Service from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

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