When Amazon scrapped its artificial intelligence hiring tool in 2018 after the program demonstrated signs of sexism, many founders learned that A.I. has the potential to introduce bias into recruiting.
"A.I. is only as good as the humans that designed it, and we inherently have bias," says Henry Tsai, vice president of product at Greenhouse Software, a job applicant tracking software company. Founded in 2012, Greenhouse's platform is designed to prevent bias by keeping A.I. out of the decision-making process when evaluating candidates.
Startups are still finding other ways to enhance the hiring process using A.I., however. Here are three companies that have developed new tools designed to promote inclusion while helping employers navigate the changing hiring landscape.
Founding year: 2020
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
Inclusive bills itself as a startup that can improve diversity and inclusion and reduce the time it takes companies to hire new employees. The company's software takes video footage from virtual job interviews and edits them down to 65-second clips, removing the interviewer's comments to eliminate potential instances of bias. The clips of candidates who aren't hired get shared with other employers that might want to hire them.
The downside: While Inclusive may be able to help increase diversity in companies' ranks, it doesn't ensure that practices to uphold DEI are supported within the organizations that use the program.
Cost: Inclusive offers a free three-month trial, after which the cost is dependent on the volume of recruiting planned for the following year.
Founding year: 2017
Founding year: Scottsdale, Arizona
Paradox offers a virtual assistant named Olivia that's similar to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri and can perform automated tasks during the recruiting process. Clients can even customize the language Olivia uses to make it represent the voice of their brand. Olivia can gather basic information from job applicants, schedule interviews, and answer questions during the onboarding process. Paradox clients include Unilever, Nestle, and 3M.
The downside: Natural language can be hit or miss with A.I. products, and while Olivia offers a voice function, the feature is not widely utilized by clients. "Trying to catch more voice in the future for us," says Paradox chief product officer Adam Godson. "We're waiting for societal adoption to catch up."
Cost: Implementing Olivia can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on what clients want the software to do.
Founding year: 2016
Headquarters: New York, New York and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Joonko creates a pipeline of underrepresented applicants and helps connect them with companies that are hiring. The software's algorithm is trained to eliminate instances of bias from the hiring process by not disclosing the personal information of applicants, such as race or gender. Joonko's mission is to increase the visibility of underrepresented applicants in the candidate pool and connect them with companies that are working to improve their workforce representation. Their product focuses on women, People of Color, and service veterans. Clients include Adidas, American Express, and Nike.
The downside: The platform does not yet serve LGBTQIA+ or neurodiverse professionals, though this is a stated goal for the company.
Cost: Joonko's rates are dependent on the size of the business, but the average cost is $70,000 per year.