La Pieza Eliminating Bias in Recruitment ProcessesBy Andrea Villar | Fri, 10/30/2020 - 08:00
Q: What problem did you observe in recruitment processes that led you to create La Pieza?
A: Currently, companies recruit their employees through e-mails, job portals, university job boards or manually. If a company has a vacancy and tomorrow it has to recruit an intern, it will go to 10 job portals to post the vacancy and in the following days, it needs to return to each one to check for responses. Recruiters waste a lot of time in attracting talent.
Moreover, all recruiters have unconscious biases in their process because they make decisions based on the CV, where you get many details but not the right information to determine people's skills and knowledge at all. From a resumé, we can read about the candidate’s name, age, sex, education, whether they have a master's degree, check their photo and many other details that provide no determination whatsoever about the candidate’s knowledge or ability. It was on the basis of these two problems that we decided to develop our platform.
Q: What solution does your platform provide to eliminate bias in recruitment processes?
A: During the selection process, we filter candidates with a tool that uses AI. It matches candidates with the technical skills that companies require. Once this process is completed, companies decide who they want to interview. However, they only have access to the professional experience and the answers to the skills quiz we deliver. They cannot see the candidate's photo, name or school. This is how we eliminate bias during the first steps of the decision-making process. Biases are mostly unconscious and are prevalent all over the world. In Mexico, there are particular areas like age and gender that suffer the most. There is a tendency to give more opportunities to tall and young men, for example.
Q: How do you measure abilities and what skills are most requested by companies?
A: We started with eight skill tests. Most companies want people who speak English, especially technology companies. Many people will say on their CV that they speak English fluently but when we give them the test, we often find out it is not true. Next, companies ask for a very good level of Spanish and also writing skills.
As a result of the pandemic, we have seen an upward trend in technology companies looking for people who know about programming, databases and more specific subjects. Today, one out of every three vacancies published on our platform is technology-related. Marketing, sales and customer service vacancies have fallen sharply.
Another relevant element in the recruitment process is the company's culture. When a firm joins our platform, we send their employees a culture test to really understand the company’s day-to-day environment. Afterward, users who are looking for a job can see the companies' values and mission. We also do a small test of values to see if there is a match with the vacancy. There is no good or bad answer but it helps us to understand what the person is looking for in their next job.
Q: Beyond eliminating bias in processes, what additional benefits do companies gain from posting vacancies on your platform?
A: We integrate almost all third-party job boards into our platform, alongside those we create ourselves. For example, we offer universities the opportunity to create their own job boards, which we connect to our software to allow companies to publish their vacancies across more than 70 job boards at once. We are connected to LinkedIn, OCC, university portals and even NGOs. One NGO that is part of our platform is helping ex-military people to find a job. This makes the whole process faster and more agile for companies.
When a company publishes an opening, it has the opportunity to select the most important skills it requires for that position, whether those skills are mathematical reasoning, logic, verbal reasoning, spelling or English. When people apply for the position, they have to take a skills test to determine if they really meet these requirements. We use artificial intelligence, which allows us to filter out the right people for the companies.
In August, we held our first virtual job fair. Anáhuac University asked us to help with this event and we thought it was an incredible idea to contact companies and reactivate employment in Mexico. Fortunately, it was very successful. More than 100 companies participated and more than 8,000 people applied. In October, we will have another virtual fair focused on startups.
La Pieza is a digital human resources platform based on artificial intelligence that began operations in August 2020. The platform measures the skills, knowledge and soft skills of candidates to match the culture of companies