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Employme.com And Selection Bias

Each morning I take the train to work, and each morning as I wait at the station I’m confronted with a large billboard from employme.com. Earlier in the week I decided to see what the site was about. I was somewhat disappointed by the approach they’d taken, upload a video introduction of yourself and your cv, and wait for employers to employ you. I don’t have an issue with applicants taking this kind of approach, often it pays to be out there and getting noticed. The issue however, is that from my viewing of the site, the site does nothing to minimise selection bias. People invariably select new employees who are like themselves – often similar in categories such as gender, sexual orientation, age, categories which have little to do with actually doing the job at hand. Having a video as part of the process of selecting applicants to interview, can only increase the bias which potential employers unwittingly utilise.

I’m certainly not adverse to technologies coming in and assisting employers undertake recruitment and selection, indeed LinkedIn and easily accessible intelligence testing has been of great benefit to employers. However what I am somewhat adverse to, okay actually I’m simply against it, is when technology comes in and ignores what we do know about selection. The single best predictor of success in a role is general intelligence, find the smartest person that you can afford, and employ them. I would love to see a site that provided potential employees with free general intelligence testing, and allowed employers to make informed decisions based on quality predictors such as intelligence.

So after all that, is employme.com worth a look, well perhaps – and I’d encourage you to take a look and form your own views. In its current state it’s unlikely that you’ll see me giving a video introduction on the site, but if they were to offer IQ results as part of their selection information to potential employers, well I think you know where I stand on that one.

By Brendan Lys

Operating at the intersection of Human Resources and Data Science, I leverage extensive specialist experience within Human Resources, with the methodologies and approaches of Data Science. This focus on the discovery of actionable insights from data, has been applied to areas such as: remuneration & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, health & safety, diversity, and training. But what does the application of data science to HR challenges and opportunities actually look like. Within an HR framework the data we work with typically comes directly from our HRMIS, an advantage of using data science methodologies is that we can bring in additional data either held within the organization or from external sources - data which is out of reach from a pure HR analytics approach. Consider for example position descriptions, these contain a wealth of data that we typically ignore as its not in a analysis ready format. A side project I'm working on currently (April 2019) is using text mining on job descriptions to provide insights into which job family the position may fit into. The insights of my work have been enjoyed by organizations across a diversity of sectors including: Government (Australia and New Zealand), ASX and NZX listed companies, utilities, not for profit and higher education.

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