Diversity, inclusion, and applicant tracking systems. These are three critical and beneficial concepts for organizations across the globe. You can make better decisions and enhance productivity by meeting your diversity goals, and by using an ATS, you can increase the efficiency of your hiring process. But, believe it or not, your applicant tracking system is one factor that might be preventing you from achieving your diversity and inclusion goals. 66% of large companies and 35% of small businesses use applicant tracking systems, but not all are aware of the problems that ATS’s can cause.
Is your ATS the cause of hiring discrimination in your organization? Here’s more on the relationship between your ATS and hiring discrimination and what you should do to stop it.
What ATS’s do and how they make mistakes
Your job posting can receive over 250 applicants, and it’s for this reason that you may be using an applicant tracking system. ATS’s help you screen candidates’ resumes, but they also help you:
- Collect data
- Organize candidate information
- Sort through the criteria to find the suitable applicants
However, applicant tracking systems can make mistakes. As well as eliminating candidates due to incompatible resume formatting, your ATS may even make biased hiring decisions. In other words, there is a definite link between your ATS and hiring discrimination.
Your ATS and hiring discrimination: The critical link between the two
One of the main reasons applicant tracking systems can cause hiring discrimination is that they use the keywords you assign them. If you have any unconscious biases when programming your ATS, your biases will filter into your applicant tracking system.
So, if you’re searching for a candidate who has a college degree, you may enter keywords such as “college graduate.” If you’re looking for candidates with five years of marketing experience, you may enter “five years of marketing experience.” You may think this is the ideal way to find the suitable candidates.
However, your ATS is a machine that learns to find specific criteria and filter out candidates who don’t meet those criteria. This negative elimination process means that discriminatory results can occur if your unconscious bias leads your ATS to ignore candidates who may be a good fit.
The link between your ATS and hiring discrimination leads to a homogenous team of candidates – a workforce that behaves the same way.
How AI will contribute to your ATS and hiring discrimination
Now, here’s some bad news. Although many HR professionals are turning towards AI tools to hire more efficiently, this will paradoxically make the discriminatory hiring process worse. When used for hiring purposes, artificial intelligence must use the historical data you feed it.
With an ATS running on autopilot, you soon hire candidates without understanding your ATS’s criteria. You begin to make hires that your ATS determines are good fits simply based on previous hiring motivators instead of considering the merits of your candidates. Your ATS and hiring discrimination can lead to:
- Poor candidate fit
- Mishiring and unproductivity
- Higher hiring costs and expenses
Since the algorithms you set aim to help you find candidates who align with your previous hires, AI will not question your hiring biases, it will repeat such hiring decisions now and into the future.
How to stop the discrimination of your ATS
Now, there are ways to stop the hiring discrimination of your applicant tracking system. Thankfully, the solution to your ATS and hiring discrimination doesn’t involve avoiding using applicant tracking systems entirely.
You need to give your tools precise instructions and keywords each time you’re hiring to ensure your ATS and AI tools focus on your top-performing employees’ criteria.
This process also involves shifting your attention to the critical factors that matter. It’s vital to prioritize factors that you may not have considered. Instead of focusing on the perfect GPA, it’s time to focus on more essential criteria, such as employee retention rates. In this case, you may instruct your ATS to look for candidates who have stayed with their current company the longest.
You may find that employee satisfaction is essential to your hiring process, or that learning new skills and continuous development makes your employees a better fit. In this case, you may instruct your ATS to find candidates who have had positive training outcomes.
Stop the hiring discrimination of your ATS
Leaving hiring decisions to chance or letting an AI tool make hiring decisions for you should be a thing of the past; tools like these can help you hire efficiently, but you must take an active role in giving your applicant tracking systems the right keywords.