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All dogs go to LinkedIn: Are puppy profile pics the solution to hiring bias?

All dogs go to LinkedIn: Are puppy profile pics the solution to hiring bias?
[Photo: Lum3n.com/Pexels]

Ever since corporate culture got woke, people have been trying to devise ways to avoid bias in hiring to try and make their talent pool slightly more reflective of the world in we live in. Companies like Starbucks, Vodafone, and Facebook launched diversity and inclusion programs that offer unconscious bias training to managers to make them more aware of their prejudices toward candidates from minority groups. Others have turned to technology in the hopes that “unbiased” algorithms and automated hiring systems would level the playing field.

They haven’t been a great success, though, as unconscious bias keeps slipping into job ads and recruiting software, and in some cases hiring managers keep older employees from even seeing ads. Even those algorithms and machines have been shown to have bias. In short, companies are falling back on the same bad habits that lead to broken hiring processes and a lack of real inclusion in the workplace. It’s like it has all gone to the dogs–and maybe it should.

Some companies are trying a novel way to review candidates’ resumes and skills without any unconscious bias, according to the BBC. Aaron Weyenberg, a New York-based director of research and development at not-for-profit TED, created a Chrome browser extension, Profile of Dogs, that automatically turns users’ LinkedIn profile pictures into random, adorable dog images. Hiring managers simply browse through the Shih-Tsu’s work experience, the labradoodle’s job history, the basset hound’s skills, and the Shiba Inu’s awards to find the candidate that’s right for them.

It’s a unique and undeniably funny solution to a serious problem in the business world, as blind recruiting can really work in overcoming unconscious bias and promoting diversity in the workforce. The method has gained a foothold in companies eager to improve their hiring practices. That said, replacing profile pics with dogs may make it difficult for hiring managers to choose, because when it comes to pups, they are all very good dogs.

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