Seeking Leaders for Global Change

Algorithms—a problem for recruiting

Written by Spencer Hamilton

Dr Hannah Fry, a mathematician at University College London, recently described how data is becoming ever-more important. She went on to point out that the algorithms being used are often hidden from view, which means that “software is built with an incentive that might not align with the interests of individual people, who are just data points within it.”

Recruiting and selection software is a case in point. The promise of efficiently finding the ideal candidate using keywords and algorithms is very seductive, but depends on the programmers and their approach. In her conversation with The Register about algorithms, Dr Fry said: "you can't argue against them. If their assumptions and biases aren't made open to scrutiny then you're putting a system in the hands of a few programmers who have no accountability for the decisions that they're making." She went on to describe how a LinkedIn algorithm showed higher-paid job advertisements more often to men than women.

Mission Talent doesn’t evaluate people with algorithms. We look at people who fit the bill and we speak to them to find out more. But we’re also curious; we chat with others who don’t fit the bill because they’re interesting and—just sometimes—they have a great deal more to offer. The next time you need to bring someone into your team, think about applying your humanity rather than decisions made by a machine.

Spencer Hamilton, Principal Consultant