Algorithms rather than merit and experience, decide which applications reach human managers’ eyes. They cull people with unusual work histories or who lack university or TAFE qualifications.
Many private employers still ask for a résumé and cover letter, but increasingly when applying for work, job seekers must enter information into a website form.
Depending on the job, these sites sort candidates in to ‘proceed’ and ‘don’t proceed’ piles depending on how the algorithms are programmed.
A recipe for homogeneity? You bet. A recipe for poverty for job applicants too.
Some of these algorithms were put in place to try to break through human unconscious bias – to give a better shot to people with names that do not scream “white man.”
And if you believe that, I went out with Marilyn Monroe.
They can and are programmed to screen out older job applicants, young people, people with mental illnesses, people with gaps in their applications, etc.
While companies may flog their diversity credentials, the realpolitik is very different.
There’s no challenging an algorithm’s assessment. ‘Transparency’ is a dirty word in recruitment.
Some of these screening algorithms are simply old techniques dressed up in new technology. Employers have long asked “knockout questions” to establish whether candidates are minimally qualified. Now, chatbots and resume parsing tools perform this task.
There are ways around this rubbish and it requires a solid understanding of semantics, which I have. I’ll be damned if a robot is going to screen out my clients.
Most of us have moments in our lives that need explanation. There are gaps in our histories which are all too human: divorce, assault, illness. At Republic, I rewrite the story so the narrative is one of continual learning and insight.
Algorithms aid precarity in employment. I fight that at Republic Resumes. I’ll take on the machines and win.