Applied is a web platform that eliminates bias during the process of picking the ‘right person for the job’. Unfortunately, some companies are missing out on a whole range of candidates due to their ruling them out based on their backgrounds. What Applied does, is essentially remove that background information that could potentially sway an employer to think twice about a candidate who would otherwise be very suitable if not perfect for the job.
Women Love Tech interviewed Kate Glazebrook, the CEO and co-founder of Applied to get more in-detail information on how she and her team are combining psychology and tech to give companies a fresh perspective on the hiring process.
Can you tell us about Applied?
Applied helps to create more job opportunities for people who would otherwise be eliminated from traditional hiring processes.
Applied removes irrelevant information from applications such as name, address, hobbies and education (both years and institute) which may introduce bias when reviewing candidates and detract from the detail that really matters to perform the job. Candidates are therefore assessed fairly on what they can do, not what they look like.
Additionally, behaviourally-designed methodologies then reshape how people see information to eradicate bias that can creep into assessment. For example, the platform randomises the sequence of candidate applications to overcome ordering and anchoring effects.
Over 121,000 candidates have been assessed through the platform so far.
What was your motivation behind starting Applied?
My co-founders and I wanted to bridge the gap between what the evidence says about how to hire and what organisations are actually doing. For example, all the evidence says that seeing someone’s name and picture can mean you overlook people who don’t “look the part”. Yet most recruiters spend most of their day on LinkedIn, inadvertently doing just that. Additionally most recruitment platforms are solely focused on how to speed that process up, not how to help you make the best decision. We wanted to tackle that.
How exactly does Applied combine psychology and technology to change the way that businesses hire?
Applied uses technology to reshape how people see information and provide information, not to replace human judgement. We augment human decisions, not replace them. This is because, while computers help us analyse and manage data, humans are still critical to ensuring that computational power is spent answering the right questions, with the right inputs, and that we make sensible inferences from it.
Why do you think biases in hiring exists in the first place? Because surely the strongest applicant should get the job, regardless of external identifying factors, right?
People intrinsically want to treat each other fairly but bias is an iceberg, most of it is hidden, so fairness is often open to dispute. Historically there’s been little or no quality data on which employers can make informed decisions about where bias exists in their processes, or whether any of the bustling marketplace of bias solutions actually work.
Companies spend billions every year on unconscious bias training ‒ an estimated $8 billion by US corporates alone ‒ but there’s little evidence that this outlay actually works. It improves awareness of the issue, which is great, but data show it very rarely translates into changes in behaviour. That’s because unconscious bias is hard to retrain out of the brain, but we can make a real impact if we instead redesign our processes to make it easy to focus on the things that matter (skills) and not the things that don’t (profile). Applied believes that organisations need to focus more on instilling the best evidence into technology that people use in their everyday work to address such fundamental and enduring challenges.
In your opinion, what will eliminating biases from the application process bring to businesses that use Applied?
Eliminating biases from the application process through Applied will ensure that businesses benefit not only from improved, streamline recruitment processes but have the added reassurance that vacancies are being filled by the most appropriate candidate for the job and that unconscious bias isn’t stifling company growth and success.
What does being awarded the Advance Award for Technology Innovation mean to you? Do you think it’s important to maintain connections with Australia and to share knowledge across countries and regions?
It’s a huge honour to be awarded this on behalf of the team at Applied alongside so many esteemed previous and current winners of Advance Awards. I hope we stand as an example of the opportunity for technology innovation to achieve social as well as commercial impact on an issue which is universal no matter where you live or who you are. I’ve been fortunate to live and work in 5 countries so far in my career, and can categorically say that in my experience, forging and investing in relationships across different countries is essential to true innovation. At Applied, we’re all about helping teams reap the benefits of diversity: we achieve more when we’re challenged to think differently and build solutions that work for the many not the few. Australia already has a long history of multiculturalism and openness to new ideas – I’d like to hope that we are part of ensuring that continues.
For more details on Applied, visit https://www.beapplied.com.