Recruitment, Hiring and Engagement – DE&I: Artificial Intelligence v Emotional Intelligence

Bridging the Gap Series

Written by: Walter Dailey, Director of Recruiting- Manifest Solutions Corp.

As the Director of Recruiting for an IT consultancy (Manifest Solutions Corporation), I have high regard and appreciation for technology. After all, many of those that I hire, work alongside of, and learn from are software developers, data engineers, and technical innovators. With that said, my admiration for technology came into question a few years back when I learned that the use of AI (artificial intelligence) was being used more and more by sizable organizations to tackle challenges of DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) recruitment.

On its face, the idea of using AI to aggregate and prescreen resumes for the purpose of giving qualified applicants a fair shot at any given role seems like a wonderful idea. The goal behind this has been to strip away implicit bias surrounding gender, ethnicity, and/or physical appearance. A huge step forward for those in underrepresented groups, right? Well, I am not too sure.

You see, the moment we, as hiring managers and decision-makers, hand over our moral agency to AI and technology, marks the moment when we allow our grip on emotional intelligence to slip. Success in DE&I hiring hinges on empathy, social awareness, and awareness of our personal biases—all of which are core to emotional intelligence.

With all of this said, here are a few ideas that can aid in allowing emotional intelligence to win out over artificial intelligence:

  • Recognize the limits of technology. Tools such as unbiased resume aggregators and search tools that obscure race, age, gender, etc., should only serve to complement your hiring/recruiting efforts. Real progress in DE&I takes place when HR, hiring managers, and decision-makers are committed to ongoing learning, education, and proactive initiatives surrounding diversity.
  • Acknowledge you have biases—regardless of your background. We must recognize that all people have preconceived notions as it pertains to names, backgrounds, education, and even physical appearances. Acknowledging that these implicit biases exist is an important, self-aware step to navigating them and improving hiring practices.
  • Be proactive. Commit to hiring candidates from HBCUs, (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), career centers, and community colleges in underrepresented and disadvantaged areas.

Instead of taking cover behind AI, it is critical that we take bold steps to grow and challenge ourselves to deal with the realities of systemic and longstanding blind spots.

-Walter Dailey

Connect with me on LinkedIn here: