Number of the Day: AI in recruiting at IBM

As employers increasingly ramp up commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, many have set their sights on diversifying the talent pipeline and, eventually, the incoming workforce. That has meant everything from creating new policies around candidate slates to reexamining job requisition language and requirements. For many, technology is playing a vital role in these efforts.

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Not surprisingly, IBM is among those turning to tech to create a more diverse workforce—and last year alone the tech giant saw a 20% jump in hires of candidates from underrepresented populations, driven in part by its reliance on artificial intelligence, says CHRO Nickle LaMoreaux.

What it means for HR leaders

IBM, which has an employee population of more than 250,000 across 170 countries around the globe, fielded more than 4 million job applications in 2021 and expects about the same amount this year. With such a volume, LaMoreaux says, technology is integral to supporting the recruiting and hiring process.

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AI, in particular, plays a pivotal role in mitigating unconscious bias or systemic barriers that could prevent qualified, diverse candidates from being noticed.

Nickle LaMoreaux, CHRO for IBM
IBM CHRO Nickle LaMoreaux

“We’re very careful our systems are not making decisions about hiring but rather they are helping us surface profiles of candidates who may otherwise go under the radar and to help us look at skills in new ways at scale,” she says. And with such a flood of candidates coming in, AI has helped the organization’s focus on diverse hiring stay efficient.

While IBM will continue to develop how it incorporates AI into its DE&I hiring goals, LaMoreaux cautions that the tech alone can’t be responsible for boosting DE&I goals or other dimensions of recruiting and hiring.

“I should be clear: I don’t believe that AI can replace humans. We use AI to supplement and aid in decision-making—but not replace it,” she says. “So, we’re going to continue to be thinking of ways in our business where AI can help make a difference—it could be in compensation decisions, in hiring decisions—but in the way of supplementing the work our employees are doing.”

Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.

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