Newspaper article MinnPost.com

How a State-Funded Job-Matching System Hopes to Improve Employee Recruitment -- and Reduce Hiring Bias

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

How a State-Funded Job-Matching System Hopes to Improve Employee Recruitment -- and Reduce Hiring Bias

Article excerpt

Even as more and more companies highlight the importance to diversify their workplace, there's been increasing recognition that unconscious bias -- around issues of race, age and sex -- is a widespread issue, especially in the hiring process.

"We know that people make assumptions based on what companies people were employed with and where they got their education, so on and so forth," said Sandee Joppa, Executive Director of RealTime Talent, a public-private partnership focused on using data to address workforce issues in Minnesota.

Now, a joint effort by RealTime and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is hoping to do something about the issue.

Launched earlier this year, the MN Job Match platform uses a set of "statistically-validated" questions that draw more information from both employers and job seekers than they would typically share in job descriptions and resumes. The goal is not only to improve employee recruitment for the companies who use it, but also help reduce bias in the hiring process.

Or as Joppa says: "The system does a really nice job of reducing some hiring bias that can happen on the front end of the process."

Like a dating website

The main reason that MN Job Match system was created wasn't to address bias, but rather to respond to the mounting outcry from business owners struggling to find qualified workers to fill job openings throughout Minnesota.

So during the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers allocated funding to have RealTime create an online tool that blind-matches job seekers to perspective employers. Today, 19 organizations across the state are hosting or co-hosting the platform.

The MN Job Match platform operates much like online dating websites. People can set up accounts, create profiles and fill out the drop-down files with the basics, like name, location and contact information. …

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