By LUCAS WANG
As much as we hate to admit it, we, as humans, are innately biased. This bias affects a plethora of events in our lives and can determine how we interact with others.
Even the most fair and progressive person is prone to subconscious bias. This bias invariably leads to conflicts over perceived discrimination, wage disparities and other social and economic inequities.
This is a big problem – a problem that interviewing.io promises to fix.
Interviewing.io is a software project founded by Aline Lerner, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The objective of the software is to provide anonymous and blind online interviews and interview practice between employers and potential employees.
Although interviewing.io is still under development, it has great potential, and companies like Yelp have already begun using it in test interviews.
Candidates who use interviewing.io do not provide resumes or personal information to their interviewers, meaning that any bias, whether it is based on race, sex or even alma mater, will be effectively eliminated.
Even better, the site has a built-in voice modulator that disguises the voice of the candidate to prevent subliminal bias from developing and influencing the interview process.
This system seems to be the perfect solution to a major problem, promising a fairer future; yet surprisingly, there is substantial opposition to the project.
Kia Thomas, a black female at Dartmouth, studies computer science and hopes to land a lucrative tech job in Silicon Valley.
When asked in a podcast of Morning Edition if she would participate in blind interviews in which her voice was distorted, she replied with a resounding “No.”
Kia cited the fact that Silicon Valley has pushed for the hiring of more women and blacks, making her the ideal candidate. This, certainly, would give her an advantage over other applicants.
She fears that if blind hiring were to become more popular, she would lose her ethnic and gender advantages that allow her to secure otherwise difficult-to-attain jobs.
While her view is likely in the minority, her perspective is a concern shared by some students and potential employees.
Essentially, however, it is a selfish view that reflects the incompetence and vanity of a candidate more concerned with self-interest than with social progress.
The very basis of a blind interview is removing all confounding variables to create a level playing field for all candidates.
Racial, gender, ethic, linguistic, socioeconomic and other criteria are intentionally divorced from the process of applying and interviewing for a job.
By re-integrating race and gender into the mix, all biases are once again included. Thus, interviewing.io is likely our best shot at creating a truly fair hiring environment.