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Recruitment solutions have gone high-tech, with AI-powered tools transforming the hiring process. But here's the kicker – the folks who use these AI products and services often don't have a say in their design, development, or testing. Here comes the EU-funded BIAS Project. It is turning the recruitment industry on its head by positioning the stakeholders at the forefront of creating a fair and unbiased AI-powered recruitment solution. Let's dive into this exciting journey so far. 

Two co-creation workshops hosted by Digiotouch brought together a diverse crew of HR managers, AI experts, lawyers, workers, civil society representatives, and NGOs to brainstorm on how to de-bias such AI-powered solutions. Soumya Kanti Datta, the CEO of Digiotouch, hosted the workshops which became a melting pot of groundbreaking discussions and ideas. 

Chapter 1: When It All Started 

Picture a Tallinn with a clear blue sky, and a sunny afternoon with some light winds. The Estonian stakeholders gathered at the Mercure Tallinn Hotel on such a beautiful, early summer day in June 2023. Debolina Paul and Ivana Todorovic took the stage in the first workshop, and they were tech-tastic! After Soumya's introduction to the BIAS project, a panel discussion ensued about AI in recruitment and HR management. The consensus? AI is like that extra set of hands you need when you've got a mountain of CVs to sift through. But don't get too cozy with AI just yet because it can inherit biases from its training data, leading to some awkward situations. 

One of the key takeaways was that we need to make AI-powered recruitment fair, transparent, equal, diverse, and inclusive (EDI). In the second part of the workshop, The second part of the workshop saw participants actively working in groups with fictitious job scenarios and job applicants. Each group assumed the persona of a specific job applicant and wrote a cover letter. The HR manager of each group then analyzed the cover letter identifying words/phrases that may lead to biased inferences. Then the participants elaborated a better cover letter. In the end, this workshop led to the identification of wordlists and attributes that can lead to bias in recruitment.  

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Chapter 2: The Sequel 

Fast forward to September 2023, and workshop number two was even more diverse and exciting. This time, the topic was fairness in recruitment processes and the requirements for a Debiaser tool, aka the BIAS proof-of-concept technology. While Soumya set the stage again, it was Anett Numa who dove into the deep end, discussing fairness in AI-powered recruitment. 

During the discussion, the participants brought out that the main challenge with using AI in recruiting, especially regarding discrimination, is that AI systems can learn biases from past data. But fear not, there's hope! By training AI systems with fair and diverse data and using methods to detect and fix biases, we can level the playing field in hiring. 

Ivana's session may have thrown around some AI jargon, but everyone got on board with requirements for the debiaser tool, even the non-techies. HR managers, AI experts, workers, lawyers, and civil society reps all had a blast. Her session concluded with identifying conditions for fairness and trustworthiness evaluation. 

Chapter 3: Grand finale and a Gondola ride 

But wait, there's more! Two superstars from the Estonian workshops, Kadi Niggulis and Tea Kookmaa, along with Anett and Soumya, will jet off to Venice for the third and final co-creation workshop in December 2023. This international workshop will bring together national delegations from all partner countries of the BIAS project. It's like the Avengers assembling to save the day! Team Estonia will represent HR managers, legal aspects, advocacy organizations, and AI experts, ensuring that the debiaser tool is as fair, accountable, and trustworthy as possible. 

On a serious note 

So there you have it, folks! With stakeholders taking the lead in shaping the future of AI-powered recruitment, we're in for a tech-savvy, bias-free hiring revolution. We are excited to continue developing this tool ensuring fairness, accountability, and trustworthiness. Stay tuned for more insights and tech wisdom as we continue this exciting journey! 

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