Fair recruiting:

Everything recruiters need to know 

In this guide, we present tips and insights that aim to support hiring managers and businesses in their commitment to promoting fair practices at all levels.


Like competency-based hiring and diversity hiring, fair hiring is gaining ground in recent years as a solution to a multi-faceted problem. Many organizations are spending significant funds to find the so-called “best hire.” The cost of hiring the wrong person is financial and can cost an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add in the non-monetary costs of lost time, productivity, and morale, and it’s clear why companies are so invested in solving flaws in the recruitment process. 


What is fair recruiting?

Fair recruiting is a term that encompasses not only job discrimination laws but also the idea that hiring should be based on merit — and not related to a candidate’s ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other quality unrelated to their skills and expertise. Companies must both adhere to labor laws that prohibit discrimination in hiring and incorporate blind hiring and other diversity hiring tactics to achieve a fair hiring standard. 

Fair recruiting also refers to overcoming unconscious biases in your hiring process. Unconscious bias — learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, and deeply ingrained within our beliefs — are one of the reasons why diversity hiring is so difficult for many recruiters. Without training, awareness, and intentional changes to create a fair hiring process, unconscious bias can hinder a company’s growth, success, and innovation. 

What is competency based hiring?

Competency based hiring is not one single thing, but an approach focused on identifying candidates skills, instead of their background. Start by defining competencies relevant to your brand and business strategy, developing a competency framework. Then, educate your recruiters and hiring managers to adopt a competency-focused approach when it comes to creating job descriptions, interviewing candidates, and identifying the best fit for vacancies. This will allow you to hire people who possess the required behavioural characteristics, personality traits, knowledge, skills, and qualifications, getting a competitive advantage.

Fair recruiting

Fair recruitment practices

1. Use inclusive language in the job description

Having an inclusive job description includes leaving out gender-based language and terms, as well as industry jargon. Start with a job title that leaves out any hint at gender or industry preference. Keep it simple and focus on the job at hand. Likewise, work on eliminating masculine and feminine words from the job posting

2. Automate the screening interview

The first interview is a critical part of the recruitment funnel and a place where unconscious biases play the biggest part. But how could be detrimental for a nervous job applicant? Well, when first impressions are working as the basis for your hiring decision, most candidates will experience an unfair assessment. Today we know that humans make unconscious judgements after just 0.1 seconds. Looking at a recently published study based on 2000 managers, 33% only needed 90 seconds to decide who they wanted to hire. The same study shows that 60% of interviewers decided on a candidate within 5-15 minutes. But first impressions can be deceiving and are usually completely irrelevant to performance and competency. Especially since they are based on factors such as handshake, tone of voice or lack of eye contact.

3. Have diverse hiring teams 

By having recruiters with different backgrounds and experiences, the hiring process will become more inclusive and less biased. A positive side effect that occurs when bias is mitigated is diversity. Today we know that having a diverse work-environment will increase both productivity and creativity. This is because companies that are dominated by one type of people will have a collective blind spot and this could add up to tunnel vision.

4. Make inclusion a part of your employer brand

Find ways to communicate your commitment to inclusion to different groups of applicants. Be honest if your organization is not yet where you want to be and let people know what your plans for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion are.

5. Use AI to collect objective candidate data 

As the use of AI has grown and sectors including health care, financial services, public services, and commerce, have implemented technology in various ways. Because of its ability to collect large amounts of candidate data in a structured way. This has in many instances improved effectiveness and decision quality and enabled both cost and performance optimization.

"With Tengai we gained a scientific way to compare and select the best candidates. I'm convinced that Tengai will contribute to a more sustainable labor market"

Åsa Edman Källströmer, CEO at TNG

Benefits with having a fair recruitment process

There are many benefits with having a fair hiring process but the most crucial one is that it can contribute to a more diverse workforce. This is crucial for organizational success and research from McKinsey has found that companies in the top quartile for gender, racial, and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. McKinsey concludes that diversity is probably a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.

McKinsey clarifies that greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership doesn’t automatically translate into greater profits, as correlation does not equal causation. Yet, they note that correlation does indicate that when companies commit to having a more fair recruitment process, and create more diverse workplaces, they become more successful. More diverse companies are better able to attract, retain, and motivate top talent and improve their employee satisfaction.

Empowering and protecting workers

The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired. The earliest recorded strike occurred in 1768 when New York journeymen tailors protested a wage reduction. The formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union organization among American workers. 

Sweden also has a long tradition of labour unions. The first ones where founded in 1880 and nearly 70% of the working population in Sweden belongs to a union today. This makes Sweden one of the most unionised countries in the world.

Workers, especially migrant workers, can be at risk of a range of violations of human and labor rights during the recruitment process. 

Fair recruiting

How AI can create a more objective hiring process

There are many benefits for companies who understand how AI can be used to complement everyday work. The most obvious gain is getting access to structured data that measures soft skills and personality traits. Not only will this increase hiring outcomes. But it will also help recruiting teams push bias further down the recruitment funnel. AI can gather large amounts of data to assist recruiters in comparing applications. Humans are… human! It is difficult for a human interviewer to assess all candidates without bias or preconceived ideas about whether a candidate will fit in to an organisation.

AI is objective so any analysis will be scientifically factual. It can also deal with volumes of work much more quickly. In an industry where speed is key to hiring the best talent, it makes sense for organisations to become early adopters of the technology as AI can reduce the time-to-hire by many days.

Tengai's AI interview can be used for unbiased hiring

Today, there are several softwares that help assess blind resumes and chatbots that can be used to screen applicants. But until now, there haven’t been any objective tools that could take away bias from the interview. Which makes the job interview a risky step in the recruitment funnel and at risk for being inefficient, unfair and expensive. To change that, we combined conversational AI with unbiased recruitment methodology and develop Tengai: the friendly screening interview.

To ensure both clients and candidates a fair assessment, we asked psychometric experts to validate our framework. Being validated means that Tengai accurately can assess candidate’s personality and predict future behavior. Our approach is developed by a team of diverse HR-professionals with over 15 years of experience in unbiased recruitment. So you can feel confident that Tengai will help you get a more fair and correct candidate assessment.

"The screening interview should be convenient, rewarding and efficient for candidates."

- Sinisa Strbac, Chief Product Officer at Tengai

Top benefits when using AI for recruitment: 

Improve recruiter performance

AI and automation play a crucial role in processing the large number of candidates who apply for open positions. Traditional pre-employment screening and shortlisting can take up to 23 hours of a recruiter’s time per hire. AI screening tools, on the other hand, can process thousands of applications quickly and surface qualified candidates. By implementing an AI interview, recruiters get an unbiased shortlist of recommended candidates which increases quality decisions.

Mitigates unconscious bias

HR teams are often inundated with hundreds of resumes whenever a position opens, making it difficult to give each application the same level of scrutiny. Oftentimes, recruiters will simply advance candidates whose backgrounds resemble those of current employees; this means that candidates with diverse work experience or different backgrounds never have a chance. AI can assess candidates without any bias. By keeping bias out of the early stages of the recruitment funnel, the right candidates with the right competencies will surface.


AI recruitment tools improve the process by making it faster and easier to evaluate applicants. These tools allow small teams to do what would normally take weeks in only a matter of days, without compromising quality. With AI, recruiters can conduct interviews at scale and include more applicants in the process.

Low Cost

With AI, HR professionals can outsource most of the grunt work to machines so that human employees can focus on more important tasks. This will save you time and money in the long run, as you won't need to train multiple people for menial jobs or pay them extra for working overtime. AI can actually save up to 90% of the interview expenses and an overall decrease in cost for wrong hires.

Enhances the candidate's experience

Automated online screening and interviewing tools not only save time for recruiters and candidates but also allow candidates to apply without quitting their current job. Moreover, these tools improve the transparency of communication and deliver a better hiring experience overall.

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Responsible AI development

While AI has the ability to help us in many facets of our lives, we also want to ensure that these approaches are developed responsibly–carefully reviewing issues of bias, fairness, privacy, and other social considerations on how these tools might behave and impact others. So we can work to address these considerations appropriately. Because there are serious consequences when we feed a system with biased data. Such as creating an AI that inadvertently discriminates against already marginalized groups.

Conclusion: A fair recruitment process will help your business succeed 

Fair hiring practices can promote openness and belonging, which leads to a more inclusive hiring approach where candidates with the right competencies quickly can be identified. By implementing AI, you can create a more fair and objective hiring process. As well as, speed up the process by taking care of tasks like screening, skill testing, and interviewing.


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