Many companies say they want to diversify their workforce. Far fewer have actually succeeded in doing so, even if they’re earnestly trying. And one of the first hurdles can come before any candidates have even been interviewed: The language used in recruiting emails or job postings is often full of unconscious biases—phrases like “gentlemen’s agreement” or even “ninja” can deter women or people of color from even applying in the first place.
But how do we check our unconscious biases when, by definition, we don’t know what they are? A Seattle-based startup called Textio says it’s using machine learning to help eliminate those biases in real time, by literally changing the writing of hiring managers who are composing the job postings.
This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior writer Lauren Goode talks with Textio CEO Kieran Snyder about the way the software works, how tracking language patterns over time can reveal deep insights about how we see the world, and how this kind of “augmented writing” software could eventually be used in applications beyond job postings.
Lauren Goode can be found on Twitter @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our consulting executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
Michael Calore is @snackfight. Lauren is @LaurenGoode. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our consulting executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
How to Listen
You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:
If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.
More Great WIRED Stories