Mitigating Bias in Algorithmic Employment Screening: Evaluating Claims and Practices

by   Manish Raghavan, et al.

There has been rapidly growing interest in the use of algorithms for employment assessment, especially as a means to address or mitigate bias in hiring. Yet, to date, little is known about how these methods are being used in practice. How are algorithmic assessments built, validated, and examined for bias? In this work, we document and assess the claims and practices of companies offering algorithms for employment assessment, using a methodology that can be applied to evaluate similar applications and issues of bias in other domains. In particular, we identify vendors of algorithmic pre-employment assessments (i.e., algorithms to screen candidates), document what they have disclosed about their development and validation procedures, and evaluate their techniques for detecting and mitigating bias. We find that companies' formulation of "bias" varies, as do their approaches to dealing with it. We also discuss the various choices vendors make regarding data collection and prediction targets, in light of the risks and trade-offs that these choices pose. We consider the implications of these choices and we raise a number of technical and legal considerations.


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