New Research Project Looks to Revolutionise Recruitment by Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Remove Bias

19 January 2022

With the Great Resignation underway a lot of people are reflecting on their careers with some looking for new opportunities or a change of direction. A new research project, LAIBRE, looks to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remove any bias from the recruitment process helping to attract more diverse talent. The project aims to eliminate bias across different Human Resources workflows with the help of advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques. This project is expected to revolutionise the hiring process by providing equal career-building opportunities for candidates with diverse backgrounds. 

The research will be conducted by innovator and data expert, Kolawole Adebayo, winner of the Enterprise Ireland’s CareerFit-Plus Marie-Curie Fellowship with a budget of €259,550. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 847402.  The work will be supervised by Professor Brian Davis of the School of Computing at Dublin City University University (DCU) and the SFI ADAPT Centre. Kolawole is being hosted at DCU and will be working with industry partner, Datalive Analytics in Ireland, and the research and innovation centre, Learnovate to develop this project.

Speaking about the potential impact of the research, Professor Brian Davis said, “Considering that recruiting is an economic gateway for many people to access job opportunities and earn income to support themselves and their families, the process needs to be fair and unbiased and factors like gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation should not determine who gets hired or not. Moreover, the issue can be viewed not just from the moral angle but also an economic one. Tackling bias in hiring will potentially reduce ‘bad hires’ while promoting diversity in workplaces which aside addressing an important equality issue also translates to more innovation, productivity, and profitability for employers.  LAIBRE will contribute directly to the EU proposal for new regulations to guarantee excellence and trust in artificial intelligence…”

Kolawole continued, “I am extremely excited about the pathbreaking project LAIBRE – Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Bias-free Recruiting. Hiring bias occurs when candidates feel excluded or are considered positively or negatively because of certain characterizations which have nothing to do with their ability. Hiring bias can lead to undue discrimination of quality candidates from the disadvantaged or minority groups such as women, people of colour, and those in the LGBTQI community. LAIBRE seeks to overcome this by implementing AI models that can understand the contents of (human resource) HR documents to extract and remove information that can lead to unconscious bias and discrimination at the attraction and selection phases of hiring. For example at the job advertisement phase, LAIBRE will develop a domain adapted language model to aid the rewriting of inclusive job adverts; while at the candidate review phase, LAIBRE will implement a context-aware information extraction model to identify/remove protected attributes such as gender, ethnicity, etc. The project will implement models that learn intrinsic candidate suitability patterns from anonymized data for automated candidates review and selection towards skills-based hiring.”

A representative from Datalive Analytics further added, “Datalive is building novel solutions for the future of hiring – including elimination of bias from hiring and identification of skill gaps to assist rapid learning and development of employees and jobseekers. We are developing a live-link supply and demand for the labour market of the future where diversity and flexibility of the workforce and skill traceability will be key to employability. The LAIBRE project will help transform recruitment into an efficient, analytics-based, unbiased and de-risked ecosystem and for us as a company, it is coming at no better time than this post-pandemic period where fair hiring practices can help put the right candidates to work.”

LAIBRE will run for 3 years and commenced late in 2021. 

For media queries contact Kolawole Adebayo ([email protected])