I recently had the honour of connecting with a powerful leader and an incredibly creative business owner and interior design expert, Allison Crawford.  Allison is an interior designer and founder of Hotelette, an award-winning collection of luxury short-term rentals in Austin, Nashville and Dallas.

In this interview Allison shares with us about a bachelorette trip that inspired her business, why we do not need to have a huge budget to be effective in our marketing, and why the interior design doesn’t have to be a “fussy experience”.

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For many, attending a job interview can be a highly pressurised and nerve-racking situation. If you were to Google search for job interview strategies, you will generally find a whole lot of advice. Advice including how to dress appropriately, researching the company you are being interviewed by, and anticipating interview questions. Whilst these strategies will help you to be well prepared for the interview they might not help you stand out from other interviewees.

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As recruitment becomes increasingly complex and competitive, employers need new modes of differentiating candidates and candidates need better methods of evaluating their abilities.  Artificial intelligence (AI) is being introduced into recruitment processes to save time, narrow down the number of applicants, and we hope, eliminate unconscious biases in the recruitment process. So, let’s take a deeper look into ai in the recruitment process.

It’s expected that AI recruiting tools will become mainstream by 2030, however, recently AI has developed a justifiably poor reputation. Concerns about reproducing cultural biases, as opposed to eliminating them, are rising. 

So where does this leave HR? We would like to assume that AI would enable a company to hire a person solely based on skills that are needed for the job, making it a merit-based system. The algorithms used to assess candidates are based on quantifiable data and can be purposefully built to discard prejudices. However, it’s important to consider who is designing these products and for whom they will benefit.

The irony is that while the tech industry has large gender disparity problems, technology also seems to be a way to combat unconscious bias, the gender gap and equalise opportunities for minorities. The use of these systems can only increase over time. This means it’s important to explore both the potential positive and negative outcomes of introducing AI recruiting tools.

AI in the recruitment process for candidates

People undoubtedly connect with those that look or sound like them, have the same interests and come from similar backgrounds. It’s no surprise therefore that employers tend to hire people using a similar process. The use of AI can become such an easy method of avoiding such predispositions. New technologies will identify the right candidates based on a number of characteristics that the job itself requires. Factors that unconsciously influence the decision-making of the employer, such as gender, race and class, could be entirely ignored. Instead, candidates could be judged first and foremost on their skills and abilities to problem-solve or handle stress.

However, we must also think about how these systems can be seriously flawed in their design. To think that we can create something that is totally objective is simply naïve; but more seriously, ignoring the risk of creating products that favours some candidates over others based on their gender, ethnicity or accent is severe. PwC’s recent study found that women hold only 5% of senior positions in the tech industry – a disturbing figure considering the products created tend to benefit those creating them.

As entrepreneur, author and keynote speaker, Maragaret Heffernan said, ‘the tools we create reflect those that created them’. The smart screening verifications may in fact create disadvantages for people with particular socioeconomic backgrounds. Amazon’s recent attempt at creating a recruiting engine in 2014 showed exactly this. We need to take this conversation to the developers for them to show that they’re taking this responsibility seriously. Showing that they are doing everything they can to build the diversity and inclusion agenda into the design.

 

AI in the recruitment process for the company

AI in hiring is an inexpensive solution for recruiting candidates for a position. It may not find the employee that a company will hire, but it reduces the mount of CVs for recruiters.

Recruiting engines will also be used to diversify a workforce. The importance of creating a diverse workforce in this age is essential to a company’s productivity and success. Importantly, a diverse board of directors or managers generates more varied and original thinking. This leads to greater creativity and innovation in the company. A wide range of perspectives allows issues to be approached from multiple directions, reaching finer solutions. 

 

Reflections for the future

It seems that the only way to equalise the system is if the engineers confront their own biases and cultural privileges. We must consider who creates the algorithms that will judge which candidate has a higher value than another. While AI may be a way to avoid bias, it also could sustain biases and reproduce structural barriers for various groups of people.

Companies are increasingly choosing to hire external keynote speakers to guide and share their opinions on the future of recruitment. HR is traditionally human domain, positioned around the cultural elements that make up a company. These include workers rights, advocacy and building a relationship with the employee. Sociological and technological experts should be sharing their views on the transition from a human sector to a technological one and its impact on society, the workplace and the workforce.  

About the Author

Flora Meadow Ai in the recruitment processFlora is a freelance writer, holds an MA in Media and Communications from LSE and works in the entertainment industry in London. Flora’s interests include digital anthropology, photojournalism, the politics of documentary filmmaking, and the mediation of memory and ideology.

Have you ever considered a career in writing? You may or may not have formal training and wonder if you have what it takes to make a full-time career from something that you love. Whether it is through monetizing a personal blog or landing a job with a magazine, if the idea of writing excites you, you will love this interview with Rachel Werner.

Rachel is the digital editor of Brava Magazine a Wisconsin-based publication and a freelance writer, and the social media manager of “The Celebration Society, another subsidiary of Nei Turner Media Group. Not only that’s she’s also a fitness instructor, health coach and a 2016-17 national WomenRide4Change Ambassador! Her passionate commitment to holistic wellness and sustainable agriculture keeps her a Midwestern girl at heart.

In this interview, she shares how she went from blogging to becoming a published writer in both regional and national publications. As she mentions in this interview, it is “okay to struggle” while pursuing your craft, but it is possible to follow your dream of becoming a writer.

Hi Rachel! Would you tell our readers a little about you and your role with BRAVA Magazine?

I am currently the digital editor of BRAVA, a Wisconsin-based magazine created by women for women and subsidiary of Nei-Turner Media Group. I’m also the social media manager of another Nei-Turner publication and brand, The Celebration Society, for which I curate trending wedding content and engaging event images aimed at increasing the visibility of The Celebration Society’s brand.

In particular, I enjoy overseeing the culinary, arts, fashion and beauty coverage in my current roles and has previously contributed print, photography and video content for other media outlets around the country such as Madison Magazine, Big Life, Entrepreneurial Chef and Hobby Farms Magazine—all while maintaining side gigs as a fitness pro, a 2016-2017 national cycling WomenRide4Change Ambassador and a 2017 World Food Championships Top Ten Finalist judge.

You have been a freelance writer for several years, can you tell us a little about that?

A precarious mix of passion and life circumstance served as the impetus for the career arc I am currently on. In hindsight, writing seems to have continuously intersected with my academic, professional and/or personal pursuits on some level even when it wasn’t necessarily the primary focus. I also do not have a degree in journalism or English (I common question I am asked).

But seven years ago, I found myself grappling with a significant number of life shifts: a divorce, single parenting, transitioning from a social work position at a nonprofit into the fitness industry. As a coping mechanism, I began to daily transfer my concerns, emotions and observations “onto the page” as a way of processing life. What began as mere journaling evolved into blogging, which then sparked a curiosity to see if I could further hone my writing skills and perhaps supplement my income via this blossoming delight.

I decided to take a writing working through University of Wisconsin-Madison’s continuing education studies department. I did not know it at the time, but that one decision would serve as the biggest catalyst for launching my freelance career. People often ask how I “did it.” And the honest truth is I literally followed almost verbatim the tips and seasoned advice the instructor shared on how to determine a writing niche, pitch articles and connect with editors. And it worked! Within three years, I went from being virtually unknown as a blogger to becoming a published writer in numerous regional and national publications and the assistant editor at BRAVA.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before pursuing a career in writing?

The one thing that I wish I had known before I started to seriously consider writing as an occupation is that it really is okay to struggle for a stretch in pursuit of your craft. And that writing can have tremendous VALUE on a personal and professional level, filled with objectives for both that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Also, the power of networking. DO NOT EVER underestimate the potential impact of foraging connections within and outside of your current sector or industry and where that could potentially lead.

What tactics do you use when writing? Do you outline or do you simply sit down and start writing?

Probably my most “signature” hallmark as a writer is that I almost always take notes by hand. I also never audio record subjects when I interview them or “google” them before we meet or speak via phone. I prefer my impressions and interactions to be as organic as possible. I think it helps me retain details more clearly once I am ready to compose the piece. I have a myriad of journals I make notations in, which merely serve as a reference point if needed once the actual writing begins. I also rarely delete an email, preferring instead to file most correspondence away in digital folders, rendering it easily accessible if early communications could potentially shed light on an event, person and/or topic down the road.

Do you have tips on how we could become better writers?

If you want to become a better writer, seek out ways to receive regular feedback on your work. Join a writing group or enroll in a workshop or an intensive like The Fifth Semester or Upod Academy. Public libraries, colleges, writer associations and book festivals can also all be useful resources for finding this sort of info. By no means does one need to pursue a MFA degree, but if that resonates with you on some level, GO FOR IT! The most important thing is to connect with others just as invested in this art form—and to carve out time to write on a consistent basis.

How do you stay inspired?

I stay inspired by reading: classics, memoirs, picture books…I love it all! I almost never watch TV unless it’s a sports event or I am at the gym working out so books are my primary way to “disconnect” or wind down at day’s end. Also, a long-term goal of mine is to become a published author. I currently have two first drafts of contemporary fiction that I am plugging along on and three children’s books I am revising and pitching to editors.

What words of encouragement or wisdom would you like to share with a woman just starting off in this industry?

The best advice I have to share is the same wisdom which was imparted to me early on: “Get comfortable with rejection because you’re going to hear a lot of ‘NO’s’. But as long as you keep refining your ideas and pitches, eventually someone IS going to like one of your ideas enough to give you a shot.”

You can follow Rachel’s adventures around the country on Instagram: @therealscript.