Textio Expands Tool to Root Out Unconscious Bias

Another company has ratcheted up its approach to the market for tools that make the language used to woo candidates more attractive. Textio, the Seattle developer of “the world’s first augmented writing platform,” released Textio Hire, an extension of its original product for job posts. Textio Hire uses data from actual hiring outcomes “to optimize the language a company uses across its hiring teams.”

Textio HireTextio Hire is positioned as a tool that will help employers reach passive job seekers. Noting that only around 5 percent of the workforce responds to recruiter emails, the company said Textio Hire is designed to find “meaningful language patterns” in a company’s emails that will help improve response rates. In a press release, it reported pilots with Johnson & Johnson and Zillow resulted in increased response rates of 25 percent and 16 percent respectively.

Textio, which launched its first product in 2015, isn’t the only company exploring these waters. In 2017, SAP SuccessFactors embedded functionality in its Recruiting Management module to minimize unconscious bias by applying machine learning to flag questionable language. Other companies, like Blendoor, revamp the hiring process to help managers evaluate candidates only after their applications have been stripped of names, photos and other information that might spark bias based on factors such as age and race. Last week, Workable announced a partnership with Human, a developer of “artificial emotional intelligence” software, again with the goal of removing bias from the hiring process.

Textio says its platform predicts how candidates will respond to written content, and shows writers the reasons behind their reactions. Using that information, recruiters can revise their message before sending it. Textio Hire works with both job posts and recruiting emails. As of today, the extension’s available through LinkedIn and Gmail.

According to a report in Fast Company, the product uses AI “to analyze job descriptions in real time, highlighting jargon, boring bits, and words that could come across as particularly masculine or feminine.” The system then predicts how different readers will respond and suggests alternative language based on the customer’s historical hiring data, including applicant demographics and qualifications.

Since its founding in 2014, the company has raised about $30 million in funding from Scale Venture Partners, Emergence Capital, Cowboy Ventures, Bloomberg Beta and Upside Partnership. Its customers include NVIDIA and Atlassian.

Image: Textio

Updated April 2 to clarify that Textio Hire is an extension to the company’s original product, which was launched in 2015. 

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