StackAdapt’s New Chrome Extension Tackles Recruitment Bias

Toronto’s StackAdapt has unveiled a new project called Unbiasify, a Google Chrome extension that hides the names and profile photos of candidates on LinkedIn to help deter unconscious racial or gender bias.

The open-source, free extension was built so recruiters can instead look at skills and experience before being swayed by physical attributes.

“Keeping an objective view of every candidate is integral to a successful recruitment process. As a recruiter, I want to evaluate a candidate based on their work experience and skill set, and provide a level playing field for all potential hires,” Martin Hauck, StackAdapt’s director of talent acquisition, said in a release.

“By removing a candidate’s profile photo and name, we eliminate any unconscious bias that can potentially tarnish the recruitment process such as bias towards or against specific age, race, gender, or appearance.”

StackAdapt's engineering department.
StackAdapt’s engineering department.

A lack of diversity in the tech sector has prompted think pieces, panel discussions and company-grown initiatives that try to make sense of the how and the why while proposing remedies to the longstanding issue.

In their own response, StackAdapt launched #HackDiversity campaign earlier this year to raise awareness about diversity in tech and call on the community to address industry bias. Unbiasify is the native advertising platform’s second community-driven initiative prompted by #HackDiversity.

“When we launched #HackDiversity, we learned there are many fundamental issues in the tech industry and wanted to take concrete actions to foster a more inclusive working environment,” explained Hauck.

While there are existing apps and platforms that are aimed at reducing bias in recruitment, Hauck said they wanted to make removing unconscious bias as simple as a single click.

“Unbiasify is not going to rectify the diversity in tech problem on its own but having a free tool that helps recruiters focus on what actually matters will make an impact on the recruiting pipeline,” he said.

Unbiasify is now available in North America on the Google Chrome store and the company said it will be made available for other recruitment and social media platforms in the coming months.

“Reducing bias in the hiring process will welcome more diversity in our industry. We want every qualified candidate applying for a position at StackAdapt to know that they are being evaluated on their knowledge, not their cultural background or gender,” said Vitaly Pecherskiy, StackAdapt co-founder and COO.

The open-source project will be managed by StackAdapt’s development team and Varun Vacchar of The non-profit tech community group Toronto Java Script has also committed to supporting Unbiasify.