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Heard on the [HCM] Hill: Wepow

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Imo Udom is the co-founder and CEO of Wepow. Prior to Wepow, Udom held a number of posts at Lockheed Martin including Deputy Lead Systems Engineer and Proposal Manager where he managed a diverse team and evaluated project success. Udom received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and his M.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Udom has lived and founded companies all over the world including Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States. He regularly shares his expertise on diversity as well as his experiences starting and leading companies beyond U.S. borders.

Imo, Wepow is sponsoring a webinar titled “Unwrapping the Core of Inclusion” this week. What does the term inclusion mean to you as a CEO?

As a CEO, I think about inclusion a lot. How can I build an inclusive work environment that will help nurture and develop our internal talent, inevitably giving us an edge? To me, inclusion means taking a proactive approach to building trust, transparency and a place where people feel comfortable being their authentic selves.

Inclusion cannot stand alone. In order for someone or something to be “included” you must define what they are becoming a part of. It is critical that we define and develop our culture in order to build true inclusion. Thus, inclusion also means becoming a part of a whole. An inclusive workforce is one where each individual feels they are part of building and developing towards a unified goal.

Wepow is a leader in video interviewing, which has become the de facto way to interview job candidates – whether for advanced roles or campus recruiting. How does Wepow enable enterprises to support their diversity hiring requirements?

Despite the best of intentions, many organizations fall short of their goals to attract and hire a more diverse workforce. One of the many reasons for this is not acknowledging the role that unconscious bias has in the selection of new talent. According to Iris Bohnet, a behavioral economist and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, unstructured interviews are fraught with bias and irrelevant information[1]. Most interviewers still use unstructured interviews, which allow you to randomly explore details you think are interesting and relevant.

Wepow’s structured interviews create consistency in the screening process, leveling the playing field for candidates and when combined with unconscious bias evaluation tools, help reduce unconscious bias in your recruiting process. 

  • Consistent questions – all candidates invited to a Wepow video interview for a specific role receive the same consistent set of questions. Wepow users are able to create their own questions or build interviews using a library of questions pre-vetted by HR.
  • Transparent evaluations - hiring teams can either use Wepow’s 1 to 5 star scoring system or build their own custom evaluation forms and rating scales for consistent scoring. With Wepow, hiring teams are able to review and evaluate candidate responses on a question-by-question basis thus comparing apples-to-apples.
  • Cast a wider net - hiring teams are able to schedule and review Wepow interviews in a fraction of the time it would take to do the same on a phone interview, allowing them to get to know significantly more candidates. Casting a wider net brings teams closer to leveling the playing field for groups of candidates that often get overlooked due to time constraints.

For more about Wepow and diversity check out our the Wepow Diversity & Unconscious Bias Interview Guide.

There’s been recent news coverage about the use of video interviewing coupled with artificial intelligence. Are we taking the category too far, too fast by infusing it with AI? It seems like it has the potential to backfire, especially if the goal is diversity hiring and the algorithm is trying to “find more of the same.” What do you think?

I am very excited about the recent advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning. There are many ways AI can help build a better future. Like with many new technologies, it is easy to misuse or overestimate the potential they may have in the early days…anyone remember the Segway? In the case of AI, it is especially important to take a step back and think about how we are implementing it when it comes to AI. If AI is simply being used as a better matching algorithm then it could easily get us to a homogenous work culture faster instead of building the diverse teams we all know we need. The devil is in the details. A number of people, much smarter than I am, have highlighted how easy it is to build bias into algorithms that are supposed to be inherently unbiased.  One of the ways to solve this problem is to ensure that technology creators are aware of the potential for bias and are intentional about becoming more diverse.

Wepow will certainly be incorporating AI and machine learning to help our customers build and develop the right talent more efficiently. We are a uniquely diverse and international organization and thus bias and inclusion are a daily part of our conversation. We proactively look for ways to mitigate bias and promote inclusion in everything that we do. Organizations partnering with us to take advantage of AI’s benefits can be confident that we have their best interests at heart.

Be sure to register for this week’s complimentary webinar using this link: https://teamable.com/diversity-series/episode1/ and visit Wepow in Booth No. 2922 at the 20th Annual HR Tech Conference.

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/04/how-to-take-the-bias-out-of-interviews