Artificial intelligence is increasing diversity in the workplace

Algorithm automatically finds job opportunities for minority ‘silver medalists’

Thousands of underrepresented minorities are finding jobs thanks to an automated artificial intelligence system.

Technology developed by Let’s goan Israeli startup, scans the database of job applicants at American Express, Nike, Walmart, Booking.com, Adidas, Paypal, and many other global companies.

Identifies “silver medalists” from minority groups (those who came close to getting a job but didn’t) and finds similar openings to apply to at other companies.

Since 2021, it has helped 250 applicants find jobs each month in the US.

Joonko helps people from underrepresented groups find employment. Courtesy jopwell in Pexels

“Basically, we help companies find underrepresented minorities through an automated solution,” says Ilit Raz, founder and CEO of Joonko.

“Most companies spend tons of hours hand-hunting for underrepresented candidates, if they know how to tap into those groups, and most of them don’t.”

He created the platform in 2016 to connect highly qualified and underrepresented candidates with global companies that care about diversity. They don’t have to lift a finger. Joonko has access, with permission, to applicant tracking systems and automatically searches for opportunities at all companies he works with.

The Tel Aviv-based company is named after Junko Tabei, a Japanese mountaineer who became the first woman to summit Mount Everest in 1975. Raz says their perseverance shows them that no challenge is too much. big to beat.

A photo of Junko Tabei in 1985, the first woman to conquer Mount Everest. Courtesy Jan Kunnap /Wikimedia Commons

Joonko is connected to companies’ applicant tracking systems, databases that receive thousands of applications a month. When he identifies a shortlisted candidate from an underrepresented group (women, people of color or veterans) who didn’t make the cut, he approaches them and asks if they want to join the platform.

If these silver medalists say yes, Joonko scans his group of subscribing companies for suitable openings and automatically emails them personalized job recommendations twice a week.

Joonko’s talent pool is only open to professionals from underrepresented groups referred to the platform by one of its partner companies.

“The nature of the platform creates a situation where the company, which is the demand, actually brings the supply with it,” Raz tells NoCamels. “It’s just a supply that they don’t need and other companies might want to look into.”

Joonko sends two emails to his silver medalists with personalized job offers. Courtesy ORlia danilevich in Pexels

“We focus solely on underrepresented minorities, which no other platform does. The other thing is the ‘product’ itself, where all the candidates have been silver medalists, which means they get to the last two steps of the hiring process.

“Because they didn’t win this opportunity, they are invited to our group, which could lead to an opportunity for another company. So basically everyone in the pool is highly qualified, underrepresented minority candidates.”

Joonko can access these candidates by connecting to his partner companies’ applicant tracking systems, a software program that manages the hiring process by screening thousands of resumes.

Companies pay a subscription fee based on the volume of jobs they have. Therefore, small companies with 10 open positions will pay less than companies with 2,000.

“We look at every candidate who doesn’t receive an offer and try to understand their gender, race and veteran status using algorithms we develop internally. And once we do, we can channel them and determine if they’re relevant to the group or not,” she says.

Many companies began increasing their transparency and diversity efforts after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Courtesy F. Muhammad of pixabay

“We connect to those systems and have access to them so that when you get rejected, we know if you’re a silver medalist and we have all your information,” says Raz.

“So we can look at your demographics, identify the job you’ve been turned down from so we can go ahead and match you with a similar job.”

In addition to the importance of spreading tolerance, diversity actually benefits companies in many ways. Research shows time and time again that companies with gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to outperform their peers, and companies with women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time.

And yet, whites continue to make up the majority of the American workforce in 77 percent. Joonko is working to change this statistic by increasing diversity among global companies.

Joonko’s staff. Courtesy Avishag Shaar-Yashuv / Joonko

“I really wanted to create a solution that was interesting enough from a technology perspective, but would also solve the problem of underrepresented minorities in the workplace,” says Raz.

In the past two years, Joonko’s sales have grown by 500 percent.

“I think it all started with the movement that started after the death of George Floyd, in 2020, that started to force companies to be more transparent. And with that transparency, they have to improve.”

Joonko says the average company that leverages his platform sees a 25 percent increase in underrepresented candidates in their hiring pipeline (the series of stages through which a candidate’s job consideration progresses), and hires one in six of the candidates obtained through the platform.

Within the platform, 97% of candidates identify as underrepresented in the workforce: 68% are female or non-binary, 32% are Black, and 21% are Latino (a person of Latin American origin/descent). . .

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