Entelo Diversity Will Try To Institute Affirmative Action In Workplace Using Social Media Data

If you’ve ever worked for a software or science company, and I’ve worked for several as a human resources chimp, you know they’re pretty much a diversity disaster area. So, nerds being nerds, they decided to apply technology to the idea, and came up with Entelo Diversity, which is going to go horribly wrong.

The essential idea behind Entelo Diversity is that it’s software that uses social media and other “public data” to determine whether a candidate is suitably ethnic/female/veteran enough to satisfy government guidelines, even if they keep it private, to a “high degree of probability.” What could possibly go wrong?

Honestly, knowing what I know about how the hiring process works, Entelo should just start putting aside money for lawyers now, because they’re headed to court. As I’ve said about before, companies should avoid the social media presence of applicants like the plague. If somebody’s dumb enough to tweet racial slurs or slag the company, that’s one thing. Looking at anything that might create a lawsuit over whether or not you ignored an applicant because of something in their private life that’s not your business is quite another.

Thankfully, I’ve never worked for a company that was any less that scrupulous and ethical in their hiring practices, but just find any recruiter, get a beer in them, and you’re going to hear some pretty terrible stories. You pair up people who lack social skills and learn most of what they know about other cultures from bad TV shows with the job interview process, and things are going to get awful, fast.

The other problem is that “high degree of probability” hedge you find in interviews about the software. Every now and then, for no explicable reason, the major online ad networks decide to show me ads in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish. I am about as whitebread as it gets in America. Now imagine walking into a job and the guy conducting an interview tells you how excited he is to have somebody with Hispanic heritage on the team. Because that’s gonna happen.

In short, it’s a well-meaning idea that will go terribly, terribly wrong. But at least it’ll be funny to watch.