CEO: Khyati Sundaram
Applied is a tech platform which de-biases hiring processes, led by CEO Khyati Sundaram. They first launched in 2016, having originally spun out of the government’s ‘nudge’ unit. In addition to the UK government, their clients include Comic Relief, ASOS and HarperCollins.
Backed by a huge amount of research, their tech has been optimised to remove opportunities for human bias to creep in and to allow hiring teams to identify the ‘right’ person for each role. This increases successful hires from ethnic minorities by up to 400%, and increases female hires by up to 300%. Plus, 60% of candidates hired through the platform would be missed by traditional hiring processes.
Their tech works by stripping job adverts of gendered language which has been proven to deter women from applying to roles, and anonymising applications to strip them of identifying information which triggers bias. The platform also uses standardised, skills-based questions to assess candidates, and randomises their answers before subjecting them to a peer-review system. At work in the background, their AI has been trained on ethical datasets.
All these measures enable hiring managers to make decisions based on skills and role-fit; rather than what candidates look like on paper, mutual interests or interview ‘vibe’. And, in turn, they’re helping to address stubborn disparities across the workforce. The employment gap for ethnic minorities is currently 13% in the UK, and women are still scarce in senior roles.
But, crucially, Applied’s skills-focused approach creates more diverse workforces organically. This means that each and every team member knows that they have been hired based on their own merit, rather than on account of diversity quotas or agendas.
Applied also pride themselves making the experience as seamless and rewarding as possible for candidates. Stories of candidates being subjected to a whole string of different interviews and assessments, only to be ghosted after the final stages, are far too common. Whereas candidates who go through the Applied platform rate their experience 9/10 on average.