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  • Writer's pictureBenoit Hardy-Vallée

On AI in Hiring and Racism in Canada, a conversation with Maaz Rana and Maurice Forbes (S01E10)

A conversation with Maaz Rana, co-founder & COO, and Maurice Forbes, HR Solutions Consultant, at Knockri


  • Knockri is an AI skills-based assessment tool, that helps reduce unconscious bias and shortlists the best fit job candidates to interview, during the early screening process of hiring

  • How AI systems can figure who should be short-listed, and how it increases diversity

  • The story of Knockri 

  • What should organizations do to really reduce discrimination and racism

  • Racism, the Canadian way

  • The forgotten story of Africville


  • Knockri uses asynchronous AI-powered video assessments for skills, and is on a mission to help with diminishing hiring bias and improving diversity within the workforce.

  • 4 questions to ask to ensure that AI is not biased:

  1. Does it have a reliable correlation to what it's assessing and is that predictive?

  2. Data collection: where does the pool of information that the technology is learning, coming from?

  3. Who trained the technology?

  4. What quality checks and insurances are being taken to reduce bias.

  • A common pitfall in machine learning is using historical data to train your algorithms.

  • Corporate responsibility for the future of work starts with companies investing the local communities, in communities where minorities and protected groups live.

  • The next step would be tracking diversity metrics within your own company.

  • In hiring, people are fishing from the same pond and expecting a different result.

  • Diversity and inclusion are starting to feel hollow. There is a lot of window-dressing that is happening right now, given the environment, companies are trying to capitalize on the "trendiness" of what is going on.

  • Plack people and people of color are going to expect better from companies who are making all these statement rights now.

  • In Canada, we have this perception that we don't have the same systemic racism issue than the US. But racims is racism - it's not really a spectrum.

  • We looked at the progress we made and used it as an excuse to sweep our own history underneath the rug and to absolve ourselves from seeing opportunities to improve.

  • Maurice's father grew up in Africville Nova Scotia, a black settlement that was created because of the underground railroad and the influx of blacks that came into the country. An all black township like Africville is basically segregation. He went to a school called the "Shelburne school for the boys". It was a "troubled boys" school, but really that's another noame for minorities.

  • If we remain ignorant, we remain a part of the problem.

  • The best thing you can do is to connect with a colleague, with a friend and listen to the story and through empathy, love and understanding you will see their experiences, their parents' experiences. When that happens, you will know what to do.


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