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E190 - De-biased hiring with Khyati Sundaram

“We have to create systems and processes that will allow people to mitigate for these ‘noisy’ decisions as scientists call them and give us more accurate decisions.”

- Khyati Sundaram on the behavioural and data science behind de-biased hiring

In this episode, we speak with Khyati Sundaram, CEO at Applied, a de-biased hiring platform.

We explore the role that fairer hiring processes, which is especially important in the charity sector following online movements including #NonGraduatesWelcome and #CharitySoWhite, have to play in reshaping the sector. In particular, we discuss increasing the number of women and underrepresented people in leadership, and the role and application of behavioural and data science in the recruitment process.

1. What biases exist and why?

Main biases include humans not hiring well which is evolutionary due to the short-cut decision-making that our brain tells us to take - which is a bias in itself. Therefore we can’t train ourselves to break our biases, rather we need to use external processes and systems to make more accurate decisions in recruitment.

Khyati shared two prominent case studies which explored internal biases, for example in Germany a study was conducted to better understand the role ethnicity bias with names plays in hiring biases. They used two names Sandra Bauer and Meryem Ozturk, the results of the study clearly demonstrated that the number of companies who asked the candidate to interview was significantly higher for Sandra Bauer, despite Sandra and Meryem having the same CV. Another case study is the double-blind auditions of the orchestra auditions, which increased the number of successful women selected. You can read this in more detail by reading Applied's article here.

2. What can we do to tackle biased hiring?

We also learned that so-called ‘noisy’ information such as the candidate's name, university or school, and how many years they have previously worked in a similar role, should be removed to better understand the ‘good’ data, which focuses on skills alone and whether the candidate can excel in the role.

We would love to know if this episode sparks internal discussions at your organisation and whether you will be changing your recruitment process as a result of this podcast. You can email us at or find us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

This episode of Charity Chat has been brought to you by our platinum sponsor Work for Good. Work for Good believes everyone should be able to turn the work they do into good. Through their fundraising platform, they offer charities a way to engage and work with small businesses, including founders, owners and sole traders who want to make an impact for charities through their sales. To find out more, please visit

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode

Related episodes that you may be interested in:

E186 - Women In STEM With Kim Diep And Shauna Devlin

E117: Positioning Your Charity In Line With Grant Maker Trends with Alex Blake

E106: Recruitment in the time of COVID-19 with Ashby Jenkins


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