News / Vancouver

Vancouver startup HRx to help companies hire diverse workforce

Job candidates’ names, gender, age, and more are hidden

Vancouverite Wyle Baoween is one of three co-founders of HRx Technology, a service that aims to help companies hire a diverse workforce based on merit.

HRx Technology/Contributed

Vancouverite Wyle Baoween is one of three co-founders of HRx Technology, a service that aims to help companies hire a diverse workforce based on merit.

A Vancouver startup called HRx Technology is aiming to help companies build a diverse workforce by taking unconscious bias out of the picture for recruiters.

Entrepreneur Wyle Baoween started looking for a job after he received his MBA with optimism – after all, he was top of his class at the University of Victoria and on their ‘Top 25 to Watch’ list. But it took applications to hundreds of companies for one to finally gave him an interview.

He got the job.

Four years later, he wants to ensure no one faces the same barriers he did.

“Really what I needed, was an interview. And I couldn’t get it,” said Baoween, who is originally from Yemen.

“It was really hard for me because I had an unfamiliar name, I had an unfamiliar background.”

He and two other co-founders envisioned a recruitment service that offered an online database of ‘blind profiles’ that companies could search through to find job candidates.

The selection process is similar to the idea for The Voice, a TV show where music judges can’t see what contestants look like, only what they sound like.

The profiles in HRx would be scrubbed of information that could trigger a bias to ensure recruiters chose candidates based on merit alone and not an unconscious preference toward certain schools, for example.

“The profiles do not show your name, your gender, your age,” explained Baoween.

“It even takes off the name of the company you worked with and the name of the schools you attended.”

The company is opening its website up to candidates Saturday, Sept. 18 and is seeking support from The Minerva Foundation, an group that advocates for gender diversity.

Baoween, 37, told Metro the discussion around diversity has changed in recent years.

“In the past, companies who cared about diversity cared because it was the right thing to do. Now …  they are starting to believe that diversity really brings value to the business.”

But there is still a long way to go, said Baoween, who recalls people giving him advice about what to name his now one-year old daughter.

“People said if you give her an unfamiliar name, she will have a hard time finding a job.”

More on Metronews.ca