#HRtech: Meet Angela Hood and Her Quest for Removing Bias
September 02, 2019 by Aley Brown
Welcome to our new blog series, #HRTech, where we interview HR Tech leaders and get their thoughts on human resources, work, and life in general, all while learning about the hottest technology inside the HR space.
I met Angela this year while doing some HR networking and was immediately drawn to her because of her passion for inclusion and removing bias.
This passion led to the creation of her company, ThisWay, which helps remove bias from applications and resumes, creating a level playing field and helping ideal candidates find their ideal roles. You can find more information about ThisWay here.
All of this made her the perfect first guest for this series.
Let’s get started!
Here is my interview with Angela:
Aley: Tell me about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What were you like as a kid?
Angela: I was born in Arkansas, but actually moved to Texas and ended up living in Plano.
My grandparents had a boat company, so I always grew up around manufacturing. I could read blueprints at a pretty young age. My family wanted me to be a more traditional girl, but I was always a bit of a tomboy. I loved boats and trucks.
I ended up going to Texas A&M University. In college, my boyfriend got in a motorcycle accident and couldn’t attend class, so I went to his construction science class to take notes.
I loved it! I ended up switching to be a construction science major because of that.
And I would say I’ve always had a drive to be successful and work. Dysfunction around family and other life circumstances always made me want to have a really strong career so that I could survive without the necessity of depending on someone else.
Aley: What was the thought, or the idea, behind your current venture? What sparked it?
Angela: So I married someone in the Marines that I met in college. We started traveling around the country wherever the Marine Corps would send us. Because of this, my resume made me look like a job hopper.
And after he left the Marines, it was still super hard for me to find a job. That transition from veteran to civilian is super difficult, and for the families as well.
That, paired with the massive vacuum where people were having trouble getting work in 2008, and the noise I heard in the space about companies not being happy with employees and vice-versa, really sparked something in me.
I thought I could solve the problem.
I went to the University of Cambridge incubator program and built some partnerships with other countries.
The first attempt at the technology was a failure. And there were 13 failures after that.
But in 2018, the solution worked!
I did so many things to make sure I could make it work. I sold my convertible, I did what ever I could. Once I figured it out, I knew I needed to hang on.
Aley: Tell me about your company, “ThisWay.” What do you do? How is it different from what is out there?
Angela: Our technology removes bias from resumes and applications.
We are a technology company – not a recruiting company.
We have standalone technology, but we also can implement into ATSs.
You know, resumes can look weird. I experienced that when my resume looked like I had been job hopping.
So, our goal is to remove bias so it is more fair to both the employees and the company so that the best match possible can be made.
We have an amazing team full of decades of HR and technology expertise. I’ve merged that with people who all have the same shared passion for the topic, and really awesome specialized things have been able to happen.
And because of that, we are headed to our first 3000 customers.
Here is an example of how our technology works:
The Texas Business Association called me. They were trying to hire for several key roles that were very hard to fill.
Candidates came in from different job boards, our system read all the applications. And then, from that, we gave the hiring team their top five choices.
The SVP ended up calling me afterwards, and telling me that they ended up hiring the person I thought they would hire. Even though if it maybe wouldn’t of been their pick if it wasn’t for the technology matching. And the person has been a perfect fit for them since starting the role.
Aley: What is your “why’ when it comes to working in the HR space? What passion motivates you?
Angela: I don’t think there are many things more important than an individual being able to support themselves and their loved ones.
When bias keeps you from having that, it is tragic.
So if you can remove bias, the company and the person succeed, and the greater economy succeeds.
Aley: What advice would you give to people looking to be a leader in the HR space?
Angela: We should think of ourselves as human leaders, not tech leaders.
Good technology makes the human job easier. I like augmented intelligence – not artificial – because then you aren’t focusing on the tech, you’re focusing on the people.
When you focus too much on tech, you lose the entire point of technology.
Aley: What is your secret weapon/ superhero strength?
Angela: Since being an entrepreneur is my core, I am resilient in ways other people wouldn’t be.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t bragging, it is an affliction. It just means you afflicted with the inability to quit. I have that resiliency to get past anything and not let things get me down for too long.
I also have an ability to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.
All of these would have to be my secret weapons!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more #HRTech!
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