It’s not just The Voice that recognises the advantages of recruiting blind, organisations across the globe are now employing this very type of strategy to overcome unconscious bias in their recruitment methods.
Recruiting blind is a little like dating in the dark only it’s a hands-off affair. Raised eyebrows? Let me explain. If you remove the names, gender, age and address of a candidate from their resume, you’re essentially left with their past experience and performance when judging their suitability to the role. Now I’m sure a lot of you are mumbling that this is exactly the information that you use to select a candidate, but without realising it many of you have made hiring decisions that have been influenced by personal details. Ask yourself; did you preference David’s resume over Mohammed’s and Siobhan? Hiring managers do make recruitment decisions based on non-job performing information contained within one’s resume. We are not always conscious that these factors are influencing our decisions and the results see us potentially denying ourselves a conversation with a quality candidate…maybe the best candidate.
This concept of blind recruitment is fast gaining traction with big business. This follows numerous studies internationally that demonstrate that candidates with ethnic names need to send out approximately 50 per cent more resumes than candidates with white names. So the advantages of blind recruitment are obvious for applicants, but organisations are benefiting in more than one way too. This style of recruitment has led to the greater diversification of one’s workforce. A workforce more representative of your customer base also generates more ideas which in turn results in a more harmonious and profitable team.
When engaging a blind recruitment strategy you need to understand which information you need to omit from one’s resume. You can assess this by asking yourself if your organisation has a particular bias. Are your candidates heavily weighted based on their educational background? Is it their gender? Or perhaps their qualifications, or lack thereof? The idea is to remove all identifiable information that has no bearing on a person’s ability to competently carry out the responsibilities of the role and retain only that information that is absolutely necessary to make a great employment choice.
True blind recruitment will see a candidate selected without being seen or spoken to. What test can you then introduce to the recruitment process? Perhaps something practical such as welding two pieces of pipe together at a 45 degree angle; or accurately typing 100 words a minute; or strategising a promotional plan for a new product aimed at your key target market. Recruiting in this fashion could put a nose or two out of joint. Hiring managers may question your faith in their abilities to recruit and select appropriate personnel. The truth is we are all bias in some way. It’s simply human. If one understands this they will also understand that the method employed is not a personal criticism, but simply an acknowledgement that like everyone else they can be influenced by the appearance and personal particulars of a candidate and therefore categorises the applicant unfairly.
Blind recruiting is a concept that many of you will struggle with while others of you will be quite excited at the thought of rethinking your approach. It is a proven method and it will certainly challenge you to clearly define the essential proficiencies of each role within your business while creating an air of mystery leading into your new candidates first day on the job. So when you’re next hiring, why not cast all prejudice aside and give the blind approach a fair go?