Have You Know About Blind Hiring?

A blind recruitment process means removing the candidate’s name and any other identifying factors from applications. These include age, address or location, years of experience, and school or university names.

Blind recruitment is useful in reducing bias in graduate, entry level, skills based or technical roles. The whole concept started with orchestras, where they have now successfully addressed discrimination against women. Blind auditions are proven to get 50% more women successfully through to final stages. It’s as simple as holding an audition behind a screen, and all candidates take off their shoes to reduce the risk of heels clicking on floorboards. To make blind recruitment work you must take into account every detail.

For senior and board appointments however, it hinders the process more than it helps. The disadvantages far outweigh any supposed benefits of trying to reduce bias.

The Advantages of Blind Hiring

Obviously, the main benefit of blind hiring is that all candidates are judged by exactly the same factors – the specific skills and abilities that they bring to the table. Proponents note these other benefits:

  • Blind hiring can promote greater diversity in the workplace because no recruiter or hiring manager will screen for candidates who look like them.
  • Blind hiring is considered more “scientific” because it provides the same assessments for every candidate. Often, during the preliminary telephone interview, interviewers may ask different questions of candidates based upon biases that pop up during those conversations. The interview process thus loses its objectivity. As the interviewee reveals personal information, the hiring manager makes subconscious decision based on biases. This all occurs before the hiring manager makes her final selection for face-to-face interviews. On the other hand, if those selected for the final interview process are selected fully on the objective assessments, the top 3-4 candidates will actually be those on top of the job requirements.
  • Blind hiring eliminates the “who do you know” practice that is often used by hiring managers, and, instead, opens up the field to other candidates who may actually possess higher skill levels.

The Disadvantages of Blind Hiring

There are certainly those who believe that blind hiring is just a fad and that, in the long term, it will not have staying power.

  • Blind hiring can actually hinder diversity in hiring. Many organizations seek out minority candidates in the hiring process as part of their commitment to affirmative action. When recruiters do not have the option of knowing personal information, they cannot actively pursue diversity.
  • Blind hiring does not take into account the need to find a “cultural” fit between a candidate and an organization. Just knowing the organizations a candidate has worked for in the past can provide good clues
    about the type of work environment in which a candidate has been successful.
  • Blind hiring could wipe out the often-used practice of referrals. Many managers and executives announce within their networking associations that they are looking for someone to fill a position. They put great stock in the referrals they get from colleagues and usually interview such individuals. Of course, that referral alone provides a bias.

A Soft Approach To Blind Hiring

Nevertheless, an abrupt transition from traditional to blind hiring practices can damage the morale of hiring managers. No one wants to feel like an algorithm is better at making hiring decisions than they are. For this reason, it’s important that blind hiring implementation is accompanied by diversity training that includes information about the latest research on hiring bias.

For many companies the best approach will use blind hiring techniques early in the hiring process while at the same time training recruiters and hiring managers in how to evaluate resumes and interview responses in an unbiased manner. Blind hiring applications cannot take the place of recruiters and hiring managers, but they can help them do their jobs more equitably.


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