Blind Recruitment: the Good, the Bad and the Innovative
Companies are more dedicated than ever to creating a diverse workforce. It’s no secret that bias sneaks its way into the recruitment process, whether hiring managers are aware of this or not. Blind recruitment is a method of recruitment that attempts to minimise unconscious bias and tries to diversify the hiring process.
One of the earliest recorded instances of blind recruiting was for an orchestra in the mid 90’s. They wanted to see if having candidates undergo a blind audition for an orchestra by playing behind a screen would change who they’d recruit. It showed that this in fact did result in more inclusivity, with a 50% increase in the likelihood of a woman moving onto the next round.
Although this recruitment method has been seen to be very successful in many instances, that doesn’t mean it’s not without its flaws. Recruitment software can help to support organisations in their blind hiring process.
What is Blind Recruitment?
Blind recruitment, or blind hiring is a recruitment process that attempts to remove unconscious bias by creating anonymity. This is to create a more diverse workplace and make the HR manager’s decision-making process more inclusive.
Blind hiring involves removing personal information that is normally found on a candidate’s CV, such as their name, gender, experience and background to try and avoid unconscious bias from influencing the recruiter’s choice.
Pros of blind recruitment
Increases talent pools
Using blind hiring in your recruitment process can help to increase your talent pool. By removing many of the details that might cause unconscious bias, you open your talent acquisition process to significantly more applicants.
When hiring managers decide to use blind hiring to recruit new employees, it demonstrates an immediate understanding of the importance of diversity.
Recruitment software and applicant systems can allow in-job postings or job descriptions to state that this is a blind recruitment process to help to attract candidates that otherwise may have been put off simply due to previous experiences.
Blind recruitment can create a more diverse workforce
One of the major benefits of using blind recruitment in your hiring and recruitment process is that it can help to create a more diverse workforce.
One study found that teams with more diverse decision-makers made better business choices 87% of the time, and greater productivity with a 60% increase in better results.
Hiring diverse candidates can add a wide array of benefits to your organisation. A more diverse workforce can result in having a broader range of skills, for example, hiring new employees from diverse backgrounds can mean that you gain new and different perspectives within your workforce. It can also encourage a working environment and culture that is open to different ideas.
Helps to remove bias during shortlisting
This recruitment process helps to reduce the risk of bias, be it conscious or unconscious bias. When recruiters and interview management are made intentionally unaware of information of the candidate, it means they are only basing their decisions on the skills and qualifications of the candidate.
One survey found that disabled applicants have to apply for 60% more jobs than individuals who aren’t disabled before they reach the interview stage. Blind recruitment can help to make the hiring process more accessible for disabled individuals. Recruitment software can omit characteristics, such as their name, race or disability, to prevent cognitive biases from leading our decisions.
Cons of blind recruitment
Doesn’t remove bias from the interview process
One of the major cons of recruiting blind is that whilst it seems good in theory, it only really works for the initial stages of the recruitment process.
Whilst blind hiring can be very effective at helping a more diverse pool of candidates progress to shortlists, there’s nothing to stop unconscious bias or discrimination creeping in during the face-to-face interview stage.
One potential grievance with using recruitment software to remove information during the first phase of the hiring process is that you remove the human element out of hiring. It becomes far more focused on skills and qualifications, rather than taking qualities about who the candidate is into account. This raises concern for hiring manager’s whether the applicant will actually be able to fit into the work culture that you are trying to build. HR managers could include personality tests to mitigate this issue before the interviews to ensure candidates suit the role they are being considered for.
It doesn’t guarantee diverse candidates
Blind recruitment does help to remove unconscious bias, but by nature of the process, doesn’t mean that your shortlisted candidates will necessarily be from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some people argue that diversity should be celebrated, and that taking that out of the hiring phase isn’t right.
As blind recruitment techniques are skills and experience based, it may even entrench socio-economic accessibility issues. Candidates from wealthy backgrounds may have the ability to gain experience which other candidates may not, which could impact shortlists.
Work history becomes unclear
Hiring blind doesn’t always give the full picture. For example, by removing gender from the hiring process it can make it more difficult for employers to figure out gaps in employment. A candidate may have had a large gap of recruitment because of maternity leave, but without this information it can affect the applicant’s chance of being hired.
Bias may occur elsewhere in the hiring process
The problem with unconscious bias is that it is present in all of us, it is psychological. It’s impossible to remove it, but it is possible to learn about it and learn how to minimise it.
Because of this, when we change recruitment to blind hiring it can result in bias coming out in different ways. Candidates that submit CVs or have to complete tasks through recruitment software end up being judged more on their communication and writing skills, even if having those skills aren’t a necessary requirement for the role.
Best Practises for Hiring Blind
Remove information that may cause bias during recruitment
Typically, the requirements of a candidate in the recruitment process involve providing their name, area of residence, gender, race and more. To effectively implement blind hiring, employers should choose what information is obscured when the applicant applies. With the CV Anonymisation tool, hiring managers can customise the information removed from the candidate’s application to remove the risk for unconscious bias.
The CV Anonymisation tool in the Hireserve Applicant Tracking System allows recruiters to choose what candidate information they want to see. In some instances, recruiters may deem it necessary to see certain information, but not others. Recruitment software enables the ability to customise application forms to your liking, which can help to improve both diversity and candidate experience.
Make Diversity Training a Requirement
Diversity training programs can help to educate your workplace on unconscious bias. When your interview management and staff alike are educated on what unconscious bias is, how to recognise it and how to stop it they can then challenge it more effectively.
Teaching staff on the value of diversity in the workplace and the many benefits it has day-to-day is a great way of helping to remove bias. Also, educating staff on the impacts that unconscious bias can have on individuals’ lives can help to demonstrate why exactly it is important we do what we can to remove it.
It is important for employers to recognise that bias does not just exist in the recruitment process, and that it exists in many areas of the workplace. Education can help to improve the candidate experience throughout recruitment.
Make job descriptions gender-neutral
Your job descriptions are the first impression a candidate has of your organisation, even before they look you up on social media. To make your recruitment more inclusive, and attract more diverse candidates, alter the language you use to make job posting and job descriptions more inclusive.
For example, avoid using gender-coded terms which can put applicants off applying for a job. These can include job titles such as opting for ‘salesperson’ over ‘salesman’ or addressing the candidate as ‘the individual’ over ‘he/she’ in job descriptions. A study found that job descriptions that were gender-neutral attracted 42% more applicants.
Blind recruitment is just the start of diversifying your organisation
Whilst blind recruitment isn’t an immediate fix for diversifying the workplace, it’s a start. As we know, recruiting is often one of the toughest challenges that businesses can face. Hireserve’s Applicant Tracking System and CV Anonymisation tool allows for you to configure your recruitment process the way you want.
If you want to understand how Hireserve’s CV Anonymisation Tool can remove bias from your recruitment process and boost your blind hiring efforts, find out more here.