Everything you need to know about “Blind Recruitment”

Here’s your guide to everything from a brief history of Blind Recruitment to building one for your company.

What is Blind Recruitment?

Blind Recruitment is the process where you hide your candidates’ personal data like age, gender, education, or even number of years of experience. Candidates are judged purely on their skills without knowing anything about their personal background.

This type of recruitment has started gaining a lot of popularity as it has helped the companies to overcome unconscious bias happening in the work environment. A series of studies showed that people with “ethnic or not so white names” needed to send out 50% more resumes before they got a callback than job hunters with “white-sounding names”.

Many organizations have shifted to Blind Recruitment as their recruitment process which includes Deloitte, HSBC, the BBC, powerhouse law firm Clifford Chance, and cloud-storage firm Compose Inc.

Brief History of Blind Recruitment

Blind Recruitment occurred 30 years ago. In the 1970s, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) was made up of almost all white male musicians. To solve the diversity problem, in 1980, they changed their hiring tactics when auditioning prospective members.

While auditioning their musicians, they kept a screen in front of them and all they could hear was music — hiring decisions were based on their musical performance only.

Their all-white male orchestra moved to half males and half females and with a lot more diversity which helped them attract more audiences. With this method, they got brilliant results in terms of sound quality, which they were looking to have in their orchestra.

Advantages

Diversity

According to an employee’s perspective, diversity in the workplace is appreciated. Even businesses aim to have high diversity in their workplace. Blind Recruiting can be a very useful tool to achieve this. Unconscious bias is removed allowing the recruiters to judge the candidates solely on their skills.

Having said that, removing personal data isn’t enough as there are other factors that come in while hiring. Recruiters should keep in mind that candidates have to be tested and given an opportunity to prove their skills, hence they should consider all the options before adapting to this method.

Less bias-ness

By omitting all the personal data and his previous work experience you are truly focusing on the candidate’s raw skills. Ultimately, blind recruitment strips away all the aspects of personal judgment a recruiter can pass. Thus, avoiding bias.

More skilled employees

If your hiring efforts are solely focused on the skill-set and attitude of an employee, you’ll increase your chances of gaining a high potential workforce.

Why you should consider it?

If your organization believes in the capabilities and the skillset of a person doing the job, rather than who that person is then blind recruitment is exactly what you need. Blind Recruitment is not only restricted to jobs related to art but can also be used in formal organizations.

For example, U.K. law firm Clifford Chance was interested in recruiting young lawyers fresh out of school but wanted to get away from potential biases they held over candidates attending certain universities in England. They did name-blind hiring, but they also decided to remove the university details of the applicants from their resumes.

They weren’t interested in picking so-called ‘elites’ from Oxford or Cambridge or whatever, they were only interested in picking people who had the right kind of qualifications, and not determining who to interview based on the university that the qualification came from.

Once you have confirmed your required qualifications, it’s easy to decide how far you want to go with blind recruitment.

Steps to build blind recruitment for your company

1) Identify your needs

The first step to be followed by each organization is to figure out their needs, will this method will be adopted by a particular department or by the whole organization. There is no one-size-fits-all rulebook to follow, so the organization has to decide how “blind” they want to go.

Some companies might want to omit names, gender, ages, and education from an application while other companies can go for other factors which they believe their organization has a certain bias for.

In the Toronto Symphony Orchestra example, the only important thing to the orchestra was how a person played his music. For them, blind recruitment meant they could cut out absolutely all other identifiable information, because it’s only the music that mattered.

2) Create a process that matches your blind recruitment criteria

Once you’ve decided which attributes you want to “blind” from the interview process, you have to create processes that support those criteria. It may look simple, as you just have to strip off the fields you don’t need from the application. But here’s the tricky part, without assessing their professional profiles like GitHub, LinkedIn how will you know that the skills they have mentioned in their application are true or not.

Creating initial stages of ability, analytical, and psychometric tests to assess your applicants. Google uses blind recruitment tactics by making the applicant take various psychometric and ability tests.

Thes tests will help the recruiter reveal whether the candidate is the right fit for your organization or not- as these are the most relevant information which should be taken into account rather than knowing their name, university or skin color which might bias recruiter’s opinion about the candidate.

3) Train your staff

The staff should be trained on the techniques of blind recruitment and also educated on the reason for partaking it in the first place. Conducting programs or lectures on how they can recognize and overcome their unconscious. Taking tests where they can learn when & where their biases kick in and how to manage them.

I have a bias, you have a bias, we all have a bias. This is not criticizing, it’s human nature–it’s how people are wired. But because of this, you don’t want to lose more deserving candidates. Now the management has to decide whether they need this recruitment or not, if yes blind how will they design and strategize the whole process to overcome bias issues.

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