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What is blind hiring?

Published: Thursday 13th August 2020

Any kind of bias, even if unconscious, can negatively impact recruitment. When hiring managers bring their own beliefs and preconceived notions into reviewing applications, it can unintentionally create an unfair field for applicants and job seekers. Moreover, it can hinder your business by overlooking talented new hires. This is where blind hiring can help. Removing biases is crucial to the effectiveness of your hiring process and to the success of your business.

What is blind hiring?

Blind hiring reduces biases during the hiring process by removing candidates’ information like name, gender, religion, or socioeconomic status. It also removes details like academic qualifications, meaning applicants will only be judged based on skills and not where they came from.

Theoretically, if characteristics that may lead to a biased hire are taken out of the equation, companies will be able to choose the top talent for their vacancies based purely on objective criteria. Consequently, blind hiring can increase diversity and contribute to your hiring process, if hiring managers implement it thoughtfully.

HR professional signing document, blind hiring concept

How can employers integrate blind hiring in the recruitment process?

Blind hiring can be easily incorporated into the screening stage. Information to exclude before reviewing CV applications could be names, candidate addresses and schools that candidates have attended. Pre-employment testing is also a good opportunity to apply blind hiring.

Unfortunately, introducing such tactics to the interviewing stage will be rather difficult. An alternative option can be anonymised written responses, however, this may often fail to pick up key skills crucial to the role. Regardless, reducing biases during the recruitment process has a slew of benefits to offer, which makes it worthwhile to consider. Here are some of the best practices.

Inclusive job descriptions can help blind hiring

If you want to increase your company’s diversity, you have to start at the very beginning of your hiring process. Crafting inclusive job descriptions will encourage diverse candidates to apply. Avoid using gender or other biases and instead of “he/she”, more generic terms like “the ideal candidate” will bring better results.

job description word concept on document and keyboard in the background

Racial and age-related terms may also push candidates away from applying. So instead of putting caps on years of work experience, it’s better to highlight the skills you need. Moreover, pay attention to using masculine, feminine and gender-neutral language. Job adverts with gender-neutral language attract almost 40% more responses and attention.

Hide academic information

Going to a top college might seem like a booster. However, having a high GPA at the best university doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in a job. Likewise, a low GPA isn’t an accurate sign that an applicant won’t be a good fit for your vacancy or the company. Therefore, instead of looking at academic information, consider the skills that the candidate has.

Avoid social media screening

Nowadays, scanning social media profiles has become incredibly popular during the hiring process. However, that way you can gain a lot of information about candidates that could lead to bias. This does not mean that hiring managers should take social media screening completely off the recruitment process. It is a lot smarter though to move it further along in the process, for example after the first round of interviews.

social media screening and tabs with social media platform brand names.

Offer continuous training on unconscious bias

Blind hiring can help reduce unconscious bias, but it won’t do the job completely. It’s vital to educate employees on unconscious bias and the damage it can do not only to your hiring process but also the business as a whole. Give examples of how unintentional bias can manifest. Moreover, grant your employees access to training on how to recognise these biases in themselves or even in colleagues.

Overall, blind hiring can be very effective, but cannot possibly solve all diversity issues. Although it can ensure that strong applicants make it further in the interview process without being judged on their background, it’s not realistic to have a completely blind hiring strategy. That’s why you should be taking extra steps to ensure that you remove bias from your company’s recruitment process in a more holistic way.

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