Companies worldwide have upgraded their recruiting practices by promoting diversity when hiring personnel. Not only is this ideal for socio-economic development, but it also encourages a strong team spirit that is inclusive, welcoming and progressive. The world has progressed in many ways, be it education, work ethics, cultural coexistence and appreciation, economic growth and political evolution as times move forward. Whether it is ethnicity, gender, financial background, or level of education, hiring people based solely on merit and their value to the company is essential. And so, companies have begun recruiting employees with the help of blind hiring.
What is Blind Hiring?
Very simply put, blind hiring is a job recruitment process wherein an applicant’s personal details (such as gender, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background, academic background) is blocked out of the official job application, so that employers can make an unbiased decision based solely on merit. Biases may not be conscious and can come into play early in the job application process, so blind hiring ensures the recruits focus objectively on every application.
This has become an increasingly useful talent acquisition tool, gaining popularity as early as the 1970s, and according to a Mckinsey survey report, companies with gender diversity at the executive level had 21% more profits than those without diversity. It was found that applicants preferred working in a diverse professional setup, 76% of them citing that it was an important factor in considering companies and job offers.
How does it help the company’s diversity?
Many recruiters traditionally rely on instinct or first impressions during employee interviews and resume screenings, which isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. Biases helped us in the early evolutionary ages to make quick decisions for survival, eliminating dangers, weaknesses or threats to our safety or progress. This survival instinct still runs strong within humans. But in today’s day and age, it can translate into unconscious biases that aren’t necessary for ‘survival’ or progress of the company. Not all decisions are the best, or judgements accurate, and can lead to employment choices that are unfairly influenced.
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By removing names, gender, ethnicity, religion, college degrees, socio-economic background and personal interests and hobbies, a job application is filtered extensively to what is only the absolute requirement: skills, merit and added value to any organization. This gives people from any backgrounds a fair and unbiased chance at a job opening. Recruiters are no longer ruled by unconscious cognitive biases that have either been derived from personal experience or societal conditioning over a period of time (e.g. “This job is better suited to men than it is to women”, “Ivy League college degree — this person is the best candidate for the job!).
How can I use it in my company?
If you want to implement blinding recruitments at your company, there are automated tools like Textio, Pinpoint and Blendoor that can filter out the unnecessary details of every job application. This helps anonymize the applications, remove any demographic information and promote diverse recruitments. If you’re looking for something more manual, you could also import all job application information into an excel sheet, and hide the columns that are not helpful to the blind hiring process. You could even create a questionnaire for applicants to fill in, before you actually interview them, to give you an idea of their thought process and ability to problem-solve under pressure.
When adopting a blind hiring policy, understand what it is you are trying to achieve. If there is a particular diversity group that you want to expand (for e.g. increase the number of females at the workplace), then you needn’t redact gender from the application, so that you are able to identify the worthy female applicants to add to your workforce, and at the same time, not use any other personal biases while hiring.
Are there disadvantages?
While blind hiring is a very useful tool in keeping things unbiased, objective and to the point in the recruitment process, there are some pitfalls that companies experience when opting for this hiring strategy.
Firstly, adding a tedious step to the hiring process, which involves collating and then filtering all the employee data to make it screen-ready for employers is time consuming. This goes against the idea of an efficient process that helps recruitment of skilled personnel go faster.
The screening process definitely goes more efficiently with less demographic information, but also rids you of the opportunity to gauge a person’s temperament and likeability. There is no room for personality in this kind of application process, which, in the case of companies looking for PR executives or HR personnel, defeats the purpose of finding the ideal candidate.
Some applicants rely on their personal information or opinions in order to be considered skilled for a job. This is more prevalent in creative companies that are looking for writers or designers. You definitely need some personal information in this category in order to get an idea of who it is you might hire.
The standardized process that blind hiring provides could also backfire, if you are trying to level the playing field in the workplace regarding minority groups. If you are looking to even the scales with regards to minorities, the blind hiring process won’t give you the opportunity to correct the imbalance, because all background information will be omitted. So whether it’s someone from a majority or minority group, you will only be able to hire an applicant based on skill. And often, those hires do not go to people from minority groups.
Discrimination and equality are an ongoing struggle at the workplace, even as the world moves forward in embracing and celebrating diversity in every area of work and life. Tools like blind hiring are helpful in achieving the diversity goal. It could use some more fine-tuning, when it comes to companies that are looking to create a balanced diverse workforce by giving more opportunities to underrepresented groups with aptitude, rather than blindly picking people that do not represent diversity fully. Embracing diversity is a great way to ensure you have a solid team-playing workforce. People remember the support they are given in their lives, and will always pay back with productivity and quality work.
Reference: From “The Blind Hiring Process: What It Is & How To Do It” | Glassdoor Team, Glassdoor | August 23, 2021
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