Numerous studies have shown that a diverse work environment leads to increased creativity and innovation. What’s more, organisations that are in the top quartile for gender, racial or ethnic diversity are more likely to see their financial returns reach above their national industry average.
This means that addressing the lack of diversity, or running a company in a way that promotes diversity, could hugely contribute to an increase in revenue. One of the ways believed to enhance workforce diversity is the implementation of blind hiring practices.
What is blind hiring?
In simple terms, blind hiring is a recruitment process aimed at preventing a hiring manager from accessing certain type of information about the candidates, such as: name, age, gender, race, educational background or work experience. As the main purpose is to remove unconscious bias, any type of information about a candidate may be hidden from the hiring manager. For example, information such as candidates’ interests and hobbies could be excluded as this may lead to preferential treatment. Blind hiring usually means that the hiring manager might not see or speak to a candidate before offering them a position.
Examples of companies such as Google, Deloitte or HSBC show that implementing such hiring methods leads to enhanced diversity.
How to implement blind hiring?
The first step to implementing blind hiring tactics, as advised by organisations that went through the process, is to decide which data types should be hidden. In an ideal scenario, an organisation should aim to hide any data that is not necessary to evaluate whether a candidate has the skills and/or capabilities to perform the job. Defining how far the blind recruitment process can be taken is crucial as it will determine the shape of all of the processes and the type of technologies used in recruitment.
Secondly, processes around applications and CV management should be established. To make sure anyone viewing the applications can’t see the defined set of data, it’s crucial to decide on how candidates’ data will be processed and passed on to the right team member(s).
Once the above elements are completed, the remaining steps of the recruitment process can be agreed. These should be designed in a way that will allow the hiring manager to evaluate candidates based on specified criteria. Tools such as psychometric and ability tests can be used or candidates may be asked to share samples of their work. This part of the blind hiring process should be thought through in detail as it’s the main source of information about the candidates.
Establishing processes and handling data may be time consuming for HR teams, especially those responsible for sourcing and hiring talent in high volumes. There is however, a good selection of software designed specifically for eliminating conscious and unconscious bias.
Below are examples of technologies that make blind interviewing, testing and even creating more inclusive job advertisement simple and quick:
Textio - web based app that acts as a spell check for unconscious bias.
GapJumpers - this product blocks implicit hiring bias through blind auditions.
Ideal - software that excludes demographic data during.
BLENDOOR - another technology that’s designed to hide data that's not relevant and highlight data that is.
Pymetrics - tool that uses neuroscience games and bias-free AI to match people with job.
HireVue - video platform that combines video interviews with predictive, validated I-O science and AI.
The Downsides of Blind Hiring
As any recruitment method, blind recruitment also has its disadvantages. The main concern around this method lies in hiring for cultural fit, which wouldn’t be possible in the blind hiring process. Evaluating cultural fit is especially challenging as candidates’ personalities are prevented from being fully visible.
Another downside of implementing this type of hiring could be that some of the talented candidates may drop out or even fail to begin the process due to testing that would be more intense and specific than in other scenarios.
What’s more, as some industry experts mention, blind hiring doesn’t eliminate conscious or unconscious bias but it postpons it. While certain criteria are excluded from being factors affecting early stages of recruitment, the candidates will eventually meet the hiring manager which is when the bias might still come into play.
Regardless of all the pros and cons, the data speaks for itself - companies who initiate blind recruitment practices, eventually build more diverse workforce. Diverse workforce resembles customers database more accurately and allows for more varied ideas to be born based on experiences and knowledge coming from different backgrounds. Putting all these ingredients together translates into higher revenue.
Perhaps blind recruitment isn’t an ideal method, but it’s certainly one worth experimenting with.