Why Companies Have Turned to Blind Recruitment

Posted by Maria Talley on Apr 5, 2016 4:31:00 PM
Maria Talley
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As companies across the world realize the bottom line benefits of hiring a diverse workforce, some organizations have taken the initiative of introducing blind recruiting into their hiring process. Blind recruiting is the practice of removing personally identifiable information like name, age and gender from a candidate’s resume in order to make the hiring process less discriminatory.


Against a growing backdrop of research showing the prevalence of ethnic exclusion in hiring practices, and a public announcement by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, companies like Deloitte, HSBC and BCC have pledged to implement a “name-blind” recruiting process beginning April 2016. Removing names from applicants’ resumes will lower rates of employer prejudice and increase diversity in UK businesses. Here’s why you should consider implementing blind recruiting in your organization.

  1. Promotes a diverse workforce. Blind recruitment is used to overcome unconscious bias and promote diversity in the workforce. A study shows that people with “ethnic” names needed to send out 50% more resumes before they got a callback than applicants with non-ethnic sounding names. The same study found that having a non-ethnic name is equivalent to having as much as eight years of work experience! Consciously removing names from job applications will ensure all candidates are treated equally. 
  2. Removes bias toward candidates with degrees from less prestigious schools. “We assume that if you went to Harvard, Stanford or MIT that you are smart,” says Laszlo Bock, VP of People Operations at Google. “It’s one of the flaws in how we assess people.” Removing identifying information like education helps avoid unconscious bias that hiring managers may have toward graduates of Ivy League schools. It’s all about reducing the halo effect and judging the person’s abilities based on qualifications and not subjectivity.
  3. Eliminates prejudice. Candidates with uncommon and hard to pronounce names normally have a lesser chance to get a job. Another study found that "Job applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback; those with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback."
  4. Focuses on the ability to perform well. When the Toronto Symphony Orchestra wanted to hire a more diverse talent pool they decided to judge job incumbents by the only ability that mattered: musical aptitude. Each applicant played behind a screen; recruiters only heard the music being played. No other identifying information was available to cloud their judgement. As a result of this, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra went from an all-white male orchestra to a more diverse, half-female, half-male heterogeneous mix, the subscriber base had increased to about 25,000, and the audience average capacity also increased to 84%.
  5. Creates equality in the workplace and helps building heterogeneous teams. “A more diverse workforce resembles your customer base more accurately. It allows for different ideas from different backgrounds. It is good for business,” says Azmat Mohammed, director of the Institute of Recruiters. Companies who initiate blind recruitment practices see diversity increase, regardless of industry or country. The take home message: “Diverse teams bring in more money.”

There are varying degrees of blind recruitment, including removal of just the applicant’s name, age, gender and address, to more total measures like removing education and years of work experience. The process can be tailored to each and every organization. Blind recruitment is a great way to create a culture based on equality and support. The blind recruitment process helps your HR and recruiting team focus less on surface appearances and more on job competence and person-culture fit.


Topics: culture fit, hiring managers

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