Many organizations recognize that achieving their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals starts with hiring. Those hiring goals start with sourcing and interviewing a diverse pool of candidates. According to a 2016 HBR article, the challenge for organizational leaders is overcoming the pervasive bias of maintaining the status quo within the organization. For example, if the organization is made up of predominately cisgender White women there is a higher likelihood of hiring more cisgender White women. Blind hiring is a tactic that organizations can use to increase the diversity of candidates in the talent pool.
What Is Blind Hiring
Because bias can present itself in many ways — both unconscious and conscious — and research says that bias can occur as early as the initial resume-screening phase, many organizations have moved to blind hiring. Blind hiring entails the blocking out a job candidate’s personal information. That information could influence or bias a decision to bring a candidate in for an interview or promote them to the next stage of the process.
Blind hiring hides resume details that can allude to someone’s race, gender identity, religion, or background. Details that might be hidden include a candidate’s name, college, address, hobbies, or graduation year. Eliminating these details allows hiring managers to focus on the candidate’s skills or prior work experience.
How to Implement Blind Hiring
There are tools such as Blendoor and Test Gorilla that can help you implement blind hiring practices. Some applicant tracking systems and resume screening services will conceal names and emails until the interview stage. But there are also steps you can take on your own to reduce bias when reviewing a resume.
Training Resume Screeners and Hiring Managers
Ensure resume screeners and hiring managers are trained to recognize the core competencies and skills needed to perform the required job. The training should also include biases that affect the hiring and interviewing process (affinity bias, confirmation bias, time-pressure bias, etc.).
Create an application
Instead of having applicants send a cover letter and resume, consider creating a standardized application that only includes relevant skills and experience.
Avoid social media
It’s become common practice to research a candidate on social media before bringing them in for an interview, but doing so can introduce bias.
Downsides of Blind Hiring
Blind hiring is not a perfect process. If your initial sourcing and recruiting do not focus on attracting a diverse talent pool, then blind hiring is unlikely to promote diverse candidates. Anonymizing candidates may help prevent bias in the resume screening process, but it does not eliminate bias from the interviewing process. In addition, by blocking out details about a person’s background, it may make it more difficult for hiring managers to ensure the candidate hails from an underrepresented group.
Any attempt to improve DEI in your organization has to start with a strategic decision and commitment to doing so. Blind hiring is just one potential step in an organization’s DEI journey. At Brighter Strategies, we help organizations evaluate not only their hiring practices but all of their ,programming, and initiatives to ensure that they are meeting their DEI goals. For more information, contact us.