Blind recruitment: What is it and how does it work?

Editorial Team

Diversity and inclusivity become more and more important boxes to check for companies day by day. Companies seem to be finding more ways to not only diversify their workforce but also do it in a fair manner. This has made the concept of blind recruitment a popular choice for hiring committees lately. 

Bias is a significant problem in current recruitment practices and making decisions about candidates. It is difficult to operate fairly if underlying biases are influencing any part of one’s decision-making process, which makes blind recruitment very important.

What is Blind Recruitment?

Blind recruitment is the process of removing details that characterize a candidate from their applications while recruiting, so as to evaluate talent based on their capabilities and suitability for the job. Characteristics of applicants such as their age, names of educational institutions, gender, sexual orientation, etc. are removed. This reduces the chances of conscious and unconscious bias seeping into the recruitment process, hence making it easier for hiring committees and managers to make decisions without preexisting bias.

The removal of a candidate’s personal information as ‘blind recruitment’ to reduce bias is a fairly new practice. While it is being adopted into organizations lately, it has not yet become the norm for hiring processes. Thus, it is good to understand the process in itself, its advantages and disadvantages.

Blind recruitment has its advantages

Gaining a better understanding of customers

Blind recruitment presents a fairer chance for more diversity within an organization. Customers and clients then get represented by people like them, thus creating a better understanding of their requirements and standards.

Performing better as a team

Diverse teams are known to perform better and make better and more effective decisions, quicker. The diversity brought in by blind recruitment will thus help an organization’s team perform better on the whole.

Read more: The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

How Does Blind Recruitment Work?

For blind recruitment processes to happen smoothly, it is best that hiring managers follow structure, and perhaps, even a pattern.

Employers must narrow down what information to omit from incoming applications.

This could include details such as name, age, gender, sexual orientation, as well as personal interests.

Tools to support blind recruitment must be put in place.

While it is possible to manually anonymize applicant details, it is more efficient to use a mechanism that has already been put into place. This is where Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) come into play. An ATS will automatically anonymize any information that characterizes an application from the hiring manager. There are many software on the market that can conduct this process for a hiring manager, such as Pinpoint, BambooHR, and Greenhouse.

Staff must be educated to recognize and overcome unconscious bias.

While, yes, there may be tools and software to remove sources for bias, it is important to also train staff, especially managers, to ensure that bias takes a back seat while recruiting talent.

Disadvantages of blind recruitment

While blind recruitment seems to work as a feasible solution for combating bias within recruitment processes, it is a double-edged sword. 

Blind recruitment may lengthen the hiring process. 

If someone is manually removing a candidate’s personal information instead of an ATS, then it will take longer to process applications and interviews. This might become a challenge when a hiring manager has many applications to work through in a month.

Recruitment doesn’t remain blind throughout the process. 

Blind recruitment will remove bias in the first stage of the hiring process, but that does not mean that bias will not come into play during the face-to-face interview stage of hiring.

There is the likelihood that diversity quotas will not be met. 

While blind recruitment will mean one is hiring a more diverse group of people to begin with, it might also result in certain quotas not being met. Blind recruitment will make it more difficult to hit diversity goals.

Blind recruitment is not going to fix all problems related to diversity and inclusion, but it can reduce bias when heading towards the later stages of the interview process. Therefore, it is important that you:

  1. Attract a diverse talent pool. When advertising for the positions that are open in your company, make sure that it is known that a diverse pool of people will be welcome to apply in the first place.
  2. Conduct fair interviews. Introduce mechanisms such as prescriptive questions and interview scorecards to ensure that the interview process is as fair and objective as possible and that conscious and unconscious biases do not show through.
  3. Have a diverse HR team. Bias is sure to strike less when the people responsible for hiring themselves are conscientious enough of their bias. This is most likely to happen if the decision makers are diverse enough, to begin with. Diversity within your organization will foster more diversity.

While blind recruitment is a relatively new phenomenon that has its drawbacks, the advantages make it a sound enough option to fully be adopted into hiring practices. Diversity and inclusion is the name of the game, and blind recruitment can act as your winning token, or at least, get you closer to business success.

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