Stereotypes are such a timesaver…. Right?

Being the HR tech fans that we are, me and my team absorb all that is new and buzzing in the world of HR and technology. This week we were discussing the principle of ‘blind recruitment’.  Not a particularly new phenomenon, but it seems to be gaining some momentum amongst HR thought leaders recently…

Let me first say this; I think recruitment is the most innovative and progressive specialism within HR. Recruiters are, mostly, very goal orientated extraverts who constantly shape their way of working and will use any tool that helps them get their hands on that one impossible to find candidate.

Then again, working with recruitment teams and hiring managers for years now implementing and supporting the systems they use, I can only conclude; we are just not that good in hiring…

Rarely hiring managers say they love the offered service. Almost never is the presented shortlist of candidates considered to be spot on. Even less often hire targets, as well as goals on diversity articulated by the management are met.

So let’s pause on that for a second…. we try to filter out the best applicants using overly polished resume’s and vague selection criteria captured in hurried job intakes. In most cases, hiring managers have way unrealistic expectations in terms of lead times and quality of shortlisted applicants. And maybe even more complex; both recruiters and hiring teams seem to have deeply ingrained unconscious biases around applicants and what kind of candidate will fit the corporate culture and who is most likely to be successful.

Who are we kidding; combine the above and nobody involved will be pleased obviously!

Maybe it’s safe to conclude that we are just not going to be able to effectively select the best candidates based on resumes. Maybe we should accept that we cannot verify skill levels based on someone’s degree, their work history and some personal considerations of a recruiter…

Then there is the concept of blind hiring. This is basically a way of candidate selection without the future employer knowing the applicant’s name, educational background, work experience, or even shaking his hand! Some companies newly testing the water with this even stop using resumes, and switching to for example a skills assessment, an applicant challenge, or a writing test.

The basic idea is this; the application process is fully anonymised (for example up to the interview stage), only allowing recruiters and managers to see information relevant to the task at hand. Obviously names, dates of birth, but in also anything that gives clues to gender, age and even sometimes the number of years of experience are removed from a candidates profile.  For instance,  if screening is based on competency questions, recruiters can only access candidates’ answers to these questions, and nothing else, focusing selection on the answers only and not, for example on the candidates name, or the degree he holds.

Blind hiring can open the door to unexpected hires. Potential biases around age, race, sex, etc. are eliminated from the process, at least from the initial selection of applicants. This in turn can impact your employee diversity. As we have sufficient proof that a diverse team is a strong team, who can oppose that, right?

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