Blind Hiring: Well-intentioned, flawed, and fixable | Glassdoor for Employers
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Blind hiring: Well-intentioned, flawed, and fixable

Blind hiring - removing certain information from a candidate's application to prevent biases - sounds like a good idea. But making resumes "blind" doesn't automatically increase the diversity of a company's workforce. Let's take a peek behind the curtain to see the flaws with blind hiring and interviewing and how to improve both.

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Flaw: Unconscious bias

Unconscious or implicit bias means an assumption, belief, stereotype, or attitude that they are often aware of. We make decisions based on these judgments, even without realizing it, that can be unfair and prejudicial, on aspects like gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, and background.

Receiving a blind resume might get a candidate to the interview stage, but if your organization isn't training managers and interviewers on how to uncover and address their own unconscious biases, the candidate will face the same challenges in the interview that they would have faced with their information included upfront. 

Fix: Understanding that unconscious bias can negatively impact your workforce is the first step. Training can fix it, whether you audit yourself or focus on including this training in your company's diversity and inclusion program.

Flaw: Bias in job descriptions

If your job descriptions have biased language, favoring one group over another, blind hiring practices won't help address and fix that. The words you use directly affect who feels comfortable applying, coding it so that some people will be more likely to apply than others, even if both people are equally qualified. 

Examples of biased words in job descriptions include using gendered titles for the position (e.g., "Chairman") or using words traditionally associated with certain genders like "ninja" or "rockstar." Consider how these words can attract different types of applicants from different backgrounds, ages, and levels of experience. Even words like "assertive" or "nurturing" can be off-putting to certain types of job seekers as they may see those words as gendered.

Fix: Incorporate mandatory inclusive job descriptions training for the people in your organization who are writing, reviewing, or posting jobs. At a minimum, job descriptions should be screened to ensure there is no gendered language ("he" or "she"), and stay away from quirky catchphrases such as "rock star" or "ninja" that can turn job seekers off.

Flaw: Impeding diversity and inclusion goals

Your organization should set specific, measurable diversity, equity, and inclusion  (DEI) goals but understand that blind hiring can backfire in meeting and exceeding those goals. Some studies have shown that anonymous hiring has actually negatively impacted the likelihood of women getting callbacks. If your company is focused on being more inclusive by hiring more people from underrepresented groups but you remove the ability to determine whether a candidate is part of one of those groups, those efforts can fail.

Fix: Don't completely erase the chance for job seekers to show you who they are. Filtering them out before they can get to the interview stage can hold back your ability to hire from a diverse pool of candidates. If you're a recruiter, consider delaying the "blind" part of recruitment after you've gotten a number of promising candidate resumes and are ready to pass those on to the manager or department with the opening.

Blind recruitment can work

Though there can be flaws in your methods, the impetus behind blind hiring and blind resume review is well-intentioned and shouldn't be abandoned. Instead, hone and improve your processes to strip out unconscious biases and provide training to each person involved in every stage of the recruitment funnel. When used intelligently, blind hiring can help create a more diverse, equitable workplace that benefits your whole company. 

Your employer brand can show candidates your goals and intentions for hiring to increase diversity at your organization. Create or update your free Glassdoor company profile today to strengthen your brand by showing your DEI goals.