Blind Hiring: How to Eliminate Bias From Your Hiring Process | Unconscious bias can have a huge impact on a company’s recruitment process. While most hiring managers like to believe they would never let factors like race, gender or sexual orientation influence their hiring decisions, the reality is that most companies still regularly allow unconscious bias to seep through. Fortunately, many companies have started to prioritize creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, and blind hiring is one of the most popular methods of choice.
What is Blind Hiring?
Blind hiring includes any practice that intentionally removes or conceals identifying information about a candidate during the hiring process to reduce unconscious bias. The practice dates back to the 1950s when the Boston Symphony orchestra began hiding candidates behind a screen during auditions to reduce gender bias and is gaining in popularity today as more business owners learn the value of diversity.
In our current digital world, hiring managers generally opt for a more modern approach to reducing bias. Some popular blind hiring practices include removing identifying information from candidates’ applications, creating a standardized set of interview questions and avoiding pre-screening tests that focus on “cultural fit.” These methods all favor a skill-based approach to recruiting and leave less room for unconscious bias to slip through.
What is Unconscious Bias?
Unconscious biases are stereotypes toward groups of people that a person is not actively aware of. Unconscious bias can include a number of traits and typically falls into one of the following categories:
Primary biases: Gender, race, age, ethnicity, physical ability and sexual orientation
Secondary biases: Accent, communication style, religion, marital or family status, geographic location, appearance, education and income
Why a Diverse Workplace is Important
Promoting diversity and representation in the workplace is beneficial for both society as a whole and business owners. Studies show that diverse teams boost productivity and deliver 60% better results, and racially diverse companies see 15 times more in revenue and sales than companies that lack diversity. Gender-diverse companies also tend to achieve higher levels of financial success than those dominated by one gender. As more customers and employees seek out companies that promote diversity, business owners’ success will increasingly depend on their ability to educate themselves and adapt.
Blind Hiring Pros and Cons
While blind hiring can be beneficial for some companies, the outcomes are not universal and can vary by company. If you are considering adding blind hiring to your recruitment process, it is important to consider the following pros and cons:
Blind hiring allows hiring managers to focus on a candidate’s skills rather than their personal information, identity or background.
It creates a standardized process, ensuring that each candidate receives a fair evaluation.
Blind hiring prevents hiring managers from favoring candidates who look like them and passing up on more skilled applicants.
If your company is actively looking for minority candidates, blind hiring can prevent you from identifying them during the recruitment process.
Blind hiring doesn’t help as much during the interview process. At some point, you or your team will have to meet the candidate in-person, virtually or over the phone, a time when it is nearly impossible to conceal traits that trigger your biases.
Blind hiring helps conceal identifying information, but it does not eliminate unconscious biases within hiring managers and staff themselves.
If you decide that blind hiring is right for your company, you will need to supplement it with additional practices to fully and effectively diversity your staff. There is no magical one-size-fits-all approach that works for every company, but education should always be the first cornerstone of your strategy. Educating your team about unconscious bias and the value of diversity will simplify the diversification process and create a more welcoming environment for new minority employees.
If you are ready to diversify your team and set your business up for success, see the infographic below to learn six ways to implement blind hiring.
Please include attribution to thimble.com with this graphic.