When you see someone wearing a piece of clothing representing your favorite sports team, do you instantly smile and shout the team’s slogan? If a stranger is overheard talking about something from your home state in a positive way, do you instantly think better of them or strike up a conversation with enthusiasm?
Those are relatively innocuous examples of bias: a feeling of preference based on a common background or shared experience. With sports teams, bands, or even certain geographic locations, it’s a fun and probably harmless show of unity, something that makes people feel good and part of a community.
But when it comes to hiring employees, that bias can be detrimental to your practices, your company’s hiring techniques and it can disadvantage otherwise highly qualified people. It doesn’t matter whether the bias is conscious and deliberate or reflexive and accidental because the end result is the same.
There’s a way around this: Blind hiring. This is a practice of removing any and all identifying factors — name, gender, religion, reference to socioeconomic background, academic qualifications or experience (including the name of the school or university attended) — to allow all candidates to be reviewed and considered based solely on their skills and experiences. This results in people being brought in for interviews because they are the best qualified, most talented and best equipped for the job.
How does blind hiring work?
By utilizing resume reviewing and analyzing software, all personal information is stripped away from applications, leaving only pertinent information as determined by the user. If buying new software isn’t in the budget right now, there are other ways to do this, including creating a spreadsheet for new applicants and then hiding certain columns, like a candidate’s name, the name of their school or university, the city in which they live, etc. It’s also possible to create screening questions as part of the application process, add those answers to the spreadsheet and have any demographic information hidden or obscured. Other companies have adopted a practice of requesting, as part of the application process, that no demographic information be included to eliminate even the possibility of bias from contaminating the review process. The simplest method might just be to have someone who is not involved in the hiring process print out copies of resumes and use a heavy marker to cross out any information that could be subject to bias or preferential selection.
What are the benefits?
Candidates who are selected for interviews during a blind hiring process are picked for their qualifications, skills and work experiences, not their pedigree. This can benefit women in male-dominated industries, people from less prestigious or lesser-known universities in competitive fields. It levels the playing field for selecting candidates based on what they can do rather than who they are or where they come from. By adding in skills tests to determine whether someone has the kind of knowledge and work experience needed, candidates who are equipped to do the job on day one will shine and rise to the top of the application pile based on their abilities. Blind hiring also is a great way to potentially help encourage and meet with a more diverse array of candidates, including people from different nations and different racial and ethnic backgrounds. And people with different backgrounds working together means your company benefits from myriad perspectives and problem-solving approaches.
Ready to add to your team? Sterling Personnel can help find the best candidates!
If you’re ready to give blind hiring a try, Sterling Personnel can help! We can offer advice on the best ways to incorporate this practice. In the meantime, if you’re looking for qualified candidates and are in a pinch for time, we have some outstanding, highly-skilled people ready to get to work right away. One call to Sterling Personnel can help get your company on the path to success!