Can blind recruitment combat bias?

I have recently been approached by a few clients that I have been working with to engage in a blind-sifting process which involves searching for talent by removing unconscious bias from the hiring process.
For those who have never heard of blind recruitment, it's a process whereby all personally identifiable information is removed from a job seeker's CV, such as name, address, education, the length of time in each role and more.
We have seen more and more companies start to implement blind recruitment in their employment strategy, at a time when diversity and inclusion have never been more central. However, with every new market trend, there are questions that arise. 
  • Can this combat recruitment discrimination?
  • Will it overcome unconscious bias?
  • What role and level would benefit from this most?
  • Is it going to be a time-consuming process, and will it make candidate/client experience worse or better?
  • And more importantly, will it bring amazing results?
I have been recruiting senior HR roles for nearly two years now and I believe that anyone who has ever been involved in recruitment would agree that no process is ever the same. The blind recruitment process should be tailored to each individual organisation, and sometimes even to the vacancy itself. However, there are a few areas which should be considered before deciding on which part of the CV will be blind. 
  • Is it a graduate recruitment role where university leavers are judged on the university they attended?
  • Is it a private sector role where public sector candidates might possibly be rejected? 
  • Might there be a prejudice towards minority groups?
Removing just a few identifiable details or even all of them would create a ‘naked’ CV, but initially, produce a fairer playing field.

Next steps

Organisations could engage with ‘blindly’ selected candidates and invite them to do various psychometric testing. That might include personality tests, aptitude, numerical, verbal reasoning or even bespoke tests, designed specifically for a particular role.
Ideally, at this point, the employer should have a shortlist of four or five candidates, invite them in for face-to-face interviews and one of them hopefully, will receive an offer.

Face-to-face interviews are still relevant

I can see why some hiring managers are sceptical about the effectiveness of blind recruitment on its own because, at some stage, job seekers will still have to make it past a face-to-face interview.
A few years back, when I first started my recruitment career I would have probably thought the same. However, with the experience I have now, I’m a great believer that technical abilities of candidates should always be at the forefront of decision making, regardless of the age, race or ethnicity. And more importantly, a good recruiter can make this happen.

Its long-term aim

Blind recruitment has been designed to find the best person in the current market, one that is technically equipped to do the job. This approach creates a more diverse and balanced workforce which allows for different ideas from a host of backgrounds. It is a little bit like building foundations for a house. Just because they are not necessarily visible when the house is built, it doesn’t mean they are not vitally important. A more diverse workforce mirrors the customer base more accurately and keeps employees engaged, and challenged, which improves productivity and employee retention.

A success measure

When you look back at all the hires you have done over the last year or two using this process you need to ask:
  • Does it really work? 
  • Are those hires still within the organisation and thriving? 
  • Are they helping the organisation to grow, and is the organisation helping them to become technically better? 
When you answer these questions you’ll be in a better position to know if the process works for your business and the next steps to take.
Ivana Madarasova
T: +44 117 906 5519