Blind hiring is a growing business trend meant to address diversity goals and improve overall hiring. But all trends aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. A little research is needed to determine if you need to try blind hiring for your company and/or clients. That being said, don’t blindly go into choosing the right blind resume software for hiring.
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To know if you want to try something, you have to understand what it is. The term blind hiring sounds a bit mysterious, but it is surprisingly straightforward.
With blind hiring, you literally avoid seeing certain information about candidates, so unconscious biases cannot influence you; you don’t even have the information to have a bias about.
Companies use this method in various ways. Some go so far as to use tests to determine a candidate’s skill rather than rely on interviews and resumes. Others simply try to blind themselves from specific criteria on resumes.
Many tiny, innocuous-looking bits of information give recruiters vital clues that form unconscious biases in their minds. The candidate’s name may tip the recruiter off to their gender or race. The names of schools and colleges may impress them. Even a physical address may tell them that the candidate lives in a poor or rich neighborhood and give them an unfair positive or negative impression.
Recruiters may want to make fair and impartial hiring decisions and believe that they are doing so., However, they can easily be found unable to do so because they saw information that influenced their decision.
Diversity becomes more important every day for legal reasons and for the increased creativity, innovation, and strength that comes with a more diverse team.
Blind hiring improves hiring all around. Regular hiring is burdened by unconscious bias that can weigh favorably or unfavorably on candidates and lead to poor hires.
For instance, many people unconsciously assume that men or women will be better at certain roles, that customers will have a negative impression of employees from other races, or that a person from a lauded university is more intelligent or skilled than one from another university.
These assumptions are inaccurate, causing recruiters to hire candidates who are not really the most qualified and overlook others who are. They also lead to one-dimensional workplaces that don’t perform as well as diverse workplaces.
When a company first attempts to be diverse, they discover that simply throwing token candidates into the mix doesn’t work. Without addressing the root causes of inequality, the company will be unwelcome or even toxic to these new candidates. Unconscious bias is one of the root causes of inequality and the hardest to eradicate because it is unconscious.
Blind hiring is a broad concept to address a single problem, avoiding the absorption of information that tends to inspire unconscious biases. Ideally, you will focus only on the candidate’s abilities, skills, and experience. Anyone, black, white, male, female, poor, rich, or from any school, can get the job as long as they prove they can perform to needed standards.
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Dip your toes into the world of blind hiring by changing what appears on resumes. Career portals can be designed to not ask for certain criteria. Some customer management systems also remove this information.
Companies can ask recruiters to remove this information before submitting resumes for review. The latter tactic’s problem is that the recruiter will have to take their steps to also engage in blind hiring, or one of the most important stages of the hiring process will not be diverse.
It is pretty much impossible for recruiters to read social media profiles without discovering things they don’t want to know when they’re engaging in blind hiring. Most of the time, recruiters will be inundated with the candidate’s name, photo, gender, race, schools, neighborhood, and lifestyle information.
Social media profiles can be useful indicators of cultural fit and the validity of a candidate’s claims for most recruiting efforts. Still, with blind hiring, recruiters shouldn’t need social media profiles for these purposes.
Blind hiring strategies involving skills tests and trial periods answer those questions better than any personality test or social media profile ever could.
An in-person, phone or video interview will reveal too much about a candidate that ruins blind hiring. The only way to avoid this information for an interview is to conduct it online, in a chat format. All recruiters will see is their words, typed. Recruiters can assign an identifier to each candidate, so they don’t discover the candidate’s name. The identifier should be included in the CRM for easy tracking.
Skills-based tests allow companies to prove the worth of a hire on the most important basis, the candidate’s skills.
Umbel created a first-person fighting game to test the skills of their potential coders. Candidates used coding to play the game, and the further they progressed in the game, the closer they were to being hired. Recruiters can direct all candidates to the test or game and use the results to narrow them down rather than reading their resumes.
Skills-based tests can be used in addition to or in place of other hiring steps, and some companies use them in place of job advertisements as well.
In 2004, Google used a now-famous billboard to advertise a job opening in a most unconventional way. They put the URL to their job opening in a math problem, and those engineers who solved the math problem were the only ones able even to see the page.
Way back in 1942, a version of skills-based testing was used as a job advertisement in the Daily Telegraph for a code-breaking job at Bletchley Park. The test was printed as one of the paper’s regular crossword puzzles, and those who solved it found an invitation to the job.
With tests like these, recruiters already know all their applicants have at least some of the skills they need. More testing or the final hiring steps can secure the position, and names, gender, schools, etc., need not be known while making the hiring decision.
Skip all the other formalities and get right to the real, day-in-and-day-out deal. Take just a little information on the candidate’s skills and then give them an actual assignment to see how they fare.
These assignments can be small tasks to test skills. As we pointed out in a previous post, “Other companies focus less on interviewing at all and engage in trials. The most common method is to give candidates a single task from the company’s actual workload to perform before hiring. This might be a blog post, a customer complaint, a technical problem that needs solving, etc.”
Or you could try out candidates within the regular team setting for days or weeks. Again, you’d get a little background on their skills and throw them in. The decision-making factors are skills first; then actual demonstrated on-the-job skills.
Automattic uses a trial period and describes it as:
“Candidates do real tasks alongside the people they would actually be working with if they had the job. They can work at night or on weekends, so they don’t have to leave their current jobs; most spend 10 to 20 hours a week working with Automattic, although that’s flexible. (Some people take a week’s vacation to focus on the tryout, which is another viable option.)
The goal is not to have them finish a product or do a set amount of work; it’s to allow us to quickly and efficiently assess whether this would be a mutually beneficial relationship. They can size up Automattic while we evaluate them.”
As readers may have noticed, there is no one-size-fits-all blind hiring strategy. Businesses can change a little about their hiring practices or overhaul the whole process by going with a primarily testing-only policy.
It’s also possible to mix and match aspects of blind hiring. One business may use only one of these ideas while others use more than one.
Don’t be afraid to get creative, either. Make the hiring process like the company culture.
The Umbel game mentioned above not only tested candidates’ skills but prepared them for the company culture because Umbel wants their workers to be passionate about the idea of making coding a visual experience.
Use the blind hiring tactic or tactics that best represents the company culture. Or tweak them in new, company-specific ways.
All of the tactics discussed above can be automized through good resumes and hiring software. With blind resume software, it will be easier to attract a diverse pool of candidates and share anonymized resumes with your hiring team.
This way, you will avoid being biased completely as you won’t see things like name, gender, race, face, adress, or anything else that might influence your decision.
One important thing to note when choosing the ideal blind hiring software is to make sure if it can be used as a stand-alone feature alongside your current applicant tracking system. The better option is to choose the right ATS that provides you with the blind resume and blind hiring features.
Blind hiring is not for everyone. Individual business goals might be met best in other ways. And businesses may choose to use blind hiring to different degrees. The use of blind hiring depends on the company and the goals they wish to address. It’s an ideal. Tailor it as need be.
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