Removing bias from the hiring process is something more and more companies are taking seriously as of late. One creative response to the problem has been blind hiring — the process of judging candidates on skills and capabilities only, and not on demographic indicators like name, gender, academic qualifications or experience.
Blind hiring might seem to imply hiding personal attributes from a CV, but it’s much more than that. It’s about transforming the hiring process in favor of more objective measurements. If done right, it results in increased fairness and consistency and identifies the best talent for the job. Not only are recruiters able to attract a more diverse candidate pool, but the candidates’ experience of the company improves.
To build a robust blind hiring process, here are four action items CHROs can implement:
Adjust job descriptions
Bias can be ingrained from early in the process, as early as when the job is posted. Certain words can be unnecessarily gender-coded or too specific and may sway a candidate’s decision to apply. When describing the ideal candidate in the job posting, make the switch to gender-neutral language like “they” instead of “he/she.”
Focus on highlighting the skills you need, too, rather than a fixed number of years of experience or even a degree in a specific field of study. Qualified candidates can come from all backgrounds — the attitude and expertise they bring will be the greatest value add, not their particular credentials.
Source and assess candidates with AI
Manually screening and shortlisting CVs might interfere with impartial decision-making. Instead, make the most of artificial intelligence tools, whether external or in-house, to match the skills required for the job to the skills of the candidates as shown on their CVs. You’ll need to research to determine which types of AI will work to your team’s benefit and not to its detriment.
As an assist, objective candidate-screening tools can allow you to assess a candidate’s knowledge, skills and personality traits. This way, results are compared to pre-set benchmarks — which you can tailor to the skills and attitudes most essential to the position in question — and not to the candidate’s demographic parameters.
Diversify the interview panel
Convening a recruitment panel with a mix of genders, ages and ethnic and cultural backgrounds encourages equitable and inclusive thinking in the process of adding to the team. But the mere presence of a variety of people isn’t enough. You have to ensure that everyone’s perspectives are heard and valued. Even though blind hiring means you know nothing demographically concrete about the candidates going in, an internal balance of representation means you’ll be coming from a place of open-mindedness. Ongoing training and mentoring of interviewers is critical to achieving this goal.
Learn from feedback
After the hiring round is over, consult the statistics: they don’t lie. Survey the candidates who ended up getting offers about their interview experience. The blind hiring process, when done well, empowers its participants to give input on its own efficiency and effectiveness.
Blind hiring is only one small part of building and sustaining a diverse and healthy workplace. An inclusive work environment defines corporate culture and promotes growth and innovation. Companies must be willing to go above and beyond, and use every tool and method at their disposal, to create an internally diverse and inclusive culture that benefits employees from their first interview to their last day on the job.
Einav Lavi is Chief Human Resources Officer at Qualitest, the world’s leading AI-powered quality engineering company. She has over 20 years of demonstrated success and progressive responsibility in the areas of human resource management, business, and finance management. Among her specializations are HR business planning and analysis, organizational effectiveness, employee retention & engagement, performance management and HR tools and technology. She recently won the Inspiring Executive Award at Globant’s Women That Build Awards.
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