Overcoming Unconscious Bias with Blind Hiring

Unconscious bias is an issue that plagues organizations in every industry, unintentionally preventing diversity and keeping out the creativity that leads to organizational success. To avoid this, some companies are turning to blind hiring. Blind hiring offers a way to avoid unintentional bias, creating the opportunity to hire the most qualified staff, increase diversity, and bring in new and creative ideas.

Blind hiring is the process of removing any and all identifying or classifying information from candidates’ applications. Studies show that employers often, sometimes unconsciously, favor applicants from specific backgrounds. In addition to being discriminatory, this can hurt diversity and keep out those creative ideas that lead organizations to success. Companies remove information such as name, address, university name, and any other details that might indicate race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. Studies show that the use of blind hiring decreases bias and allows companies to expand in ways they might not have, often creating a more diverse and qualified workforce.

In addition to increasing diversity, blind hiring gives employers the opportunity to fully assess a candidate’s qualifications before making a decision. Employers frequently make decisions based on how they feel a potential employee will fit into the company culture. Employers cite things such as university, organizational involvement, and other similarly irrelevant criteria as their reason for assuming the individual would not fit in their culture. While it is often unintentional, it leads to the disqualification of many qualified candidates before they step foot in the building. When the information is not readily available – and hiring managers do not turn to social media to dig deeper – more qualified applicants make it to the interview, ensuring the best person for the job is selected.

The first steps in creating a blind hiring process are to create goals, specify how far the ‘blind’ hiring will go, choose what information to redact, and train your staff. One of the simplest ways to streamline the process is to select a staff member who has little to no involvement in the hiring process. Create a template that allows them to insert relevant candidate data and exclude things like addresses, organization names, and university names. After selecting relevant criteria and creating the template, ensure all information is routed through this staff member, and instruct hiring managers to resist the temptation to utilize social media and other means of gather information.

A well-executed blind hiring process can help organizations to ensure the best candidates are being considered without unintentional bias interfering. When done correctly, blind hiring can eliminate the sexism, racism, and frustration that are unintentionally a part of the hiring process. No matter your industry, studies show utilizing tools such as blind hiring allow you to be more open minded, creating a more diverse, creative, and ultimately more successful workforce.

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