Blind Hiring 101: What it is and How Can Employers Succeed
By Dipendra Bhatta, Last updated: 2022-06-01 (originally published on 2022-04-14)
As humans, we’re innately prone to bias. And recruiters and hiring managers aren’t immune either.
Greater awareness of the situation of underrepresented communities means the world’s biggest companies are trying to address their problems with representation.
To achieve that, some businesses that are serious about diversifying are blind hiring.
Trying to stamp out the bias that impedes a fair and consistent hiring process is a commendable first step.
This article explores what blind hiring is and how employers can implement it.
What Is Blind Hiring?
Blind hiring is the effort to remove bias – both conscious and unconscious – from the hiring process. This is what some BPO companies do to avoid shrinkage in call center business.
When hiring a candidate, you remove personal information that could bias your assessment processes, such as name, gender, religion, location, or class background.
Once they obscure potential identity cues, a testing outsourcing company, for example, can feel confident they’re recruiting candidates based on their skills rather than resumes.
Blind recruiting gives deserving candidates a better chance of slipping past the biases of fallible decision-makers.
Those who are hiring can end up swayed by everything from elite pedigree to fancy names when we stick to the old-school ways of hiring.
The result? Minority-background candidates get overlooked for opportunities and top positions – with black and Latino employees making up a mere 5%of employees in executive roles at tech companies with enterprise voip systems.
Blind hiring is one response that allows companies with best affiliate marketing tools to increase diversity while bringing in the most talented candidates for the role.
One well-known study centered on how orchestras saw a 30% gain in their female members between the ‘70s and the ‘90s when they started conducting preliminary auditions from behind a screen that concealed candidates’ identities.
The implications for other companies looking to discover raw talent were clear.
Another reason to consider blind hiring is to sidestep the human impulse to hire those we find relatable, perhaps on some self-approving level.
One study showed that leisure activities and personality were the key factors in evaluating who was best for the job.
Some Limitations of Blind Hiring
That said, blind hiring processes are not without their faults. They’re less a panacea and closer to a piece of the overall puzzle in your organization’s drive to level the playing field.
The removal of identity markers can only go so far in countering unconscious bias. And for another, once you’ve blinded the initial screening stage, applying the principles at an interview is tricky.
Some organizations committed to diversity and inclusion have adopted anonymized interviews. But this can lead to difficulties when skills and characteristics integral to performance go unassessed.
That cultural fit can be self-reinforcing and result in the skewed makeup of companies is clear.
Yet suppose you’re rolling out a VoIP phone system for small business communications. Employee relationships are key for you. So it’s still vital to bring in people who fit into your business culture.
Though an imperfect solution, it’s still worth adopting blind hiring.
How Employers Can Succeed With Blind Hiring
Employers who implement it remove bias by design.
Inclusive Job Descriptions
Start by creating inclusive job descriptions that welcome applications from diverse candidates.
When creating your candidate persona, pay careful attention to how you word the job description and avoid language loaded with racial, gender, or age-limit bias.
A shocking amount of subtle biases can creep into job ads and hurt the diversity of your candidate pool.
No wonder we hate producing them – CVs are overflowing with information that invites all kinds of bias.
If you do away with a traditional CV in your hiring – what’s left?
Education and experience don’t predict real-life ability as much as we think.
What has predictive validity are sample tests that best simulate the role the candidate will perform.
Employers can distill the essential skills and create hypothetical questions from situations from their real-life experiences. That way, they test the required skill.
Whereas a CV outlines a litany of dry credentials, a work sample question helps you find out what skills candidates have learned from their experiences. Some candidates also state whether or not they have prior experience with the best affiliate marketing tools or any other software that is relevant to the job.
This is where scoring criteria comes in.
To make data-driven hiring decisions, develop a point scale to assess answers. Instead of relying on a gut feeling that a candidate is best qualified, you’ll at least have some metrics to judge candidates objectively.
Of course, you cannot remove bias from interviews. We’re all familiar with the unfortunate extent to which first impressions hold sway. But you can mitigate this negativity and conduct an effective process.
One way is using structured interviews. These help guard against the bias known as the peak-end effect, in which intense and final moments impart a disproportionate impression on how we remember and evaluate the experience.
Use a simple scoring system for your interview, and it helps you assess skills without fear or favor.
And use work sample-style questions, rather than probing candidates on their experiences that aren’t as predictive as we believe.
Pose situational questions hypothetically, and you’ll give candidates without experience an equal chance to do well – how would you troubleshoot issues with enterprise voip systems, to an IT worker, for example.
Just as you ought to reduce ordering biases in how you evaluate screening questions and their communication skills, likewise take plenty of breaks as you interview candidates to avoid decision fatigue.
If you’ve followed our best practices, all that’s left is to take an average of all candidate scores to determine your best hire.
Having used scoring criteria also allows you to give candidates objective feedback on where they did well and where they could improve for the future.
Note on An Inexact Science
Behavioral science has had a lot to say about just how irrational our decision-making as humans can be. Submitting our thoughts and beliefs to the trials of deliberate conscious reasoning takes skill and effort.
Dan Kahneman famously described our propensity for fast thinking that relies on shortcuts and snap-judgments.
And the conversation about diversity in the biggest tech companies and workplaces has centered on the role of such hard-wired unconscious biases.
To achieve proper representation, companies launched unconscious bias training.
The Long Haul
Yet it hasn’t delivered concrete, positive changes in the average workplace.
It’s becoming clear then: curated training programs that raise awareness of our unconscious behavior is a start for the receptive, but it’s not enough.
To instill and to cultivate genuine change, we must change the environment in which humans make decisions. Blind hiring, alongside other initiatives, is a start.
Dialpad is a developer of a cloud-based business phone system intended to increase conversions and help global teams be more informed. The company’s products include video meetings, cloud call centers, sales coaching, dialers, enterprise phone systems, SMS, MMS, group messaging, conferencing, and document sharing services to help teams collaborate on any device and in a single platform.
Their communication system uses artificial intelligence to offer real-time transcription, automated note-taking, live sentiment scoring, and voice analytics. Their customers are WeWork, Uber, Motorola Solutions, Domo, and Xero. Investors of the company have included Amasia, Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, GV, ICONIQ Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, Section 32, Softbank, and Work-Bench.
Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better remote team management and collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies and partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.