What is Blind Hiring and How it Promotes Diversity and Inclusivity Efforts in Corporates

How a Typical Hiring Process Works and Why the Hidden Identity Markers Matter

Typically, the hiring and recruitment process in corporates entails receiving resumes for the advertised openings, short listing some of them for the next round of tests and interviews, the actual interview process, and then, the decision to hire or reject.

In this process, the first step of short listing resumes often attracts much attention from jobseekers as well as the employers as this step involves sifting through the hundreds and even thousands of resumes received and then, picking a reasonable number of applicants for the next round.

Short listing of resumes, if done manually is a time consuming process, and research shows that each resume is screened in a matter of seconds and at most, minutes.

In other words, recruiters, technical experts, and Human Resources personnel often look at jobseeker resumes for less than a minute and decide accordingly.

While this means that jobseekers and their resumes have to be perfect as far as presentation of skills and attributes are concerned, there is often a “hidden aspect” wherein the Demographic, Racial, Gender, and other markers of identity matter much in selecting them for the next round.

How Racial and Gender Minorities Face Barriers and Why Blind Hiring Can Help

Continuing the point made above, research has shown that those who “screen” resumes have implicit and explicit biases against jobseekers belonging to certain racial and gender as well as other characteristics and hence, the chances are that they would not shortlist those belonging to these denominations.

These biases have become more pronounced over the years to the extent that now; they are expressed openly leading to distortions in the hiring process.

Indeed, given the polarized and hyper partisan times that we live in, these biases have become more explicit to the point where jobseekers from minority communities and gender and sexual minority groups are disadvantaged at the first step of the hiring process itself.

In our working experience, we have come across some of these biases and others such as short listing jobseekers belonging to one’s city, school, college, or for that matter, the specific educational stream.

For instance, we have known colleagues who rejected resumes just on the grounds that they were studying in Evening College and preferring Regular Degree applicants.

It is for these reasons that many management and HR experts recommend what is known as Blind Hiring wherein resumes do not have any information about identity markers.

How Blind Hiring Works and Why it Provides a Fair Shot and a Level Playing Field to All

Blind Hiring works by requiring no personal information in resumes so that recruiters do not know who the jobseeker is as far as identity and personal details are concerned.

The emphasis is on skills and attributes alone and nothing else so that all applicants have a fair shot at being selected for subsequent rounds.

Of course, it is entirely possible that during the Face to Face interview, such identity markers might preclude their selection.

However, the larger point is to ensure a Level Playing Field for All at least till the time their identity becomes irrelevant.

As for interviews, there are suggestions that interviewers do not ask the interviewees personal details and only focus on the Subject Matter and Domain Knowledge Expertise.

We do agree that biases might creep in at this stage and it is for this reason that some corporates are experimenting with special interview panels for applicants belonging to Racial and Gender minorities.

While Blind Hiring has not caught on in India as yet, it is increasingly becoming the norm in the West, and especially in the United States where there are specific laws that prohibit discrimination on racial and gender lines and Blind Hiring is mandatory.

Why Blind Hiring is Important to Promote Diversity and Inclusivity in Corporates

Having said that, there is another aspect to Blind Hiring and that is in how Corporates attempt to promote Diversity and Inclusivity in their organizations.

Indeed, Blind Hiring has become very popular mainly due to the D&I initiatives that have become the norm now.

For instance, there are many Multinational Firms that mandate D&I as a Company Policy and hence, HR managers often find it easy to require resumes with no personal information so that such efforts at promoting Diversity and Inclusivity bear fruit.

Therefore, Blind Hiring is a useful and specific practice that can help efforts to encourage D&I.

On the other hand, even Artificial Intelligence powered resume short listing processes can be fine tuned to aid Blind Hiring.

Contrary to popular perception, Automated Resume Screening can be biased as well mainly due to Keyword Based Coding of Algorithms.

This is something that many Silicon Valley firms have experienced and in recent years, they have been working on how to make Algorithmic Bias redundant.

So, Blind Hiring can help both Manual and Machine based resume screening in so far as avoiding biases in the hiring process are concerned. Hence, we suggest that Indian firms should also incorporate this method.

Concluding Thoughts

Last, despite our technological advances, human behaviour is after all driven by primal emotions that have been with us since time immemorial.

Therefore, biases are inbuilt in all of us and to keep up with the times, we need to experiment with new concepts and trends that can help us all.

Blind Hiring is one such Model or Paradigm that helps corporates to actualize a more egalitarian and just workplace.

While biases during hiring cannot be totally eliminated, we can make a start by minimizing them so that all applicants have a Fair Shot and Level Playing Field for all.

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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.

Human Resource Management