Diversity and inclusion in the recruitment process have become an increasingly hot topic in the recruitment industry. And this is to no surprise. Companies have become increasingly aware of the benefits of a more diverse workforce. Diversity brings new perspectives, experiences, and ideas into the company to drive revenue through innovation. In fact, the McKinsey 2020 report “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” found the most diverse companies consistently outperform their less diverse counterparts in terms of profitability.
That’s why many companies today are turning to blind hiring to help meet their diversity goals. The process involves blocking out any candidate information that could potentially bias their final hiring decision. This has become particularly important today as recruiters across industries are working to address both conscious and unconscious biases hindering their recruitment efforts. The information typically removed or “blinded” includes candidate names, addresses, and graduation dates. Additionally, any information that could indicate someone’s gender, race, or religion is also excluded.
An integral stage of blind hiring, as you can imagine, is the blind interview. This method of recruitment involves a sort of workaround to bias during the interview stage of recruitment. This allows recruiters to avoid biases that cause recruiters to hire applicants based on certain shared attributes or an unconscious bias against a given group.
And it is the blind interview that we’re going to take a look at here today. As interviews take up three-quarters of the recruitment process, to call them the make-or-break of an entire hiring process would be a serious understatement.
So, what is a blind interview anyway? It’s simply an interview where the interviewer cannot access a candidate’s personal information such as name, gender, race, or any related information. This “blinds” the interviewer's potential bias and enables them to make objective decisions focused on candidates’ skills and qualifications.
Blind hiring statistics show that this process has historically succeeded. We can view data as far back as 1952 when, according to The New York Times, the Boston Symphony Orchestra first introduced the practice. The orchestra at the time was dominated by white men. However, blind auditions allowed them to diversify. This practice expanded throughout the 1970s, and researchers from Harvard and Princeton found that blind auditions increased the chances of women being hired in orchestras by 25 to 46 percent.
The success of this approach continues today – and for good reason. According to a study published by the Harvard Business Review, most hiring managers rely on intuition when making a hire. However, intuition runs a high risk of unwanted bias. Blind interviews are an opportunity to circumvent bias.
The blind recruitment process isn’t too different from the traditional one.
It begins just like any other by determining desired skills and qualifications to fill the role. The job posting will be designed around this information without including personal information such as educational background. The next step will be to remove personal information from the provided applications and resumes. Someone outside of the recruitment process should screen resumes/applicants for identifying information before it is passed to the recruiting team.
What remains will be a series of resumes labeled with unique identifiers to connect the resumes to their owners. Recruiters will then screen resumes just as they normally would. The most qualified candidates will be invited to participate in the blind interview.
These interviews will typically take place without any visual contact, i.e. over the phone. On-demand interviews can take this a step further by avoiding unscripted conversations or questions. This naturally levels the playing field of the blind recruitment process further.
And at the end, the final hiring decision will be made solely based on qualifications and performance in the blind interview and any relevant assessments.
Blind hiring is a particularly useful tool to help combat contrast bias. This specific type of bias refers to when a candidate is evaluated based on how they compare (or “contrast”) with another candidate. Consequently, recruiters are distracted from individual merit and can even overlook remarkably qualified candidates. Note, this is not an isolated effect between two candidates. Rather it’s a pattern that influences recruiter decisions.
For example, consider a series of interviews where a recruiter speaks with several candidates. The first candidate may be a remarkably strong candidate. They’re followed by a weaker candidate. This results in the recruiter unconsciously lowering their expectations. The following candidates are therefore measured by this immaterially changed metric.
Blind hiring helps avoid this bias by reducing candidate applications to individual qualifications and performance rather than comparing them to the group. It’s the difference between “these are the skills we are looking for” and “this candidate is more qualified than the previous.”
Overall, it requires a system with standardized criteria to objectively measure candidate qualifications.
Blind hiring isn’t a perfect system. Your diversity problems won’t go away by simply adopting this approach. Rather, you’ll need the right tools to mitigate bias in your hiring process.
The tools you’re looking for need to promote consistency. Although unstructured interviews can help recruiters understand a candidate’s personality, they often fail to accurately judge qualifications. Standardized interviews, however, make it easier to compare candidates while avoiding bias which makes finding the right candidate so difficult. To this end, consider on-demand phone interviews.
Although on-demand phone interviews are not a form of blind interviews by themselves, they certainly assist the process.
For example, phone interviews inherently reduce appearance-based biases. This removes the opportunity for recruiters to make judgments on physical attributes such as race, ethnicity, or age. Contrast these video interviews that require candidates to be seen at this stage of the recruitment process.
What’s more, it’s a remarkably simple process. Recruiters simply design and record their end of the interview. The selected candidates receive this interview at the click of a button and are given the opportunity to respond at a time of convenience. This is then returned to the recruiter who is then able to screen candidates on the exact same interview. As such, the interview is remarkably standardized.
Additionally, phone interviews are accessible to every economic class. According to Pew Research, 97% of Americans own some form of cell phone. Consequently, they also have access to the phone interview process.
On-demand phone interviews are the ideal tool to make the blind hiring process easier. Not only do they help mitigate bias in hiring, but they also improve the overall efficiency of the recruitment process.
Get a demo with Qualfi today to experience the benefits of asynchronous interviewing for yourself.