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Blind Hiring May Be Missing the Point

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Roy Mauer from SHRM just wrote a great piece on so-called blind hiring techniques. Here’s a small “taste” and a link to the full piece:

Companies that want to increase the diversity of their workforce and eliminate intentional or unconscious bias from their recruiting process may try “blind hiring” techniques to help prevent discrimination when considering applicants. But experts disagree about the utility of this well-meaning practice, and stress that cultural fit remains the most important determinant for choosing whether to advance candidates.

Research shows recruiters and hiring managers tend to choose candidates with a similar demographic background as their own. They also are impressed by mention of a big-name former employer or alma mater, such as Google or Yale University—though association with well-known institutions is not necessarily indicative of job performance.

To counter these phenomena, so-called blind hiring techniques include:

  • Removing specific identifying information like the candidate’s name and educational background from applications and resumes, or eliminating the resume requirement altogether.
  • Assessing candidates based on skills testing or sample projects, then inviting the top performers in for interviews.
  • Conducting anonymous interviews, such as by using chat rooms and voice-masking technology.

According to recent media accounts, a smattering of companies and the U.K. government are experimenting with these approaches. San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud-storage firm Compose Inc. asks job applicants to write a short story about data, spend a day working on a mock project and complete an assignment. Deloitte’s U.K. arm announced in 2015 that it would begin asking for applications with candidates’ names and other identifying data redacted.

But while many people laud the intention behind these kinds of practices, not everyone is on board with the actual execution.

“These practices may be well-meaning, but they are not well-thought-out,” said Scott Wintrip, president of Wintrip Consulting Group, based in St. Petersburg, Fla. “Not only does front-loading assessments and testing turn off talent, especially top talent, it unnecessarily lengthens hiring processes that are already too long.”

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Scott WintripBlind Hiring May Be Missing the Point

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