diverse workforce with blind hiring

How to build a diverse workforce with blind hiring

diverse workforce with blind hiring

Of all the things that organisations do for strengthening recruitment, removing bias is a crucial one. And for a good reason. Firstly, unbiased hiring provides a level field to all the candidates. Secondly, it promotes diversity. As people from different backgrounds join, they bring more values and talent to the organisation. It is a known fact educating the interviewers is not always enough to remove bias. It is where blind hiring can make a difference.

The main problem is that more often than not, this bias is unconscious. Hiring managers are not aware that they are unintentionally favouring a few candidates. It impedes an organisation’s efforts to hire for talent and skill. When bias comes into play, the organisation starts endorsing favouritism. Although it may be unintentional, in these times word travels fast. It is the reason why blind hiring is gaining steam.

What is blind hiring?

Blind hiring is when the demographic details of the candidates are intentionally hidden. These details can be related to age, gender or educational institutes. Hiding religion and socio-economic background can also make a remarkable difference. You can also remove the year of graduation if you want to hire regardless of the years spent in a field.

When all these items are hidden, what is left is the information about the work experience. It is a way to ensure that an organisation hires for capability and talent. 

When organisations practise this, interviews start on a clean slate. There are no preconceived notions or apprehensions. In their absence, the hiring managers may be willing to give a fair chance to all the applicants. On the other hand, they can reject a few due to their unconscious bias.

We are living in times when discriminatory behaviour is creating ripples across the world. Blind hiring is part of this larger change that aims at minimising bias in the workplace. Furthermore, it encourages hiring managers to be more objective while making recruitment decisions. When they don’t know about the backgrounds, they tend to focus more on the capabilities of the candidate. 

What causes unconscious bias?

Our brain is capable of matching patterns. However, this pattern matching does not always give accurate results. Let’s look at an example to understand this better. 

Do you think the birthplace can make any difference while selecting candidates? Most of you would say no. What if you had an unpleasant experience in that city in the past? You may want to refute any connection, but your brain will not. It will coax you into believing that something is wrong with that CV. You may reject the person without giving the candidate a fair chance.

It is these connections that lead the hiring managers to favour some resumes and discard the others.

How can you bring blind hiring into practice?

It is a common belief that screening is the best stage to implement blind hiring methods. However, you can go all-in and make the entire process blind.

As you start, you may find it to be a bit complex and also face resistance. However, this is just an initial hesitation. It is common when people have to do something out of their comfort zones. Once they see the value in this method, you can expect a higher rate of acceptance.

Start with the job descriptions

When you want to hire a diverse workforce, you may want to tweak your job descriptions. Look for any gender-favouring terms that may discourage women or men from applying.


At times, the job descriptions use pronouns such as he/she in the details. It may inhibit the purpose of attracting diverse candidates. Moreover, certain words relate more to males, such as a hustler or superhero. You can replace it with a term like “perfect applicant.” Another option is to use words that define the description of the job. Such as an architect or an engineer.


Lastly, candidates want to know if your organisation appreciates diversity. They want to understand if you will consider their application wholeheartedly. A simple, friendly statement towards the end of the JD can put their concerns to rest.

Screening is the first touch-point when the candidates enter your talent pool. To blind their personal information, you can adopt a recruitment tool. For instance, Impress is a platform that hides the personal details of the candidates. Based on AI, it screens and shortlists the candidates based on their skills and experience.

The qualified candidates are the ones that match the job requirements. Apart from removing bias, the platform also makes the screening more objective. The recruiters can see a final list of candidates that match with the job at hand. You can click here to request a demo.

Blinding pre-employment tests

Pre-employment tests bring fairness into the recruitment process. On their own, interviews cannot accurately predict the performance of a candidate. 

More often than not, the interviewers make their decisions on their gut feeling. Candidates who shine during the conversations are more likely to grab the job. 

Pre-employment tests are a reliable way of predicting on-the-job performance. Skills and aptitude tests are an indicator of the general ability of the candidates. Behavioural tests can effectively predict their reactions in real-life scenarios. 

Most of these tools are based on machine learning. If the vendors do not keep a check on it, these tools can learn from the biases of recruiters. An effective way to avoid this situation is by blinding the candidate information. 

Delaying social media screening

It has become a common practice to screen the social media accounts of candidates. Surely, organisations can collect a lot of information from social media handles. They are particularly useful for identifying the red flags.

However, social media accounts can give more information than required. The interviewers may even make perceptions that may cloud their judgement. 

Instead of removing this step entirely, you may want to move it further along in your process. For instance, you can do it after the first interview. As you adopt this method, you can use social media screening to be more effective.

Can you blind the interviews?

Did you have to reread the previous sentence? Well, it is impossible to completely blind interviews. After all, they are mostly done in person or over the phones.

However, there are a few roles where the candidates can be made to answer queries over emails. It can be a preliminary step but cannot replace the interviews.

Organisations can, however, benefit from structured interviews. It calls for administering the same questions to all the candidates. As this is done, there is a better scope of bringing objectivity into recruitment. Often, hiring managers rely on the conversation to move forward during the interviews. Some candidates may get grilled more than the others.

What are the best practices for blind hiring?

Hide academic information

As you blind the resumes, make it a point to hide every detail that may cause bias. For instance, there is no direct correlation between university scores and performance on the job. A candidate with average scores could be a high performer. Despite this, some hiring managers may use the grades to create an impression. 

Similarly, hiding the year of graduation will help in covering the age. Let the hiring managers know what the candidates studied, and that should serve the purpose.

Pre-interview tests

You may wonder how will you interview the candidates after blinding all the above information. To ensure that the interviews are productive, you need more data. You want more information to get an idea about the abilities of the candidate. An easy way to do this is by conducting pre-interview tests.

Psychometric tests will help you in understanding the behaviours and personalities. Moreover, you may get an idea about the cultural fit.

As you gather this information, the hiring managers will get a background of the candidates. They can ask relevant questions to evaluate the candidates and clear their doubts.

Analyse diversity metrics

Metrics will help you to verify if blind hiring is giving you the desired results. It may help to collect information at different stages of the hiring process. Collect the stats about the candidates after every stage. As you compare this data with the earlier stats, you will be able to tell the difference.


We also advise comparing metrics to see if blind hiring has any effect on the retention. With increasing diversity, your employees may see your organisation as an inclusive one.

Summary

  • With blind hiring techniques, you can minimise unconscious bias in hiring. It is a way to ensure that diverse candidates get a fair chance.
  • You can anonymise several steps. However, eliminating unconscious bias may take a lot more effort.
  • Blinding resumes promote objective hiring where the interviewers assess candidates on their skills.
  • You can use recruitment software and pre-employment tests to strengthen blind hiring.
  • Finally, analysing metrics is essential to weigh the success of your efforts. 
blind hiring using impress.ai
unconscious bias

8 ways to reduce unconscious bias in hiring

unconscious bias

In these competitive times, organisations strive to stay ahead by building a talented workforce. The recruiters seek to approach passive candidates and onboard the best employees. However, their efforts are often mired by unconscious bias in hiring. If left unchecked, this unconscious bias can paralyse all recruitment efforts. 

There is a lot of talk around workplace diversity in today’s world. And for good reasons. Firstly, a heterogeneous workforce can add to the skills and capabilities of an organisation. Secondly, it can enhance the employer branding of a company. As diverse candidates apply to open positions, the talent pool widens. That, in turn, allows hiring the best of the best. Lastly, diversity boosts innovation and revenue.

However, all the efforts of recruiting a diverse workforce can get wasted due to unconscious bias. 

What is unconscious bias in hiring?

It refers to the judgements that are automatically made when meeting a candidate. One can say that it is the outcome of first impressions and gut feelings. 

More often than not, it is the result of one’s past associations, beliefs, experiences and culture. This bias comes so naturally that people may not even realise what they are doing. For instance, hiring managers often hire a person who they think will be a good fit in their team outings. However, such decisions can lead to grave imbalances in the hiring process. 

This bias in hiring can be two types – negative and positive. In the latter form, the mind forms positive associations. For instance, the hiring manager may prefer to hire from a particular university. However, all the graduates from there may not be equally talented. On the other hand, a negative bias is when the mind dislikes something on the resume. A classic example is not hiring women in certain functions or positions. 

Checking and preventing this bias in hiring is crucial for three reasons. Firstly, to give an equal chance to everyone. Secondly, to be fair and inclusive while evaluating a candidate. Lastly, and most importantly, to stop workplace discrimination.  

How to reduce unconscious bias in hiring?

At times, organisations need to take a step back and relook at the current state of things. Here are 8 ways to remove unconscious bias in hiring.

1. Have conversations around bias in hiring

As the name suggests, people are not aware that they are a party to unconscious bias. To start, organisations need to start having discussions around it. Creating awareness programs and educating the employees about hiring bias is one way of doing this. 

More often than not, people responsible for hiring do not know what biases are. They are not aware of the fact that they are creating irregularities in hiring due to their preferences. Unless there is a conversation, there is no way to contain it. 

One cannot deny the value of first impressions during interviews. However, it is crucial to differentiate it from preconceived biases. The hiring managers need to take chances beyond these first impressions. For instance, an introvert who takes time to connect may be excellent at the job. 

Of course, it will take significant time and effort for people to separate facts from emotions. Talking about it is the first step that companies can take.

2. Mandate structured interviews

Unstructured interviews can often go in undesirable directions. Moreover, they lead to inconsistent interviews. The interviewers may not give a fair and equal chance to everyone. 

To remove bias in hiring, it is necessary to have a standard interview process. The recruiters can design a set of questions for evaluating the candidates. Of course, the interviewers can build up on the answers to probe.

It is also essential to educate the interviewers to focus on KPIs while assessing the candidates. This step can minimise their biases from the process. 

The recruiters can also work on a scorecard to log the performance of the candidates. A scorecard can be immensely useful in removing bias in hiring. As the interviewers score the candidates on various parameters, it will bring in more objectivity. Also, it can help in comparing the performances of multiple candidates and making better decisions.

3. Adopt collaborative hiring

Leaving the decision to hire employees on one person can cripple the hiring process. To recruit people from all walks of life, embrace a collaborative approach. Diversity will breed diversity.

When there are several people involved, the hiring outcome will be more diverse. Inter-departmental interviews can also help in hiring culturally-fit candidates.

However, it is advisable to not over-complicate the interview process. Having too many rounds may put off the candidates. 

4. Relook at the job descriptions

Words have equal power to destroy as they have to build relationships. Most people in the corporate world choose their words and language carefully. Apart from avoiding any confusions, it saves them from unpleasant situations. 

The words in the job descriptions can convey a lot about how an organisation values diversity. Are the recruiters unwittingly mentioning age or gender in the job descriptions? If yes, they could be putting off more candidates than they can imagine. 

It is advisable to make the JDs as inclusive as possible. Proof-read them for any mention of age or stereotypical words that imply a specific gender. For instance, women may not like words such as ‘competitive’ or ‘salesman’. Replacing them with ‘collaborative’ and ‘salesperson’ will make a greater impact.

5. Remove bias from the shortlisting process

One cannot remove bias in hiring if the shortlisting process allows demographic differences. The best way to do this is by blinding the personal information of the candidates. It may be tough to implement if the recruiters scan the resumes manually.

Automating the shortlisting process is a foolproof way of achieving this. When software evaluates candidates, it focuses more on the relevant skills. 

Impress offers an effective solution to shortlist qualified candidates while removing bias in hiring. The chatbot uses preset questions to evaluate the candidates to the next round. It is based on the concepts of data intelligence and machine learning. Thus, it only scores the candidates on their skills and experience required for the job.

Moreover, Impress uses a system where it assigns unique numbers to identify the candidates instead of displaying the names. Hence, the chances of aligning with the biases of the recruiters are zilch. 

6. Use work samples and simulations

Interviews can never assess the true potential of candidates. A lot depends upon how the meeting goes. For instance, a qualified candidate could be having a bad day and may not answer well. 

Sample tests allow the interviewers to predict how the candidates will perform in their jobs. Moreover, these tests can bring objectivity into the hiring process and remove all biases. Additionally, hiring managers can compare candidates and make better decisions.

However, it is crucial to use only scientifically validated tests. Unvalidated tests can lead to more biases than the ones in the system. 

7. Make diversity an organisational priority

How can organisations ensure that they have removed bias in hiring? One can always go to the good old route of data cuts to assess the success of diversity initiatives. 

How can organisations align hiring managers and recruiters with the diversity goals? The best way is to give diversity targets. By doing this, one is consciously pushing the interviewers to meet people who do not belong to their preferred circle. They may be uncomfortable at first. However, meeting and talking to a diverse set of people may open them up to a new world of possibilities.

To make it more clear, organisations can give them targets to hire from minorities, women and people of varied age groups.

8. Widen the reach

Organizations need to assess if they are limiting their scope by advertising jobs at only a few places. When recruiters do not diversify ads, they may not be able to achieve diversity in their talent pool. For instance, hiring from universities that they haven’t visited in the past can allow them to meet better candidates.

Recruiters can also educate their managers to hire for transferable skills. It will enhance the overall capability of the organisation. In current times, technology changes quickly. Thus, it may help to hire for agility as opposed to specific skills. When the hiring managers do this, they also create an ecosystem where the candidates can apply for diverse roles. And we all know the benefits of hiring from within the system.

Most companies have similar irregularities in their hiring systems. As organisations think differently and take such steps, they could also enjoy the first-mover advantage.  

Can one truly remove unconscious bias from the organisation?

As the name suggests, hiring managers are not aware that they are biased in making hiring decisions. Giving them targets can get the ball rolling. However, there is no sure shot way to eradicate it from the system. It is important to start somewhere. Have constant conversations and educate the employees. When they acknowledge it, they will take steps to contain it.