The need for diversity is enormous today. Everyday more companies are creating policies which enhance their diversification with regard to people they hire and also which allow them to retain talent – regardless of age, sex, and ethnicity. A lot many organizations are indulging in different hiring tactics – the ‘blind hiring’ is the newest addition.
We believe or don't, but bias exists in the most professionally managed corporate as well. There are enough research been done globally which unequivocally confirms that discriminating on the basis of gender, education from elite schools, ethnicity matter while filling up a position. A number of times, many hiring managers are themselves not aware of their ‘biased’ behaviour. And it’s not their fault either – it’s the conditioning that we all have been growing up with.
To tackle this kind of biasness, a lot of global tech companies which also have presence in India are hiring ‘blindly’. Well, not in the literal sense of the term, but just masking or removing certain aspect of the candidates in the resume so that the chance of being biased against or towards a certain candidate is a lot less.
According to a study by TimesJobs.com, blind hiring is gaining great popularity among global tech giants who strive to increase workforce diversity. Of the 1,126 employers interviewed, about 44% foresee greater usage and implementation of blind hiring process in India in the times ahead, the study said. "Blind hiring techniques are the future of competency-based recruitment. Advantages such as personal bias removal, gender parity, workplace diversity, and the development of a skill-based meritocratic organisation are too significant to ignore," TimesJobs.com COO Vivek Madhukar said.
The concept of blind hiring came into forefront during the 70s. The orchestras in the US were predominately dominated by white men on the pretext that they were the only ones qualified and talented to be hired. A new concept emerged to wipe out this discrimination, and musicians began to be auditioned behind a curtain so that judges couldn’t see who they were. Later, the candidates were even asked to remove their shoes, since women often wore heels. After prolonged research on this, it came to light that this step (even if it is in the initial round of auditions), the step makes it 50% more likely that a woman will advance to the final round.
The TimesJobs.com study said that almost 60% of the surveyed agreed that workplace diversity will be their major focus in the year 2016. “In a scenario where recruiters on an average spend less than five minutes on a resume, it is natural that inherent biases may kick in,” the study said. It also pointed out that, "To remove such biases, employers agree that it is imperative to judge candidates solely on their competency and mask non-job specific candidate information.”
Among those who have been surveyed, about 58% feel the blind hiring process will help improve gender diversity, while nearly 30% said it helps improve ethnic diversity.
3 things to keep in mind about blind hiring:
Make sure candidates are clued in about blind hiring
You don’t want potential employees or even freshers coming to you with a blindfold. Since it’s a new concept, a lot many organizations and their HR should be able to make them understand what ‘blind hiring’ is all about. Begin every recruitment conversation with clear instructions on what exactly you want to do – why you are doing this, and till what round this ‘blind hiring’ will be applicable (whether it’s just for preliminary, or more).
Change the CVs to suit blind hiring
Check, re-check to see there are no inklings about the candidates’ name, gender, ethnicity and location. Overlooking one aspect can actually cost you your job. It is not easy but tricky as well.
Blind hiring is not the only solution for diversity
At work, body language is also a serious case to consider. You might have the skills but your attitude might be loathsome. The first time you contact a candidate, you should have a tremendous sense of hiring acumen to not consider someone who is skilled yet have attitude problems. For blind hiring, this is a problem area. So for now, it should be just restricted during the ‘consideration’ time when you are shortlisting candidates for certain positions. And there are other diversity programs which should focus on hiring varied candidates.
The blind hiring is conceptually liberating – it gives more power to diversity. But it’s just the beginning. And different works have equally different challenges. How HR can manage these is something that we need to see. But it is a step forward and a much better one at that.