Blind Hiring: What It Is and Why You Should Use It
Blind hiring reduces hiring bias and ultimately helps your organization attract the best talent, be more productive, achieve greater workplace diversity, and improve financial performance. In this article, we’ll take a look at what hiring bias is, why and how you should address it, and how our platform, Nerdly, can help you mitigate it.
If you’re looking to hire cloud professionals immediately, visit our NerdHerders page to learn more about our AWS talent solutions. But to learn more about blind hiring, read on.
Table of contents
What is blind hiring?
Blind hiring—also called anonymous hiring—aims to hide or “blind” candidates’ personally identifiable information (PII) from job applications to lower the risk of unconscious bias impacting hiring decisions. Hiring managers typically use this method during the screening stage, removing personal information such as name, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, address, and schools.
The goal of blind hiring is for hiring managers and recruiters to evaluate candidates on their work experience and skills rather than stereotypes that a candidate’s name, school, or perceived age might evoke. In other words, judging a candidate on their merits rather than irrelevant personal details.
The blind hiring process
There’s no standard way to implement a blind hiring process, but in general, organizations that use blind hiring take some of the following steps.
Remove name and demographic information
The first and most common step most people take for blind recruiting is to remove or conceal a candidate’s name, race, and gender information. This can be done manually by another person not involved in the evaluation of that particular candidate or by a software tool made for such purposes—more on that in a bit.
While it’s not very common, some candidates include a professional headshot on their resume. Your process should account for this and take steps to remove or conceal photos of applicants.
Reconsider your preconceived notions about education
Let’s be real—not every job should require a college degree, and degrees from elite schools do not necessarily mean that one candidate is better equipped for the job than someone with a degree from a less prestigious institution. Dropping requirements for bachelor’s degrees is a good idea, but it goes a little beyond the scope of blind hiring. However, you can decide to stop prioritizing candidates who went to, say, Ivy League schools over other schools with perfectly good programs and reputations.
This goes beyond just removing or obscuring PII from a resume, but standardizing interviews is also a good idea for reducing hiring bias. For some organizations, this means asking the same interview questions for various roles, while others go a step further and create a standardized rubric for scoring applicant answers.
Standardizing interviews does not mean you can only ask candidates set questions for a certain role. You will start with these questions, but you’re still free to ask follow up questions to learn more about a candidate’s experience.
Request a skills assessment earlier in the hiring process
It’s customary for organizations to assign candidates who make it to final interview stages a skills assessment, but consider flipping that order. Some organizations request a skills assessment at the beginning of the hiring process, giving candidates more of an opportunity to let their work speak for itself. Taking this approach, bias is less likely to impact someone’s chances of getting the job earlier in the process.
It’s worth mentioning that a skills assessment does not mean spec work. This is an opportunity to let an applicant demonstrate their abilities, not for an organization to exploit job seekers for free labor.
Pros and cons of blind hiring
Just like any recruiting practice, blind hiring comes with some benefits and disadvantages.
One obvious drawback of this method is that it’s only effective during the screening stage of the hiring process. Once a recruiter meets with a candidate for an initial interview, hiring bias is free to creep in. This is one of the reasons why we suggest making the skills assessment one of the first steps of interviewing.
Some critics of blind hiring also claim that blind hiring can backfire or that it doesn’t work as well as some claim it does. But in most cases, the evidence critics cite are more instances of poor execution than legitimate drawbacks of the practice. Swapping out traditionally male names with traditionally female names on resumes, for example, is not a good way to implement blind hiring.
The bottom line is, blind hiring is a good practice for reducing some hiring bias, but it’s not a cure-all. Instead, it should be one tool among many for promoting workforce diversity.
Blind recruitment tools
In addition to anonymizing resumes at the screening level, there are a number of blind recruitment software platforms you can use. Especially if you have a large number of applications coming in, a blind recruitment software system can help automate the process and replace demographic information with objective markers, such as ID numbers.
If you have the budget for it, these HR resources provide blind recruitment capabilities:
- Textio assesses your job descriptions and offers suggestions to help you attract diverse and qualified talent.
- Blendoor obscures the names and pictures of candidates, reducing unconscious bias and facilitating diversity in hiring.
- Greenhouse partnered with diversity and inclusion consulting firm Paradigm to make inclusive hiring practices integral to Greenhouse’s entire process.
- Toggle Hire reduces implicit biases at the earliest stages of the hiring process by screening resumes and cover letters for job-related skills.
- GapJumpers allows employers to ask candidates to provide anonymous answers to assignments related to the roles they’re hiring for.
How Nerdly reduces hiring bias
Nerdly is our software-defined staffing platform that matches AWS professionals with cloud opportunities. Focusing on interviewing and vetting techniques, Nerdly uses machine learning to simplify the hiring process, saving teams time and connecting companies with the best cloud talent available.
The best part? Nerdly works to eliminate hiring bias from the hiring process by blinding resumes. If you’re looking to mitigate hiring bias while searching for cloud talent, click the button below to learn more.
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