Talent Acquisition

Blind Hiring: What It Is & How to Do It

Business leaders and hiring managers continually work to make their hiring processes more inclusive. One tactic that can help eliminate bias and create a fairer candidate review process is blind hiring. Here is what you need to know about the process and how it can fuel your diversity and inclusion efforts.

Takeaways:

  • Blind hiring is a recruiting tactic that can help reduce bias during the hiring process.
  • By anonymizing candidate applications, businesses can reduce unconscious bias in their hiring decisions.
  • Blind hiring can boost the interview rates for applicants from historically marginalized communities.
  • Besides adopting blind hiring, businesses can use pre-employment assessments to ensure a fairer candidate selection process.

What Is Blind Hiring?

Blind hiring is a recruiting method that involves obscuring or removing personal and demographic information from candidates’ applications.

This typically includes the candidates’ names, addresses, graduation dates, college, and other demographic data. This approach aims to provide a more equitable and inclusive hiring process.

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How Blind Hiring Reduces Bias

Blind hiring helps minimize both conscious and unconscious biases during the recruitment process.

Even the most respectful and inclusive hiring teams can be influenced by unconscious biases—the unintentional associations or stereotypes we make about different groups without even realizing it. Our brains create these biases to process information quickly.

These biases don’t make you a bad person or a poor hiring manager, but they can skew the hiring process. Recruiting teams can avoid these snap judgments by stripping away identifying details from candidates’ resumes or applications, leading to a fairer and more equitable screening process.

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How to Start a Blind Hiring Practice

Implementing a blind hiring process isn’t as complex as it may sound. Here are the key steps.

Anonymize Candidate Data

The most important step in implementing a blind hiring process is removing or obscuring identifying information from a candidate’s resume or application. This can be done manually or with specialized hiring tools within select recruiting platforms.

Conduct Blind Resume Screening

Review the redacted resumes and make selections based on the applicant’s skills and qualifications. Going into this stage with a clear view of the competencies you want to prioritize when hiring your new employee will make this easier and more effective.

Refrain From Researching Social Media

During the blind hiring process, avoid candidates’ social media profiles. This approach ensures you focus purely on their skills and qualifications, avoiding any personal biases that might surface from their online activities.

If it’s necessary to review social media for vetting, do it during the background check after you complete the interview process.

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More Ways to Reduce Hiring Bias

Blind hiring is just one of several tactics that can be used to build an equitable hiring process.

Inclusive Job Descriptions

Sometimes, job descriptions inadvertently introduce bias, causing businesses to overlook exceptional talent. For instance, using terms that imply age, like digital native, automatically disqualifies qualified older candidates.

According to Wizehire’s Women in Leadership Report, 23% of Americans have witnessed age discrimination in the workplace, more than other types of discrimination. It is better to state which apps and software a person should have experience with to create more inclusive workplaces. 

Similarly, aggressive language, such as ‘strong competitive spirit,’  can discourage individuals who thrive in collaborative environments. For a more inclusive approach, use terms like ‘motivated or engaged.’ This conscious choice of language broadens the talent pool and creates a more welcoming work environment where diverse skills and perspectives are valued.

Hiring Assessments

Personality assessments like Wizehire DISC+ are helpful for employers who want to hire for cultural fit or cultural add while minimizing bias.

DISC+ provides valuable insights into the candidate’s personality and strengths more objectively by zeroing in on concrete, measurable data about how candidates behave and communicate instead of just going off gut feelings. 

The assessment also examines how people handle different work scenarios to give everyone a fair shot based on their skills and personality traits necessary for the job. This ensures hiring decisions are fair and based on the facts, supporting a more inclusive recruitment process.

Staff Training

We can all benefit from continually educating ourselves on challenging implicit biases and promoting open-mindedness and inclusivity. Holding regular training to increase cultural awareness, dispel stereotypes, and provide training on equitable recruiting practices can help your hiring team act with less bias.

While it is not mandatory across the United States, many states and local jurisdictions require this training, especially those with government contracts or in specific industries.

Additionally, many organizations voluntarily implement unconscious bias training as part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives to improve workplace culture and decision-making processes. Wizehire’s Small Business Report revealed that 46% of growing businesses implement employee diversity training.

Recruiting Metrics

Look at your recruiting metrics to increase your efforts in attracting diverse job candidates. It might be time to branch out and tap into new job boards, universities, and professional groups that cater to a varied audience.

If diverse candidates frequently decline job offers, it could signal issues with your company’s perception. Asking for feedback via candidate surveys regarding your employer branding can help you make the necessary adjustments to become a more attractive employer for diverse talent.

Pros and Cons of Blind Hiring

Blind hiring offers many benefits for businesses looking to expand their DEI efforts while recruiting top talent. While the practice can help create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, the approach also has limitations and potential downsides.

Pros

  • Increasing diversity: Blind hiring typically results in greater diversity among the candidates chosen to interview and, ultimately, in your employee population.
  • Improving candidate selection: By removing biases from the recruiting process and focusing on candidates’ strengths and aptitudes, companies can make better hiring decisions.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to DEI: It shows candidates and employees that your company’s values align with theirs

Cons

  • Different recruiting channels: Blind hiring practices may not work well for companies that recruit extensively through social media sites like LinkedIn, employee referral programs, or in-person recruiting at job fairs or campus event
  • Limited in scope: Blind hiring may not be practical beyond the initial application screening stage, so there is still room for bias in the later stages of the hiring proce
  • Added resource requirements: Implementing blind hiring may require the purchase of additional recruiting tools or the addition of steps in your screening process.

Blind hiring is just one piece of the puzzle and won’t necessarily work for all roles or companies, so try to remain flexible within your hiring process.

Companies don’t have to go all in on blind hiring immediately. If it’s not practical to obscure all identifying information when reviewing candidates, start by hiding the details that make sense to remove.

For example, if you’re hiring in a creative field where reviewing portfolio sites with prior work samples is common, it may not be realistic to avoid candidate’s names completely. However, obscuring details like their education, graduation dates, and address may be doable.

Wize Words

Bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and experiences can enhance problem-solving and innovation in businesses, thanks to the variety of perspectives and ideas they bring. Blind hiring is an effective tool for minimizing bias and fostering a diverse workplace.

Author

  • Kaylyn McKenna

    Kaylyn McKenna is an experienced writer who specializes in HR and workplace topics, such as employee engagement, workplace policies, recruiting strategy, and DE&I. Her work has been featured on TechRepublic, Business News Daily, and Business Management Daily.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Kaylyn McKenna

Kaylyn McKenna is an experienced writer who specializes in HR and workplace topics, such as employee engagement, workplace policies, recruiting strategy, and DE&I. Her work has been featured on TechRepublic, Business News Daily, and Business Management Daily.

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