“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric
Fair recruitment practices begin with providing equal opportunity to everyone to apply for the job and showcase their skills. These practices also include treating candidates fairly and equally while evaluating them without any preconceived notions and without getting judgmental before hearing them out.
HR professionals and recruiters tend to have personal preferences subconsciously when it comes to hiring. These preferences culminate into an implicit bias towards one type of candidate while rejecting the idea of considering others. It happens while recruiters do not even realize how their unconscious bias affects hiring decisions, making it difficult to detect, let alone eliminate it.
But what if you, as an HR or a top-management professional, could select the best talent by taking bias out of screening and hiring processes?
This is the third blog of the 4-part series, wherein we are discussing diversity at a workplace, barriers to achieving it, and means to overcome hurdles to create a diverse workforce. In this blog, we discuss fair recruitment practices with blind hiring that HR professionals must follow. This blog explains Blind Hiring in detail, highlighting its origin, developments, and benefits.
Further, we discuss how HR professionals with the help of technology, especially AI, can execute blind hiring. Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes significant because the software would not exhibit bias as humans do. And by training an algorithm with the right set of data with inclusive features, it will only select the best candidate based on merit, irrespective of its gender and ethnicity.
The inception of Blind Hiring
Originally, blind hiring was conducted by orchestras to select musicians and singers, irrespective of their physical appearance. A popular reality show took up the idea to ‘blind audition’ singers where the judges could only hear and not see the singers they were auditioning. The method became popular for recruitment in the corporates when a startup in the US, in 2014, developed a software program adding anonymity to the hiring process.
In the context of Corporate Recruitment
Blind Hiring is the process of judging and hiring applicants based on their skills and aptitude while not knowing their ethnicity, gender, or educational background up till they are finally selected. In short, the recruiter is “blind” to any information that evokes prejudgment or triggers an unconscious bias and is not relevant to how one applicant would go about performing a job-specific task.
The method was adopted for corporate recruitment to help in eliminating instances of possible discrimination. While undergoing blind hiring, recruiters often ask candidates to take online skills assessments without revealing their details, solely evaluating their eligibility based on performance.
“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.” –– Vivek Madhukar, TimesJobs.com COO
Gaining Momentum in the UK
In October 2015, former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, asked companies to carry out “name-blind” hiring (where recruiters could not see the names of applicants) from 2017. Following the speech, leading employers of graduates in the UK began following “name-blind” hiring. Most recently, the Bank of England implemented anonymous applications, minimising the bias in recruitment in an effort to boost diversity.
According to a study by TimesJobs.com, blind hiring has been gaining immense popularity among global tech giants who aim to have diversity in their workforce. The study indicates that 58% of senior officials feel that the blind hiring process will improve gender diversity, while about 30% say that it would help in improving ethnic diversity.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Blind Hiring
The key to using AI for blind hiring is to use the technology from the beginning of your recruitment process, ensuring only the most talented candidates get invited to interview, irrespective of their personal background. Platforms evaluating cognitive aptitude and measuring overall skills, as a part of a pre-employment test, eliminate any cognitive or unconscious biases.
Using Artificial Intelligence, especially Cognitive Technology, online or remote assessments could comprise a series of questions mocking real-life scenarios, video interviews, or games. Organisations have also been using facial recognition software to assess personality traits.
Before the interview, you can define a series of competencies and traits that you are going to be looking at and set a benchmark score. Design the questions that would help you to evaluate the desired set of skills and feed your inputs in a program. To set up the scoring system, define the identifiable responses (positive and negative) according to which a candidate shall be scored.
Platforms using AI with robust machine learning algorithms can learn to test, evaluate, score, and rank candidates based on personality traits, cognition, and communications skills, etc. Applicants with the highest scores will be shortlisted, and the ones with negative responses will be eliminated automatically.
As AI tools remove the scope of human intervention in selecting the right candidate, it levels the playing field by choosing applicants with skills and experience pertinent to the specific job, thereby ensuring employers that they have access to the best talent. Upfront screening with blind interviews enables recruiters to gain valuable insights about the candidate. And they can then shortlist the best-matched candidate to proceed to either live interviews or recruit with high confidence.
Significance of using Blind Hiring
- Selecting on the basis of Competencies: As personal details are masked and a recruiter does not screen CVs to gauge work-experience or educational background, blind hiring helps a company to recruit a candidate by focusing only on competencies and talent.
- Reducing Associated Cost and Time: especially when hiring in bulk and there are several hundred of job applications. Rather than setting up a place for mass recruitment and spending too much time screening out CVs or discussing personal hobbies of a candidate, one can use AI-driven technologies to assess job-specific skills and cognition via an online test and call only selected candidates for the final interview or direct recruitment.
- Enhancing Diversity: Blind hiring allows HR professionals to be more objective while evaluating an applicant’s talent, knowledge, and potential to succeed, without being biased towards or against a candidate’s race, age, gender, socioeconomic background, or education level. As a result, it helps the HR department to select candidates from a more diverse range of backgrounds, promoting diversity and inclusion in an organisation. Diversity at the workplace further helps in:
- Encouraging creativity and productivity, thus boosting revenue
- Getting better team performance
- Employee retention and engagement
- Promoting brand value and reputation of the organisation
Select the Best Talent via Blind Hiring with Recruitment Smart
AI hiring tools designed by Recruitment Smart allow an employer to conveniently train the algorithm with more diverse data, including that of employees who are differently-abled. Sniper AI, developed by Recruitment Smart technologies, is built on a robust Machine Learning algorithm that works more accurately the more you use it. Every search provides more informed feedback to the system, allowing it to calculate better how to match candidates to roles and identify eligibility for a given job position.
Recruitment Smart platforms automate the screening process through an AI-based recommendation engine engendering ethical hiring while emphasizing information and identity protection. Our platform helps companies to take “blind interviews” designed to assess job-specific skills. Our machine learning algorithm scores and ranks each candidate without including any personally identifiable information – No CVs, video hook-ups, social media information, voice data, or visual content, eliminating all the elements that can trigger bias. We have helped our clients identify 5-6 different biases and reduce them by over 40%.