Picture this: You meet someone new, after conversing for a few minutes you get on like a house on fire. You feel like you have SO MUCH in common. You discover you went to the same school, even share some mutual friends and are obsessed with the same band! What are the odds? You take an instant liking to this person - you may have just made yourself a new friend!
Now try to picture this instead… You meet the same person but they’re a little more quiet and reserved. They’re from out of town and you realise that you don’t have much in common at all. Hardly enough to maintain a conversation, let alone develop a friendship. How do you think this would make you feel about them? Would you try to pursue their friendship, or would you likely gravitate to someone more like yourself?
Unconscious Bias refers to the stereotypes (both negative and positive) that we hold in our unconscious minds that may affect how we interact with other people and the world at large. Typically these are forms of prejudice and discrimination that we may not be aware of, or if we are aware of them, we may think that they don’t affect how we behave in the workplace. This process begins in our brains from the very first moment we are exposed to an individual, during the recruitment process, this is through their application and CV. We begin making assumptions based on their name, gender, education and any other key pieces we can find. This can consequently create great difficulties when our aim is to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
A business case for diversity
Smart companies agree that recruiting for diversity makes good business sense in a competitive market. They understand that diversity in the workforce boosts productivity, promotes creativity, and inspires innovation. In fact according to the Diversity Council of Australia, greater executive and board diversity in organisations leads to equity returns more than 50 per cent higher and gross earnings 15 per cent higher than organisations with lower diversity.
When recruiting for diversity, we all prefer to think of ourselves as fair, unbiased, and open-minded in our decision-making process. But we’re only human, and in fact, our brains are biologically ‘wired’ to make biased decisions. It’s unavoidable. So simply deciding to be more open to diverse candidates won’t work – not without the right process and infrastructure.
So how do you ensure that your recruitment campaign avoids recruiter bias and adheres to a best-practice, diversity-focused methodology?
Blind Recruitment is the answer.
So, what is Blind Recruitment?
Before you ask whether it’s really necessary, consider the facts:
an Indigenous person had to submit 35 per cent more applications;
a Chinese person had to submit 68 per cent more applications;
an Italian person had to submit 12 per cent more applications; and
a Middle Eastern person had to submit 64 per cent more applications.
Research has shown that a person’s name, address, and even which university they attended, can influence how recruiters interpret their suitability for a role. Blind Recruitment removes identifiable information from CVs and applications, thereby minimising the impact this information has on recruitment decisions.
Testgrid offers differing levels of blind recruitment solutions depending on your organisation’s diversity objectives:
Name-Blind: This simple blind recruitment process removes applicant names only, retaining all other information.
Demographic-Blind: This multi-layer approach removes any number of additional identifying layers, such as residential address, school and university names, and names of previous and current employers.
Our Blind Recruitment process allows you to focus only on the objective, performance-predictive variables of an applicant’s background such as skills and qualifications. It eliminates the risk of your recruitment team being unconsciously influenced by factors that don’t scientifically (or legally) justify progressing the candidate to the next round of the recruitment process.
The benefits of Blind Recruitment
Discrimination: Eliminate virtually all the effects of unconscious bias in the early stages of the recruitment process, to allow for more diverse candidates to reach the shortlist.
Candidate experience: Candidates feel reassured when the selection process is fair and equal to everyone and not impacted by subjective factors, but based on objective data only.
Smart hiring: Selecting candidates solely on their actual achievements, qualifications, and skill-sets, ensures that the best talent is selected, irrespective of their gender, race, or socio-economic status.
Diversity: Hiring from the same universities or industries, or the same geographical areas, leads to a homogenised workforce that looks and thinks the same, and is not representative of the wider community. Blind recruitment improves diversity of skills and talent entering your organisation, leading to improvements in productivity, innovation, and profitability.
Brand recognition: Organisations that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, through tangible initiatives such as blind recruitment, are more likely to attract high quality talent and become an employer-of-choice in the marketplace.
The critical question: Does it actually work?
Absolutely, our most recent work with the Dulux Group focused on re-designing the recruitment process and taking a different approach to hiring. This resulted in 28% of roles going to women, which is well above the industry average! You can read more about it in our case study!
Additionally, take the example of The Australian Bureau of Statistics, they wanted to increase the number of females in senior roles, so they removed names, genders, and other identifiers from applications. In addition, they emphasised flexible hours and working from home options as well as providing training for their interview panels and management on unconscious bias. As a result, 15 of 19 senior hires were female, whereas previously only 21% of their senior roles were filled by women.
Blind recruitment is a fantastic tool but it isn’t a silver bullet. The ideal solution is a multi-faceted approach with considerations around the language and images used in job advertisements, conducting unconscious bias training and redesigning jobs so that they appropriately target talent from a particular group. If you’re interested to head about how Testgrid worked with clients to achieve results and re-design the recruitment process, feel free to talk to us today!