The Power of Anonymity: How Blind Hiring Helps Remove Subconscious Bias

As the saying goes, ‘never judge a book by its cover’. As diversity becomes the center of attention in most workplaces nowadays, the use of anonymity in hiring might just be the right strategy for businesses to broaden their applicant pool.

Taking ‘Bias’ Out of the Equation

Blind hiring isn’t new. Dating back to the 1970s, a time when the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was made up almost entirely of white male musicians, blind auditions were introduced as an effort to diversify the system. Likewise in today’s job market, research found evidence that men are twice as likely to be hired than women. Similarly, white-sounding names on résumés are 75% and 50% more likely to get an interview offer than those with Asian and black-sounding names respectively.

As much as we tell ourselves to be fair and objective, first impressions rooted in assumptions and prejudice are always a risk to companies that are looking to widen their demographics. Blind hiring, in this case, helps take away people’s preconceived notions about others – allowing professionals to concentrate solely on a candidate’s talents and skills, and not on the person’s appearance.

Tips for an Effective Blind Hiring Strategy

The implementation of technology such as pre-employment testing and applicant tracking systems mimics the idea of blind auditions. But in a way much streamlined and organized to help you smooth your existing hiring process. Follow these steps below:

  1. Discover the purpose of blind hiring in your company – is the goal to recruit more women to a specific team? Is it to find more culturally diverse individuals?
  2. Find out what details need to stay anonymous – such as a candidate’s name, race, age, gender, education background, etc.
  3. During interviews, make sure you’re asking relevant questions about the role, skills, and their work preferences.

Diversity Alone is not Enough

Though blind hiring can get you a number of diverse candidates, it doesn’t guarantee a bias-free workplace once they’re hired. Applying anonymity into your recruiting game is just the first step in achieving the diversity part of ‘diversity and inclusion’. With that said, proper inclusion strategies are still required to ensure that everyone is welcome throughout the whole employee experience.