The phenomenon of discrimination in the workplace had been – and still is – an issue for most companies worldwide. Could blind screening be a way to mitigate this issue?
An alarming statistic is that 78% of black and ethnic minority employees were sometimes or often excluded from any decision making process. What is additionally worrying is the fact that, according to the Harvard Business Review, hiring discrimination has not declined in the past 25 years against Black job seekers in the U.S.A.
But most recruiters tend to discriminate unintentionally by falling into the pitfalls of cognitive biases during the hiring process. A trustworthy solution to discrimination is implementing an increasingly popular hiring approach, known as “blind screening.”
What is Blind Screening?
When implementing blind screening, any personally identifiable information on candidates is removed and disregarded, so recruiters become “blind” to any information that might trigger unconscious biases. Some of the information which is hidden includes:
- Academic Qualifications
- Racial Background
- Personal Interests
This method was initially implemented in the music industry in the ‘70s. Specifically, the Boston Symphony Orchestra pioneered blind auditions to counter the almost exclusively white male musician industry. A study by Harvard and Princeton researchers revealed that the blind audition increased females’ chances to be hired from 25% to 46%.
But blind auditions are also very popular in the 21st century too, especially after the TV show “The Voice” surfaced this type of “candidate screening” since it started airing.
Of course, the blind screening process might have started in the music industry, but it was not long before changing the corporate hiring landscape.
The benefits of Blind Screening
Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace proved to be directly correlated with an increase in revenue. Companies can achieve tangible results in revenue, since a 1% increase in gender diversity has a 3% impact in increasing revenue, whereas a 1% increase in racial equality has 9%. Blind screening creates a bias-free process from the get-go.
By “placing a blindfold” on recruiters through this process, it is possible to extract several benefits:
- Bias control: By omitting all personally identifiable information on a candidate, you achieve focusing on the two things that matter most: his/her personality and raw skill. No judgment or unconscious bias is possible when there is no information to lead to the above.
- An increased pool of candidates: Removing unconscious biases will incentivize more candidates who had previously been reluctant due to bias to apply for a job opening, leaving more diverse employers’ choices. Of course, the best application to manage the process with an increased volume of candidates would be an HR tech solution (e.g.: Bryq).
- Meritocracy: Blind screening allows you to reduce unconscious bias and focus on candidates who deserve the job the most, based on suitability of skills and personality traits.
- Increased Diversity: D&I is here to stay alongside with its benefits. And the blind screening process certainly helps with increasing diversity by removing the recruiters’ unconscious biases while also broadening the scope of suitable candidates.
- Higher Skilled Individuals: As a culmination of all of the above, the highest skilled individuals will probably be the ones able to surpass the bias-free assessments, adding significant human capital to any company.
So, what’s next?
On an endnote, when you are searching for a blind screening process, for what features you should be looking out?
- Scientifically Based: Ensures that the assessment isn’t based on a hunch, but rather on concrete scientific evidence.
- Streamlined: The whole recruiting team assesses the candidates based on the same criteria.
- Candidate Experience: Making the assessment friendly to the candidate alleviates some of the nervousness of being tested for a job position.
- User Experience: Having an easy interface for any user (e.g. recruiters and hiring managers) to interpret the results with ease and maximize their use.
- Value for money: Because why would such assessments be accessible only to Fortune 500 companies?
- Validity and Reliability: Validity assures that the scales measure the variables they’re supposed to, and reliability ensures that validity is consistent.
There are ample opportunities to try different blind screening processes to assess your candidates. But you should pick what is more convenient for you and your recruiting team.
Need help to decide? Meet the Bryq team for a quick discussion.