How to Change Your Biased Blind Hiring Process

by Julian Wyant
August 12, 2019
How to Change Your Biased Blind Hiring Process

Humans are problematic–it’s been proven over and over again. When it comes to hiring, those problematic hominids can get in the way of the talent decision making, especially in terms of diversifying the workplace. 

Talent pools need to be more reflective of the world we live in, but that doesn’t mean everyone you hire is just a check-in-the-box for diversity. Addressing the systemic inequities of hiring is more than just scrubbing names from a resume, diversity starts with values and intertwining processes that foster diversity and inclusion throughout your culture. 

With AI, machine learning, and other inventions, hiring processes have become slightly less biased, but there’s still work to be done. 

Take a look at orchestra auditions in the U.S. in the ‘60s: to eliminate gender bias, the musicians play behind a screen. After implementing this process, the likelihood of selecting female musicians increased by 30%.Although there was a 25% increase in women’s representation in the ‘90s, this process still had some cracks, allowing the previously mentioned problematic human to slip through. Any ideas what may have given away the gender identity of the musicians?

If you guessed high heels, congratulations–you nailed it. To combat this, the orchestra enacted a no shoe policy, leading to nearly 50% of women progressing through the audition process. This case shows that even with anonymized recruiting, a tightly controlled environment is necessary to not let those problematic humans seep through. 

So, if your company is serious about diversifying, there are some things to keep in mind. 

Watch for unexpected identity cues

There are many factors people look at that may point to a particular identity. It can be anything from extracurriculars, to addresses, to degrees or fields of study. To fix this, you have to remove more than just the candidate’s name from their resume; this means taking out social media account links and other things that may unconsciously point to a certain gender identity. Basically, you have to remove the high heels from all of your candidates’ resumes. 

Lose individual biases before they cause problems

We all know it’s true, everyone has their own biases. But when it comes to your hiring team, it’s critical to call out individual biases, respectfully, without shaming your team. Almost every job requires face-to-face interaction before hiring a candidate–one of the steps in the hiring process that AI hasn’t infiltrated yet–but those from marginalized backgrounds are often hindered at this point due to previously mentioned biases. Your organization should be doing everything possible to attract diverse candidates, so restructuring your hiring policies/protocols/team might be a necessary step.

Be aware of the cracks in the blind hiring process 

Unfortunately, even blind hiring doesn’t guarantee equity. Anonymized resumes make it harder to understand an individual’s specific circumstances–which is very important when it comes to understanding a resume in its entirety. Instances such as gaps in employment can be misinterpreted when everything is anonymous, and interpreting different signals is harder when identities are hidden. Make sure you and your team are aware of each other’s blind spots. 

For any organization to be successful–and remain that way–diversity is key. Blind hiring processes can be effective if used correctly, and they can strengthen your team and your diversity efforts. But the only way nontraditional and marginalized candidates can thrive relies on the value your company places on diversity. 

Diversity is instrumental in enhancing your organization. Now it’s up to you to put in the work it takes to diversify. 

Julian Wyant

Marketing Lead at Kinetix
Julian is a social media whiz with a zeal for content marketing, creative and strategic communications, writing, editing, photography, and grammar. When he’s not thwacking his keyboard or at Kinetix HQ, he can be found spending quality time with his dog Bagel, reading fashion magazines, watching scary movies, and consuming prodigious amounts of espresso.
Julian Wyant

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