Blind Hiring: How it can Contribute to Workplace Diversity
In 1970, U.S. female musicians in the top five symphony orchestras comprised less than 5% of all players. Fast forward to today and women comprise 25% of the orchestras. We can thank “blind auditioning” or blind hiring for that. Imagine the impact that a heavy piece of cloth suspended from the ceiling or even carpet rolled out from backstage to center stage had on these female orchestra candidates. In a similar fashion with more companies utilizing blind hiring practices, we are seeing efficacy in how tech industries are screening candidates.
At Cyborg Mobile, one of the things we pride ourselves in is placing top talent with client companies using best hiring practices. Simply put, it is a method we consistently use to obscure job candidates’ personal information from the hiring manager (i.e., age, name, other identifying characteristics that would create bias, etc.) Now you may wonder what the weight a four-year degree holds for a candidate to be considered by someone who works in large Fortune 100 tech companies. When a hiring manager sees MIT on a resume versus a local community college, yet both candidates possess the same skills and background, who do you think this hiring manager might subconsciously favor? This is implicit bias in action. Our practices allow hiring managers to make initial decisions based on candidate match and while working to mitigate unconscious bias.
Companies are better positioned to create a pool of diversity to the interview stage by eliminating the impacts of conscious and unconscious bias. This, in turn, creates an opportunity for building a workforce that truly reflects a commitment to diversity. Companies like Google are applying blind hiring practices to hire qualified candidates who come from different backgrounds. With this growing trend, we can only hope more tech companies will recognize its positive impact and get on board.
As we approach next summer’s recruiting for the sixth New Technologists program, we will continue to implement blind hiring practices. We’ve seen previous cohorts grow from six participants in its inception to 75 as of last year, so it is important to practice bias-aware hiring. We send “blind” resumes to our client company when it’s time for them to review the final pool of applicants. That way, they can base their decisions off the qualifications and not let a name, gender, or even university skew their decision making.
So can blind hiring solve all your Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) issues in the workplace? The answer is no, but it can be implemented to help fortify the initiative. It’s important to be very strategic in your company’s D&I initiatives. Don’t just talk the talk; you must also walk the walk. Some ways to do this include ensuring your team has a diverse makeup and fosters a culture where every voice is welcome heard and respected. Improve the number on your leadership team to be more diverse. Help your employees feel included by allowing them to safely and freely voice their concerns and opinions. Eliminate their fear of speaking up if they have different viewpoints. By doing so, this fearless freedom of expression empowers companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.