A "blind" selection process had a significant impact

Published at 3rd May 2021 18:48

What happens when you attempt to conceal the identity of those you are recruiting?

Everyone understands that when it comes to recruiting, it's all about finding the best possible match. And recruitment firms are extremely well compensated for doing so. Entirely understandable because seeking expert advice on one of the company's most expensive investments is not at all stupid.

Bias is a well-known phenomenon when recruiting employees, whether you are an expert or not. Bias can significantly impact who you choose, especially who you reject, and thus perhaps handing over the best candidate to the competitor    

So, what if one tried to reduce bias by making the candidates anonymous? Is that going to make a difference?

A study from Princeton University and Harvard University (Cecilia Rouse, associate professor at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Claudia Goldin, professor of economics at Harvard University) set out to investigate this, which was based on the selection of candidates. When the candidates were required to perform a piece of music as part of the selection process, the judges could not see the musician.

The results were startling, as anonymizing the candidates increased women's chances of advancement in the process by 50%.

This has been critical for the composition of symphony orchestras worldwide, as the method ensures that the best candidates are chosen. - The way one looks is unimportant.

Can this be compared to a typical recruitment process? - No, not quite. Because when a musician performs a piece of music, it's almost as if they're performing their entire resume. Choosing anonymous recruitment does not preclude you from having access to the candidate's resume. Because their "piece of music" is their acquired competencies. It is simply a matter of competencies and accumulated experience being at the centre, rather than CSR, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, and so on, that determines whether one is chosen or not.