Organizations have a responsibility to act fairly at every stage of the recruitment process. However, in many cases, companies may be letting unconscious or unperceived bias hinder their ability to hire the most suitable candidates. This is a practice that simply has to change.
According to Glassdoor's 2017 trends report, organizations which place a strong focus on engagement and ensuring they give fair treatment to staff based on their experience and skills, rather than arbitrary traits like sex or race, gain higher levels of employee satisfaction and are better able to attract and retain the best and brightest in their field.
What does fair really mean?
In the context of recruitment, fairness really boils down to being open and transparent in the hiring process and not discriminating against individuals based on protected characteristics, such as age, race, gender or religion.
At the same time, it can be extremely difficult to address our own internal bias without significant effort. For example, when a successful member of staff leaves a business, it can be tempting for those recruiting to seek a like-for-like replacement. The person who left may have been a great fit for the team and therefore it can be easy to think a person who matches their character, attitude or skills is essential. This is not necessarily the case and may mean the recruiter becomes blinded to candidates that do not fit this description.
Understanding that each candidate should be assessed on their own merits is important in ensuring fairness in the recruitment process. However, people are creatures of habit and they like familiarity, so sometimes it can be tempting to stick to an established type of staff member when looking to fill new roles.
That said, attracting a varied group of talent to your business can offer a wide range of benefits, such as more diverse thinking that leads to higher levels of innovation, or stronger levels of employee satisfaction due to companies showing a commitment to inclusivity in the workplace. Addressing bias and thereby attracting and retaining the services of a more diverse group of staff can help to set up companies for success.
Removing bias with blind recruitment
So, how should companies look to get around the bias that is inherent to nearly all of us? Blind recruitment offers organizations the ability to remove the unconscious bias that can influence their decisions when choosing who to hire.
Blind recruitment entails the removal of all identifiable information from the hiring process when deciding which candidates should move forward to interview. It is a process designed to ensure all candidates are placed on an entirely equal footing and that only those attributes relevant to the job are presented for review.
As such, identifiers like ethnic background, names, age, education, gender and personal interests are all removed from applicant details when presented. This means the recruiter cannot be distracted by issues of bias towards any one group or set of characteristics and will be more inclined to set up interviews with those best suited to meeting the needs of the business.
Overall, companies which implement blind recruitment can expect to onboard both a more varied workforce and one that, ultimately, is tailored more efficiently to meet the exact needs of the roles that are available. Bias is an issue that all of us must contend with, to one degree to another, but by going blind there is a way to limit its impact.