How to Conduct Blind Interviews and Why You Should

How to Conduct Blind Interviews and Why You Should

If your company can commit to hiring based on qualifications and skills while setting aside any personal identifying factors, you’re sure to see major results across your diversity and inclusion initiatives. One of the stronger ways to eliminate bias in your hiring and recruitment is to start conducing blind interviews. These are essentially a candidate evaluation method that removes demographic information like gender, race, and ethnicity, from the initial stages of the process.

Why Interview Blind?

Most people aren’t aware of it, but humans tend to like people that are similar to them. This phenomenon is well documented, and even has a name. It’s called the similarity attraction bias, and descriptions of it can be found in places like the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology going back decades.

In this instance, the similarity attraction bias tells us that a person hosting interviews is more likely to hire someone that shares their “attitudes, values, activity preferences, attractiveness,” and other important characteristics in which they are similar. Attraction in this context doesn’t necessarily mean anything romantic, but rather a desire to be around that person.

This has a negative impact on diversity in your company, which also negatively impacts your bottom line. More diversity means more ideas and, in turn, more profit.

As described in a 2020 report from McKinsey & Company, researchers noted how strong the business case for diversity can get. Companies with strong gender diversity are about 25% more likely to financially outperform their peers. Also, companies with strong ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to outperform.

In the realm of hiring, the similarity attraction bias is analogous to a giant filter that unconsciously blocks diverse candidates from getting a truly fair shot at working for your company. It could also block a lot of great ideas that could be truly innovative in your operations. So, how can we help prevent this from happening?

How to Conduct Blind Interviews

  1. Start with Education. Diversity training is a powerful tool for helping to curb bias in the workplace as long as your company selects a thorough and targeted education program. A few years ago, researchers from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a diversity training study that found the most successful training programs include a broad range of approaches that target different audiences, regularly collect and review data, and conduct experiments to review effectiveness.
  2. Draft More Inclusive Job Descriptions. According to ZipRecruiter, job listings with gender-neutral wording get 42% more responses. As you compose job descriptions for your open positions, be sure to remove defining terms like “he or she” and use terms like “the candidate.” Instead of phrases like “reports to chairwoman,” you should write “reports to management.”Additionally, you’ll want to be mindful of any age or race-related items. Avoid asking about years of experience and avoid using racially sensitive terms. For example, “fluent in English” would be more appropriate than “native English speaker.”

Tip: Search online for gender-neutral alternatives for job descriptions.

  1. Redact Demographic Information from Applications. Names, addresses, photos, can all give away hints at the demographic of the applicant. You’ll want to remove these from your application processes and ask candidates to remove them from their submitted resumes.
  2. Redact Academic Details. Academic information as it pertains to your open job positions should be all about skillsets, not where the candidate went to school or when they graduated. Ask applicants to describe what they studied, but not where or when. Many companies are also using skills-based assessments in the pre-hiring phases to determine fitness for the position.
  3. First Interviews Should be Blind. Your initial interviews should be conducted blindly. Typically, this can be achieved with an online form, emailed questionnaire, or even an online chat. Phone calls and video chats still reveal a lot of identifying detail and shouldn’t count as blind interviews.
  4. Review. Be sure to periodically review your blind interview process to ensure it’s generating the recruitment results your company is hoping to achieve. Evaluate how your onboarding demographics have changed from before your started blind interviewing to now and make adjustments as needed.

Build a More Diverse Company

Developing a solid blind interview process is a great first step to begin building a more diverse company. Taking every measure to eliminate bias in your onboarding practices will help ensure that top talent is both attracted to your business and taken in effectively. Don’t let unconscious bias prevent you from hiring your next best innovator.

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