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What Is Blind Screening?
Blind screening is a process of removing all identifying details from candidates’ resumes and applications to remove any potential bias in the first stage of the recruiting process.
Why Is Blind Screening Helpful for Companies?
Blind screening can be helpful for companies in selecting the best candidate for the role. Here are a few of its major advantages.
- Focuses on skills and experience. Removing details that can fall victim to cognitive bias allows recruiters to focus on the relevant skills and competency of each candidate in relation to the position.
- Promotes diversity. If recruiters look at candidates more objectively, they are less likely to unconsciously pick candidates similar to themselves based on protected classes like race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
- Removes favoritism. The idea of “who you know” is completely removed. This allows other qualified candidates who might be overlooked a better chance of being interviewed or offered employment.
How to Implement Blind Screening
There are two methods to implement blind screening in the first round of screening candidates at your organization: buying software or the DIY approach.
Method 1: Invest in a Tool or Resource
If you have the money for it, software can be a great option to reduce bias and promote diversity. These tools allow you to upload a candidate’s resume and provide the option to blur certain details, including but not limited to pictures, names, address, high school name, high school graduation year, college name, college graduation year, or years attended. This tool blurs the personal traits of the candidates and only shows their skills and experience.
Method 2: The Simple Approach
Small businesses may need to get creative and use more budget-conscious approaches. Here’s one approach using a DIY application and spreadsheet.
Whether you find an employment application through internet research or create your own employment application, focus on skills and experience. Avoid adding questions that will distract and tempt recruiters to rate candidates on irrelevant details (i.e. favorite color, the neighborhood they grew up in, school they attended.)
Pull candidate information into a spreadsheet and filter out their personal traits.
- In the left column (column A), list the topics of the employment application (name, address, school, company name, job title, duties, etc.)
- Each column after column A will be dedicated to one candidate and their information. Fill out the spreadsheet with each candidate you are considering for a position.
- Next, right-click on the rows that record personal traits (name, school attended, graduation year, etc.) and hide it from view. It is still in the spreadsheet but is not visible for now.
- After you have decided who will move forward in the hiring process, unhide those rows of information.
Best Practices for Blind Screening
Consider the following best practices to elevate your recruiting process.
Take the focus away from background or personality. Focus on the knowledge and ability of each candidate to complete the job with a standardized skill assessment.
Neutral Job Description Language
Use neutral language in job descriptions to attract a more diverse pool of candidates. Click here for SHRM tools to aid you in updating your job descriptions.
Standardize Interview Questions
Skill or talent-based questions will ensure you match the right candidate to the position instead of falling victim to cognitive bias in hiring your best friend. Also, asking each candidate the same questions allows every candidate an equal opportunity to be considered for employment.
Reduce the Chitchat
It seems normal to engage in small talk. “How was your commute today?” However, this can result in unconsciously judging one candidate over another based on their neighborhood, whether they drove or used public transportation, or if they are fond of the weather you prefer.
Instead, focus on the interview and making them feel comfortable. Consider the following when meeting each candidate.
- “We are very excited you came in today for the interview.”
- “Here is our agenda for the interview today…”
- Use body language and eye contact.
- Respect their time; don’t veer off the set agenda.
- Manners matter. Thank them for coming and express your appreciation for them when they leave.
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Ryan is an HR Director with four years of experience and three masters degrees. One accomplishment he is proud of is the design and launch of a learning and development program for 800+ employees.