The hiring process can be lengthy and expensive. The idea of name blind resumes can sound like just another hassle tacked on to the hiring process. Instead, you can view them as a safety measure against discriminating against potential employees and a way to ensure that you’re an equal opportunity employer.
What are name blind resumes
Name blind resumes have existed for decades. They can be traced back to instances such as the American symphony orchestras where the identity of the musician was hidden during the audition. Modern methods can remove personal information such as names from employment applications. The motivation behind this is to remove bias in the initial job application process. This process is currently in place in areas such as large corporate firms in the UK.
Studies on the name blind resume
Race and names
In the early 2000s, a key study tested the effect of anglo saxon versus non-anglo saxon sounding names on resumes receiving a response from the hirer. The experiment consisted of sending identical resumes to advertised positions. The only difference between the resumes was whether it had anglo saxon or non-anglo saxon sounding name. The study demonstrated that having an anglo saxon-sounding name increased an applicant’s chances of getting a callback. If you had an anglo saxon-sounding name it was the same as having 8 years additional experience in the industry. It also found an anglo saxon-sounding name with a high-quality resume did significantly better than a low-quality resume with an anglo saxon name.
In contrast, the study found that non anglo saxon-sounding names gained little improvement whether the resume was low or high quality in getting a callback.
Gender and Names
A recent 2016 study in Australia focused on discrimination against women in the Australian Public Service. The study took place in the context of affirmative action legislation. The results showed that when names were removed it dropped the probability a female CV would be shortlisted by 2.9%. However, applying this study to your business would be difficult. What is your current hiring culture? Does your business have a predisposition to hiring men or women?
An easy way to see if name blind resumes are something you should implement is to have a practice hiring exercise. Take, for example, four names: Thomas, Taylor, Tashaonda, Toshiyuki. Growing up in a western society we are generally, even just subliminally drawn to familiarity. In this case Thomas and Taylor. This should shed light on how powerful names are – even those which all start with the same letter.
What this means for your business
Managers and businesses have to take steps to access a greater pool of candidates while promoting diversity. Businesses need to be able to hire the right candidate for the job before the contract is signed. Likewise, they need to make sure that there are no discriminatory biases in their decision-making process. If a business uses a name blind resume, the advantage is the inability to be accused of, or act upon bias, being a bias that is based on whether the name sounds like a particular ethnicity or gender. However, this only applies in first round recruitment. This means once it comes to an actual interview there are no more blind name resumes. Ultimately, it’s about adapting your business so that the hiring process from beginning to end is not discriminatory. This can also be done by implementing affirmative action policies for equal opportunity and diversity.
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