Blind Recruitment

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In recent months there has been growing conversation around “blind recruitment”. Research from the Australian National University shows that people from culturally diverse backgrounds with the same qualifications and experience, often have to submit many more job applications to get as many interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-Saxon sounding name, an Indigenous person must submit 35 per cent more applications, a Chinese person must submit 68 per cent more applications, an Italian person must submit 12 per cent more applications, and a Middle Eastern person 64 per cent more applications.

In  an effort to promote diversity and prevent discrimination and bias from the recruitment process, the Victorian Government is currently trialling the removal of personal details such as name, gender, age and location from job applications.

There might be a little more required to reach the aim of creating a more cultural diverse workforce than just redacting certain information from a resume, including concentration on skills and experience or even using practical project trials to assess suitability. Relying on blind interviewing alone may not be enough.

In the interests of ensuring successful as well as fair recruiting it is also necessary to consider the culture of the organisation or business; invariably the face to face interview will still take place. Given the tendency is to recruit people from similar demographic background as ourselves, there may be an argument for changing interview styles within the organisation and perhaps even inviting others in the organisation to assist with the process. If we really want to ensure the recruitment of the very best candidates, strategies to allow for and encourage diversity are important and an organisation wide training program may be necessary to eliminate ingrained biases.

Winsome Bernard

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