Earlier this week, we discussed the challenges that businesses face in creating a diverse workplace that is inclusive of different genders, ethnicities and cultures. One of the tools advocated by Heather Brunner, the CEO of WP Engine, was to ensure names and genders weren't provided to selection panels. Employment marketplace SEEK has launched a new tool called ‘Hide Names’ which aims to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process.
The new feature is available for all Talent Search and Premium Talent Search users on SEEK. The idea is that it will help reduce gender and racial bias by removing a candidate’s name from their profile, so hirers focus on merit, experience and skills in an attempt to overcoming unconscious bias.
Kendra Banks, Managing Director SEEK ANZ said "Businesses and Government organisations are focused on building diverse teams to deliver better business outcomes and reflect the diverse range of customers they serve".
When performing a search, hirers can tick the ‘Hide Names’ checkbox at the top of their search results to hide candidate names from view. Candidates can then be shortlisted or added into talent pools where hirers and recruiters can compare skills and experience of candidates. The ‘Hide Names’ feature can be toggled on or off at any stage during the search process to reveal candidate details as needed.
Some research that was summarised in a story published by the ABC reported that blind recruitment, where personal candidate details are removed, may have the opposite effect on encouraging diveristy(hat tip to Marc lawson, who commented on the earlier story and pointing the article out to me).
A government trial found de-identifying candidates reduced the likelihood of women being selected for the shortlist. In contrast, the Australian Bureau of Statistics doubled its proportion of female bosses by using blind recruitment.
While it's good to have tools to assist with creating fair recruitment processes it remains the responsibility of companies to run processes that aren't built on prejudicial processes. That starts with the language in job ads and position descriptions, fair salaries and transparency in recruitment processes.