Ages ago Germany conducted a study where eight major companies adopted ‘anonymous’ hiring practices for 12 months. Not one piece of personal or identification information was disclosed before the interview process.
While the sample size was small, the researchers concluded that anonymity had a positive effect on boosting the diversity of the workforce.
The researchers organised for all of this information to be eliminated from the applications, and went one step further and removed the applicants’ names too.
The practice led to an increase in the number of women, older people and people from ethnic backgrounds reaching the interview stage.
This could be trialled in Adelaide, which unfortunately is the home of race, age, gender prejudice and nepotism in candidate selection.
The economic benefits of diversity lead to a greater range of skills and perspectives, and broader economic participation.
While objective selection criteria are still important, candidates who are ruled ‘out’ based on gender, age or ethnicity instead of being selected based on their knowledge, skills and attributes, can leave businesses open to a discrimination complaint. A nightmare scenario for recruiters and employers.
It is not uncommon for those involved in recruitment to underestimate the effect of conscious or unconscious bias and how this can impact an organisation’s ability to select the right person for the role.