Finding the next member of an organization is difficult. Recruiters and hiring managers have all kinds of techniques and tools designed to help find and obtain new talent. Still the fact remains that since in the end the process involves one human hiring another human, human stuff happens. Human stuff like unconscious bias.
In 2003 a study titled “Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that “job applicants with white-sounding names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback,” while “those with African American-sounding names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback.” The study has incredible examples of African American candidates changing or dropping their “non-white” names off applications and getting better results for callbacks.
The NBER study was followed by a similar study in 2014 from Stanford and the Paris School of Economics which uncovered similar findings when applicants with foreign-sounding names applied for jobs in the same pool as those without.
All of this seems to indicate that our many rules for protected classes and fancy recruiting systems are not compensating for our human failings.
Therefore some very innovative organizations and individuals are trying to filter our biases with the best available technology. The latest attempt is through a mobile app called Blendoor. Blendoor through a simple interface tries to facilitate an employee to employer match “based on merit, not molds.”
In a recent article about Blendoor, FastCompany tried to relate the app and technology to the notorious “hook-up” app Tinder. (Most likely to garner clicks.) But Blendoor is merely adapting the blind audition strategy developed in the 1990s to help with the gender diversity issues of orchestras around the U.S.
The blind audition strategy is seen every week on the television show The Voice.
Organizations know that a diverse workforce will help them succeed. It appears that we may be on the edge of a technological revolution that will allow us to find the right human for our team without our human nature getting in the way.
Other articles about anonymous/blind hiring: