The Virtue of Blind Hiring for Indian Corporates

Hiring is among the most challenging tasks in the corporate world. It pays a lot of dividends if done right, and at the same time can cause lot of hassles if done wrong. This puts quite a pressure on the recruitment team and they try to collect a lot of data about the candidates before coming to a conclusion about their competency for the particular job. This whole process of collecting detailed information about the candidate helps a lot in the hiring process, as the team can take well informed decisions. But, more than often, this overflow of information triggers the personal prejudices of the hiring team and makes them subconsciously lean into or lean away from a particular set of candidates based on their personal affinities.

To avoid such precarious situations, the concept of blind hiring has evolved and is gaining more and more ground in the recruitment sector. Blind hiring is a technique that “blinds” or removes identifiers or details about a candidate from the recruiter or hiring manager which have the potential to leading to biases. This allows them to assess the candidates exclusively based on their ability, and thus producing a more diverse and competent workforce. It involves masking of candidate’s information like gender, ethnicity, age and other such non-job specific elements to help the recruiters make choices that are not driven by unconscious personal biases. For an example, if a tech start-up wants to hire a coder, then it doesn’t necessarily judge the candidates on the basis of a college degree and work history or the culture he or she comes from, but on the basis of his or her coding skills. So, by obliterating the information that would not contribute to the skill of coding, hiring managers have a better chance to select the meritorious candidates.

In a nation like India, where diversity is prevalently observed in terms of language, religion, culture, skin colour, region and of course, age and gender, such biases are bound to surface during the hiring process. These biases act as hindrances when it comes to attracting the right talent. The most dominant biases in the Indian corporate sector while hiring are –

  • Gender Bias – The organizations tend to prefer specific gender, that they think would fit in the particular job description. Most of the times, female candidates are overlooked when recruiting for a power of position or in the industrial sector, where women are considered to be ‘weak’ for the position. The end result is that the organization remains deprived of the gender diversity and more importantly of the right talents.

  • Educational Bias – This is based on the fact that some recruiters think that the candidates from an elite college would be more competent than the other ones. Even though it can be true to some extent, but by blindly following this, recruiters are foreseeing the traits and skills that are substantial to execute the job and solely relying on the credentials of the college and not on the personal credentials of the candidate.

  • Confidence Bias – This bias plays an inherent role during the interviews. Everyone likes a confident and well-articulated candidate. Though these two qualities certainly are good to have in candidates, they can sometimes mask the other inabilities of the candidate resulting in a zealous bad hiring. The introverts that may be more competent and knowledgeable than that of the seemingly confident candidates don’t really emerge out as the appropriate choice, and thus the organization steps over the right talent.

  • Resume Bias – Poorly composed resumes, that don’t depict visual design skills and effective presentation, are outright neglected by some of the hirers. While it can be true that the candidate might be lacking creativity and the ability to compose a well-structured piece of writing, but it doesn’t necessarily portray that these candidates would be incompetent in the job role. This is especially true for field jobs, where most of the candidates have been working hands-on with the equipment and deprived of the comfort of desks and the leisure of picking up good document processing skills.

  • Language, Caste, and Culture – In a culturally diverse India, this is the most rampant and regressive bias found in the Indian Corporates, wherein some hiring managers prefer to select candidates of their own origin. This is nepotism of its own kind, relevant more in the medium and small scale businesses where the hiring team believes that such a choice would make their working easy on the longer run. On the contrary, such a practice proves to be detrimental to the organization as aggregating a team of same culture and background would deprive the possibility of new and fresh outlook in the organization.

In such a scenario, it has become imperative to incorporate blind hiring in the organizations, given its short term and long-term benefits. By executing blind hiring, unconventional applicants can shine and contribute to the company’s growth. Blind hiring would also lead to the impartial selection that would impart workplace diversity and access to different perspectives that would ultimately benefit the organizations. In the long run, blind hiring would play a pivotal part, as the availability of skilled workforce would drive an organization to achieve rich dividends, thus taking the company to the desired apex.

While blind hiring is very difficult to execute in the hiring process, there are some examples of organizations that have reaped benefits from it. GapJumpers is a software company which executes the hiring process by taking “blind auditions”, and it hugely helps them evaluating the actual potential of the candidates. The organizations like Mozilla, HSBC, and BBC have all incorporated blind hiring in their organization. HSBC, in November 2015 had introduced blind hiring to eradicate the gender bias and thus leading to gender diversity in the workplace.

Analysing the above facts and assertions, it can be inferred that blind hiring is a concept that should be incorporated in the Indian Inc., so that the companies stay absolved of the susceptible biases and lead to a diverse working culture and qualified and skillful workforce which would pay rich dividends in short and long term both. Given the rising competition in each and every sector, no organization can have the leisure of hiring based on their preferences and not on candidate’s abilities. It is high time Indian Corporates realize the true potential of blind hiring and imbibe this practice in their recruitment process.