Benefits and shortcomings of blinding your hiring process
During the 1970s, the majority of all symphony orchestras across the country contained only white male musicians. What caused this phenomenon? Most directors claimed that this demographic of applicants were the only qualified candidates who would apply, New York Times Magazine’s Claire Cain Miller wrote.
To alleviate this problem, judges began screening candidate behind a literal screen, so that they could not see the candidate while they played, in a method known as blind auditions. Instead of watching the musician play, the judges had to simply listen to their music, without being lead astray by their preconceived biases.
According to study results from researchers at Harvard and Princeton, of those orchestras that integrated blind auditions into their hiring process, women were 25 and 46 percent more likely to be hired. As a direct result of this lessened hiring bias, more female musicians began applying, dramatically changing the ratio of male to female musicians over time.
Is this still a problem today?
Recently, major tech industry organizations discovered that they have a serious lack of diversity. Google, for example, found in 2014 that very small percentages of its staff were minorities. An estimated 2 percent were black and 3 percent Latino and only around 30 percent or less were female.
To change this, entrepreneurs such as Petar Vujosevic, the founder of GapJumpers, have paved the way toward hiring equality. GapJumpers, a website where employers can post challenges which applicants can complete to apply for an open position, is just one way hiring managers can hire based on applicants’ skills, not just based on interviews or resumes.
“Right now, we are able to do blind auditions for software engineering roles, design roles, marketing roles, communication roles and allow candidates that might on paper not be a good fit, prove that they actually are,” Vujosevic explained to Brenda Salinas at NPR.
For companies looking to create an equal hiring process, pre-employment tests, like GapJumpers challenges, have shown to dramatically improve hiring processes, allowing hiring managers to become more inclusive and make smarter hiring decisions.
Is blind testing the only solution?
J.T. O’Donnell, CEO of career services site Careerealism, explained to Roy Maurer at the Society for Human Resource Management, however, that skills tests should not completely replace personal interaction.
“Hiring managers can hire based on applicants’ skills, not just interviews.”
“You can have the most talented and experienced person in the world, but if their personality doesn’t mesh well with the team, it won’t work,” O’Donnell said. “Any manager who’s hired on experience or skills only and then finds out that the person is a horrible fit learns that lesson.”
These tests are most effective when paired with a face-to-face interview. No matter how many skills an employee has, if they are unpleasant to work with, this will dramatically alter the morale of a team. Finding a desired balance between blind testing methods and traditional in-person interviews will ensure that hiring managers neither hire solely based on experience or just because they like a candidate.
With this in mind, after receiving the test’s results, hiring managers can make a shortlist of desired candidates who meet the needed skills qualifications. Then, hiring managers can further weed down their list of candidates through perusing their resumes for serious discrepancies or errors. Afterwards, managers can invite the selected applicants for an interview to see if they would be a positive addition to their staff.
Though not strictly a blind hiring process, this ensures that personal biases do not cloud hiring managers’ selection processes, so that they can hire the right person for the job, not someone who merely went to the same college as they did or is charismatic. Pre-employment tests also help keep managers accountable and not be discriminatory during the hiring process, so that organizations are protected from any infringement of hiring regulations or future lawsuits.
To learn more about pre-employment testing, contact EmployTest today to learn more!