Hiring Henry Over José

blind recruitment

Racism in the hiring process is still a very real problem. Research has shown that White job applicants in the U.S. get a reply 50% more often than equally qualified Black applicants. This means members of minority groups are forced to cast a wider net while looking for a job. Employers don’t necessarily know they exclude people of colour, it may just be a case of subconscious bias. To counter this bias, one of the most effective strategies could be a so-called ‘blind recruitment’ policy. By erasing any indicators of ethnicity from the application, minorities may be given a fairer chance to prove their capabilities.

Does it work? The Hague, a city in The Netherlands, seems to think so. During the first half of 2016, the city experimented with the concept for applications in the public sector. With some very positive results in, they just decided to carry on with the measure. Mic reports that the city saw a 25% increase in bicultural employees; the percentage of bicultural individuals invited to job interviews nearly doubled to 23.5%.

Britain has also adopted a similar policy, and Canada may soon follow. Toronto already has some experience with this idea; after the local Symphonic Orchestra decided to hold blind auditions in 1980, it is now nearly half female, and much more diverse. A notable change from the White male institution it used to be.

But unfortunately, except for some admirable efforts by private institutions, blind recruitment is largely limited to applicants for public office. Until governments decide to push this measure through to the private hiring process, it remains up to individuals to sneak around such bias; like José Zamora, who ‘misspelled’ his name as Joe, and suddenly started receiving replies to his applications.

Cover image ©cc by-nc-nd Rilee Yandt

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