Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Keeping a candidate’s name, address, gender and race hidden from a recruiter is said to…

Could 'blind' recruitment fix hiring bias?

Despite many recruiters’ ambition to eradicate discrimination from the hiring process, it still seems to be the case that candidates have felt rejected as a result of unconscious bias. The term ‘unconscious bias’ is what Acas define as the scenario where people favour others who look like them or share their values. Particularly when a hiring manager is recruiting, it is easy for them to fall into familiar habits and favour candidates yielding similar experiences or expressing a comparable personality as themselves.

So, it begs the question as to whether the introduction of ‘blind recruitment’ would help to put more candidates at ease? The term ‘blind recruitment’ refers to the idea that recruiters would not know the name, address, gender or race of an applicant before the interview process starts. The aim for this hiring method is to prevent recruiters and hiring managers from making unintentional judgements and to give every candidate a fair chance to secure a job.

When an applicant shares their CV with a recruiter, they should undoubtedly be judged on if they are right for the job based on their skills and relevant experience – names, ages and race should never be a focus point. By removing details such as these from a CV, recruiters will be able to make decisions purely on a candidate’s merit and not based on factors such as gender.

To find out whether ‘blind recruitment’ is a popular choice, we spoke to three recruiters to find out their thoughts…


Genevieve Ryan, Director of People at Acorn Recruitment

“Although it’s likely to go some way towards preventing discrimination at the point of application, there are concerns within the industry that ‘blind recruitment’ also has the potential to delay any possible discriminatory action, rather than resolving the underlying issues surrounding intolerance and bias in the workplace.

In the early-stage process of sifting through applications and selecting candidates for interview, concealing a person’s name, age and gender would certainly be effective in removing some unconscious prejudices on the part of the recruiter.

Promoting diversity and inclusion as part of the wider culture as a means of prevention is just as important, however, education and training is an effective way for any organisation to take a positive stance on the issues involved.

Ultimately, most issues within the current working climate – from the gender pay gap to racial bias – have stemmed from years of unspoken, inherited behaviour and are not likely to be stamped out by hiding the characteristics of potential employees until they are invited to interview. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t aware that we make decisions based on prejudice and for this reason it can be much harder to address all issues and provide a clear-cut solution at the outset. That said – far be it the silver bullet that drives substantial change – ‘blind recruitment’ could well be the first in a series of steps that promotes equality and fairness at work.”

“‘Blind recruitment’ could well be the first in a series of steps that promotes equality and fairness at work.”

“The advantages I see are that ‘blind recruitment’ can create a more diverse workforce which in turn leads to companies being more attractive to prospective employees”


Laura Le Masurier, CEO of Crucial Recruitment

“I believe that ‘blind recruitment’ solves some issues around discrimination in the hiring processes, and that it can prove effective for companies with structure in place to ensure candidates are treated equally in the way they are received, through the use of specifically programmed candidate ATS’, or recruiters, for example.

The advantages I see are that ‘blind recruitment’ can create a more diverse workforce which in turn leads to companies being more attractive to prospective employees, as well as positively enhancing their brand leading to higher staff retention rates.

Where I can foresee potential challenges are around culture; companies are working harder than ever to create cultures where people want to work, to grow and to succeed, hiring people that ‘fit’ and removing certain details could make this more difficult.”


Amanda Fone, Founder and CEO of F1 Recruitment & Search

“Hiring managers and recruiters should not need a name, age or gender in order to decide someone’s suitability to bring in to a face-to-face interview for a job. Blind CVs at the initial talent sourcing stage force us all to consider what is important to be successful in a role such as relevant work experience, skills and career achievements to date. Names of universities and schools should be left off CVs, as well as postal addresses, meanwhile many companies already have online application forms which a candidate completes where they leave out this information.

Recruitment companies are often faced with the challenge where candidates will get in touch to ‘get onto their radar’ for roles, who aren’t necessarily applying for a specific job. These candidates proactively email in their CV with all the above information which means recruitment consultants are not recruiting blind.

The real challenge for blind interviewing starts after an applicant has been invited for an interview. A company usually requires a name often for security purposes, meanwhile for GDPR reasons companies need to check an applicant’s right to work in the UK so they need a photo of an applicant’s passport. This checking often happens before a face-to-face meeting to save time further down the line, making the idea of ‘blind recruitment’ somewhat difficult.

Another challenge for blind CV interviewing is as soon as you have someone’s name you can check them out on LinkedIn and social media, so how can companies prove that there has been no discrimination between that first blind online stage and first face-to-face interview stage?”

“Recruitment companies are often faced with the challenge where candidates will get in touch to ‘get onto their radar’ for roles, who aren’t necessarily applying for a
specific job”