Masking is not only an essential way to protect you in a pandemic, it’s also the future of blind hiring; helping employers hire objectively to achieve equity, be more inclusive and increase diversity in the workforce.

What is Blind Hiring?

Blind recruitment or hiring is not a new theory. It dates back to at least the 1970s, when orchestras discovered that concealing the identity of applicants led to 5 times the amount of women being hired (SHRM). More recently, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, with all things being equal, ‘white-sounding’ names received nearly 50% more callbacks than those with ‘black-sounding’ names. In the pursuit of hiring a more diversity range of candidates, varying levels of blind hiring techniques have been integrated into recruitment practices worldwide. But not with the ubiquity or diligence that it merits.

There are many types of unconscious bias that can creep into hiring, often negatively affecting the talent acquisition process. This is especially prevalent in the early stages of recruitment. When hiring managers and recruiters are screening and reviewing applicants, shortlisting, and holding interviews. Preconceived ideas based on things like quality of the candidate’s education or judgments about their name, gender or age can often skew decisions, rather than focusing on the applicant’s qualifications and skills. This not only creates an unfair environment for applicants, but can also lead to your company overlooking some high potential candidates.

That’s why anonymising applicants is a critical step in objective candidate screening, leading to equitable hiring outcomes. The most widely accepted practice is removing age, gender, name, ethnic background and other obvious identification information from the CV. Removing identity clues helps employers to bypass some of the initial preconceived ideas and biases they might have about candidates. Unfortunately though, the onus is on the employer to take this step, and this has often meant a HR professional manually covering or ‘scrubbing’ the information on a CV, before handing it to a hiring manager.

Taking CV Masking Further with AI

AI solutions automate the scrubbing process and remove any chance of human error. But that’s not all. They also take it further to mask more information that could lead to unfair assumptions from recruiters. A candidate’s previous educational institutions is a key area of bias in privilege and perceived status. Other areas where AI can remove clues to a person’s identity can be personal interests, email addresses, physical locations, references, companies worked for, dates and much more. All these can play a big part in recruiter assumptions.

This screening technology and ability to remove identification information is built-in to more advanced applicant tracking systems (ATS) such as X0PA AI Recruiter. This makes the whole process much easier for employers. Hiring managers are able to complete blind hiring at scale. This includes the most diverse range of candidates right from the start.

Intelligent video and voice masking

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’….sound familiar?

Humans are visual creatures and naturally base a lot of opinions on what they see. So it’s no surprise that recruiters are also heavily influenced by how they visually perceive a candidate. One of the largest forms of bias that can affect the interview process is through someone’s appearance. This could be due to a person’s perceived attractiveness, weight, age, body-type or skin tone. There are numerous ways in which all humans unconsciously judge and base opinions on appearance.

Newer AI solutions can actually allow recruiters to go even further to remove appearance biases from the interview process. With the advent and rapid adoption of video interviews, one-way video interviews have become one of the strongest ways to objectively screen potential candidates, while also increasing scalability.

Sophisticated AI and Machine Learning platforms such as X0PA ROOM, allow employers to take a truly equitable and inclusive approach by masking the video and voice of the applicant. With the click of a single button, this feature gives candidates anonymity in early interviews. X0PA’s AI-enriched video interview platform filters and analyse masked responses, before delivering them to hiring managers and recruiters. Employers see anonymous responses via transcripts while insights on content and sentiment are drawn by the AI. Scoring is done with standardised analytics, ensuring a level playing field.

Candidate profiles remain masked until responses are rated and subsequently shortlisted by prospective employers, which focuses the recruiter’s attention on the content of the responses rather than the applicant. Employers then see independent results and analysis without ever seeing visuals or profiles of candidates to ensure truly equitable talent acquisition.

Objective reference checks

One area many overlook when it comes to bias in hiring, is through reference checks. While you want to get an opinion on the person you are about to hire from a previous employer, unfair bias tends to taint opinions, which could skew decision-making. Another person’s impartial ideas can trickle through when delivering a reference regarding a candidate. X0PA AI’s inclusive hiring feature actually uses a more objective intelligent approach, which removes unnecessary subjectivity from candidate references.

Anonymous skills-based shortlisting

Put the focus back on skills. Nobody should have an unfair advantage because of their background; the ideal candidate should be able to demonstrate the critical skills required by the individual role. Anonymous skill-based hiring has become an important leveller for more equitable talent acquisition. Before knowing an applicant’s full story, employers can discover inherent skillsets through assessments around defined, unbiased criteria. This is where AI solutions have the ability to drive powerful insights from results, including skill gaps and predictive modelling based on answers and profile.

See how X0PA AI’s Inclusive Hiring Feature can reduce up to 80% of bias in your hiring

X0PA AI is on a mission to drive more equitable hiring outcomes for employers and candidates through the most inclusive and objective intelligent hiring platform. Find out today how X0PA ROOM can help you take the next step towards truly inclusive hiring.

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