Employee Relations

How blind recruitment software can optimise your recruitment process

Using applicant tracking software to carry out blind recruitment

Updated 7/6/2023


‘Blind recruitment’ is a strategy used to remove unconscious bias and promote inclusivity in the workplace. But for SMBs, implementing this may feel like an added step to an already complex process. Let’s face it, if you’ve got a position to fill, you want to fill it… and fast!  

Yet, unconscious bias is a common problem when it comes to finding talent, and studies prove this. People are more likely to hire candidates who are similar to themselves, whether it be in terms of their background, education, or even their name.  

In fact, in a recent poll carried out by Agency Central, 96% of recruiters think that unconscious bias is a problem.  

This brings us on to the topic of today’s article: blind recruitment. If you're new to this concept, we'll provide a blind recruitment definition. We'll also explore how blind recruitment works for SMBs in the practical sense. As a provider of HR software here at PeopleHR, you'll get no prizes for guessing what one of those solutions might be. Let's begin.  

What is blind recruitment?

What is Blind recruitment definition card

Blind recruitment is a method that removes identifying information from job applications and CVs. This occurs before they are reviewed by recruiters or hiring managers. Its goal is to eliminate unconscious bias and promote diversity and inclusion. 

By removing identifying information, recruiters can focus on the candidate's qualifications and skills. This avoids being influenced by other factors that may unconsciously affect their decision-making.   

Blind recruitment can be applied to various stages of the hiring process. This includes CV reviews, initial interviews, and final selection. It is being used by companies and organisations to create more diverse and inclusive workforces.  

What is the blind recruitment process?

The blind recruitment process refers to the steps that are taken to remove identifying information from job applications and CVs before they are reviewed by recruiters or hiring managers.  

Here is an overview of the blind recruitment process: 

  • Decide on the identifying information that will be removed from job applications and CVs. This may include name, age, gender, ethnicity, and educational background. 
  • Remove the identifying information from job applications and CVs. This can be done manually or using software tools that automatically redact this information.
  • Review the job applications and CVs without identifying information. Recruiters and hiring managers should focus solely on the candidate's qualifications and skills when making hiring decisions. 
  • Use other measures to promote diversity and inclusion in the hiring process. This may include using structured interviews, implementing diversity quotas, and engaging with diverse candidate pools. 
  • Implement a system to track the effectiveness of the blind recruitment process and make adjustments as needed. This may include collecting data on the diversity of the candidate pool and the final hiring decisions. 

In a 'traditional' recruitment process, you would review a job application and consider identifying factors. This may include the candidate's name, age, gender, ethnicity, and educational background. These factors may unconsciously influence the decision-making. This could lead to potential bias in the selection process.

Is blind recruitment effective?

Blind recruitment effectiveness quite card

Blind recruitment may help reduce bias and increase diversity in hiring. A study in the Journal, Personnel Psychology, found this to be true. By removing personal information from job applications, the chances of minority candidates being invited for an interview increased.  

You may also question, does blind recruitment improve gender equality? Studies show that this is, in fact, the case. A study in the National Bureau of Economic Research found that when personal information was removed from job applications, the number of women hired increased by 50%. 

It’s clear that blind recruitment can help increase diversity in hiring, but it is only one tool that can be used. Companies should use different methods to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. This could include diversity training, employee resource groups, introducing specific programs and policies on diversity and inclusion and mentorship and sponsorship programs.  

Benefits of blind recruitment

Graphic highlighting the benefits of blind recruitment

You may be thinking, ‘does blind recruitment work?’ There are several potential benefits of blind recruitment in the hiring process: 

  • Reducing unconscious bias: By removing identifying information from job applications and resumes, blind recruitment can help to eliminate unconscious bias. This can lead to more fair and objective decision-making and increase the chances of diverse candidates being considered for job opportunities. 
  • Promoting diversity: Anonymous recruitment can help to increase the diversity of the candidate pool and ultimately lead to a more diverse workforce. 
  • Improving fairness: Blind recruitment can help to level the playing field for all candidates, regardless of their background or identity. This can lead to a more fair and equitable hiring process. 
  • Enhancing the reputation of the organisation: Implementing blind recruitment can signal to potential candidates and stakeholders that the organisation values diversity and is committed to promoting inclusion in the workplace.
  • Improving the quality of the workforce: By focusing solely on a candidate's qualifications and skills, blind recruitment can help to attract a more qualified and skilled workforce. 

Drawbacks of blind recruitment

While blind recruitment can have several potential benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider: 

  • Increased workload: Removing identifying information from job applications and resumes can be time-consuming, particularly if it is done manually. This can increase the workload of recruiters and hiring managers. 
  • Potential for errors: There is a risk of accidentally removing important information or making mistakes when redacting identifying information from job applications and CVs. This could lead to confusion or misunderstanding during the hiring process. 
  • Limited impact on unconscious bias: While blind recruitment can help to reduce unconscious bias, it may not completely eliminate it. Other factors, such as the language used in job descriptions or the diversity of the hiring team, can still influence decision-making. 
  • Potential for negative consequences: In some cases, blind recruitment may have unintended consequences, such as potentially disadvantaged groups being further disadvantaged. For example, if a candidate has a unique name that is typically associated with a particular ethnicity or race, removing this information may make it harder for them to be identified as a member of that group. 

Overall, it's important to carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of blind recruitment and to implement it as part of a broader diversity and inclusion strategy. 

How does anonymous recruitment work with a HR system?

If you are using HR software with applicant tracking software, anonymous recruitment is possible. And it can remove some of the drawbacks highlighted in the previous section.  

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a tool that manages and tracks job applications and CVs. Organisations use it to streamline the recruitment process and improve efficiency.  

ATS can support blind recruitment. It does this by removing identifying information from CVs before entering them into the system. By creating custom fields (or using existing fields in the ATS), you can store anonymous information.   

For example, instead of storing a candidate's name, the ATS with will store a unique identifier such as a random number or code. This identifier could be used to track a candidate's progress in the hiring process while keeping their identity private.  

Also, an ATS can be set up to automatically remove personal information from job applications when they are uploaded. This ensures that anonymous information is available to recruiters and hiring managers when needed.  

Overall, an ATS can help with blind recruitment. It can remove personal information from job applications, track anonymous candidates and streamline the entire process. 

PeopleHR & the blind recruitment process

Here at Access PeopleHR, we use "scorecards" to help remove bias and improve diversity in hiring. Each person in the hiring process should independently review and score candidates. You can create an overall score or specific criteria to score candidates on.  

The best way to do this is to ask hiring managers to score candidates before discussing them with each other. This prevents group-influenced bias. An ATS can also help by ranking the best average scores at the top of the list.  

People HR offers an advanced Applicant Tracking System with blind recruitment software that lets you score candidates based on questions you set. The best talent will then rise to the top of your pipeline.  

The ATS within People HR automates the recruitment jobs you hate, while helping you focus on finding the perfect people for the roles you need to fill. 

Next steps

Many organisations have trouble with diversity and inclusion. This can be caused by unconscious bias, hiring practices that favour certain groups, and a lack of diverse leadership.  

A lack of diversity and inclusion can:  

  • Lead to an unfulfilling and unproductive workplace culture 
  • Limit an organisation's ability to consider different perspectives 
  • Perpetuate inequalities and injustice 

Blind recruitment can be effective when done properly. HR software, like the one offered by Access PeopleHR, can help with anonymous recruitment practices. If you would like to find out more, watch a 4 min demo to see what PeopleHR is really all about.  

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Gareth Moss
By Gareth Moss New Business Sales Team Leader

Gareth Moss is a New Business Sales Team Leader with nearly a decade of experience in the Access PeopleHR product. Gareth specialises in serving those within the SMB market, and his passion lies in helping businesses streamline their HR operations. Before transitioning into his current role, Gareth was a HR software product trainer, making him your ‘go to’ guy for all things PeopleHR.