The Insult Of Anonymous CVs

There is a trend these days towards anonymising candidates, towards stripping out information that may – one way or another – bias a hiring manager.

LinkedIn Recruiter can do this for sourcers and recruiters – removing photographs and names, leaving us with anonymous profiles, allegedly helping us focus on what’s important.

The idea is that we are inherently biased. Somehow, we’ll favour people who look like us, or people whose names sound like ours.

So therefore, we need to be blindfolded. We need someone to control our bias for us, lest we rage against the unfamiliar.

Sorry, we can’t show you this candidate’s name because we’re afraid you’re a racist. Not a bad one. Just a closet racist.

Software providers

Oh, and in case you try to track them down by being CLEVER, we’ve redacted their university, their schools and their employers. Because if you knew that, the racist closet door would open.

OK, I am growing flippant, and I do think the recruitment industry as a whole is doing its bit to improve diversity, equality, inclusion and everything else.

I also agree that we have certain biases. I, for one, am always biased towards those who have scrapped and fought for what they have today. As opposed to those who were given an easy path towards success.

But I know that ultimately, each person may produce equivalent results.

There are people who are biased towards people from the same university or the same school if educated privately. There are those who are biased against working mums, those who are biased towards young blonde girls, or those who are biased against young people. How many biases are we going to try to eliminate?

Better to pinpoint them and grow some awareness.

Look at any industry and your biases are often just represented by the volumes of your demographics. For instance, 60% of marketers are female. 90% of developers are male. 15% of (British) marketers are BAME. Only 2% are Afro-Caribbean.

You can buck the trend as a matter of positioning, or you can look at those numbers with scepticism.

For instance, if only 15% are BAME, how is it we shortlisted an exclusively BAME list of candidates last week?

Because when you look at under-25s in PR, that 15% is more like 30%.

And when you look at our outreach, 75% of respondents were BAME.

Imagine not knowing this. Because these are interesting facts. These are demographic shifts within your candidate marketplace that you really ought to know about. And indeed, if your hiring manager is a racist, then wouldn’t you like to know?

Contrary to what you might read in the Daily Mail, most workplaces in Britain are liberal, open-minded, diverse and inclusive – and if they’re not, their workforce will likely walk.

So here’s the hot take. Remove the blindfolds and open your eyes.

Trust your hiring managers to make the right judgements and let the data inform you as to whether they have done or not.

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