Blind Hiring - The Secret to Hiring Only The Best Candidates | Toggl Blog
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Blind Hiring – The Secret to Hiring Only The Best Candidates

James Elliott James Elliott Last Updated:

White-sounding names get 50% more callbacks than applicants with Black-sounding names, regardless of their professional experience. Shocking, isn’t it? Whether we like it or not, we all have a natural bias that hampers our ability to assess candidates fairly – cue the business case for blind hiring. 

This article will explore all things blind hiring, including what it is, why it’s important for equal hiring, and its pros and cons. Then, we’ll show you how to introduce blind hiring techniques into your recruitment process, making it more fair, transparent, and equal for everyone. 

Let’s get into it! 

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What is Blind Hiring or Blind Recruiting? 

Blind hiring is a technique recruiters use to remove bias from the hiring process. Specifically, it removes identifiable characteristics such as name, gender, religion, age, and education from a candidate’s profile so that hiring decisions are made solely on capability, skills, and experience. 

Blind hiring techniques can be applied across the entire recruitment process, from the initial application to the final interview. While we’ll look at some statistics later, blind hiring has been proven to improve workplace diversity and, for many organizations, their general recruitment success. 

When you take away the opportunity for bias, many organizations find they recruit better candidates, with better skillsets, for their vacancies. 

Is Blind Hiring The Same as Blind Interviewing? 

Blind interviewing is just one part of a broader blind hiring strategy. While it’s easy to create a blind environment for candidate sourcing and initial screening, blind interviewing requires some out-of-the-box thinking. 

A blind interview is an interview where the candidate’s identity is obscured during the conversation. There are technology tools available that can help you achieve this. Alternatively, many recruiters fundamentally switch up their interview format so that the interview isn’t conducted live or isn’t ‘in-person.’ 

Examples of blind interviewing techniques include: 

  • Using specialized interview software to obscure a candidate’s identity.
  • Competency-based questionnaires.
  • Q&A over webchat – either live or using a chatbot.

Why is Blind Hiring Important In The Moden Workplace? + Stats

But, why is blind hiring so important in the modern, diverse workplace? Fundamentally, it all boils down to improving diversity and reducing bias. In 2022, we know that we should be hiring candidates based on their abilities aiming to recruit the best person for the role no matter who they are or where they come from. 

But in reality, there are still some blockers that hold us back. Let’s look at three reasons blind recruitment is so important:

  1. Diverse hiring strategies require effort. 41% of managers say they’re too busy to implement diverse hiring methods. But the thing is, blind hiring isn’t hard to implement, especially at the early stages of the recruitment process. Simply by asking candidates to remove personal characteristics from their applications, companies are already well on the way to leveling the playing field across their organizations.
  2. We all have biases, whether we like it or not. 1 in 5 women experiences recruitment discrimination vs. only 1 in 20 men. Unconscious bias isn’t something to be ashamed of, it just needs to be recognized and prevented. Blind hiring takes away the opportunity for our natural biases to take over, leaving recruiters to only focus on the skills, knowledge, and experience of candidates, nothing else.
  3. Diversity drives better performance. What’s the productivity upside of diversity? Racially diverse teams perform 35% better than their competitors. The ROI of blind recruitment methods speaks for themselves, allowing organizations to drive better outcomes by hiring talent based solely on their skills, not their gender, age, race, or religion. 
blind hiring interviews

The Pros & Cons of a Blind Hiring Process

But we’d be lying to you if we said that blind hiring is without its downsides – like any solution, it’s not perfect.

Let’s look at three key drawbacks of blind recruitment techniques: 

  1. A lack of context. Blind hiring eliminates valuable context from a candidate’s profile which, in certain circumstances, can actually damage their application. For example, without the context of maternity leave, a two-year career break may be a red flag for some recruiters.
  2. Blind hiring is tough. Pure blind hiring is tough to achieve. There are cues everywhere that give us an insight into someone’s personal characteristics even without them being explicitly shared. Recruiters and hiring managers need to be educated on this and work to remain impartial even when information may be at risk of being revealed.
  3. De-personalised applications. Blind hiring does run the risk of de-personalizing the recruitment process. While it’s essential to remove bias and promote diversity, it can stop candidates’ personalities from shining through. This is particularly important in relationship-heavy roles such as Sales or Customer Service. 

Here’s how the pros and cons look side by side:

It removes bias from the recruitment process.It can remove crucial context from a candidate’s application. E.g., a career gap may seem strange without the context of maternity leave. 
It helps organizations hire the best candidates based solely on their skills, knowledge, and experience.Pure blind hiring is hard to achieve. There are cues everywhere that identify people’s characteristics.
It promotes a more diverse workforce culture, proven to increase productivity.It can become de-personalized, especially impacting roles that rely on relationship building. 

How to Do Blind Hiring – From Screening to Interview Tools

Hopefully, you’re sold on the value of blind hiring and the benefits of removing bias to create a more diverse workforce. If so, let’s look at ways you can introduce blind hiring to your recruitment process. 

#1 – Neutral Job Descriptions – Textio

Without knowing it, your job descriptions could be turning candidates off. Sub-consciously certain groups react negatively to particular words or phrases which other candidates wouldn’t think twice about. 

Many recruiters don’t even know they’re doing it, with research showing that 70% of cross-sector job ads inadvertently contain masculine-themed language. If you want to boost your applicant rate, focus on leveling the playing field by making your job ads appealing to a wider audience.

Tools such as Textio are perfect for this, using a Grammarly-style text editor to provide suggestions on ways to neutralize your job ads. Textio also focuses on aligning to your brand’s tone of voice, so you won’t lose your own identity in the process.

Simply re-framing your language can help you get your blind hiring strategy off to a great start. 

#2 – Anonymize Your Application Process – Teamtailor

Once candidates find your job ads, the next step is to make their application as blind as possible. To do this, you’ve got two choices: 

  • Don’t ask candidates to submit personal information such as age, gender, race, religion, or education as part of their application. 
  • Or, if you do, find a way to remove/anonymize it for your recruiters and hiring managers. 

Tools such as Teamtailor are great at this, allowing candidates to enter the recruitment funnel anonymously. Simply turn on anonymous mode for the chosen stages of your ATS process, and personal information will be hidden. 

#3 – Skills Testing over Resumes – Toggl Hire

The best way to be genuinely blind is to focus on real, in-the-moment performance rather than second-hand experience. Skills testing eliminates any unconscious biases at the start of the recruitment process, using job-related performance as the first-pass filter. 

With tools like Toggl Hire, candidates take a short 5-10 minute skills-based quiz, showing their practical knowledge and aptitude for the role their applying for. This removes any personal characteristics such as age, gender, race, or education, focusing purely on whether or not they can do the job! 

You can find out more about how we do it by watching the 1-minute explainer video below. 

#4 – Run Anonymous Interviews –

Of all the stages to ensure blindness, interviews are definitely the hardest. Directly interacting with candidates while not revealing any personal characteristics is a real challenge, especially if you’re assessing soft skills, such as communication. 

Tools such as do a great job of creating an anonymous interviewing environment where candidates showcase their skills without revealing personal information. While it focuses on software development, features such as voice modulation and anonymous interview scheduling help recruiters stay impartial and focused on performance. 

Wrapping Up

With a lack of diversity and unconscious bias still plaguing the recruitment industry, many organizations are adopting blind hiring techniques. Removing personal characteristics doesn’t just make things fairer, it focuses recruiters on candidate performance, meaning you’ll make better hires each and every time. 

If you’re just starting on your blind hiring journey, there are a range of tools out there to help. We’d recommend ditching resumes and applications for skills tests. Not only does this keep your recruitment process anonymous, but it also focuses your energy on candidates who can actually do the job, not just the ones who say they can!  

James Elliott

James Elliott is a Strategy Manager and Writer from London, UK. When not working on the day job, James writes on a variety of business and project management topics with a focus on content that enables readers to take action and improve their ways of working. You can check out James’ work on his website or by connecting on LinkedIn.

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