Benefits of Blind Auditions

Does objectivity really take the sting out of rejection?

Source: ofoto/Shutterstock
Source: ofoto/Shutterstock

Bias.  We all have it.  It appears either as implicit or explicit; conscious or unconscious.  It is always with us as part of our own perception of the world.

It is, also, one of the biggest obstacles that keeps getting in the way of effective hiring processes.  How we impose our personal biases on others may have an incredibly powerful impact on candidates throughout the job selection process.

The following podcast from CBC’s “The Spark” , discusses a few different methodologies to reduce the impact of bias during the applicant screening and interview assessment stages.

Click Here to Listen to the Podcast.

GapJumpers is a technology based resource that allows for ‘performance auditions’ which may open the door to a different approach for candidate screening.  It is, in essence a ‘blind’ audition.  The statistics cited in the first interview seem to speak for themselves when the use of blind auditions improved the diversity of demographics in a particular selection process.  In the second interview, Ian Cook explores the issue of bias in recruitment processes from multiple aspects including the actual sourcing of candidates from diverse constituencies.

All of these tips and techniques seem to be critical in order to reduce the risk of bias in selection processes.  Why?

It is interesting to note that this clip begins with a very powerful emotional memory, described by the host, about getting the good news confirming her new job.  On the other side, she refers to the emotional reaction that each one of us may have all felt when we were rejected for a particular position.

We are so diligent in the field of Human Resources about neutralizing and objectifying processes in order to minimize our implicit biases and unconscious perceptions.  We want to make the processes fair and accessible.  As we make processes more bias-free, neutral, and objective are we striving to reduce the emotional, subjective, feeling elements linked to making the ‘right’ hiring decisions?

This may be what we want to achieve from a process perspective.  However, in the end, does any objective process really take the emotional sting out of rejection?

We cannot forget that rejection, no matter how it is delivered, it always hurts.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you perform in a ‘blind’ job audition if you were not able to present yourself in person?
  2. According to Ian Cook (second interview), there are fewer examples of ‘reverse discrimination’ in Canada than in the United States. From your experience, what evidence supports this statement?
  3. What is reputational effect? Why is this important in any recruitment process?
  4. Promoting a diversity referral process seems to be similar to networking. What are the specific benefits that a diversity referral process would provide?
  5. As an HR professional, how will you respond to individuals want to make ‘networking’ connections with you?
  6. Do you remember your first job offer? What was your reaction?
  7. Do you remember being rejected for a job? What was your reaction?

HR and the Interview Setting

Should HR Practitioners know what they are doing in an interview setting?  Whose role is it anyway?

As Human Resources Practitioners, we are often called upon to be the organizational role model for employee behaviour. It’s easy, then, to become the target for how to do things wrong, when the expectation is that the HR Practitioner should always be doing things right.  Right?

Why is HR expected to be perfect? It is because it is so important to organizational success!

A great example of this comes from the following article which reveals that twenty percent of HR practitioners were involved in asking illegal interview questions!   How is that even possible?   If HR cannot get it right, what are supervisors expected to do?

man with fingers crossed
dolgachov/Thinkstock

Click here to view the article.

The article states that, in some cases, HR practitioners are involved in asking questions that focus on religious preferences and practices, disabilities, and gender based issues. When this occurs, the article recommends correcting the situation immediately by addressing the question of concern and ensuring that the person being interviewed knows that the question asked was inappropriate and is not an acceptable practice. Is this solution a little bit of “too little, too late”?

The article has some great comments – many of them harshly critical of the role of HR in the interview process, including the perception that HR practitioners are ‘liars’ and, “Liars are not leaders”. If HR practitioners are regarded as liars then what does that say about the rest of the organization as represented by HR?  The article and the comments may make for uncomfortable reading and show how quickly HR can lose credibility if we do not know what we are doing!   If HR does not have credibility, then what is its value?

Discussion Questions:

  • What are three practices that HR must include in preparing for interviews?
  • How will I address members of an interview panel when they go ‘off script’ or outside of legal boundaries?
  • Have I been in an interview where the HR practitioner has made me feel uncomfortable?
  • How will I lead in the role of HR to avoid being called a liar?
  • How do I continually improve the credibility of HR?
  • What will I do to address issues of accommodation when they come up in an interview setting?

 

 

The Candidate

Sometimes, the interview process can be deadly dull for everyone involved. Heineken, the Dutch brewing company, is noted for its unique and creative media campaigns when it comes to advertising their beer related products. They’ve taken the extra step and have applied that creativity to their hiring campaigns and documented it in this video clip “The Candidate”.

Source: wwwyoumarkit. The above content constitutes a link to the source website.  Please click on the play icon to stream the video.

It’s fun; it’s inspiring; it’s heart-warming. But is it effective? How do you know?

All too often HR practitioners get lost in making sure the ‘right’ questions get asked and/ or the ‘correct’ tests are administered to ensure that the ‘right’ candidate gets hired based on standard Knowledge, Skills and Abilities requirements. Does the Heineken approach allow for an opportunity to get that elusive ‘fit’ requirement between the candidate and the company? Does this process make the decision to hire the right person easier at the end? Are there other benefits to this approach?

If nothing else, this clever recruitment strategy provides a great promotional opportunity for Heineken to elevate brand recognition and to ensure vast international interest for future recruitment strategies. It also challenges other employers to step up their game when it comes to interactive recruitment processes in order to ensure that the best candidate gets the job.

Let’s recognize that Heineken, as a vast global organization, has the money and resources to put this recruitment campaign into place. Most employers would not have access to do any of this kind of recruitment on such a huge scale. Having said that, all employers, with the guidance and support of an effective Human Resources team, want the same result – to recruit, select and hire the best person for the job.

Discussion Question:

  • How will you as the HR practitioner make sure that the best hiring fit is ensured no matter how big or small your organization may be?