A man wearing a hat, dark glasses and his head and hands completely covered with bandages, arrives at the local train station. He rents a room in town with the always friendly Mrs Hall. The stranger is very much a loner and not particularly friendly. Mr and Mrs Hall find this strange and become more and more suspicious of him. This is the setting of “The Invisible Man”, a book written in 1897 by HG Wells. A story about a man who became invisible after a failed laboratory experiment. Apart from his invisibility, the interesting angle is how the people around him react to his condition of being invisible. Jumping to conclusions and making assumptions leading to unintended consequences.
So here we are, 100+ years later and we are starting a new laboratory experiment: “The Invisible Candidate”. Anonymous job applications: the CV with no name, no photo and no nationality. An interesting experiment with a worthy objective: reducing inequality and discrimination in the job application process.
In 2015 an anonymous job application experiment was completed in France, with negative results. “Making resumes anonymous did not affect the average number of interviews and job offers volunteer firms made, the length of the hiring process, or the use of other recruitment channels, but it reduced the likelihood that firms interview and hire minority candidates” .
Early 2016, the city of The Hague (The Netherlands) also conducted a similar experiment. After the experiment, job applications from a visible target group (now made invisible), rose by 30%. Congrats, more people applied for jobs. Did the encouraging results also end up in a higher chance to be invited for an actual second round interview? Not really; only 8% was invited compared to 7,1% the previous year.
In 1897 job applications often started with a personal introduction followed by presenting your references. Then the written CV and motivation letter were required. Hardly anything has changed since, except that there are now hundreds of software tools that can dissect and push-pull CV’s and candidates into the right databases.
At the same time, it seems that the candidate’s personality is pushed back in the ranking of priorities. This happens precisely at the most crucial moment: the start of the process. Make the candidate as visible as possible, not the other way round.
If applying anonymously for jobs is becoming the new standard, I wonder what we should expect at the second round interview. A discussion in a voting box? Curtains? Blindfolded? Would an anonymous CV not raise more questions and assumptions about the mystery candidate?
The objective of every job interview in the world is to invite talented candidates and select the best based on qualifications and fit into the organization. The hiring model of invisibility can somewhat predict the first measure (although candidates have been known to embellish a skill or two in writing), but largely disregards the second. Until there is a way to make sure interviewer bias is 100% eliminated from the hiring process, we should aim to make as informed hiring decisions as possible and give candidates the opportunity to show their skills and motivation beyond submitting the invisible CV.
For the past 4 years we are working hard to give candidates the opportunity to shine and add personality to their CV using our innovative video recruitment platform. Be sure you see and invite candidates for the right reasons, make hiring personal again! Happy hiring!