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Are Anonymised applications the way forward?

Mon 27th January, 2014
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Greatly inspired to create this article, after reading a report about a study conducted by The Sutton Trust. The Sutton Trust is a leading think-tank that focuses on social mobility through education. The study focussed on the intrinsic link between the elitist education institutions being an essential criteria in order to qualify for high flying positions in a range of professions.

It has always been a widely known that if you attended a certain School or University doors seem to open more frequently than those from other education institutions. However, revealing facts such as a third of all MPs are of Oxford or Cambridge backgrounds is one startling fact.

Inspired by this report one of the leading legal firms The Clifford Chance, reviewed and changed it’s interviewing process. It introduced a “CV Blind” policy that removes information about where the candidate was educated or whether they attended a state or independent school.

The Clifford Chance has proudly reported that in its 1st year of operating the new policy that out of their 100 in-take graduate trainees, they were sourced from 41 different educational institutions. They focused on the individuals work experience or job related work experience. They wanted to know the journey individual’s took in order to complete their education and develop their abilities and skills.

The key ingredients I believe that lie within the success of this story is that the merits of the candidate will shine through once potential bias pitfalls are avoided. Judgements are made quickly on a candidate’s application, whether educational, dates of employment, job title and scope of experience. Howeve research from other think-tanks reveal that bias towards candidates within the shortlisting and interviewing stages are very real. Pitfalls such as basing judgements on what part of town the candidate resides in, the presentation of CV layout, the handwriting of the individual and even suggestions that the candidate’s name could result in a biased shortlisting decision.

The merits of shortlisting candidates based solely on their knowledge, experience, values and problem solving I believe is the way forward. The creation of the Nuts and Bolts It application screening software was designed solely to prevent bias towards candidates but simultaneously support businesses identifying talent from a wide net. Hiring businesses create an on-line assessment based solely on their key criteria of core values compatibility, relevant content knowledge, problem solving as well as encouraging detailed responses on competency based questions.

The software presents candidates in suitability order and encourages the recruiter to review the answers provided. At this stage the name, location and contact details are withheld from the recruiter. This encourages decisions based on suitability for the post rather that judging on potential biased information factors. A candidate that has been identified as suitable match will be asked to proceed to the shortlist stage and only after that selection will the name of the individual will be revealed.

Therefore, the nuts and bolts it philosophy is of similar vein to the ‘Blind CV’ that a person should not be judged on the whereabouts of the individual’s upbringing or where they studied educationally but on how somebody operates as a worker, their work ethics, their core values and whether when given a situation respond effectively. In essence the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how somebody operates.