Would a blindfolded interviewer defeat unconscious bias?

One way to defeat unconscious bias during the interview process is for the interviewer to blindfold themselves, claims a university lecturer.

Dr Charles Seger, lecturer in psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has said that “blindfolded interviews would allow for recruiters to avoid being biased by the appearance of the candidate, better allowing them to focus their minds on the tangible, relevant quality of the candidate.”

Dr Seger explained that our brains are “wired” to process much of what we see without too much cognitive effort.  He says that the deciding factor to take on a candidate could be factors unrelated to the answers given.

At the same time, Worksome, a UK platform used to hire professional contractors say that they do not believe the ‘war on talent’ is recruiters’ main problem it is the “uncontrollable and confused mix of unconscious bias and experience-based logic that is causing employer-to-candidate matchmaking to fail miserably.”

They also found that decision-making has become contradictory within the hiring process as 84 per cent of senior business decision-makers choose someone who is adventurous, yet at the same time 66 per cent want someone who is unambitious.

Over three-quarters (78 per cent) preferred an extrovert to an introvert, however, 76 per cent desire a follower over a leader, this difference  has resulted in a third of employees failing to make it through their probation period and only 8 per cent of businesses feel like their new hires have all the skills they need for a job.

Mathias Linnemann, the co-founder of Worksome, said:

The process of metaphorically ‘blindfolding’ parts of your recruitment process has its merits, because it eliminates the traditional variables associated with bias, such as the age, gender, race, location, education, etc. However, where we have seen true success is with organizations who have used recruitment technology to solve this issue. Tech-based solutions match and filter by skills and capabilities solely, and offer hiring managers a pool of the top-most qualified people to choose from.

Worksome, asked the opinion of 515 senior business decision-makers.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.