Going in blind: The way forward for interviews?

by Janie Smith11 Aug 2014
Sending managers to interview job candidates they know nothing about seems to go against the basic tenets of HR, but international law firm Macfarlanes is doing just that.

The firm has announced a “CV-blind” policy where partners will interview job applicants knowing only their names, in an effort to promote diversity and discourage unconscious bias.

The firm’s recruitment team will decide which candidates make it through to the interview process, Roll on Friday reported, but they will be assessed on a series of hypothetical scenarios during the interview, rather than on their qualifications or past experience.

Macfarlanes head of recruitment Sean Lavin explained the move.

"[We] didn't feel there was any need for partners to have access to a candidate's CV in the critical interview where a candidate's analytical skills and commercial awareness are assessed,” he said.

Lavin added that discrimination based on where a student went to school is usually not the result of a conscious bias, but that in any case the CV-blind approach "helps to eliminate the possibility of bias for or against candidates from particular backgrounds”.

The CV-blind approach is already in action at UK law firm Clifford Chance and The Independent reported that in its first year of operation, the scheme saw a rise of nearly 30% in the number of educational institutes from which graduate trainees were drawn.

Laura Yeates, the firm’s graduate recruitment and development manager, told The Independent that the goal was to make sure the firm didn’t lose out on talent, “wherever it comes from”.

However, not everyone favours the concept. Career expert Corrine Mills told Discovery Graduates that CVs showed more than just data.

“Personality shines through from the subtext and how people write about their achievements,” she said. “However, in the world of LinkedIn it’s almost pointless. Putting anyone new in an organisation is a risk and who would take the chance as it’s so easy to check people out online?”

What do you think of the CV-blind approach?


  • by Yvonne Walker 11/08/2014 11:18:00 AM

    If you are truly interested in "going in blind" then even the names should not be known. A candidate's sex is usually obvious from their name and their broad racial origin often is as well. Personally I support the concept but doing it in a way that is anything but completely anonymous is not removing unconscious bias.

  • by Tristan Amadio 11/08/2014 11:27:34 AM

    While it's a novel idea in terms of diversity, it seems to contradict the most recent recruitment methodology of Behavioural-Based Interviewing, where the whole point of interviews is to determine future actions by analysis of the past and to verify the contents of a CV. To move to hypothetical interview questions (which BBI actively discourages) seems to be a step backwards.

  • by MM 11/08/2014 11:42:36 AM

    And what's to stop the bias happening at the recruitment team level when they choose which candidates make it through to interview?

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