Blind Auditions – Answer to Diversity Hiring?

by | Jun 22, 2015 | Career Advice, Gender, Inclusion, Inclusion Matters, Leadership, Stereotypes | 0 comments

I was watching reality television after a long time and to my surprise, was fascinated with it. The show – The Voice has a unique concept of blind auditions.The format of The Voice is that it will look at an artist’s singing capability and nothing more.

This is an adapted version of an American show which was extremely successful. In the American version, the competition begins with the aspirants doing a blind audition for a panel of celebrity coaches. The coaches have the backs of swivel chairs to the singers and listen to the voices. If they like what they hear, they hit a buzzer and swing their chairs around. If more than one judge likes a singer, the coaches have to try and convince the singer to join their team. Once each coach has put together a team, the teams and singers go head to head.

What I really appreciate about this show, after seeing shows like Indian Idol and Indian version of Masterchef, is that the focus is actually on the \"sametalent. It isn’t about their looks or demeanour or clothes. There are no dramatic backstories of angst, depression or hardship. No dying mother, penury or thwarted dreams. All we are told is their musical background.


This kind of blind auditions is such an interesting way to remove any kind of biases (conscious or unconscious) we might have while hiring any talent.

 Every day we make countless decisions without realizing it. Researchers call this \”unconscious bias.\” Unconscious bias affects every area of our lives. Unconsciously, we tend to like people who look like us, think like us and come from backgrounds similar to ours. Everyone likes to think he or she is open-minded and objective, but research has shown that the beliefs and values gained from family, culture and a lifetime of experiences heavily influence how we view and evaluate both others and ourselves.

These thought patterns, assumptions and interpretations – or biases – we have built up over time help us to process information quickly and efficiently. From a survival standpoint, bias is a positive and necessary trait. In business, buy zithromax 250 mg however, bias can be costly. It can cause us to make decisions that are not objective; and ultimately we miss opportunities.

 Over the past few years, organisations have been focusing on diversity hiring programs with the best of intentions but limited success. While working as Consultants for large corporations, we have worked on projects to increase the organisation’s ability to acquire and develop more diverse talent and hence leading to more diverse customer base. But honestly, this could not be further from a reality. The conversation with Hiring managers have always been a challenging one. At a very basic level, it invites self and organizational reflection. It requires acceptance of the possibility that the playing field is not level and something needs to change. For many this introspection creates guilt and defensiveness. A lot of it can be attributed to the inherent biases Hiring managers might have.

At each stage of the hiring process, a candidate (or a candidate’s resume) is subject to the filters and perceptions of those responsible for deciding who moves forward and who does not. Regardless of all efforts to be objective, everyone has internalized biases that affect their decisions.

There are various methods you can use to prevent unconscious bias from alienating efforts to diversify your workforce. One of the most effective involves helping your recruiters, hiring managers and other employees to recognize and overcome their unconscious biases.  This process is the core of transformative learning, which “looks at how adults can identify, assess and evaluate new information, and in some cases, reframe their world-view through the incorporation of new knowledge or information into their world-view or belief system”

The other way to combat it, the Stanford researchers found, is to create clear criteria for evaluating candidates before looking at their qualifications.

So while we might not be able to do blind auditions for hiring talent in corporations, but being aware of our biases and creating a standardized process for hiring might just be able to minimize the negative impact of biases.

Who says Reality TV can’t teach us a thing or two? 😉

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