Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

A Simple Way To Hire For Diversity: Blackout Candidate Names

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 15, 2013

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Krissy Clark reporting for Marketplace.org writes about a technique for hiring the best talent and automatically increasing gender and ethnic diversity in staffing.

The procedure is simple and was first used by symphony orchestras in the 1970s to increase the number of female musicians. Auditions were performed behind a screen and chosen for best performance, and magically, more women began to be hired.

The judges were screened from their own biases!

Eric Ries, author of "Lean Startup"...

Reis tried an experiment of his own: when he looked at resumes, he'd have someone black out the name, gender and ethnicity of the applicant. "It was actually a very surreal experience," Ries said, explaining that it was harder to picture the candidate or build a story about them in his head.

After he screened those resumes, and chose who to interview, he said "the ethnicity and gender make-up of the next round of our process was different" than his usual selections.

This realization was "very uncomfortable," Ries said

The article also looks at how Catherine Bracy at Code for America hires women engineers:

"We go where they are -- attend conferences where we know that there are going to be women. We reach out on forums where we know they will participate," she said.

Startups experiment to diversify Silicon Valley

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