Welcome to the second newsletter!
This time out we’re looking at how communication is essential to the candidate experience. And how blind screening can lead to a fairer selection process.
Communication is often sighted as the most important element for a good candidate experience. And a lack of communication is often the cause of a bad candidate experience.
But what do candidates expect? What’s the difference between good and bad communication?
Based on thousands of survey results, Talent Board’s candidate experience report has many useful insights into candidate’s expectations. You can now see the 2018 report for North American, and EMEA will be out shortly - you should be able to find them all here.
Some of the key findings on communication (from the 2018 North American report) were:
From the results of Talent Board’s survey, providing good feedback may be a great way to improve your candidate experience. But providing feedback is hard. Especially when, more often than not, you’re the bearer of bad news.
So how do you break bad news? And provide feedback that’s helpful?
📰 This article provides tips on giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates. The suggestions include; providing examples, keeping feedback factual (stay clear of opinions and feelings) and letting the candidate know how they did on tests (if this was part of the process).
🎧 A great WorkLife podcast (episode 11) on how to love criticism - both when giving and receiving it. It’s important to consider both sides. And remember what if feels like to be on the other side of the conversation.
📰 Scientifically proven ways to deliver bad news. Bad news hits us much harder than good news, and stays with us longer. Following the five tips provided can help to soften the blow.
🎧 This HBR ideacast explains how to give constructive feedback. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman provide insight from their research. A good discussion on what people say they want - and what they actually want. Or perhaps more accurately, how they want it delivered to them. And how they can get the most out of it.
📄 If you prefer reading you can find a report from Zenger and Folkman here.
Blind screening is nothing new. Started back in 1952 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it has a long, successful history.
By hiding the performer behind a screen, the judges at the symphony were freed of visual signs and much of their unconscious bias. They could instead focus on what matters - the music.
But how relevant is it to hiring in a modern company? And can we expect the same results?
A number of studies have found clear bias in the initial screening process:
👨👩 From an application form, professors were asked to evaluate how competent a student was, if they would hire them, and how much they would pay them. The applications were identical except for the name - half were from John and half from Jennifer.
Both male and female staff assessing the students were biased towards John. They were more likely to hire him - and would pay him more.
🇬🇧 A 2009 UK Department of Work and Pensions study found that people with an ethnic sounding name would need to send 74% more applications to get the same number of callbacks as someone with a white sounding name.
🇨🇦 A Canadian study, which sent applications to thousands of online jobs, found:
🇫🇷 A French study found a French name resulted in a 30% improved chance of a callback over someone with a North African name.
🇺🇸 And a US study found people with white sounding names received callbacks 50% more than people with African American sounding names in Chicago and Boston.
🇩🇪 In Germany, where it is still common to include a photo on your CV, Doris Weichselbaumer created three fictional women with identical qualifications. She then changed the name (German and Turkish) and the photo (with and without a headscarf). Compared to the German name and photo without a headscarf:
📝 Azmat Mohammad, director general of the Institute of Recruiters, recommends three steps for implementing a blind recruitment process: decide what areas you want to focus on, use tests representative of the work to be done, and train staff.
🤔 But, as this article discusses, blind hiring has limits. While you can use it for screening CVs, and assessing work sample tests, at some point you’ll want to talk to the candidate. Either over the phone, a video call or in person.
Blind screening definitely has a part to play - but on its own won’t result in a diverse hiring process.
One challenge will be implementing it when using LinkedIn for sourcing candidates. While you can't remove people’s profile pictures - I’ve yet to find a way of masking the names.
If anyone knows of a tool or way to do this it would be great if you could share it.
That’s all for now. If you have a minute, I’d love to hear your feedback - just send me an email.
P.S. Know someone else who'd like this newsletter? Please forward it on and they can sign up here.
Get the best candidate experience and equality content from around the web - delivered to you every fortnight. Free.