Improving how we hire: #blindrecruitment

At Dynamo we’ve always cared as much about how we work, as the work that we do.

Today we’re announcing a change in the way we recruit, which we believe takes a significant step in reducing unfair discrimination or bias in the application and assessment process.

This is not the first time we’ve sought to be different and do better.

Two years ago, in response to a survey showing there was a £10k pay gap between men and women, we took the step to publish our own #genderpaygap, and continue to do so every year.

By being open and honest about our data, ways in which to improve, and sharing our experiences publicly, we’ve tried to encourage companies of all sizes to take a hard look at their operations and end pay differentials due to people’s sex, which still exist in today’s workforce.

Our research, discussions and learnings from this are informing our new approach to recruitment.

Anyone who’s been involved in recruitment at volume will know there are many bulk filters companies use to make the process ‘manageable’, usually applied at the pressure point when it comes to splitting applications.

But many of these filters can actually reinforce unfair discrimination, and we want to reduce any bias that occurs at these points, whether intentional or otherwise.

That’s why, in recruiting for our latest member of staff, we’ve launched #blindrecruitment: a name-sex- and education blind application process.

Name- and sex-blind

Having a name- and sex-blind application is not new. The UK’s CBI has been recommending this for years, most recently with a report in 2016, but we believe that we’re one of the first PR companies to put this formally in place.

We’re doing this for the simple reason that whilst senior executives may be very clear that they do not discriminate, the evidence suggests otherwise, and that unconscious discrimination occurs frequently, and often.

Removing your name and sex simply means that no discrimination will be made based on what you’re called, or your gender, as these details can often imply sex, socioeconomic, or ethnic backgrounds.

Education-blind

But we believe just doing this doesn’t go far enough.

It’s still a common practice in companies to look at degree results, many using a 2:1 class degree as a minimum entry requirement – the degree being a proxy for ability, capability, and character.

But our direct experience has also shown this proxy doesn’t hold. We’ve hired amazing staff without degrees and without high school qualifications.

More worrying still, in our discussions with other agencies and trade bodies, it’s clear that there are many societal factors influencing whether you can actually get into university. This is backed up by recent news that shows that many of the UK’s top universities have an appalling record of accepting BAME candidates.

It’s clear that not everyone has the opportunity, and increasingly the money, available to go to University – and we’re also well aware that even if you do have a degree, this is no indication of whether you have drive, or excellent written and verbal communication skills, which is what we prize in Dynamo above all.

Taking out our own bias

So we’ve decided that, in looking for a new AE / SAE, we don’t want to know in your application whether you went to University, nor if you did attend, what degree you got. We also don’t want to know what school you went to, or any educational qualifications you’ve achieved. We don’t want to know your name, nor your sex. All we want to know is whether you have the skills, knowledge or aptitude for the job.

We of course can only go so far with this – though most of the application process is ‘blind’, the final stage before an offer is made will be an in-person interview. However even at this stage the interview panel will be as diverse as we’re able to provide, in both age, sex and background.

Sharing our work

We’re well aware that there’s always more to do, always more to learn, and always more ways to improve. So like all the things we do at Dynamo, we very much want this to be a conversation and debate starter.

In launching our latest recruitment drive we have consulted widely outside our own organisation, notably with the PRCA, our trade body who in the last year has taken  extremely positive steps in ensuring good governance in PR organisations, as well as the Taylor Bennett Foundation, who tirelessly work to address the need for greater diversity in the public relations industry.

We welcome all feedback, so feel free to comment, tweet or post using #blindrecruitment or do contact us if you’d like to know more. If you’re interested in applying for a job, or know someone who is, then you can apply here.

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton
Categories: General, New Hires

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