Should names be removed from CVs?


To prevent unconscious bias, should personal identifiers be removed on résumés before line managers review them?

Yes, says Ian Doyle (pictured left), general manager of human resources at Bank of Queensland (BOQ).

Over the course of the past two years at BOQ, we’ve been introducing a range of measures to reduce the diversity divide in senior management.

We recently started removing all identifiers – including name, age, gender and address – from résumés submitted for senior management roles.

We’re doing this because research studies have shown that people tend to hire similar people; we tend to ‘hire ourselves’. This means you can end up with a leadership team of a particular age, gender and ethnicity that unconsciously hires people similar to itself.

We genuinely want to instil a diverse workforce at BOQ, as research shows that diversity improves creativity, innovation and effective decision-making. It’s also important when you run a customer business that the people making the decisions reflect the customers you serve, which is a mix of genders, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and ages.

Our objective in removing identifiers is to remove any unconscious bias so people can make recruitment decisions purely on the basis of competency. We’re expecting this approach will generate a stronger pool of candidates, including females, making it through to the face-to-face interview rounds.

This solution isn’t perfect. It’s still possible for unconscious bias to come in at the interview stage. However, it’s the old story of progress, not perfection. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different outcomes. So we’ve introduced a range of measures that will collectively bring about change, including diversity targets, because what gets measured gets done.

Having the right sentiment is not enough. You must have commitment from the top and established measures and practices so everyone is clear on what you’re driving to achieve.

No, says Hayley Crealy (pictured right), director of Talent Path.

There are a number of reasons why it’s important to leave personal identifiers on résumés.

From a jobseeker’s perspective, applying for a new position is an emotional process. People want to feel they are not just a number and the recruitment process is a personal one. What’s more personal than our name? It’s at the heart of our personal brand; it’s our unique identifier.

Jobseekers are now, more than ever, very aware of their own reputation and reach within their industry network. They rely on their networks to secure positions, which can only be done by developing a strong personal brand. Removing personal identifiers from CVs affects those who have made a considerable effort to build their own personal brand within their industry.

From the hiring manager’s perspective, networks and personal connections are now a way of life, largely due to social media. Most decision-makers want to ensure there is no previous history or link, positive or negative, before they meet with a potential employee, and this linking can only be done by way of noting personal details.

Excluding identifiers on résumés is buying into unconscious bias with a simple band-aid fix, rather than addressing more overarching diversity issues that may exist. We work in a global workforce and companies need to have broader anti-discrimination and diversity policies in place. Companies must then train, support and develop their decision-makers on inclusive recruitment, as well as genuinely and passionately driving it from the top down to achieve real change. Removing personal identifiers seems to be a short-sighted view.

But it’s an interesting debate. It triggers the conversation about hiring to achieve diversity in workplaces, which can only be a positive step.

What’s your view?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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Jenni
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Jenni

It doesn’t matter whether your name in on the CV or not, if you know someone who already works there you have more of a chance of getting the job in the first place. Classic example, I had a Cert IV in HR and was commencing my degree in HR applied for the position of HR Assistant in a major global company and didn’t get a look in due to the person who landed the position father worked there. No reception experience nor HR experience. So the name on or off the CV in this instance didn’t mean anything. I… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I believe identifiers should be left off 100% The name is the first thing your eyes fall onto on a application. In the old times we engrained some views on certain clans last name. Subconsciously you may skip a better employee due to his name and rank. I think you would have a stronger workforce and team if you are not just a name and a number. I vote optional or remove.

Thank You,

Ryan P Kelley
(Pure Lounge)

JC
Guest
JC

Congratulations BOQ – totally agree with Ian’s comments. I’d suggest that this initiative IS likely to be part of broader diversity and anti-discrimination initiatives that Hayley rightly suggests are necessary. Experience has shown us that the best policies and training, even when there is high commitment, have not been adequately successful in achieving equal opportunity. We need to try new ways to deal with unconscious bias. I look forward to hearing the outcomes of this BOQ initiative.

Christopher Brooks | First Train
Guest
Christopher Brooks | First Train

An interesting debate, indeed. I actually agree with both points of view. So, pragmatic as ever, I believe that there is a 3rd ever-so simple way. The person receiving the applications should not be the person selecting for interview. The receiver then takes all personal identifiers out of the correspondence and CV’s and passes them to the selector. The selector can then only base their judgement on the tone, accuracy and skills that they see in-front of them. The selected candidates are then contacted by the receiver to invite them to interview. Likewise, if you’re recruiting through LinkedIn, then the… Read more »

Ayesha Shahid
Guest
Ayesha Shahid

I highly appreciate the initiative of BOQ.
It is by default in human nature that we are biased with our community, religion or country’s candidates may be because we want to ‘hire ourselves’ – as quoted.
Identifiers on CV make us biased even before the recruiter reviews the candidate’s complete profile or have one-on-one meeting. Removing them would enable the recruiter to judge KSA (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities) of candidates rather than cast, community, religion, country or residential to be the indicators of the right choice.

More on HRM

Should names be removed from CVs?


To prevent unconscious bias, should personal identifiers be removed on résumés before line managers review them?

Yes, says Ian Doyle (pictured left), general manager of human resources at Bank of Queensland (BOQ).

Over the course of the past two years at BOQ, we’ve been introducing a range of measures to reduce the diversity divide in senior management.

We recently started removing all identifiers – including name, age, gender and address – from résumés submitted for senior management roles.

We’re doing this because research studies have shown that people tend to hire similar people; we tend to ‘hire ourselves’. This means you can end up with a leadership team of a particular age, gender and ethnicity that unconsciously hires people similar to itself.

We genuinely want to instil a diverse workforce at BOQ, as research shows that diversity improves creativity, innovation and effective decision-making. It’s also important when you run a customer business that the people making the decisions reflect the customers you serve, which is a mix of genders, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and ages.

Our objective in removing identifiers is to remove any unconscious bias so people can make recruitment decisions purely on the basis of competency. We’re expecting this approach will generate a stronger pool of candidates, including females, making it through to the face-to-face interview rounds.

This solution isn’t perfect. It’s still possible for unconscious bias to come in at the interview stage. However, it’s the old story of progress, not perfection. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different outcomes. So we’ve introduced a range of measures that will collectively bring about change, including diversity targets, because what gets measured gets done.

Having the right sentiment is not enough. You must have commitment from the top and established measures and practices so everyone is clear on what you’re driving to achieve.

No, says Hayley Crealy (pictured right), director of Talent Path.

There are a number of reasons why it’s important to leave personal identifiers on résumés.

From a jobseeker’s perspective, applying for a new position is an emotional process. People want to feel they are not just a number and the recruitment process is a personal one. What’s more personal than our name? It’s at the heart of our personal brand; it’s our unique identifier.

Jobseekers are now, more than ever, very aware of their own reputation and reach within their industry network. They rely on their networks to secure positions, which can only be done by developing a strong personal brand. Removing personal identifiers from CVs affects those who have made a considerable effort to build their own personal brand within their industry.

From the hiring manager’s perspective, networks and personal connections are now a way of life, largely due to social media. Most decision-makers want to ensure there is no previous history or link, positive or negative, before they meet with a potential employee, and this linking can only be done by way of noting personal details.

Excluding identifiers on résumés is buying into unconscious bias with a simple band-aid fix, rather than addressing more overarching diversity issues that may exist. We work in a global workforce and companies need to have broader anti-discrimination and diversity policies in place. Companies must then train, support and develop their decision-makers on inclusive recruitment, as well as genuinely and passionately driving it from the top down to achieve real change. Removing personal identifiers seems to be a short-sighted view.

But it’s an interesting debate. It triggers the conversation about hiring to achieve diversity in workplaces, which can only be a positive step.

What’s your view?

Share your thoughts below.

 

5
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Jenni
Guest
Jenni

It doesn’t matter whether your name in on the CV or not, if you know someone who already works there you have more of a chance of getting the job in the first place. Classic example, I had a Cert IV in HR and was commencing my degree in HR applied for the position of HR Assistant in a major global company and didn’t get a look in due to the person who landed the position father worked there. No reception experience nor HR experience. So the name on or off the CV in this instance didn’t mean anything. I… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I believe identifiers should be left off 100% The name is the first thing your eyes fall onto on a application. In the old times we engrained some views on certain clans last name. Subconsciously you may skip a better employee due to his name and rank. I think you would have a stronger workforce and team if you are not just a name and a number. I vote optional or remove.

Thank You,

Ryan P Kelley
(Pure Lounge)

JC
Guest
JC

Congratulations BOQ – totally agree with Ian’s comments. I’d suggest that this initiative IS likely to be part of broader diversity and anti-discrimination initiatives that Hayley rightly suggests are necessary. Experience has shown us that the best policies and training, even when there is high commitment, have not been adequately successful in achieving equal opportunity. We need to try new ways to deal with unconscious bias. I look forward to hearing the outcomes of this BOQ initiative.

Christopher Brooks | First Train
Guest
Christopher Brooks | First Train

An interesting debate, indeed. I actually agree with both points of view. So, pragmatic as ever, I believe that there is a 3rd ever-so simple way. The person receiving the applications should not be the person selecting for interview. The receiver then takes all personal identifiers out of the correspondence and CV’s and passes them to the selector. The selector can then only base their judgement on the tone, accuracy and skills that they see in-front of them. The selected candidates are then contacted by the receiver to invite them to interview. Likewise, if you’re recruiting through LinkedIn, then the… Read more »

Ayesha Shahid
Guest
Ayesha Shahid

I highly appreciate the initiative of BOQ.
It is by default in human nature that we are biased with our community, religion or country’s candidates may be because we want to ‘hire ourselves’ – as quoted.
Identifiers on CV make us biased even before the recruiter reviews the candidate’s complete profile or have one-on-one meeting. Removing them would enable the recruiter to judge KSA (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities) of candidates rather than cast, community, religion, country or residential to be the indicators of the right choice.

More on HRM