“Name blind” applications are being supported by various large employers such as the NHS, BBC and local government to overcome ethnic and gender bias. This in effect means that hiring takes place from a pool of anonymous candidates.

Calls to end disgraceful practices
Back in 2015, David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, announced that the government will support an initiative aimed at ending a “disgraceful practice which has no place in 21st century Britain”. This is where employers and recruiters reject job applicants based purely on their names. Apparently, those with ethnic-sounding names are twice as likely to be rejected for a job role than those individuals with white-sounding names.

The Civil Service lead the way and is now recruiting on a name-blind basis only going forward, i.e. names will be blanked out on its application forms before they are handed over to decision-makers. But what about smaller employers?

Smaller employers
Although it’s been mooted as a possibility in the past, there are currently no formal plans to force employers of any size to use name-blind recruitment methods. One major flaw with this type of system is that ethnic origins can sometimes be gleaned from other information contained in a person’s CV or application form, for example, the type of qualifications they hold or where they went to school or university. Ethnic origins will also be revealed to the employer if a person is called for an interview. On that basis, a mandatory name-blind recruitment system is highly unlikely to be brought in but don’t completely rule out any changes.

If the government does legislate along these lines at a later date, it is suspected that it will only apply a name-blind recruitment rule to employers with a certain number of employees such as over 250. It could also force recruitment agencies to remove certain personal information from CVs before they are forwarded to employers of any size.

Fair and Legal
Regardless of whether name-blind recruitment is in place, all employers have a responsibility to ensure their recruitment and selection process is fair and legal. Those involved must be aware of Employment Law and have policies to support and guide them.

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