I would like to convince my company to neutralize resumes as soon as they receive them in order to prevent subconscious biases in the recruiter and others who only see the resume. Names on all resumes would be stripped to prevent an association with race, culture, religion, gender, etc. My idea is that all resume names would be changed to the same sex and the same other origin. For example, John Patterson, Rajesh Singh, Latifa Brown, and Mary Seinfeld would all be changed to female names from India or male characters from movies.

In this way, my company would be guaranteed to get the most qualified applicants based on their resume, irrespective of any underlying prejudices on the recruiter's part. To me, this process is common sense. How could I construct my argument to convince my company of its benefits?

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    Except that this removes ability to google a candidate, reducing what you have to base decision on to just their own, 100% controlled resumes. What prohibits candidates from making stuff up? – Tymoteusz Paul Jun 12 at 15:07
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    How would you recommend company names and histories be sanitized? It's going to raise my eyebrows when John Smith went to university in Mumbai, followed by 3 stints with companies in Chennai then Seattle. Changing the name does not remove the bias to which you're referring. – Joel Etherton Jun 12 at 15:08
  • @TymoteuszPaul I presume this would just be for the initial preview of resumes. We wouldn't expect candidates to pretend to be those names when they did phone or in-person interviews. – thursdaysgeek Jun 12 at 15:08
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    @thursdaysgeek googling candidate/checking the social media (especially Linkedin) is about the first thing I do with any candidate. Especially Linkedin I generally prefer over resume, as lying there is visible to anyone, while on CV you can post anything you want and no one will ever see it, besides the people you send it to. – Tymoteusz Paul Jun 12 at 15:17
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    What role do you play in hiring, if any? – Matthew Gaiser Jun 12 at 16:35

To me, this process is common sense. How could I construct my argument to convince my company of its benefits?

You would need to look at how your company currently recruits and do your best to otherwise avoid breaking it. The more disruption you cause, the less receptive they will be.

The 1st challenge that many recruiters Google the candidate. I consistently get a LinkedIn view from a recruiter soon after I apply to most jobs as well as a hit on my personal website. You would basically need to ask the recruiters to give up their immediate Google search after they shortlist a candidate.

The 2nd issue is that many candidates are referred. At least at the companies my friends in HR have worked for, they went through the list together and pulled out the referred candidates for more than a resume skim. Obviously you need the name to process the referral.

The 3rd issue is that removing names requires more people to do more work. Someone now needs to spend time deleting the names from the resumes or at least covering them over. That also needs to be a different person than the ones doing the resume screen as otherwise, what is the point? The average resume is skimmed for about 7 seconds. This proposal would probably double the resume skimming time as it would take at least that to remove identifying information.

I am also not sure that this would change much. Sure, you can anonymize the names, but the university they attended can easily tell you a lot about their cultural background or race. Same with locations for jobs. About half the women I know have gender-specific achievements on their resumes. Men and women generally write resumes very differently, so even without the names you can often tell.

The place to start is to figure out how your company's hiring process works and identify the easiest way for anonymity to work within that process.

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    Let me add that this answer deals with high level office workers (or similar) (the question does not specify so much in my opinion) and not with, say, supermarket, healthcare or construction workers (which may not have been at university, where rarely "achievments" are available and which may not be googled). Indeed, I know a supeemarket chain which anonymizes names such as the OP describes to avoid bias. – guest Jun 12 at 18:16

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