Blind hiring is considered one of the best solutions to fight unconscious biases that interfere with hiring the best candidates and hiring more diverse candidates. So how does blind hiring sales reps work?
Blind hiring sales reps can be conducted using 3 main practices: anonymous profiles, anonymous sales tests, and anonymous interviews.
The benefits of blind hiring sales reps through anonymous candidate profiles & resumes
The first step in creating a blind hiring process is removing identifying information from candidates’ profiles and resumes such as names and photos. Anonymizing profiles allows you to make hiring decisions free from unconscious biases about candidates’ race, gender, age, and other characteristics that are not necessarily related to sales performance.
This helps you identify high quality candidates because it enables you to more objectively evaluate a sales rep’s skills, knowledge, and potential to succeed.
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The challenges of anonymous candidate profiles and resumes
Unless you use a service that’s dedicated to anonymizing profiles and resumes, it can be time-consuming or even impossible to do on your own.
The benefits of blind hiring sales reps through anonymous sales tests
Similar to an audition, using a test to assess job-related skills and knowledge is a very common practice in some professions such as software development. For recruiting sales reps, an example of an anonymous job-related test would be a sample of a cold prospecting email.
Other ways to conduct job-related anonymous assessments is to get sales reps to complete a personality assessment and culture fit questionnaire. Research has found that a job-related test is one of the best predictors of future performance – it’s what Google uses as one of their tools to hire.
The challenges of anonymous sales tests
The most common job-related test for sales is a sample qualification call or sales demo over the phone or online. But once you hear a sales rep’s voice on a sample sales call or demo, their anonymity is pretty much blown. The bigger question is, how useful it is to anonymize sales reps’ voices in the first place?
If a large part of the sales role is talking to prospects and customers, creating rapport, and building relationships, the verbal communication skills of a sales candidate is in all likelihood correlated with their future sales performance. For example, research has found that when you have the opportunity to pitch people using your voice, you seem more thoughtful, intelligent, and competent than if that person only reads the same pitch.
The benefits of blind hiring sales reps through anonymous interviews
The final step in a blind hiring process for sales reps is to conduct an anonymous interview. An anonymous interview for recruiting sales reps would look like a written Q&A that’s either a take-home assignment or conducted in real time over chat. Many companies have a hiring process that already involve a take-home portion of the interview process.
The challenges of anonymous interviews
Most hiring processes for sales reps include a phone screen. Again, it’s almost impossible to anonymize a voice over a phone call let alone during an in-person interview.
For sales, we have to ask the same question: How useful it is to conduct anonymous interviews in the first place? With all the in-person networking, presentations, and customer visits that sales reps do, their physical presence is probably going to matter for their performance.
Blind hiring presents an intriguing new opportunity to disrupt traditional practices such as passing on candidates because you “just know” they wouldn’t be a good fit. The data suggests that blind hiring increases the diversity of the candidate pool by creating a more objective playing field for candidates who wouldn’t have made it to the interview stage otherwise – possibly due to our unconscious biases.
The future of blind hiring for sales reps is interesting due to the inherent limitations of how to implement it, as well as the very real question of how useful blind interviewing is for sales in the first place. Currently, tools for anonymizing profiles and resumes to get better quality sales reps into the top of your candidate pipeline exist, but whether we’ll ever see blind demo-ing and interviewing for sales recruitment remain to be seen.