A new recruitment website has been released for Manchester this week, which keeps candidates 100% anonymous to reduce recruiter bias.
The website ‘Ohcul’ aims to work with clients, candidates and recruiters to ensure a “completely bias-free service”. The ‘Hidden Application’ feature allows candidates to conceal any information that may give away their race, background, gender, age or physical ability. The site ensures that only information relevant to the position – such as experience, skills, training and education – are visible to employers.
Unconscious bias, also know as implicit bias, stems from the human brain’s tendency to organise the world around us through categorisation, and is based on social stereotypes we have absorbed throughout our lives, which are outside of our own awareness.
The creator, Omar Javaid, comments: “Diversity and inclusion is so important but even the best-intentioned people are likely to have a level of unconscious bias, so a complete shake-up is needed, to allow all candidates to have a completely fair route to interview.
“Blind hiring has become increasingly popular, being used by several big names such as HSBC, BBC and Google, but we are the first independent jobs site to offer it across the board. After 12 months of research, site creation and client liaison, we are delighted to be launching this week.”
Omar has already recruited several clients who will be working with the job site. He has also stated that the focus of the website in its early stages will be businesses of all sizes in Manchester and it’s surrounding regions: “The launch in Manchester makes sense, not just because it is my home, but also because this is a hugely diverse city, with a very fair, forward-looking culture and a vibrant, can-do attitude. We look forward to working with employers who share our vision for a universal quality of opportunity.”
The website addresses significant issues in application success for BME job seekers in the UK, as exposed by The Guardian earlier this year: “A study by experts based at the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, found applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds had to send 80% more applications to get a positive response from an employer than a white person of British origin.
“A linked study by the same researchers, comparing their results with similar field experiments dating back to 1969, found discrimination against black Britons and those of South Asian origin – particularly Pakistanis – unchanged over almost 50 years.”
Unconscious bias is not simply an issue of race alone, but also involves biases relating to age, weight, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and so on.
Omar Javaid, who has a background in finance, developed Ohcul as he “became increasingly aware of unconscious bias in the recruitment process”.
He found “further research showed that it was clear that certain demographic groups were not progressing to the interview stage – and that this was not unique to the financial sector. I realised there was a real need to address this.”
You can visit Ohcul online, see their website for more details