There’s a bit of buzz in tech circles about the concept of blind hiring, which has been recently covered in the Wall Street Journal and other national media. The idea of recruiting employees without regard for education and experience, focusing instead on skills and abilities, is seen as a way to level the field for candidates.
Blind hiring helps orchestras select talented musicians, and I can see how it would also appeal, in slightly different form, to companies in industries like technology that skew towards limited demographic profiles.
It a given that hiring executives intuitively favor people who share common ground or fit a tried and true profile. That’s not malicious, it’s simply human nature.
Unfortunately, it means that those who don’t fit are often eliminated from the talent pool before being seriously considered. This tendency also causes companies to become too insular and homogenized, when what they need most is innovation and perspective.
What does this have to do with customer experience?
Just as talented developers and engineers come in all shapes and sizes, employees with a gift for putting people first often show up in uncommon packages. If fact, those who appear most gifted (call it charismatic if you like) may sell themselves well, then fail to meet expectations once on the job.
Delivering a compelling customer experience goes well beyond the front line. It requires a customer-focused culture in which everyone, from the janitor to project managers, understands their role in serving buyers. Finding candidates that have this mindset (or who can develop it) is something few companies consider in the hiring process for managers and rank and file employees.
The reality is that positive customer experience – which leads to brand affinity, revenue growth and increased profit – happens from the inside out. A strong team within your organization is a significant competitive advantage, allowing you to be more nimble, take calculated risks and change course quickly. It gives organization’s the cohesiveness and agility they need to win in the marketplace.
Why blind hiring?
Adopting aspects of blind hiring could help you find people who work well together, who appreciate the needs and concerns of their internal customers and well as those on the outside. Fostering collaboration and consistently working together to achieve shared goals reduces the friction and infighting that slows innovation and growth.
That’s a lot easier when you start with people who are already inclined to be highly responsive and customer-oriented. Both traits than can be identified through blind techniques that mask factors which could unduly influence a hiring decision.
If you want to give this a try, start by integrating some blind elements into the early stages of your hiring process. Ask candidates to role play key scenarios or pivotal conversations and complete written exercises that reveal their customer-orientation.
The outcomes could be quite revealing, allowing some candidates to shine who might otherwise be overlooked. It also may help you eliminate candidates who don’t share corporate values, saving a lot of time and trouble in the future.
Adding some blind exercises to your existing hiring could be just what you need to seed your business with exemplars of customer-focus and jump-start cultural change.
Have you employed techniques to pinpoint customer-focused candidates? If so, share your experience in the comments below.