Blind audition

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A blind audition is a method of evaluating the job skills being tested, while the candidate performs from behind a wall or screen. The purpose is to ensure that the decision-makers do not make snap judgements and are evaluating the person solely on performance, with no consideration of appearance, name, gender, educational background, previous work experience or other implicit bias.


Research published in American Economic Review suggests the use of blind auditions also changed the role that gender apparently plays during auditions. According to a 2001 study by Cecilia Rouse of Princeton and Claudia Goldin of Harvard, the introduction of blind auditions to American symphony orchestras increased the probability that a woman would advance from preliminary rounds by 50 percent. According to the study, among those symphonies, "about 10 percent of orchestra members were female around 1970, compared to about 35 percent in the mid-1990s. Rouse and Goldin attribute about 30 percent of this gain to the advent of blind auditions."[1]

Jazz bassist and clinical psychologist Art Davis is known for launching a legal case which led to the current system of blind auditions for orchestras.[2][3]

In 2010, the competitive talent show The Voice of Holland introduced the use of blind auditions to televised talent shows; the format was then quickly franchised to dozens of other countries.

Inspired by The Voice,[4] technology company GapJumpers[5] is using blind auditions to help tech companies evaluate job candidates based on their actual performance. This approach also allows employers in Silicon Valley to bridge their diversity gap.[6]

Blind performance auditions, much research has proven, often results in the hiring of more women and minorities because it eliminates the opportunities for bias to influence who makes the cut.

Blind auditions, also termed 'Blind hiring'[7] is a solution used by large enterprises in Silicon Valley to make objective talent decisions by interrupting cognitive bias.

Dolby Laboratories said it recently hired an engineering intern who probably would have otherwise been passed over due to a lack of experience and academic pedigree.[8]

The Editor-in-Chief at VentureBeat announced Blind Auditions for his publication to hire new tech journalists. Based in the center of the Silicon Valley tech startup scene, VentureBeat's leader is hoping that his new approach will lead to more women journalists covering tech, but even he admits that only time will tell.[9]

The Today Show reported that companies are using blind auditions to hire talent for their performance rather than race, gender and socio-economic backgrounds.[10]

A study by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan suggests that racial discrimination is still a prominent feature of the labor market.[11]


  1. ^ Marks, Marilyn (February 12, 2001). "Blind auditions key to hiring musicians". Princeton Weekly Bulletin. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  2. ^ Stewart, Jocelyn Y. (August 5, 2007). "Art Davis, renowned bassist, dies at 73". Los Angeles Times obituary. Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  3. ^ Osborne, William. "Blind Auditions and Moral Myopia". Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  4. ^ "They don't call it colorblind for nothing", January 29, 2015.
  5. ^ "Make optimal talent decisions by interrupting implicit bias". GapJumpers, Inc. 
  6. ^ "Why companies are using 'blind auditions' to hire top talent". Business Insider. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  7. ^ The New York Times Magazine. "Is Blind Hiring the Best Hiring?", February 25, 2016.
  8. ^ SF Chronicle. "For some startups, tech’s lack of diversity is a goldmine", January 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Huff Post Tech. "Can Blind Auditions Change the Ratio of Women in Tech Journalism?", January 30, 2015.
  10. ^ "Companies are using blind auditions to hire top talent". NBC Today Show. Retrieved June 8, 2015. 
  11. ^ Bertrand, Marianne; Mullainathan, Sendhil (2004). "Are Emily And Greg More Employable Than Lakisha And Jamal? A Field Experiment On Labor Market Discrimination". American Economic Review. 94 (4): 991–1013. doi:10.1257/0002828042002561.