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.
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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."
Inspired by the The Voice, technology company GapJumpers 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.
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.
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.
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- "They don't call it colorblind for nothing", January 29, 2015.
- "Make optimal talent decisions by interrupting implicit bias". GapJumpers, Inc.
- "Why companies are using 'blind auditions' to hire top talent". Business Insider. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
- The New York Times Magazine. "Is Blind Hiring the Best Hiring?", February 25, 2016.
- SF Chronicle. "For some startups, tech’s lack of diversity is a goldmine", January 30, 2015.
- Huff Post Tech. "Can Blind Auditions Change the Ratio of Women in Tech Journalism?", January 30, 2015.
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- NBER Working Paper No. 9873 "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination", July 2003.