The American professional services firm Deloitte has stated that they will change their recruitment selection process in order to ‘hide’ where candidates went to university, as well as their qualifications. According to Deloitte, this will remove ‘unconscious bias’ in their graduate recruitment.
The company’s criteria will allow interviewers access to ‘contextualised data’ based on the challenging circumstances which the candidates have faced, for example if they achieved three ‘B’ grades at A-level in a school where the average is three ‘D’s. Interviewers, however, will not be made aware of a candidate’s school or university until an offer has been made. The scheme is expected to start next year in the UK.
This announcement has been compared to the changed selection process of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who no longer use graduates’ A-level grades as a means for selection. The chief executive of Deloitte has said that firms need to hire people who “think and innovate differently”, which suggests that the convention of filtering students according to their academic results currently limits this potential.
However, for the majority of graduates who feel that they have worked hard for their high-grade qualifications in order to improve their employment prospects, this could lead to many feeling disenchanted about their efforts.
This so-called ‘unconscious bias’ is, of course, not the only bias that students and graduates face in the modern-day job market. Employers and universities often resort to researching a potential candidate on social media in order to assess their character and level of professionalism, particularly in areas like education and healthcare. This has led to many students and graduates adjusting their privacy settings and even changing their names on social media sites in order to make themselves more difficult to find online.
“I guess I just want to keep my private life completely separate from my work life,” explains Louise MacGregor, 19, who changed her surname on Facebook when she applied for a degree in medicine. “People expect professionals to not have a life outside work. Why is it that 5 years of education is completely negated by the occasional night out with my friends?”