Blind Auditions 2

Every recruiter and hiring manager knows how much of the hiring decision-making process depends on candidate resumes. The resume forms the basis of all hiring: a company posts a job opening on its website, lists it on various job search browsers, and shares it on social media platforms, always asking candidates to submit their resumes for consideration. The decision of whether a candidate makes it any further in the recruitment process rests solely on the resume he or she submits.

Unfortunately, not all candidates are as good in real life as they are on paper. A resume is a carefully crafted document that lists the candidate’s experience and skills, but it doesn’t really prove anything. How many times have you found yourself choosing a candidate because his or her resume was very impressive, only to have to repost the position six months later because the person didn’t actually have the skills necessary to succeed? Or you chose someone to interview based on a resume that resonated with you, maybe because the candidate attended the same university you did or worked for a well-known competitor?

Although these may all seem like reasonable reasons for choosing a candidate, they are not actually based on very solid ground at all. Resume reading is such a subjective part of recruiting that it can actually undermine your entire process. Luckily, these kinds of mistakes are not completely unavoidable. Basing hiring decisions on blind auditions rather than resumes can help you find the candidate that is truly the top talent.

What are blind auditions? In recruiting, it means judging candidates for their actual skills and abilities, rather than their resume, background, past work experience, or personality. It’s like the popular television singing competition “The Voice,” in which the judges have their backs turned to the performers while they sing, so they have to select the contestants based solely on their singing ability. It’s not until the judge has made a selection that he or she is able to turn around and see what the singer looks like.

For HR, blind auditions work similarly in that the hiring manager has no idea what the candidate’s past experience or education looks like, and selects individuals to interview based solely on their actual skills. For example, say you were looking for a web developer to fill an open position in your IT department. Rather than asking candidates to submit their resumes, you assign a task that tests their real web development skills. Without even knowing what college they attended or which companies they have worked for, you get a chance to see them “in action,” doing what they will be doing on the job.

The big benefit to this approach is finding candidates who can actually do what their resume says they do. Instead of choosing based on claimed skills, you’re choosing based on proven skills.

If you think your recruiting process could benefit from blind auditions, consider administering pre-employments skills tests. By testing candidates on their skills, you’ll narrow down the talent pool to the job seekers who really have what it takes, rather than those who merely claim to have what it takes. Pre-employment skill assessments are available for a myriad of industries and skill levels, so it’s easy to find something that’s right for your company and each position.

Not only do pre-employment assessments test candidate’s work-related skills, but they can also test other desirable qualities, such as the ability to multitask, logical thinking capabilities, and verbal reasoning – qualities that are nearly impossible to determine from a resume alone. Administering skills and aptitude assessments to every candidate can help hiring managers make better decisions.

Have you tried blind auditions for your recruiting process before? Do you ever try to rely on something other than resumes to narrow down a pool of candidates?


  • Paula Scott says:

    Hiring decisions made based on merit and not on gender, social background, or university grades can be called the most fair. It’s also the best way to avoid discrimination of any kind. But it seems to me that this is a not very popular practice, because I have never met anyone who has done this or gone through this type of selection process.

  • Lucy Procter says:

    I’ve never come across blind auditions when applying for a position. I’ve never conducted one myself. But blind auditions seem like a good choice when you need a really cool approach. In regular interviews, skills are overlooked in favor of first impressions, and really good candidates are lost.

  • Debora Rivera says:

    I used “blind auditions” regularly and encourage the managers who work for me to do the same. It is extremely difficult to get people to do pre-employment skill assessments – they take time, they require effort, and extra care needs to be given to ensure that external candidates aren’t excluded by the assessments – but in the long run, doing these assessments saves time and results in a better hire. It also forces you to think about what skills you really need and how you measure them – useful when developing performance measures and employee evaluation criteria. And they can give you real insight into how a candidate thinks and processes information – something no resume will ever do!

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