Tech industry hiring practices: could orchestra blind auditions be a model?

Posted on: March 4, 2016

“In the 1970s, symphony orchestras were still made up almost exclusively of white men,” writes Claire Cain Miller in Sunday’s (2/28) New York Times. “Around that time, many began to use a new method of hiring musicians: blind auditions…. Researchers from Harvard and Princeton … found that blind auditions increased the likelihood that a woman would be hired by between 25 and 46 percent…. In 2014, Google for the first time released data on the makeup of its employees, revealing the sort of work force its recruitment strategy yields. Only 2 percent of its employees were black, and 3 percent were Latino. Seventy percent were men…. Textio, a start-up with clients that include Starbucks and Microsoft, scans job listings and highlights language that data have shown to turn off certain candidates. For example, saying a job requires a ‘rock star’ will draw more men than women; saying it requires a ‘passion for learning’ attracts more women than men. Textio’s research has found that while most people dislike corporate jargon … applicants who are not white dislike it even more and are less likely to respond to job listings that use that sort of language.”

Posted March 4, 2016