Employer Advice
July 20, 2020

More neutrality in recruiting with the Taledo filter feature

More neutrality in recruiting with the Taledo filter feature

Recruiting without prejudice? A wishful thinking for many applicants, because discrimination in the application process is unfortunately still a problem that needs to be combated. Often, a subjective evaluation of the candidate happens quite subconsciously, without the recruiter really being aware of it. In order to ensure fewer exemptions in the application process, there are already a variety of measures, such as: resume without applicant photos, salary quotas for women or people with a physical or mental impairment.

To make the recruiting process even more unbiased, we at Taledo have designed a new filter feature to help recruiters select their potential applicants without any prejudices. How exactly does it work? We'll tell you in this blog post.

Discrimination in the German labor market

"Almost one in three people have felt discriminated against in their job search because of their age, gender, appearance, marital status or origin," according to a representative study conducted by the market research institute EARSandEYES in 2018.

filter feature turned off - names are complete and pictures are clear

But when exactly does discrimination occur in the application process? Based on the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), discrimination occurs as soon as an applicant is treated less favorably than another candidate with the same qualifications for either racial reasons, ethnic origin, gender, religion or ideology, disability, age or sexual identity. Discrimination can occur as early as the job posting. Examples of these are a gender reference in the advertisement or a reference to age or a preference for older applicants based on the wording of the candidate search for an "experienced employee".

To counteract the problem, since the beginning of 2019 employers have been required to list "diverse" as an additional gender entry alongside male and female as an option. Also during the job interview, as a recruiter, you are not allowed to ask any questions related to the discriminatory characteristics. Should such a question come up during the job interview, the applicant is permitted to lie or refuse to answer as needed.

First impressions are crucial

The reasons for a disadvantage in the application process are often manifold. Many recruiters prefer resumes with a photo of the applicant. Even in the digital application process, many recruiters don't pass on the opportunity to check the applicant's online presence first. When looking at the profiles of applicants on business networks such as LinkedIn or Xing, attention quickly falls on the candidate's photo and unconsciously influences the decision-making process. Does the applicant look serious? Does he seem like an expert in his field? Does the applicant make an open and communicative impression? Is the person rather athletically built or a bit more corpulent? Does the candidate look like he has the necessary assertiveness? Does the candidate fit certain stereotypes?

filter feature turned on - names are shortened and the pictures are blurred

The first impression is often what counts! And it takes just a tenth of a second to assess someone and form a first impression. A short period of time that often decides for the applicant whether he or she will be shortlisted. But it is not only in terms of appearance that conclusions are drawn about the person; age can also play a key role in the decision for HR managers. For example, a young applicant is often associated with the thought of a potential pregnancy. A migrant background, certain worldviews or religious affiliations can also lead to a subjective evaluation of the applicant and a disregard for his or her qualifications.

The importance of the applicant’s photo

In order to counteract discrimination on the basis of first impressions, some countries already rely on CVs without an applicant’s photo. Since the AGG came into force, the application documents - in particular the CV / resume - no longer has to be accompanied by an application photo. The photo is nowadays a voluntary addition, but not an obligation.

In order to clearly signal to applicants that you want to make the application process unbiased, you can therefore already ask applicants to send in their application documents without a photo in the advertisement.

Unfortunately, many companies in Germany still expect a photo on the resume. Countries like the USA, Great Britain or Canada are more progressive. In these countries, labor and anti-discrimination laws already prevent employers from asking for too much personal information from their applicants, and thus also prevent companies from requiring a photo from the candidate. In other countries, such as Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden, there are no clearly defined rules regarding the photo on the resume.

Recruiting with a new perspective

Even though many companies in Germany would like to see a photo of the applicant to round off the overall picture, it should be viewed rather critically as an assessment criterion for an application process. HR managers are quickly distracted from the essentials by information such as name, gender, age or even a picture of the person. In fact, the qualifications and experience of an applicant are more relevant for finding a suitable candidate for the vacant position. 

Therefore, we made it our business to make the recruiting process more neutral and developed our new Taledo filter feature accordingly. Instead of the normal view with an applicant’s photo and full name as well as relevant qualifications, recruiters only see the applicant's initials and no picture in the new view. It is also important to note that the so-called unbiased feature is turned on directly when logging into the Taledo platform. To turn the filter on or off, there is a button in the upper right corner.

"Applicants should be evaluated based on their qualifications and not on a photo or their gender," explains Melikshah Ünver, CEO and founder of Taledo GmbH. "With our new filter feature, it's easier for recruiters to focus on objective evaluation criteria and not shortlist candidates based on appearance, gender or ethnicity."

A change in the application process based on the filter feature can be seen above all as a shift in the focus of the candidate selection process. Whereas previously, there was a strong focus on the picture, which stood out on the platform due to its colorfulnes. Now only the skills of the applicant are in the foreground. In addition, the shortening of the name prevents conclusions from being drawn about the ethnic background as well as the applicant's religion and world views. Consequently, no association of names takes place. Furthermore, the initial selection can be made completely without gender bias. Thus, the filter feature offers a major step forward in the recruiting process in terms of equal treatment of applicants and reducing the potentioal for discrimination.

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