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“CV Blind” interviews – removing bias or enforcing the status quo?

A magic circle firm’s publicised move to a “CV Blind” interview policy for potential employees joining the firm has drawn attention to the recruitment selection process used by top tier firms. The general concept of a “CV Blind” selection process is that it reportedly allows candidates to be able to tell their own story at interview rather than rely on a physical CV document that has been screened. The general idea is that the CV blind process seeks to eliminate bias in the selection process. The interview panel would not have sight of a CV with a view to encouraging a discussion based upon a specified framework of competencies and experiences. HR and partners sit across from applicants armed with no information other than the interviewee’s name.

The CV Blind interview process has been introduced to reportedly move away from selection bias but does this work? By the time the potential employee sits in front of the interview panel their “CV Blind” application form would have been sifted by either a graduate recruitment team at the NQ level or wider recruitment team for more senior appointments with a check list of criteria. Such checklist will undoubtedly include academic track record, extra curricular activities and work experience. Ultimately the exact same criteria as when sifting through a collection of CVs. The challenge for both HR and recruitment consultancies is to continually review their policies and procedures to make sure they are fit for purpose and not favouring a marginal section of the legal sector.

The application space has shifted from the traditional milk round format and “who you know” to more internet based campaigns using social media. The application space now involves more than knowing a partner from the same Oxbridge university or getting an “in” through a mutual contact so in this respect there is a shift from receivng applications from a small pool to opening it out to a wider audience. With the number of students studying for the LPC on the up and the popularity of the ILEX route increasing the legal field will continue to diversify however there is a long way to go before we can confidently say we have removed bias from the recruitment process.

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