In January 2019 the British Library introduced ‘anonymous recruitment’ for all internal and external vacancies advertised.
Anonymous recruitment is a practice in which personal identifying information is removed during the application stage. This practice has been shown to reduce, but not to completely eliminate, unconscious bias inferred from details about race, gender, social and educational background in shortlisting decisions, and to improve the success rate of candidates from under-represented groups.
By introducing this practice it is therefore consistent with our value of embracing equality, fairness and diversity. The approach is already in widespread use across the Civil Service and the public and private sectors.
Shortlisting panels will no longer see information about candidates such as title, forename, surname, known as details, phone numbers, email addresses and educational institutes.
Candidates who now apply for a position in the library will be asked to ensure they don’t include information that would detail certain aspects about them in the free text section of the application form. This includes detailing awarding bodies for qualifications they may have.
We believe that this is a positive approach to ensuring the library has a fair recruitment process right from the start of an applicant’s journey with us. In addition to this the library also take steps to reducing unconscious bias at interview stage by providing all of our employees with unconscious bias training and encouraging diverse panels.
As previously mentioned unconscious bias is difficult to totally eliminate due to human nature, however where we can make a change to try and combat this, especially at this crucial stage, we will aim to do so.
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