London Sport wanted their hiring to reflect their values of fairness while building a team representative of the city they serve. By completely removing CVs from their process, they've started making fantastic progress to achieve just that.
We exist to make London the most physically active city in the world. That means we have to engage with *all* Londoners and there’s no question we need to represent the city that we serve.
We’d already made some positive steps in our diversity journey when we connected with Applied. We were convinced that CVs and cover letters were poor predictors of talent and very aware of the prevalence and impact of unconscious bias. As a small team, finding a solution that was both fair and manageable from an admin point of view was really important.
We started manually blinding CVs which allowed us to review applications without fear of our own biases creeping in and getting in the way of the task at hand – to find the best person for the job with a passion for advancing our mission!
For anyone starting out with a manual process, we’d strongly recommend measuring the time spent to do this. It can be so easy to dismiss technology that can help when you’re a small team with limited budgets, but we quickly found out it ‘cost’ us around 1 and a half days of collating and anonymising data for every hire. Not only was this a lot of resources to waste, the opportunity cost for that very skilled person was huge!
There was something of a leap of faith to move to Applied and get rid of CVs entirely. The Applied sift didn’t only mean a faster way of achieving our ultimate goal but a significant culture shift. CVs have been around for decades after all!
We needn’t have worried! We very quickly found that we immediately won back a full 1.5 days per hire by automating the blinding portion of the process. We also had excellent feedback from candidates who rated our process 9/10 on average and have retained 100% of Applied hires.
Combined with our own internal efforts to improve inclusion at London Sport, we saw a more diverse range of candidates, with 50% more applications from ethnically diverse candidates than we’d seen before. By focusing on simply identifying the most suitable candidate, rather than implementing a diversity goal for its own sake, we were able to make great leaps forward.
On top of this, we found that 5 out of 6 of those we interviewed scored highly enough to have been hired. That’s great news for hiring managers who no longer have to sit through interviews that will go nowhere. This goes both ways, too. We no longer waste candidates' valuable time if they’re not likely to thrive in the role.
“Moving to Applied allowed me to be more hands off and took the pressure off my team so they could focus on optimising our pipeline for diversity. Despite our initial hesitation, the wider team loves Applied as much as we do… it even won a poll of the best thing about London Sport last year at our Christmas Away Day!” - Chris Anderson, Head of Grants & Governance
“Applied has been fantastic! If you’re serious about removing bias, try blind hiring... you’ll be amazed! I can tell you from my experience, it won’t stop you finding the right candidates!” - Chris Anderson, Head of Grants & Governance
No! All CVs tell you is where someone worked, they don’t reflect actual skills at all! Now that we’ve ditched them for good, it doesn’t make any sense to me why anyone would still be using them! (Chris Anderson, Head of Grants & Governance)
London Sport works in partnership with London’s Local Authorities and a host of agencies to support less active Londoners to build physical activity habits that support their health, wellbeing and prosperity.
"If you’re serious about removing bias, try blind hiring... you’ll be amazed!"
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