It’s hard to discriminate against applicants based on characteristics like age and race if you don’t know they belong to a particular protected class. That’s why it’s important to have a “blind” hiring process.
Follow these tips to make sure you consider applicants without knowing anything about their race, age or other characteristics:
Consider accepting applications almost exclusively online. You can make exceptions for applicants who need a paper copy of the application because of self-identified disabilities requiring reasonable accommodations. Design the application website to comply with accessibility guidelines.
Have someone who won’t participate in the actual hiring review all applications to make sure they are complete and to make initial calls to determine if candidates are available for an interview. If an applicant identifies a need for a reasonable accommodation in the application process, honor that request.
Consider screening applications with computer software that looks for pertinent experience, education and training. Nothing is as blind to protected characteristics as computer code.
Tell applicants to remove birthdates and graduation dates from résumés and to exclude personal information from cover letters.
Obviously, when an applicant arrives for an interview, his or her race, general age (and perhaps other protected characteristics) will become obvious. That’s OK. You’ve taken the blind process as far as you can.