How to Redact a CV for Fair Candidate Selection

Redacting a CV is the first step to fair candidate selection and bias free hiring. Here's how to do it.
December 11, 2022
4 minutes
When you redact a CV you take the first step toward a diverse workplace is full of innovative ideas
When you redact a CV you take the first step toward a diverse workplace is full of innovative ideas

96% of recruiters feel unconscious bias is a problem when it comes to hiring, and they’re right. No matter how much we try to play fair, our preconceived ideas of ‘the ideal staff member’ can make the selection process anything but fair.  Not only does biased hiring result in an uneven playing field and inequality toward marginalized groups, it also produces poorer hiring outcomes. Essentially, you’re hiring the second best guy because the best person didn’t look the way you expected.

It’s easy to reduce explicit bias, but how do you take out the unconcious stuff? The secret turns out to be resume redaction.  There’s no way irrelevant information can affect the hiring process if you took it out in step #1. Here’s how to redact a CV, and get started on the path to bias free hiring.

What Is CV Redaction? 

CV redaction is the process of removing identifying details from a candidate's resume. This technique is used as part of blind hiring processes that aims to reduce bias during hiring. 

Once all information that point to bias-inducing characteristics like a candidate's race and gender are removed, hiring managers can make decisions based solely on skills and work experience as well as suitability for the position. 

Benefits Of CV Redaction

Fair Process

Every HR manager wants to ensure that their department carries out fair hiring processes. Ultimately, redacted CVs level the playing field, stripping away unnecessary aspects of an application and leaving only the relevant information. 

Reduce Bias

The great thing about a fair process is that it can reduce unconscious bias. While most recruiters would pride themselves on not letting bias get in the way of decision-making, by its very nature, unconscious bias is a bias that you're unaware of. The only way to avoid it is by running a blind hiring process.

Without information on the applicant's education, age, name, ethnicity, and more, decision-makers are left with no choice but to focus on skills and candidate experience alone.

Eliminating bias from the hiring process is a great way to ensure you have top talent

Spend Less Time

One reason that so many hiring panels love reviewing redacted CVs is that it takes far less time! As there is less information to read, they are able to review resumes faster than ever, significantly speeding up candidate screening.

Conflicts Of Interest

Hiring can get tricky for many reasons; an internal applicant may apply, or even a family member of someone high up in the organisation. In these cases, it is crucial that you can prove a fair process. By using resume redaction, you can be sure that no decisions were made based on anything except who was the best fit for the role. Then, if people start asking questions about why you chose a particular person, you can confidently say that the decision was made based on suitability and nothing else.

Remove Contact Details 

There's an added benefit to resume redaction software that has nothing to do with bias. If you work at a recruitment firm or hiring agency, the last thing you want is to do all the hard work of vetting candidates, then pass on the resumes to your client, only for the client to directly contact the applicants themselves! This can be avoided if you learn how to use recruiting software to redact a CV. You can easily remove all contact information, meaning that the client must come back to you in order to get in touch with the right candidate.

What To Redact and Why

Personal Details

Personal details such as name, social media links, and any photos are usually removed from redacted resumes. This information is usually removed because it can point to identifying factors about the person, such as gender, ethnicity, and age. These factors are protected in many countries, meaning that recruiters can not let these traits influence hiring decisions. By removing them from the CV altogether, you can be 100% sure that they will not affect the recruitment outcome.

Age is a great example; ageism is a real issue in the workplace on both ends of the spectrum. Younger applicants are often assumed to not be experienced enough (even if they are), and older applicants are deemed to  be unable to pick up new processes or skills, which is most definitely not the case! So, by taking age out altogether, decisions are made based purely on relevant factors instead.

Place of Study

The university an applicant studied at is another frequent item that gets removed during a redaction. This is because some educational institutions are more prestigious than others, but as long as the person earned the required degree, they meet the job requirement – regardless of where they obtained it from.

Business Names

The names of the organisations the applicant has worked for in the past may be removed for similar reasons. While certain businesses are well-regarded, that matters less than the candidate's actual job experience. 

Address and Location

A recruiter doesn't have to view a candidate's address (who sends real mail these days anyway?), so why would it be on a CV? Addresses and locations can lead to discrimination as well – if someone happens to live on the 'bad' side of town, this doesn't make them any less qualified for the job at hand. Removing the risk of this type of bias can help those who do live in less fortunate areas to land an excellent job without their location holding them back.

How to Redact a CV

Many of our customers ask us about how to redact a CV. Luckily, we have developed a solution using the exact same AI (artificial intelligence based) technology on which our Resume Parser is based. Resume parsing technology can analyze a resume and extract all relevant data, and it can also be used to exclude irrelevant data.  Affinda's Resume Redactor was designed specifically to remove bias-inducing candidate information from resumes.

When you use this solution, you can choose to remove as many of the following fields as you wish:

  • Gender
  • Locations
  • Photos
  • Personal details( this may include full name, phone number, address, and email
  • Education information such as university name
  • Work details such as company name
  • Referees
  • Dates

If you wish to begin redacting resumes, you can do so with our user-friendly API solution and parsing tool. This pro-level software can be seamlessly added to your current applicant tracking system (ATS), HR software, or any recruitment software you currently use. All you need to do is sign up and get your developer to install it for you.

After that, you will be able to tailor the solution to your needs, including customising the fields you'd like redacted.

Once you're set up, you can redact thousands of CVs with just one click. Simply include the fields you want removed in your API request, and they'll be taken out with no hassle. Finding top talent will become much simpler, and no qualified candidate will get sidelined because of an ethnic name or unsavory address again. 

Keen to know more? Get in touch with us today!

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