Anonymisation of Applications in Professional Services Staff Recruitment

Introducing anonymised applications to support the objective of reducing unconscious bias in PSS recruitment

How we are taking action to reduce unconscious bias in the School’s recruitment process for professional services staff

Recent scrutiny of the School’s recruitment practices, in relation to supporting the equity and diversity framework, has led senior stakeholders to make recommendations on how these practices can be improved. One of the key recommendations is the anonymisation of job applications for professional services recruitment.

This change will demonstrate that employees at the LSE can thrive, develop and succeed in the School based on their talent, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other dimension that can be used to differentiate people from one another.

The overall objectives of the project are to:

  • Enhance current recruitment practices appropriately so applicants for Professional Services roles can be shortlisted anonymously
  • Create a definition for what the LSE means by Anonymisation of job applications and associated guidance
  • Ensure that systems, tools and roles supporting an anonymised shortlisting process are based on the principals of the School’s anonymisation definition
  • Operate with recruitment processes that de-anonymise applicant details at the appropriate stage of the recruitment process
  • Deliver the School’s vision to reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment of Professional Services staff
  • Enhance the reputation of the School by signalling a strong commitment to focus recruitment on skills and qualifications
  • Successfully benchmark against other leading organisations in its field for its anonymised recruitment practices
  • Ensure that throughout the project lifecycle there is high user engagement creating user buy-in of the above project objectives which in turn will support implementation

Key Information:

Project Timeline

Lent Term 2018

The School commits to address the outcomes from the Equal Pay Review (2013) and Pay Equity Report (2016) particularly with regards to the following questions:

  • What can we do to increase the chances of a greater proportion of strong female applications for senior PSS positions?
  • What can we do to encourage a greater proportion of strong BME applications for middle to senior PSS positions? 

One way in which the School aims to reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment and selection process for PSS staff, is by introducing anonymised applications and re-framing candidate guidance to more strongly promote a non-bias approach.

The project will be delivered via the new Stage Gate Methodology which includes collaboration with users and stakeholders to design an anonymised recruitment and selection solution that anonymises candidate personal details at shortlisting stage. It also considers systems that incorporate best practice recruitment, from across the School community and wider Higher Education sector. 

March 2018

The project team and project board members are identified, with representation from a cross-section of areas of the School in particular those with high volume recruitment or niche requirements. 

The scope of the project is agreed and a strawperson exercise is created to map the process from vacancy approval -> confirmed shortlist.

April 2018

A ‘kick off’ meeting with the project team is held on the 11 April to welcome members to the project, establish roles, and key timelines for the project. 

May / June 2018 

A discovery exercise across the School is completed, requesting feedback from all areas as to how the proposed changes will impact recruitment practices currently taking place. Communications are issued through the HR Partnering team, Business Clusters and a qualtrics form is sent to managers across the School. 

In addition, a benchmarking exercise is undertaken against other HE and Russell Group institutes to establish what other organisations have done, or plan to do in order to reduce unconscious bias. Feedback received is collated in to a report, which is used in developing a proposed solution. 

Workshops with the project team are held to establish, in detail, the changes required at each step of the process. A change requirements matrix is created outlining the impact on systems, policy, roles and guidance. From this work, a proposed solution to deliver the project is created, with the intention of sharing this with the wider School audience for feedback and comments in Validation Workshops. 

Summer 2018 

Validation workshops are held in July and August, and all staff are invited to attend. The validation workshops are part of the project methodology, and are an opportunity to share views and experiences to help shape and validate the proposed changes to the recruitment and selection process. The idea is to ensure that all departments / divisions are represented and have the opportunity to attend. 

Feedback from the workshops is presented to the wider School community in September 2018 for further comments, in the form of a Validation Report. 

Michaelmas Term 2018

A business case to fund the development and implementation is submitted for consideration in early September 2018, and the project is approved taking it in to Stage 3; Solution Development. 

Lent Term 2019

Solution implementation and roll out.

Getting involved

Look out for upcoming presentations and feedback opportunities, and email the Business Improvement Unit to get involved.

Explore the Process Map

The process map shows what the selection process would look like for the majority of recruiting managers, in an ideal world. 

To view the process map please see here

Process map key

Green circles–‘runner’ processes: core assessment services which all students will either pass through or be affected by

Red circles –‘repeater’ processes that not all students will need to access

Blue rectangles–the inputs and outputs students receive from each service touch point

Yellow squares–rules, policies and regulations that enable services to work effectively and consistently

Purple ovals–dependent processes or services 

Reading the process map

  • The green ‘runner’ processes are the main core selection steps which all recruiting managers will take when conducting recruitment and selection at the School. These are designed to be as efficient, consistent and streamlined as possible.
  • The red ‘repeater’ processes are ones which not all recruiting managers will undertake.
  • ‘Stranger’ processes are not represented on the level 3 and are not designed into the process from the outset. These are exceptions to the main processes that might happen only very rarely. Two key concepts in these circumstances are that of continuous improvement and ownership. If something occurs that is not part of the process those involved reflect on whether it is likely to come about again –if it is then the repeater process is updated to accommodate it.
  • The blue rectangles represent the inputs and outputs recruiting managers receive from each service touch point, such as the ‘applicant pool’ from which they shortlist candidates for interview from.
  • The controls (the things that enable the services to work effectively and consistently such as business rules, policies and regulations) are represented by the yellow squares.
  • Any dependent processes or services are represented by purple circles.

Validation Workshop Resources

Get in touch with the Business Improvement Unit to find out more or learn how you can get involved.

Look out for progress updates in Staff News.