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England – Law firm praised for ‘CV blind’ recruitment policy

10 January 2014

London-based law firm Clifford Chance has adopted a ‘CV blind’ process approach to recruiting graduates in order to neutralise any bias towards Oxford and Cambridge graduates, reports the Independent.

Laura Yeates, graduate recruitment and development manager at the firm told the Independent: “All [the staff conducting the interview] will have is the candidate’s name for the final assessment.”

In its first year of operation, the scheme has seen its annual intake of 100 graduate trainees come from 41 different education institutions; a rise of nearly +30% on the number represented in the previous year under the old recruitment scheme.

“The overall object is to make sure we never lose out on talent, wherever it comes from. We need to make sure we have the very best people spread out across the whole of the UK in terms of institutions,” Ms Yeates added.

According to the Independent, critics of current recruitment procedures are divided on why the bias is still so prevalent; some believe that candidates from less selective universities are reluctant to apply because they believe the jobs will all go to those from the Russell Group of universities (which represents 24 of the most selective institutions in the UK), while others suspect bias on the part of interviewing panels.

Dr Tessa Stone, of the Brightside Trust, a charity which helps young people access education and career options they might not have believed were open to them, said: “[This approach will help students] who may not have the background and connections to have amassed the sort of ‘CV points’ corporate firms usually like to tick off, but who have a huge amount to offer to firms interested in real talent regardless of background”.

“Evidence shows that these students tend to outperform their privately educated peers once they reach university, so this is a pool of inspiring talent currently going relatively untapped. We hope others will follow Clifford Chance’s lead,” Dr Stone added.

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Carter-White & Shaw LLC

Ron Jordan 11/01/2014 9:19 am

I commend CC for this new innovation towards a more diverse candidate pool for the firm. This innovation should lead the way for other Magic Circle firms. The rub is that this recruitment tool is not part of CC's world wide efforts, especially in the firm's DC and NYC offices. Without a comprehensive approach to all the firm's offices world wide, it looks more like a good branding tactic.


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