Combating Unconscious Bias

Reducing unconscious bias has been a topic high on the agenda of public sector recruiters. In this article we explore how we can help you minimise it through two key methods; anonymised applications and unconscious bias training courses.

Anonymised applications

The use of anonymised applications is one way to minimise unconscious bias. Anonymised applications automatically remove the candidate’s name, address and email from the application, in addition to the separately collected diversity information which is generally not made available to recruiting managers.

Regionally, one council has adopted anonymisation as a mechanism within their toolkit and others are in consideration. The Talentlink, system carries an automated function, which enables new applications to be received encrypted so the core data of name, address etc is redacted until you decide the point at which personal details are unmasked.

Although it’s a very simple action to activate there are some points to consider. Here we answer some of the commonly asked questions to provide clarity.

Does this apply to all or certain types of jobs? 

You can decide which jobs this applies to. You can choose on a job by job level if you want candidates to be encrypted before you post the job.

At what point do you want to decrypt candidate details?

You can decide to do this at any point in your selection process, usually it’s after shortlisting.

How does this affect the candidate experience? 

Candidates can still apply as before. You may want to explain that your applications may be anonymised and highlight their candidate number to them via automated responses.

How do I search for candidates while they are encrypted?

You can search using the candidate number or a unique identifier, such as a phone number.

What about the communications and wording used in the application and during the selection process? 

You may need to consider greetings used in emails and guidance that advises you use anonymisation within your selection processes. Talentlink allows you to include their candidate number in automated responses so you may want to mention you will ask for this if they get in contact with you.  If you ask candidates to upload documents as part of the application, you will need to instruct them not to include their name on these.

All your questions can be answered and supported into a tailored selection process within Talentlink, to ensure a seamless experience for the candidate and a compliant one for you.

Talentlink’s anonymisation feature is placed to support organisations eliminate bias in the workplace. There’s an opportunity for unconscious bias to occur in the workplace and lack of objectivity can lead to missed opportunities. Here at WMJobs we want to offer our support and provide solutions to help demystify the subject that is, unconscious bias. Thus, we will encourage colleagues to share outcomes of their anonymised approach with those considering a similar approach.

Recognising unconscious bias training

We also understand the journey that several organisations are on to create an inclusive culture and the first step towards that is to create awareness about Unconscious Bias and how to challenge it in a positive way. At WME we have created a half day training course on ‘Understanding and Recognising Unconscious Bias.’ The training session is curated to produce a safe environment to discuss the topic and understand the neuroscience behind our thinking. How are bias thoughts created? How can we challenge our internal structures, dialogue and labels to create a more inclusive environment?

The training session will support the start of a conversation, about the importance of inclusion to compliment the work that is going on to create an inclusive culture within an organisation.

Should you want to discuss this further, please get in touch with us on 01215692070 or email us at


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