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No CV, no interview, no problem

12 May, 2023

How many times have you agonised over a CV or sweated your way through an interview? Applying for jobs is difficult for everyone, but particularly so for non-white applicants or those with criminal records, both groups who studies have shown are systematically discriminated against by hiring processes. Add to that the fact that these processes aren’t cheap (the average business spends £3,000 to hire an employee) and you might begin to wonder if there isn’t a better way.

For some roles, there might be. The Body Shop has recently shared the results of its ‘open hiring’ policy, which has been in place since 2020. Under the policy, the recruitment process for seasonal positions has been reduced to just three questions about legal rights to work, ability to work 8-hour shifts, and ability to lift loads up to 11 kilos. And according to the results, this is really all that matters. Since implementing the new hiring policy, The Body Shop has achieved higher sales, improved rates of retention, and a more diverse workforce.

Open hiring isn’t an entirely new concept – the approach was first pioneered in New York in the 1980s by Greystone Bakery, where it is still used today. Critically, what Greystone have found is that successful open hiring is about creating an ecosystem that addresses personal barriers to success at work. Resources like housing, childcare, and counselling are all essential to keeping employees on the job – and all things that The Body Shop says it will be looking at offering next.

Ultimately, open hiring won’t be appropriate for all – or even most – roles. But it does form part of a growing toolkit of inclusive hiring practices for businesses. (For example, here at Good Business we use the BeApplied platform, which uses anonymised applications and predictive skill-based assessments to identify the best talent, including from applicants who may otherwise have been overlooked). We may not be able to ditch CVs entirely, but we could be getting closer to ditching discrimination.

By Louise Podmore

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