It all happens for the very first time in France. Inspired by a French TV reality show, the city of Nice has decided to experiment a very different recruiting session. The objective is, besides fighting the high unemployment rate, to eliminate all kinds of discrimination and prejudice, such as skin color, age, outfit… While the organizers hope to encourage a new way of hiring – according to La Liberation – some professional unions are very sceptical.
A mysterious Rendez-Vous
The principle is very simple: there are two waiting rooms with separate entries, one with the candidates, the other with the recruiters. They should not meet in advance in the corridors. A blind person calls them up and brings them to the interview desk, in the dark. The recruiter does not know anything about the candidate: no name, no CV, no age. The candidates say they would feel more at ease, even while unveiling delicate details like the lack of a car, their past (poor) experience, etc. By not seeing the expression of the person in front, they do not immediately block. The recruiters, on the other side, claim to generally have an opinion when someone enters the recruiter’s office door. Like that, all stereotypes are completely erased and a new approach to the candidate is required. Thus, a recruiter says he would concentrate on the accent, the silent pauses, the way the candidates move their chair, and of course the content, which is rather automatic if you do not see anything. For both parties, the aim is to arrange a one-week full immersion stage in the company – which then should ideally lead to the candidate being hired.
Unemployment is not a toy…
Not everybody seems to be happy with this rather innovative way of conversing with the unemployed. Nicolas Delaire, a delegated officer of the trade union CFDT of the unemployment bureau “Pôle Emploi” finds that this is gadgetizing a serious problem. Unemployment is not a toy, but a dramatic issue. What’s next then, naked interviews? Interviews in the jungle? The unemployed people are not ready to everything, especially not for something dehumanizing. After all, all they do not want to be deprived of is dignity!
…but it is worth trying!
Luckily the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, thinks differently. For him, it is a way to face the lots of retirements that are coming soon. Also, in his opinion it is a fair way to avoid discrimination. This initiative will for sure continue: soon other professions will be invited to do so as well.
All in all it can be said that the initiative is certainly worth a trial. Stereotypes can for sure not disappear completely, because an accent can soon reveal one’s origins. The tone of one’s voice can reveal an age. However, the key of such a session is for sure also to raise awareness among companies and among recruiters. Too often would we judge too soon, and how often – maybe wrong?