Blind Recruitment in Korea

October 25, 2017 by Juwon Shin


‘Blind Recruitment’ is a compound word consisting of ‘blind’ and ‘recruitment’, which means when recruiting an employee, what the corporation requires are one’s character, aptitude, and function, meaning how well one can contribute to the company. . This means that different from the past, the name value of the university doesn’t matter as much as it did in the past. The applicants are no longer allowed to put their school name on the resume, and therefore no merit can be earned from it. The blind recruitment system has become an issue in especially prominent universities because until now, the title of the university may have been a strong factor in getting into a company . However, by allowing the companies this admission, the recruitment system has dramatically changed. Opportunities may  become open to more diverse people, even for those whose universities carry lower social  status. This ‘Blind Recruitment’ is to benefit those who have worked hard in self-development  more than anyone else, regardless of their university or their grades. What is meant to be most important now is one’s suitability with the job and the company.

Moreover, the procedure of this recruitment begins with a selection of candidates by examining their personal histories through paper, followed by two interviews. Personal histories are shown in  portfolio, including what one has done over the years for the job, or experiences that influenced oneself greatly. The first interview tests the applicant on their capability for the work, and the second is led by board members of the corporation. In the first interview, one has to prepare a presentation, following instructions from the company. The candidates are given a simple task, and they have to show the company how they can solve a task skillfully through presentation. The second interview is to find out the values and personality the person possesses by talking with him or her personally. The last stage is the physical evaluation. The government has announced that guidebooks and financial support will be provided to private companies to support the blind recruitment process. However, in cases in which a certain type of physical characteristic or degree of education is needed, blind recruitment is not recommended. Those jobs include security, or laboratory jobs.

The intent to provide opportunities through the blind recruitment arose when only the people who graduated from prominent universities seemed to grasp the chances of getting hired by companies. Of course, this may seem fair for some, since being a student of those top universities would mean that one has put in the academic effort. However, interestingly, the government realized that universities may not be good indicators for work suitability. Getting into those universities would have meant good grades in high school or tests, but it didn’t mean that the person worked diligently over the past years. There were those who became lazy after their admissions whereas there were also those who tried their hardest to become specialized in a particular area regardless of their university. The government and private companies are thus trying to widen the boundaries to give greater prospects for the latter group of people.

On the point that it provides opportunities for a variety of people is certainly a good thing, but this issue regarding the blind recruitment has been highly controversial ever since its introduction. On the one side, there are people who support the implementation of the blind recruitment system. Those who agreed thought that there were many problems in the original resume provisions, such as requests for private information irrelevant to the job requirements. For instance, when one is applying for a job in a company that has no relevance with health, one does not need to give the company personal health information. However, some companies require all hospital records, and those who were sickly before may have been disadvantaged. Since those records do no harm to the current condition, they must be set aside. Secondly, certificates and exam scores can tell one’s capability in taking tests, but it does not reveal much about practical work abilities. Companies are accepting this blind recruitment because there are those who believe the title of their university will solve every problem. They may believe in themselves overmuch, which may lead to work laziness and even incompetence.

On the other hand, others may disagree with the mindset that it is highly disadvantageous for people who have graduated from prominent universities. Since the blind recruitment system only requires the total grade, it is less fair to those who studied in competitive universities. There are many university students who regard university titles highly, and they take up most of those who disagree with this kind of recruitment.

According to a Job Korea survey, it has been shown that 82.5% of human resources managers sympathize with the blind recruitment system that has recently appeared. However, what we should keep in mind is that the companies should come up with an evaluation standard for those who are recruited through this system. The purpose of this system may seem advisable, in that it puts more value on not the name of the university but how the person has worked through the years for the job. However, it is unclear how blind recruitment will turn out in the end. Some say that in the long term, blind recruitment will be advantageous in eliminating any potential biases when recruiting a person. Potential biases include hiring someone without much consideration for whether he or she graduated from the same university and such. Also, companies might get to put more value on the candidate’s skills, motivating young candidates to work harder for their future jobs and put more effort on self-development. Meanwhile, others say that blind recruitment will still fail in preventing the danger of potential biases. Those biases may be concealed until the company finally gets to meet the candidate in person. The company may be likelier to choose the person they prefer regardless of their skills, creating uncertainty about the possible merits that the blind recruitment is expected to bring.

The UIC Scribe was founded in 2006 as the official student-run newsmagazine of Underwood International College. It celebrates diversity of thinking, excellence in writing, and the freedom of self-expression.