Germany has had anti-discrinimation job application laws on the books since 2006, but while some aspects are easier to control such as asking for someones age, it is hard to determine whether an applicant has been discriminated against based on a physical trait. That is why Aldi Süd decided to run an experimental hiring process during a job fair in Cologne last month, which saw interviews take place in complete darkness, and opens up questions as to whether or not discrimination can be left out of the process at all.
Aldi Süd isn’t opening up all of their future interviews to complete darkness, but sought to experiment with the idea for the Cologne job fair. “We want a conversation without prejudice – neither from the applicants nor from the side of the company,” Sabine Grobara, an Aldi Süd HR representative told the German news agency dpa in an interview.
Interviewing in complete darkness on both ends of the process is believed to relieve nervousness from those looking to secure the job as they can feel free to make their case without the fear that a prejudice is getting in the way. Though a common form of discrimination — gender discrimination — is still hard to avoid with only complete darkness.
As more migrants continue to flock to and live in Germany, their presence has led to a new level of discrimination in some companies, and they might see the most benefit from a non-visual interview, but for now Aldi Süd isn’t saying if they will try the experiment again in the near future or how well the Cologne test panned out. Currently the company has resorted back to their more traditional hiring practice.