· 1 min read · Features

Including names on CVs is beneficial for employers and candidates

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Liberal Democrat MP, Lynne Featherstone, has proposed an amendment to the Equality Bill to ban names on CVs to prevent unfair discrimination in the job selection process. While including names on CVs can sometimes move the focus away from the job-relevant experience of the candidate, removing names doesn't really tackle directly the issue of unfair discrimination. In fact, including names from the outset can actually be beneficial to both candidates and employers.

So, what are the benefits?

Including names on CVs gives employers the opportunity to respond to candidate applications by name which provides both a more personal and positive candidate experience in the application process.  Imagine how a candidate would feel if an e-mail to inform them of an application delay, or a call to arrange a next stage interview, started along the lines of ‘Dear '? What about if an employer had to call a potential candidate to discuss requirements due to a disability and they didn't know their name - this would make the situation rather awkward.  Excluding names from CVs would make the initial application process extremely impersonal and could potentially affect the candidate's views of the company moving forward.

There are also practical benefits of including names on CVs. For instance, certain sectors, such as financial services and social services, need to be able to conduct candidate background checks as part of their recruitment processes - there is no protocol for conducting these anonymously at present. Names are also a way for employers to identify ‘job stalkers' - candidates that apply for each and every role on offer from a particular organisation just to get their foot in the door. Employers need to be able to store and cross reference applications where possible to monitor these repeat applications.

There is a danger that making the proposed amendment to the Bill will negatively affect the recruitment experiences of both candidates and employers and perhaps poses more questions than it answers.  How would omitting a name from a CV work in practice when candidates frequently send across applications via e-mail that more often than not include their name?  There is also the difficulty of knowing where to draw the line - should the names of schools, Universities and previous employers also be removed from CVs for the same reasons that they can all be unfairly judged or misinterpreted by employers?

Tackling and reducing unfair discrimination in recruitment is very important, and whilst the theory behind removing names from CVs and application forms is understandable, it doesn't directly address the issue nor does it carry enough benefit to counteract its drawbacks.

Howard Grosvenor is head of consulting at SHL