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Overcoming hiring biases through anonymous job applications in Celle, Germany

  • Responsible Organisations: City of Celle (Government); Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency of Germany (Government)
  • ILO Regions: Europe and Central Asia
  • Country(ies): Germany
  • Thematic areas: Social integration and inclusion
  • MLFLM: 14.


Do hiring managers really need to know where the applicant was born or what they look like? Anonymous job applications, which exclude personal information that is not related to an applicant's qualifications or experience help employers choose the best person for the job- wherever they were born. In 2010-11, the City of Celle was one of eight public and private sector employers that took part in a pilot project initiated by the federal government's Anti-Discrimination Agency. The pilot project aimed to test how anonymous job application procedures could reduce biases in hiring. Previous research indicated that bias in hiring was most likely to happen in the initial stages of the hiring process and was directed at people with a migrant background, women with children, and older workers. The pilot was so successful that the City of Celle decided to continue using anonymous application procedures after the pilot ended. Today anonymous job application procedures are credited with improving the hiring process by focusing attention on much-needed qualifications. The standardised application forms also make it easier and more efficient for human resources staff to review job applications. Noting a significant increase in applications to city jobs, the Mayor of Celle, Dirk-Ulrich Mende, believes this is because the anonymous procedures have helped the city improve its reputation as a good employer. This HR practice has now spread to Göttingen, Hannover, Mainz, Mannheim, Offenbach, Nürnberg, and eight German states.

This practice was kindly contributed by Cities of Migration, a program of the Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada). See more at the Cities of Migration website:


last updated on 17.05.2015^ top