In the U.S. and the European Union, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of race, color, religion, age or sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy). Employers can't require photos or ask questions about personal information on an application.
But bias is still possible. Studies in the U.S. have shown that "ethnic-sounding" names can reduce by half the likelihood of being called for an interview, compared to applicants with "white" names.
Enter the start-up GapJumpers, founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Kedar Iyer and Petar Vujosevic. Iyer first noticed that skilled coders were often overlooked because they hadn't gone to a big-name school. So he created a system of "interviews" based on completing a coding task like one you might have to do on the job. Potential employers only saw applicants' scores, with no personal information, to choose who to call back for an interview. According to GapJumper's statistics, only 20% of applicants other than white males with elite degrees made it to the interview stage with conventional hiring practices. Using GapJumpers, however, that number increased to 60%. Harvard Business School has since backed up the advantages of blind auditions with their own studies.