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GERMANY: Depersonalized application procedure

August 7th 2014


Particularly people from a migrant background, elderly job-seekers and women with children are frequently discriminated against in the course of application procedures. Starting out from the positive experiences gained in other countries, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) started a nationwide pilot project in Germany in November 2010 in which various enterprises, public bodies and local authorities have been testing depersonalised application procedures. It is important that the invitation to a job interview is exclusively extended on grounds of a person’s qualification. Therefore, depersonalised applications first of all do neither feature a photograph of the applicant, nor his/her name, address, date of birth nor any data relating to age, civil status or origin.

Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

Employers were targeted. Employers have to ensure that discrimination does not take place. In addition, they are obliged to take measures against employees who discriminate against other colleagues. The possible measures for this purpose range from a transfer to another post over a reprimand up to a dismissal.

Main objective of the project

Depersonalised applications do not provide absolute protection against discriminations, but they may help to reduce them. From a statistical aspect, discriminations occur in particular at the first stage of application procedures, i.e. before an invitation to a job interview is extended. In the case of depersonalised application procedures, it is all about this very first chance.


During its entire duration the pilot project was scientifically monitored and subsequently evaluated. FADA still places its hopes in voluntarism and persuasiveness, not in legal regulations. That is why FADA published a guide for employers on depersonalised application procedures and will offer five workshops for interested employers.

Key achievements

FADA is very pleased with the interest the pilot project aroused. It intended to prompt enterprises to reconsider the culture of job applications they had so far. Several of the parties involved want to apply partially or completely depersonalised procedures also in the future. FADA is in contact with various enterprises and public employers that consider implementing depersonalised application procedures. Furthermore FADA advises the federal Laender Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Wuerttemberg, and Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and various municipalities on their own ongoing or announced pilot projects.

Key challenges

At the beginning of the pilot project many employers were skeptic towards depersonalised application procedures. By providing more information on the procedures FADA feels like many employers became more open to the idea and started questioning their own application procedures.