Eric Ries writes about his experience in achieving diversity in hiring by masking identifying information from the résumés (emphasis mine):
Now, whenever I screen resumes, I ask the recruiter to black out any demographic information from the resume itself: name, age, gender, country of origin. The first time I did this experiment, I felt a strange feeling of vertigo while reading the resume. “Who is this guy?” I had a hard time forming a visual image, which made it harder to try and compare each candidate to the successful people I’d worked with in the past. It was an uncomfortable feeling, which instantly revealed just how much I’d been relying on surface qualities when screening resumes before – even when I thought I was being 100% meritocratic. And, much to my surprise (and embarrassment), the kinds of people I started phone-screening changed immediately.
And yet, when I suggest this practice to hiring managers and recruiters alike, they rarely do it. Hiring managers say, “the recruiter would never go for it” while recruiters say, “the hiring manager won’t accept it.” What I think we’re really saying is: “I don’t want to know if I am biased.” That’s understandable – it’s embarrassing! Even if our biases are only implicit and not consciously held, the systems we build can still contain bias. When we change a hiring policy, especially if we do it in a visible way, we reap two benefits. We actually improve our hiring process and also signal our commitment to meritocracy.
Ries’ post is also about tech startups and the concept of meritocracy. White men dominate tech startups because of white privilege and male privilege, not because they are more qualified.
- Call for anonymous CVs to stop job interview sexism and racism (The Guardian)
- Doesn’t help you get hired, but … by resistance at Resist racism
- What’s in a Name? Your Job! by Sobia at Racialicious – Discrimination against resumes with Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani names in Canada
- What’s in a name? Study shows that workplace discrimination begins long before the job seeker shows up for an interview – Discrimination against resumes with black-sounding names in the United States
- Undercover job hunters reveal huge race bias in Britain’s workplaces (The Guardian) – Discrimination against resumes with African and (South) Asian names in Britain
- Australian study: racism when hiring – Discrimination against resumes with Chinese, Middle Eastern, and indigenous names in Australia
- “I only read Playboy for the articles.” – a study on unconscious bias by Restructure!
Photo by 顔なし under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, via Wikimedia Commons.