This month, a job candidate is taking to court a claim that they were discriminated against when applying for a job. The candidate, a Liberian born man, applied for a job at a British airlines company under his real name, Max Kpakio, and was quickly rejected.
Max then applied for the same job using a more common name, Craig Owen, and the exact same job history and skill set, and was immediately called several times for an interview, according to The British Broadcasting Corporation.
Max told BBC there was “an enormous difference in the way I was treated when I used a British name” and says the firm “chased” him once he applied under the veil.
According to The Guardian, name discrimination often begins at the beginning of the staffing search, during which the recruiter or hiring manager may cast aside a resume based on not favoring the person’s name. The Runnymede Trust, a nonprofit in England, is calling on the government to push for “blank-name applications” to ensure fairness in the recruiting process. Leading by example, the organization already uses this tactic in at least one of their departments.
Max’s case isn’t the first. According to BBC News, a report released late last year found that women with ethnically diverse names had a harder time finding jobs than those with non-ethnic names. One woman told BBC she searched for four months under her first name, Jorden, before searching under her middle name, Elizabeth, to yield quicker results.
According to a study by recruitment firm Be Hiring, the average time spent looking at a resume is only 5-7 seconds. Internal biases can make their way into this process without the recruiter or hiring manager even realizing it. Have you ever seen a resume thrown out because of the person’s name? What else can we do to combat this?
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