What’s in a Name? Unconscious Bias Weighs on Hiring

For many, it contains a trigger for unconscious bias.

March 31, 2021

2 Min Read
Name tag - is my name a problem

“What’s in a Name?” is written by a member of the channel community who preferred to remain anonymous.

“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare. More than 400 years later, we’re still asking.

I fear that in this country people are not given fair opportunity at employment because of various details included in résumés and introduction letters. If a name sounds ethnic, is it pulled from the pile of applications? Are some people excluded because the address they list is in a “minority” or “ethnic” neighborhood?

What if a woman has had years of experience and is a fully certified ASE mechanic? Would she get a fair chance at an interview over a man with less ability?

Do some employers remove people from the interview process because of religious affiliations or sexual identifications? People may even have political bias, given the way 2020 so inflamed emotions.

Conversely, how well do minority or ethnic hiring managers or business owners judge objectively? Can we all really look at skills, experience, qualifications and results, then give a fair opportunity?

What are the consequences of putting pictures on résumés? It happens more and more now, and social media fuels that fire. Are underqualified people getting jobs because they’re more attractive than better qualified candidates?

Channel Futures fosters an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion in the channel and the technology community as a whole. Thus, we feature news articles, first-person accounts and strategies around topics of race, diversity and inclusion to spur discussion of these important subjects. Visit our webpage dedicated to the topic.

These thoughts come to mind because I’m not sure any of us can truly be 100% non-judgmental. But I think we can and should try; that’s a great start.

I challenge you to not look at a name, address, picture or affiliation when you hire next time. If you had nothing more than an applicant’s experience and qualifications, would whom you selected surprise you?

My intent here is simply to make you think about this. I planted a seed. I would like that seed to grow the point that all humans recognize our similarities and celebrate our differences.

All of us deserve an equal opportunity.

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