… anonymous CVs might give you a shot at getting an interview. In the U.S., Devah Pager’s study found that white men with criminal convictions were more likely to get callbacks than black men with clean records. Bertrand and Mullainathan (.pdf link) found that people with “white” names were significantly more likely to be called for interviews than people with “black” names. A Toronto study found discrimination against people with “foreign-sounding” names as well. In the UK, a study by the Department for Work and Pensions uncovered widespread racial discrimination against workers with African and Asian names:
Researchers commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions sent nearly 3,000 applications for 987 vacancies under false identities, using the names Nazia Mahmood, Mariam Namagembe and Alison Taylor. Each had similar experience and qualifications, and had British education and work histories.
But the results, published earlier this year, showed that applicants who appeared to be white had to send nine applications before receiving an invitation to interview or an encouraging telephone call while candidates with the “foreign” sounding names had to send 16 applications before receiving a similar response.
Some time back, I remember reading about symphony auditions that concealed the identity of the performer. Each musician played behind a screen. The end result was that the number of women hired was more in keeping with their number in the general pool.
But what do you do when there is no ability to interview “blind”?
If interviewers are not able to imagine you as a professional in your field, will the interview help? If you sit in the reception area for more than an hour because nobody thinks you are the candidate, will they have the ability to view you as a professional? If you are asked if you speak English well enough to perform your job, will the preconception that you must be a foreigner prevent you from getting a job in which written and oral fluency are prerequisites?
So yes to blind CVs. But there must be some way to get beyond the door.