Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the April 14, 2003 issue of QuintZine.
To test whether employers discriminate against black job applicants, Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago and Sendhil Mullainathan of M.I.T. conducted an unusual experiment. They selected 1,300 help-wanted ads from newspapers in Boston and Chicago and submitted multiple resumes from phantom job seekers. The researchers randomly assigned the first names on the resumes, choosing from one set that is particularly common among blacks and from another that is common among whites. So Kristen and Tamika, and Brad and Tyrone, applied for jobs from the same pool of want ads and had equivalent resumes. Nine names were selected to represent each category: black women, white women, black men, and white men. Last names common to the racial group were also assigned. Four resumes were typically submitted for each job opening, drawn from a reservoir of 160. Nearly 5,000 applications were submitted from mid-2001 to mid-2002. Professors Bertrand and Mullainathan kept track of which candidates were invited for job interviews. The results are disturbing. Applicants with white-sounding names were 50 percent more likely to be called for interviews than were those with black-sounding names. Interviews were requested for 10.1 percent of applicants with white-sounding names and only 6.7 percent of those with black-sounding names.
Within racial groups, applications with men’s or women’s names were equally likely to result in calls for interviews, providing little evidence of discrimination based on sex in these entry-level jobs. Their most alarming finding is that the likelihood of being called for an interview rises sharply with an applicant’s credentials — such as experience and honors — for those with white-sounding names, but much less for those with black-sounding names. A grave concern is that this phenomenon may be damping the incentives for blacks to acquire job skills, producing a self-fulfilling prophecy that perpetuates prejudice and misallocates resources.
- Change the attitudes and perceptions about mature workers.
- Develop more effective structures to recruit and retain older workers.
- Create training and development initiatives to level the playing field for all employees.
- Build effective succession planning to enable knowledge transfer.
Go to the Five O’Clock Club.
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