Your name and gender could prevent you from landing an interview. But there's a solution.

You meet all the qualifications. Your résumé is perfect. But you don't get a callback.

Maybe there were a wealth of qualified candidates. Or maybe the reviewer saw your name and just "had a feeling." Too often, the latter turns out to be true, as unconscious bias often plays a role in hiring decisions, and it largely affects women and people of color.


Photo by WOCinTech Chat/Flickr (cropped).

That's why the local government in Victoria, Australia, recently launched an 18-month experiment with blind applications.

Yeah, it's basically the human-resources equivalent of "The Voice."

GIF via "The Voice."


The trial will evaluate which pieces of personal information like age, gender, name, or location should be shown or hidden from reviewers during the employment application process. Government departments and agencies as well as a few private companies in the region will take part (the latter will receive financial benefits for participating).

But of course, Australia isn't the only nation with this problem. Not even close.

Here's why hiring managers and recruiters everywhere need to consider blind applications.

1. Because just using your given name can make your job hunt exponentially longer.

One study found that candidates with African-American-sounding names were 50% less likely to move forward to job interviews than candidates with white-sounding names, even with identical résumés. And research from the Australian National University revealed that to get as many interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-sounding name, a person with a Middle Eastern name would have to submit 64% more applications. A person with a Chinese-sounding name? 68%.

Photo by iStock.

2. Because even though we've shown them time and time again, some people still don't think women can get the job done.

In the1970s and '80s, orchestras around the world began using blind auditions to fill their ranks. Musicians perform behind a screen to disguise themselves, even removing their shoes if they could be a giveaway.

Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images.

When orchestras use the screen — even just for preliminary auditions — women are 50% more likely to make it to the final round of judging. Many attribute the increase in women in performance ensembles over the years to these blind auditions.

A recent (non-peer-reviewed) study of women coders got similar results. When those judging their work didn't know they were women, the reviewers were more likely to accept their suggestions.

Photo by WOCinTech Chat/Flickr (cropped).

3. Because even your neighborhood can make people think twice about hiring you.

As if name and gender weren't enough, individuals making hiring decisions sometimes judge applicants on their address too. Regardless of race, people living in more affluent, better-educated neighborhoods receive more callbacks for interviews.

Photo by iStock.

Our biases continue into the interview process. Luckily, there ways to overcome them there too.

Some argue that interviews themselves are simply exercises in affirmation bias and aren't the best way to hire people. As Ori Brafman, behavioral expert and co-author of the book "Sway," told the New York Times: "Time and again, the research shows that interviews are poor predictors of job performance because we tend to hire people we think are similar to us rather than those who are objectively going to do a good job."

His suggestion? Replace the "first-date" model often used in interviews and stick to the facts: examples of past performance.

Photo by iStock.

Unconscious bias is just that: unconscious. But there are steps we can take to give qualified applicants a fair shot.

All of us, regardless of gender, race, or age have biases. It's up to us to acknowledge them, identify them, and take active steps to keep them out of the decision-making process.

It's easier said than done, but like this trial run in Victoria, we have to start somewhere.

Photo by iStock.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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