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.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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