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.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Believe it or not, there has been a lot of controversy lately about how people cook rice. According to CNN, the "outrage" was a reaction to a clip Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng posted as one of his personas known as Uncle Roger.

It was a hilarious (and harmless) satire about the method chef Hersha Patel used to cook rice on the show BBC Food.


Keep Reading Show less