How Best to Avoid the Impact of Racial Bias When Seeking a Job
Updated: Feb 9
Is racial bias a real obstacle for job seekers?
Sadly, many studies show implicit racial bias among employers remains a significant problem for ethnic and racial minorities during the job searching process. There are plenty of opportunities for racial discrimination throughout the hiring process, from sending in a resume to giving an interview.
One study by the American Economic Association showed that resumes with names that sounded white received callbacks 50 percent more often than resumes that had black-
sounding names. Another study by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, quoted in Ongig blog, found “the applicant with the ethnic name, speaking with an accent, was viewed less positively by interviewers than the ethnic named applicant without an accent and non-ethnic named applicants with and without an accent.”
Given the harsh reality of ethnic and racial discrimination during the job application process, what can job seekers do to avoid the effects of hidden bias in employers as much as possible? Here are a few steps you can take.
Research the diversity of the staff at the workplace where you’re applying
SHRM advises hiring managers who are concerned about eliminating possible bias to monitor the diversity of their staff and actively seek ways of making the application process fair for job seekers of all backgrounds. If the website of the company to which you are applying showcases a diverse staff, you can be more confident the employers are working hard to eliminate racial bias and include ethnic minorities.
Apply to companies that use skills testing
The Harvard Business Review recommends employers use work sample tests to minimize hiring bias, since “a skill test forces employers to critique the quality of a candidate's work versus unconsciously judging them based on appearance, gender, age, and even personality.” Talk to others who have applied to the companies where you are applying to find out if they use skills testing. Applying to companies that use skills testing may help you to avoid some of the potential hidden bias in the hiring process.
Try new hiring technology
GeekBidz is a new skill-based direct-to-hire platform that uses AI to allow job seekers to perform a skills ranking process. It then ranks users and matches job seekers (otherwise known as “Geeks”) with employers, who can then invite the Geeks to an on-the-job evaluation.
As a result, GeekBidz eliminates two of the most common sources of racial discrimination in the hiring process: resumes where ethnic traits can be noticeable, and interviews where accents can be detected. If you’re concerned about racial bias in the hiring process, this innovative platform is one solution worth trying.