Sunday, September 30, 2012

Don't count on luck


Anon1152 said...

I found his resume example at the end interesting. He said that if there is your resume on a table, and another person's resume which is exactly the same as yours, then the other resume will be chosen.

In any particular case, that may be true.

But there have been studies done that suggest that the name on the resume has a lot to do with whether or not you get a call back.

Here's the abstract for the above paper:
We study race in the labor market by sending fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in
Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perceived race, resumes are randomly assigned
African American or White sounding names. White names receive 50 percent more callbacks
for interviews. Callbacks are also more responsive to resume quality for White names than for
African American ones. The racial gap is uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size.
We also find little evidence that employers are inferring social class from the names. Differential
treatment by race still appears to still be prominent in the U.S. labor market.

So it sounds as if being white in at least one situation means that you're lucky.

That doesn't mean white people don't work hard or that the white person who gets an interview didn't earn their position. It does mean that some people are luckier than others.

I admit that assuming that you are unlucky is good advice. (It's advice that I live by).

JR said...

Yup, the race and social circumstances you're born into is part of the big crapshoot.

Obviously racial bias isn't a good thing. It's not a fair game when the crapshoot dice are loaded. Though, at the same time, I wonder how much of that differential is due to things like the race of the employers' resume screeners (it's human nature to select people of "your own" group) and employers' experience in hiring different races (maybe they've had better performance and retention results hiring one race over the other).

Anyway, I think Carolla would advise blacks to assume they're unlucky, that the game isn't fair, so suck it up and send out more resumes to up the odds of getting call-backs. That is, work harder. Over time as more blacks get hired and prove their worth the smaller that hiring differential will become. This approach seems to be working for women.