Your Bias is Showing

Amazing how having a job effectively reduces the amount of time or energy I have to do updates for the site. Oh well, as I keep reminding myself, “Paycheck good”. I’m writing today because I came up with an opinion piece and thought of a cutesy title to go along with it. So bear with me, as I go off on a whimsical shift from what I’ve been writing about.

I was reminded of something this last week or so when I had lunch with a friend of mine who is now out of work. We got to talking about the response she had gotten on her resume and the response I had gotten on my resume and comparing the response that someone else was getting on his resume. While we were walking back to the car, I remembered something from a couple of years ago when I was job searching, about how I wasn’t getting much of a response to my resume while other people around me were being flooded with inquiries.

A couple of years ago, when signing up for some job boards, on one of them I used just my initials, and not my name on the listing. I got a greater response on that listing than I did on other listings with my name, a female name, at the top, with the exact same experience. Um, oops, your bias is showing.

Now, I will add in here that this is definitely my opinion only and there are other factors about not getting a response on my resume, so I’m not saying that this is the only reason. And this is ancedotal, not a scientific study, but it is something I’ve run into into talking to other woman in the tech field. Their resume seems to be ignored, while male colleagues around them are getting all kinds of call backs and response with the same kind of experience. So, my suggestion has been to try sending out their resume with just their initials at the top to see what kind of response they get back. I just wish I had thought of this a few months earlier, but things have worked out to my satisfaction at this point.

I will say that I don’t think the bias is intentional on the hiring managers part. And there are differences in individual resumes that can make one resume shine out more than another one with equivalent experience. But I will say that this experience with resumes mirrors other experiences I’ve had on the internet and one of the reasons I don’t like to give out my name or go to chat rooms. I’ve noticed that if you sign on with a female name, there is a lot of juvenile behavior, a lot of come ons and other stuff that I don’t really feel a need to deal with. However, if I use a male name, it stops, I don’t get a lot of garbage to wade through and the experience becomes more enjoyable. And it’s not necessarily just guys doing the come ons, its women too, so I’m not trying to pick on one gender or the other here.

Anyway, I basically wanted to share my observation and add it to the list of other like observations from other people. It would be interesting to do some study on this just to see what bias is still out there with people. And it reminds me that I need to check my bias as well if I review resumes in the future so that I don’t end up with…

My Bias is Showing. 🙂