What’s in a name? How does your name affect your chances of getting a job? One man found out through personal experience.
José Zamora started looking for a job about a year ago and for months, he didn’t get any response from the companies he was applying to. In a video from Buzzfeed, Zamora said that every day, he would apply for as many jobs that he felt he was qualified to do. It even came to a point when he would send out about 50 to 100 resumes a day. This went on for months, but he never got a single call or email.
After months of trying, Zamora had an idea. He changed his name from José to Joe to see if it would make a difference. He sent out the same resume to the same companies and just dropped the “s” on his name. After a week, he got responses from several companies.
“Sometimes I don’t even think people know or are conscious or aware that they’re judging – even if it’s by name – but I think we all do it all the time.”
José or Joe is not the only one with this experience. There have been several studies showing that white-sounding names are more likely to be hired for a job than African-American or Latino names, Business Insider reports.
In a study conducted by the American Economic Association that was published in 2004, fictitious resumes were sent to wanted ads and researchers deliberately used white-sounding and African-American names. The study concluded that resumes with white-sounding names received more responses for interviews.
Though ignoring resumes based on names can be a form of racial discrimination and is illegal, it is quite difficult to prove just based on a company’s decision to ignore an application.
There have also been several research projects and studies conducted on how a name affects success. In a study by New York University, researchers concluded that people with names that are easy to pronounce are most likely to have higher positions at work. In another study by Marquette University, researchers said that people with common names are more likely to be hired by companies.
This does not only happen in the United States. In a study called Why Do Some Employers Prefer to Interview Matthew, but Not Samir? by the University of Toronto’s Department of Economics, the same outcome was reported. Those with common sounding names had a higher callback rate, while Canadian immigrants with ethnic backgrounds had a harder time getting responses.
Would you change your name if you know you could get a job that you want? As an employer, do you base your hiring on names?
[Image via Buzzfeed]