Jobseeking and Discrimination
By Features Desk
Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
Discrimination occurs in a variety of different ways. Some people are obvious with their discrimination, shouting it loud (as if something to be proud of) from their Twitter profiles. For others, they might not even know they are doing it, sure they are just overlooking people of color for justifiable reasons based on merit - when they are actually nothing but.
In some ways, it’s the second type of discrimination that is the hardest to fight against. It’s pernicious, hiding under the surface, like trying to stab fish in a barrel when the fish are invisible. We know it’s there; every study ever does show it, time and again, a kind of casual discrimination that the perpetrators don’t even know that they’re guilty of. We just can’t acknowledge it.
As Politifact.com showed, something as simple as having what is perceived to be a ‘black’ name can mean you are less likely to be called to interview for a job. So what’s the solution for black parents - pick something stereotypically white, just to further their children’s career path? On the surface that seems like a good idea, a simple solution. The reality is far different: why should we change the way we name our children, abandoning our heritage in the process, to meet the needs of employment boards? It’s the world that should change.
The parental argument doesn’t even deal with the fact that there are millions of people of color currently looking for jobs. Should they change their name? Of course not - it’s a ludicrous suggestion. Yet it’s still going to be a factor the next time you apply for a role.
That’s the argument on one side, but when you need a job or want a career advancement, it’s tougher to stand strong and wait for the world to catch up to the times. So how can you further your employment possibilities in a world where you know you might be the victim of discrimination?
1. Make Your Resumé Speak For Itself
It’s tough to acknowledge, but you might have to prove yourself more when applying for jobs. So when you make a claim to an ability, look for ways you can make it clear you hold this skill. This might be through furthering your educational experience with the likes of findyourcontext.education or including references direct with the application. Go into detail about the roles you have done and why they are relevant to your new position; brevity isn’t the key here, detail is.
2. Research Companies
It only takes a few clicks on a website to get an idea of what kind of company you’re looking into working with. Go to the photos sections of the board of directors: how representative are they? If you see nothing but white, middle-aged faces, then it might be worth saving your application for somewhere more modern.
3. Request Feedback
If you apply for a job that you are clearly qualified for and don’t even get an interview, then you have reason to be concerned. Follow up with an email requesting an explanation. Keep it polite; there’s a chance their justification is sound. You may not get a reply, and if so, spread the word on social media so others know they are a company to be avoided.