Views: 277 Posts: 0 Started By: lil_prince Last Poster: lil_prince Last Post Date: Jun 11, 2016
June 11, 2016 ( Post 1 )

Bias against feminine and ethnic names is alive and well in the corporate workplace.

When Erin McKelvey applied for a job in the tech industry after finishing college in the mid-1990s, she got zero response. So she consulted a friend, who offered some advice.

The friend had run into the same issue and had decided to shorten her name, Alexandra, to the more gender-neutral "Alex" on her resume. "Alex" received a much better response from prospective employers and the move ultimately led to a job at a global insurance holding company.

Inspired by her friend's experience, McKelvey came up with a nickname for herself-Mack, a shortened version of her last name-and used it as her first name on her resume.

The result? "Mack" McKelvey's resume got a 70% response rate. "Was it because it was an unusual name? A male name? A catchy name? I'll never know," McKelvey toldFortune. "Mack McKelvey was born and I accidentally branded myself," she says. McKelvey got a job as a contractor at AT&T a few weeks after tweaking her name and now works as a partner at strategic advisory firm Chameleon Collective, and as CEO of tech product incubator SalientMG.
McKelvey shared her story after Fortune's World's Most Powerful Women newsletter reported that, even two decades on, name bias is prevalent in corporate hiring. The issue has bubbled up recently as people with feminine or ethnic names have told stories of finding jobs only after tweaking their names to ones that are likely to be perceived as more masculine and more white. Those anecdotes have incited fury over the discrimination that continues to plague workplaces worldwide, but they also pose tricky ethical questions.

Last week, the Financial Times told the story of Kayo Anosike, whose job applications seemed to go unnoticed until she started submitting her resume as "Kayla Benjamin." And Panagiota Drepaniotis said in an interview with Fortune that she had a similar experience. The executive assistant to the CEO of meal delivery startup Freshly says while she got her current job through a former coworker, she ran into problems when she applied for past jobs. When she applied using her real name, she got "radio silence." But when she changed her first name to "Patty," she heard back immediately.

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