How Biases and Microaggressions Can Debilitate Job Seekers Before the Interview Even Begins

How Biases and Microaggressions Can Debilitate Job Seekers Before the Interview Even Begins
From Recruiter - March 7, 2017

Rarely doemployers intend to debilitate job candidatesbut it happens anyway.

Many job seekers are hamstrungway before their resumes have a chance to stand on their own accomplishments or merits. This happens when the person screening the candidates applies their personal biases.

The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Diversity and Outreach defines unconscious bias as social stereotypes about certaingroups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Bias affects everyones decisions, including during the hiring process.

Unconscious bias can lead to microaggressions, described by Psychology Today as the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

Many job seekers, especiallythose from marginalized groups,deal with microaggressions and unconscious biases daily. They are tough, resilient, and courageous in the face of these experiences. Workplaces that welcome these character traitswill likely benefit from having these job seekers on boardas long as bias doesnt stand in the way of hiring them.

Some Types ofBiases Job Seekers Face:

Common Examples of Bias in Action:

1. Advice abouthard work directed specifically toward onedemographic and/or ethnicity.

Someone I know recently posted on Facebook to say inner-city people needed to learn about hard work and that I would be a good example for them. He had trouble making a rational defense of his comments.

How many times have kids from the inner-city who rise to the college ranks heard this rhetoric? Does this advice work for everyone? How do you know if someone didnt work hard?

Implication:Your people are lazy.

2. Statements like I believe the most qualified person should get the job!

Often, this statement isused to criticize perceived instances of affirmative action. The thing is, not all of us needed affirmative action to enter college or get a job. My merits are just as good as anyone elses. Why are you questioning them?

Implication:People of color get an unfair advantage.

3. Questions about a persons demographic or ethnic background, like What kind of name is this? or What nationality are you?

If you cant offer solid career advice without knowing someones nationality, ethnicity, gender identification, or skin color in 2017, then you give lousy and irrelevant career advice. It probably serves no one.

Implication:Youre not white, so its weird.

4. Backhanded compliments, like Youre so well-spoken/articulate.

Are you surprised that I speak well? Or that I learned English so well? Why didnt you say this to my white counterpart?


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