Could Your Name Prevent You from Getting a Job?

In the U.S., it’s illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and other factors.

Discrimination based on one’s name (which could easily signify one of these factors) is illegal as well…but that doesn’t mean it never happens.

A recent CNNMoney.com article highlighted the plight of unusually named job-seekers. Here are a couple of examples from the article:

  • A man named Glenn Miller (yup, after the famous jazz musician) says his job interviews often start with a joke. He believes he isn’t taken seriously because of his name.
  • A woman named Nakores Sameita says her name prompts questions about her immigration status. She’s a U.S. citizen, but feels her name puts her at a disadvantage.

Have you ever experienced discrimination because of your name?

Source: Can your name keep you from getting hired?


One thought on “Could Your Name Prevent You from Getting a Job?

  1. Forgive me if I have commented about this before, but there’s a flipside. I used to work for a university department that not only valued a diverse workforce, our credibility depended on it. But we couldn’t ASK if someone had an interesting background. Because most of the jobs I hired for were entry-level positions – sort of a Fellowship for recent grads – I gravitated TOWARDS interviewing people with names like Ayanna, Deion and Jayisha.

    Don’t get me wrong – we had a rating system. But we usually still had to narrow it down from 50 or so qualified applicants to 10 or 12 for first-round interviews. When that happens, I think anyone pressed for time tends to fall back on arbitrary criteria – the overall look of a resume as opposed to the content, an interesting work experience or prestigious alma mater and yes, a given name. But in this instance, an “ethnic” name was a plus.

    I can see it working the other way, though. I might not have interviewed a Bambi. Because Bambi? Might not have been taken seriously by the academic community. Now if she’d had stellar references, I’d have overlooked it. But it would’ve been a handicap.

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