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What is name-blind recruitment?

Posted on 16th September 2016

Have you ever experienced or witnessed discrimination because of ‘unconscious bias’?  Would you consider changing your name when applying for a job because you thought it might increase your chances of getting an interview and job?
 
If this sounds extraordinary then think again.  It is becoming increasingly common for people with a ‘foreign’ sounding name to change it for a more anglicised version.  So why would someone do this? 
 
There is much research to suggest that  people who apply for a job with names such as Emily or James are more likely to obtain an interview than those with names such as Lakisha or Jamal.   Because of this many leading companies and universities are introducing the initiative to remove names from application forms in an effort to stop any ‘unconscious bias’, hence the term ‘name-blind’.  
 
Niki Chesworth wrote in the Evening Standard about Kayo Anosike’s experience when she changed her name to Kayla Benjamin.  She immediately obtained an interview and job offer with her very first application on changing her name, this was after having failed to obtain a single interview when applying in her real name.  Shockingly Niki says, “Nearly a quarter of professional women in the UK with ‘non-white’ sounding names have changed their name to more traditional sounding names in order to get a job”.
 
At Maine Tucker we run regular Employment Law Seminars and unconscious bias is a subject we have covered before and will again. If you are interested in attending our upcoming seminars, please contact paige.abbs@themainegroup.co.uk for more information.