The only true ‘colour blindness’ is a medical condition, colour vision deficiency . In the real world, we all see and interpret colour in our own way, whether it’s the sky, flowers or people. Yes, I said it. Live with it. Colour IS. But it’s what people do about it that makes you go, ‘what?’
Just when you think there’s nothing surprising, you come across an article like the one I read today in the Toronto Star.
My jaw dropped. I’ve heard of folks fudging their credentials to make themselves appear more qualified. As a manager in a past life, I’d review employment summaries and educational attainments that were, frankly, fictional, in the context of the applicant’s work history, skills and interests. The tip-off was when I’d call with my standard list of reference check questions and get the silent treatment from the HR person on the line, or else a painfully short, non-committal answer. Those resumes ended up in File 13.
Today, with the labour market being so competitive and glutted with over-educated but under-experienced folks seeking work, a reputable study found that when applicants with readily-identifiable ‘ethnic’ names like Shaquan, Yan-Lee or Abdullah changed their names to Shawn, Lily or Dave, they were more likely to be granted an interview.
This held true even with companies that touted themselves as ‘diverse’, and who should have been ‘culture-blind’ in their hiring practices.
Women and men will go to great lengths to improve their competitiveness – not mentioning having children (oh, oh, day care problems), their living arrangements (cohabiting with an opposite or same-sex partner), frequent job changes (unreliable).
Having children doesn’t make anyone less desirable as an employee, if their work ethic is solid. No employer has any business knowing your living arrangements (that goes for Fur-parents and Cat Ladies). And maybe you had to keep changing jobs to move up the ladder from part-time to contract to full-time with benefits.
It’s a tough world out there. How are you going to stand out and get ahead of the herd? I don’t have a problem with ‘whitening’, as long as the rest of the contents of the resume are factually correct.