By Kaja Perina, published on March 1, 2003 - last reviewed on December 8, 2006
Job applicants with African-American sounding names are far less
likely to get a callback as are similarly qualified "white" candidates,
according to researchers at the University of Chicago and MIT, who
submitted 5,000 bogus resumes in response to job ads. Half the
resumes bore stereotypical African-American names such as
Latonya and Tyrone; half sported traditionally Anglo names like Kristin
Candidates with Caucasian-sounding names were contacted more
frequently than those with a presumed ethnic identity and identical
resumes. That is, 10 percent of those with typically white names
were called back, compared to just 6.7 percent with black-sounding names.
Some names may be especially unpalatable for employers: Tamika was called
back 5 percent of the time; Aisha, a scant 2 percent.
Marianne Bertrand, a professor at the University of Chicago,
also found that highly qualified "black" candidates had no advantage over
their less qualified black peers, but "white" candidates' odds of an
interview skyrocketed with increased skills.