Foreign Candidates Discriminated as Canadian Employers Settle for English Names

quebec-immigrants (1)Canada presents the picturesque poster of multiculturalism, but at the same time, there is a strong undercurrent of intolerance that is flowing. It is found that an English name is chosen over an ethic name in the process of employing a promising candidate. People other than those who have English names are being antagonized.

New Employment Study

A new study says that even with a string of degrees and multiple years’ of experience, employers do not go too far into the resume if the name sounds foreign. Researchers suggest that this is a subconscious discrimination on the part of the employer.

About 40 per cent of the English speaking employers in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are more likely to choose to interview a job applicant with an English-sounding name than someone with an ethnic name, even if both candidates have identical education, skills and work histories says the study titled “Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir?”

William Lin holds a bachelor’s degree from a prestigious institute in China, a master’s from Japan and 10 years’ experience as a mechanical engineer. Even after sending out 150 resumes over the course of six months, he couldn’t land a job in Canada. He now owns a convenience store in Toronto.

Incapable of eradicating the first impression

In the recruitment process, the recruiters have to go through stacks of resumes in a limited amount of time and therefore are possessed by an unknowing bias that people with foreign names will not have the social or language capability that the job demands.

The difference between choosing a foreign candidate or not will depend on whether the recruiter is able to get over the ‘first impression’ even when the resume clears any social or language proficiency concerns.

What HR Managers have to say

In response to the research question, “Why do other hiring managers skim quickly through resumes with foreign sounding names?” human resource managers of some companies in Canada gave some of the following reasons:

* Such applicants seem to lack English proficiency and seem inefficient for the job.

* Not hiring a foreign candidate is because they are imbibed with the ‘resistance to change’.

* Impracticability of remembering and working with foreign names.

The supreme solution

Assistant professor of economics at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study, Dr. Philip Oreopoulos said, “It’s a dilemma with no easy solutions for job applicants.”

* A name is a person’s identity and changing it just for the purpose of landing a job is not recommended.

* While preparing the resume, focus on language proficiency, social skills and experience. Place the name in a less visible location using a smaller size font.

* Show employers that language skills are possessed by foreign candidates also by taking advantage of the trending video resumes.

* Employers can eliminate their subconscious discrimination and unknowing bias by requesting resumes that hide the candidate’s name and ethnicity. An alternative would be to provide name and contact details in a separate sheet at the back of the resume.