3/12/18

This thought recently occurred to me; does an individual's name have any impact on job prospects?

On one's resume, name is often the first words recruiters see, and they can often make a lasting impression. No, I'm not talking about immigrants/foreigners, but native Americans that have strange/uncommon names.

When I was in school, I often associated connotations with names. I'd much rather work with a "David" than a "Zhenda" (made-up name). I've also made many first impressions through names; when someone introduces me to someone, just their name could turn me off.

This also concerns women; I tend to stay away from girls who have strange/odd names. It's just a turn-off. There's a reason why people compliment simply based on names. ("Hey, cute name!")

I'm lucky to be born with common, respectable name. One that does not give strangers reason to make skeptical assumptions of me on first impression. Personally, names have not affected my career, but I'm curious if it has affected yours, or anyone you know.

Comments (46)

3/9/18

I want to say someone did a study on this that showed that people with unusual names who submit the same resume as people with regular names are less likely to get called back.

It makes sense, when someone's name is the first piece of information about them you receive, it totally primes you to think of them as different or unusual if their name is different or unusual.

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3/10/18

I was reading a John McWhorter book back in high school (I think written in the late 1990s or early 2000s), and he was strongly advocating that African Americans not give their kids bizarre (read: newly fabricated) names because it was demonstrably setting them back in their career opportunities. Probably a good rule of thumb to live by when naming kids.

3/12/18

It isn't just the "bizzare" or "newly fabricated" names that are a problem (although even the "bizzare" names shouldn't be an issue). Names like Jamal, Darius, and other names with historical context that are typically used by African Americans are also met with bias in the application process. Basically, if you're a black parent, try and name your kid something as close to "John Smith" as possible so those making interview decisions don't assume he/ she is black. America the beautiful.

3/12/18

Pretty sure there are around 864,000 black millionaires(8% of millionaires) in the US(of which black people account for 12% of the population), and 80,000 millionaire's in Africa(50%ish from South Africa).

Where did we go wrong.

3/13/18
C.R.E. Shervin:

Pretty sure there are around 864,000 black millionaires(8% of millionaires) in the US(of which black people account for 12% of the population), and 80,000 millionaire's in Africa(50%ish from South Africa).

Where did we go wrong.

Listening to African Americans bitch and moan about white people is the punishment/inheritance that white ancestors of African Americans (slaveholders, ironically enough) gave to people like me, the descendant of poor white trash who fought against slavery for the Union out in bloody Kansas. Listen to these guys, always trying to make us feel guilty about something...

3/13/18

Seriously? I make a statement supported by facts so you think I'm trying to personally assign blame or make anyone feel guilty? Dude idgaf, I have a weird name (by western European standards), nothing close to John Smith, I 've probably not gotten interview calls because of it, fuck it - life goes on. Just acknowledge it's fucked up and move on, no one gives a shit about what your ancestors did 150+ years ago nor does it have anything to do with what's being discussed on this thread.

3/13/18
C.R.E. Shervin:

Pretty sure there are around 864,000 black millionaires(8% of millionaires) in the US(of which black people account for 12% of the population), and 80,000 millionaire's in Africa(50%ish from South Africa).

Where did we go wrong.

What in the world does this have to do with the reality cited in my post? I mean I guess it's a nice little factoid but I fail to see the relevance here. Especially given that you're comparing the richest country in the world to an impoverished continent.

3/13/18

I was replying to your "America the beautiful" comment. While obviously sarcastic, it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduct that you were deriding America for its racism, or at the very least being racially biased.

My "fun" stat, refutes that there is systemic racism in the US(if using $millionaire as a measure). I chose Africa as comparison....because if anywhere in the world people would not be racist towards black people that place would be Africa. I'm not arguing there are other factors at play in the continent which would limit the wealth, but I can comprise to say that while there might be subconscience racism, America is the one country where black people can be successful financially. And I think that is a positive attribute of America, so I can say, yes indeed, America the beautiful where there are more Black millionaires than any other country.

3/13/18

1.) Your "fun" stat doesn't refute systemic racism and it certainly doesn't refute the reality of name discrimination in the application process.

2.) Using millioniares as a measure is laughable, you're ignoring the median to discuss outliers, and even then 8% when the overall pop. is 12% means they're underrepresented.

3.) You're comparing apples to oranges (the poorest continent on earth to the richest nation on earth).

4.) America is not the "one country" where black people can be sucessful financially, the (known) richest black person is Nigerian, just as an example.

3/13/18

1) Never said a word or implied anything about name discrimination

2) So "outliers" don't encounter racism? And, no just no, you know damn well how statistics work and you can't make the claim that 8% out of 12% is underrepresented. You are ASSUMING that there is universal parity level of 1:1 for millionaires based out of a given population sample.

3) I said there are other factors, I agreed with you. So to whom are you arguing that Africa is a poor continent? I was simply making the claim that Africa would obviously be less racist(assuming racism exists), than America and therefore have more wealth blacks as a result of no racial oppression. But fine, let take the UK, the us has more millionaires as a percentage of the polulation than them.

4) So I can't quote extreme wealth as a factor, but you use extreme wealth(.0001% of the wealthiest) to make your argument. That's hypocritical.

3/13/18

1.) then what is the point of posting in this thread? This thread is about name discrimination in the application process.

2.) Outliers can and might experience racism, but using outliers to make an argument about society as a whole is fallacy.

3.) These "other factors" you keep mentioning are crucial to your argument, writing them off makes no sense.

" I was simply making the claim that Africa would obviously be less racist(assuming racism exists), than America and therefore have more wealth blacks as a result of no racial oppression. "

This is assuming wealth is just an inverse function of racism (less racism = more wealth) which is asinine. There are many "other factors" that affect attaining wealth.. Your comparison is apples to oranges.

4.) You made a sweeping statement about the "one country black people can be sucessful financially" which was wrong. I gave you a simple example as to how that is wrong. In no way am I saying Aliko Dangote's wealth represents overall African society, so no, it isn't hypocritical.

3/13/18

1) I didn't post, I replied to your comment. While I agree with the name thing, I find the idea that despite levels of implied racism(not arguing to what degree US is "racist"), that despite your sarcasm about America blacks can do extremely well financially. So well in proportion to the rest of the world, and only black countries, that I COULD make the argument that it's not really racism.

2) See your comment about one outlier in Nigeria, when I wrote people, not person. I'll let you pick a country which is less racist and where blacks are doing better than America.

3) I'm not writing off other factors, I agreed with your original rebuttal to Africa being poor, but it's also the only country where racism racism ostensibly doesn't exist.(aside, yes black on black racism exists there too)

4) America is ONE country where black people can be successfully financially, but I could say it is the best example of wealth for all black people. As to your example, again that is an extreme outlier of an example you gave, the millions statistic I gave is still well within the "bell curve". I'm sure even America has more black billionaire's by 100,000 people.

3/13/18

No, you can't make the argument that it is not really racism using stats about millioniares in the U.S. as compared to Africa, it's asinine. That really is all there is to say here. I made a factual statement regarding overall name discrimination in the richest country in the world and you respond with a statement on the amount of millioniares in the richest country in the world compared with the poorest continent in the world. So you 1.) use outliers to discuss society as a whole, 2.) assume your statistic actually refutes/ counters anything about racism which it doesn't, 3.) Ignore far more decisive factors in attaining wealth than racism, and 4.) compare apples to oranges.

I'm going to go ahead and move on bro.

3/13/18

Hey can you guys keep this thread going? It's highly entertaining.

3/13/18
C.R.E. Shervin:

I chose Africa as comparison....because if anywhere in the world people would not be racist towards black people that place would be Africa.

You referenced South Africa....you realize that is one of the most racist places on the planet, right?

You realize apartheid just ended in the mid 1990s there....probably not the best example of all time.

3/13/18

That was just how the statistics broke down # of $millionaires in Africa, I thought it wouldn't be fair to not include that footnote.

I'm sure you would agree that at around 55 million people it accounts for around 4.5% of the total African population of 1.26 billion. (Not going to get into Pareto distribution, as SA accounts for half of all African $millionaires) So if you don't count SA then you are still saying the remaining 95% of Africa is not racist. So, yeah I'm a little right when I can blanket say Africa as a whole would be less racist towards black people because it is mostly black people.

Also what wasn't included, white africans vs black africans. I would assume a that there is a greater percentage of white africans in SA than in sub saharan Africa. And probably even a higher percentage of # millionaires in SA, but unless I see the numbers I won't make that claim.

What I can say is that

3/13/18

I've also wondered if the name isn't the problem but rather it says something about your parents and how they planned for your future.

Which parents do you think raise their kids best: the ones who called the kid, Jason, or the ones who called their kid, Moonflower?

20 years down the road that kid might have a tougher time of getting a job both because of the name and because they had shitty ignorant parents guiding them for the past 20 years, if at all.

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3/10/18

There have been several studies showing that strange/uncommon names do in fact affect job prospects.

There's still plenty of successful people with "weird" names: Mitt Romney, Reince Priebus, Newt Gingrich, etc.

3/10/18

That's actually Willard Mitt Romney :)

3/10/18

Everyone remembers Josef Stalin.
No one remembers Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.

hint: they're the same person.

Best Response
3/11/18

Nobody has enough energy to say the second one when you're starving.

26 Broadway
where's your sense of humor?

3/11/18
3/12/18

Read: Black people. Black people's names affect their job prospects. Studies have shown this.

3/12/18

Well, Tidjane Thiam is very black sounding.

He's the CEO of Credit Suisse (and he's very black).

3/13/18

Good thing he's educated and not a crackhead

3/13/18

To be fair, his name is distinctly West African (Ivory Coast), which is probably not the same black that most people think of. An ethnic sounding name is not the same as a ghetto sounding one. Still, your point is valid

3/12/18

giannis antetokounmpo

3/13/18
3/13/18

Pretty sure he's Sikh. I mean that's why his nickname is the Sikh Freak...

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

3/13/18
3/13/18

You sure?

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

3/12/18

Of course. If you have a name like David Solomon, how can you possibly fail in life? That name is a symbol of success. You'd never meet a homeless named David Solomon.

3/12/18

There is a whole chapter in the original Freakanomics on this very topic, you should check it out.

3/12/18

First semester of college in a general business class, first to third day of class we went over resumes. My professor started with "Look: if you have a name that is weird or might be hard to pronounce, change it on your resume. When I was working (was a lawyer), if I saw a resume with a name that would be hard to pronounce, I'd throw it out. I don't want to work with someone where its gonna be hard to pronounce your name." The look on people's faces getting offended was priceless.

3/12/18

So if you define success as being able to get a banking job, then no, your name won't affect your job prospects.

There are a fuckton of Asians, Indians, and other nationalities in banking these days with some definitely unique names. Have you been on LinkedIn lately? Since after the crisis, banking has become significantly more encouraging of gender and ethnic "diversity". It's no longer a blue bloods only industry.

3/12/18

Would you hire a Shaniqua or Goldstein to run your business?

3/13/18

Lol, second this. We need answers here!

3/13/18

Definitely Goldstein, no question here. Let's use our common sense, monkeys

3/13/18
3/13/18

I had a fucking horrific professor in college with the last name Goldstein so I'm kind of leaning towards Shaniqua right now.

3/13/18

Point is would you hire a Jew sounding name or someone with a ghetto black name.

I'm not sure why I'm being given monkey hit. I'm not saying its something positive, but a lot of the way our world works.

3/13/18

Yes. Case closed.

Humans are not rational machines that look only at merit and ability. That's not how society works.

I'm Asian, and I know quite a few friends who changed their names on their college applications and on their resumes. I personally have not yet because I'm irrational.

Just a general suggestion about comments around social justice and lack thereof in society; can we move them to PMs instead of the public forums? I'd just personally like to see discussions about the existence of inherent biases in current society and how people have adapted to these constructed challenges rather than discussion about why these biases exist and whether they're fair.

3/13/18

If you change your name on your resume and what not, what do you do when you get the job offer? do you simply tell them that you lied so you can pass screening or what?

3/13/18

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