Whiten your resume to get the interview
November 3, 2019
by Ed Windgate

A Harvard study has found when minorities ‘whiten’ their resume they receive a request to interview between 25% and 21%. Compared to a normal 10% to 11.5% request rate.

What’s happening here? It’s called unconscious bias. Even between people of the same race, there have been evidence of unconscious bias. More troubling is companies who advocate for ‘pro-diversity’ have been shown to be no better. Lulling people into a false sense of security to be completely open.

Whiten your resume to get the interview

If you can’t beat them, join them

Getting a job is like going on a journey. You might have read a great job description, but the people you want to work for will not be making the initial decision to interview. You need to get past the gatekeepers.

Here’s how the hiring process works. The hiring team will write up a job description. The HR department might modify it. People them apply for these jobs by submitting a resume.

The first step by a company is have a recruiter perform a keyword search. Often the recruiter will use keywords suggested by the hiring team, or found in a job description. And, the keyword must be an exact match.

Some artificial intelligent systems are beginning to look for patterns in a resume. The recruiter will choose a resume of an existing team member (that is on the team your applying for), and use it as a model. The search will match up school, education level, hobbies and interests, and of course keywords.

One issue with is, is the model will be of an employee that was hired based on guidance from a manager’s decisions years ago. Even if the same manager is with the team, he or she might have changed their views. This model will just help in hiring more of the same.

What can be done?

Applications like Mosaic.ai are able to help you beat the HR recruiting systems. Remember, 99% of the time when you apply, a human will not review your resume. Only after a keyword search will your resume come to the attention of a recruiter.

Even then, there may be hundreds if not a thousand resume to review. Recruiter on average only spend 10 seconds reviewing a resume. To do this, most recruiters have adopted a strategy of identifying reasons to exclude people, rather than reasons to include.

This means unconscious bias is able to raise its ugly head. If a resume shows a name from a minority, an address that is the ‘bad part of town’, hobbies or organizations that might not be ‘white’. All of these could count against a qualified candidate, literally in seconds.

The first thing to do is talk like they do. If they say ‘web developer’, and you have ‘front end engineer’, change your resume to the new terms.

Also, if you have too many corporate jargon works, like ‘team player’, change them to fully describe what you did in specific terms. Mosaic.ai is able to help with this too.

Don’t forget to review the soft skill words. Do you save ‘design’ when they say ‘create’?

Hiring managers often say, “I want to see their skills in their resume”. This frustration comes because only 1 in 10 resume submittals to a hiring team are asked to interview. Not people who have applied to the job, that’s just the resumes sent by a recruiter to the hiring team.

To get past the HR screening systems, the quick review by a recruiter, and ultimately have your resume placed with a hiring team for their review; the safest way to get the interview is to give them a resume that they are searching for.

This might sound defeatist. You may be thinking why you, or anyone else should ‘whiten’ their resume. And, yes, with all the challenges is getting a job even white people should ‘whiten’ their resume.

Remember, your resume is a marketing tool

What you may do is offer your real resume to a recruiter to be sent to the hiring team, instead of the one your applied with, after a recruiter has decided to submit your resume.

Yes, it should include the verbiage and keywords you found matching the job description. At this point you could include your full name, and proudly display your interests or affiliations.

The point is when there is this mad dash spending just seconds reviewing a resume, people, even honest people, make mistakes. When you are one on one with members of the hiring team, people tend to be more honest, open, and accepting.

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