Monday, November 25, 2013

How some companies strive to hire the worst job candidates

According to Chad Brooks at BusinessNewsDaily, Alessandro Acquisti and Christina Fong of Carnegie Mellon University tried an experiment.

A study from Carnegie Mellon University revealed that while there are a number of personal questions employers are not legally allowed to ask during the interview, job candidates who post those details on social networks are opening themselves up to potential hiring discrimination.

Acquisti and Fong created a number of resumes, then created online profiles for the "candidates" in these resumes. In the online profiles, most of the variables were held constant, but two variables - religion and sexual orientation - changed. The researchers wanted to see if the hiring people at the companies searched for the online profiles, and whether the information in the online profiles made a difference in hiring practices.

According to the researchers, sexual orientation didn't make a big difference. But that wasn't the case with the other variable:

"Both by itself and controlling for a host of demographic and firm variables, our Muslim candidate was less likely to receive an interview invitation compared to our Christian candidate in more politically conservative states and counties."

In a Carnegie Mellon press release, an important point is made:

The researchers point out that, because the political leaning of states and counties in the field experiment cannot be randomly assigned, the results should be interpreted as correlational, not causal.

Even with that point made, the fact remains that some firms, for whatever reason, limit their candidate pool.

Which means that these companies choose from fewer qualified applicants, and may miss the best applicants.

In other words, they shoot themselves in the foot.
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