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Name Bias

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

Apr 17, 2024
Name Bias
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Name Bias


Name bias in hiring refers to recruiters and hiring managers having a preference for candidates with specific types of names. In most cases, this refers to names of Anglo origin. 


Discrimination can occur because of name bias. In some cases, recruiters or hiring managers will pre-judge individuals by their names and make assumptions about candidates if their names are associated with racial or ethnic groups. 


A 2021 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) showed that Anglo-sounding or “white” names received significantly more callbacks for job interviews than names perceived to be “Black” names. A 2017 research report published by the Robert F. Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies demonstrated that job applicants with Asian-sounding surnames are 28% less likely to be contacted for an interview when compared to Anglo surnames. This phenomenon also affects other ethnic groups. 




A hiring manager receives 10 resumes for an available position. Six of those resumes were submitted by people with names that aren’t recognizably Anglo-sounding names. The hiring manager shows name bias if she bypasses those six resumes and places preference on the four resumes with Anglo surnames. 


Name bias can also go in the other direction. For example, suppose a hiring manager would prefer to hire someone who is bilingual in English and Spanish. In this scenario, the selector may display name bias to names that are traditional Latin American surnames. The reality is that someone with an Anglo surname may also be fluent in Spanish. 


Related Terms

Race Bias

has nuanced differences from racism, which is a legal term defining discrimination based on race. With race bias, an individual assumes certain characteristics about a person based on their race. For example, many people assume that all Hispanic individuals speak Spanish or that all Asian students excel at math and science. Another common race bias example is the assumption that certain races of people tend to be tardy when coming to work.

Ethnicity Bias

is a term used interchangeably with race bias.

Geographic Location Bias

is the tendency to exclude people from consideration for a position based on their geographic location. If a hiring manager is recruiting for a fully remote position, they may exclude applicants from specific areas or countries because they make an assumption about people from that locale.
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