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.
Geographic Location Bias