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Can fake names create bias in interviewing? (interviewing.io)
84 points by derwiki 17 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 160 comments



I suspect many companies wouldn't use this as it would make affirmative hiring policies more difficult. For example, recruiters at my company curate lists of names that are majority female, black, or Hispanic (pulled from the census bureau) in order to try and determine which candidates are diverse.

Recruiters at my company aren't explicitly told to hit certain quotas, but they are given larger bonuses for diverse hires and they do have targets for certain percentages of diverse candidate.

Maybe I'm assuming that Bay Area hiring practices are more universal than they really are. Perhaps Bay Area tech companies are under particular pressure to increase the percentage of diverse employees. For instance my company is targeting 33% female tech employees, but most data says women comprise ~20-25% of the tech workforce. Tough to reach those targets without some sort of bias.

For what it's worth I don't think our diversity hiring practices result in any lowered caliber of hires. Most of the affirmative hiring policies only affect resume review and technical phone interviews.


Just based on a plain reading of the Civil Rights Act of 64, I don't see how this practice is considered legal.

> It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer 2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

It's interesting how very clear language, like the above, can be eroded away over the years by a hundred well-meaning court decisions.


The "very clear language" you speak of actually created gaps in the law which ostensibly still abided by the letter. For instance, the SEP article on affirmative action[0] notes that employers, faced with the new act, would remove the pipeline which funneled black people into maintenance jobs but add a requirement such that anyone over a certain number of years at the company would not be allowed to transfer to another department. While seeming fair in according to 'race, color, religion, sex or national origin' its intent and effect was to trap the older black workers (who were of course all hired into maintenance divisions) in their current job and stop them from moving up.

>Thus, preferential affirmative action in the workplace served the same rationale as the non-preferential sort. Its purpose was not to compensate for past wrongs, offset unfair advantage, appropriately reward the deserving, or yield a variety of social goods; its purpose was to change institutions so they could comply with the nondiscrimination mandate of the Civil Rights Act.

In fact, some philosophers have argued that merely receiving the fruits produced by injustice is enough to make one personally liable to compensate a victim for the injustice.

[0] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/


There's a lot of holes in this logic. For one Asians are hit hardest by affirmative action, but we're historically victims of racism themselves.

Not to mention this had a big risk of empowering people to act in what many would probably consider a bigoted manner. Many whites feel that they face injustice due to their race [1]. Under your proposed moral framework many whites would be justified in discriminating in favor of other whites. Remember, you don't have a monopoly over other people's ideas of who is and isn't benefitting from injustice.

1. https://www.npr.org/2017/10/24/559604836/majority-of-white-a...


>Under your proposed moral framework many whites would be justified in discriminating in favor of other whites.

I haven't proposed any moral framework, I only wanted to elucidate the positions on affirmative action and that it's not nearly as simple as the law itself being twisted to bad ends, but that it comes from a set of difficulties introduced as a result of the law being introduced. When I said "some philosophers", I meant it. If you'd like to read the paper I'm referring to in particular, it's Boxill (1972)[0].

>“We know that all blacks, lower class, middle class, and upper class, have been wronged by racial injustice” (Boxill 1984, 164). In Boxill 1978, 251, he argues that the correlation between “preferences received” and “compensation deserved,” though not perfect, is very high. A recent piece by D. W. Haslett (2002) also conceives of affirmative action as a way to neutralize “tainted” advantages enjoyed by whites, although he concedes that the neutralization is “extremely rough” (83). James Sterba carries on the tradition, striving to refute the claim that affirmative action distributes its benefits and burdens in an up-side down way, rewarding well–off blacks and placing the costs on unoffending whites. Well–off blacks are no less victims of discrimination, he insists, and nearly every white has unjustly benefited from racial discrimination (Sterba 2009, 89–90. Fiscus 1992 echoes Justice Brennan’s argument and generalizes it.

[0] https://www.pdcnet.org/soctheorpract/content/soctheorpract_1...


Edit: "we're historically victims" -> "were historically victims".

I am not Asian, I hope this typo did not unintentionally deceive readers.


The spirit of the Civil Rights movement was to address lingering injustices that particularly affected the descendants of victims of the Atlantic slave trade. For a couple of decades, the spirit and intent of the law were coalescing, via affirmative action and other bias-busting policy.

I think that someone along your thought process could make a strong case that the spirit of the Civil Rights movement has changed, that the intent should change with it, that an attempt was made (a somewhat successful attempt actually) to raise the social standing of the descendants of the victims of the Atlantic slave to a place that reflects their contributions to our nation, that now other groups have been left behind and need some attention. You could make this case, and I think you’d find a lot of agreement. But, and I say this as respectfully as possible, don’t be so obtuse to why the Civil Rights movement happened to think that it’s interesting how language changes.


Granted plenty of people that supported the Civil Rights may have done so because they wanted equal protection to work both ways; they wanted society to uphold the Golden rule of, "treat others how you want to be treated". One group agrees not to discriminate against others in exchange for the assurance that they will not be discriminated against themselves.

To those people, affirmative action would seem a lot like a bait an switch and a clear violation of the intent of the law.


Can you clarify your last sentence? What am I being so obtuse about?

To me the Civil Rights Act was a very well written law -- something we don't have enough of anymore. Nearly everyone can read and understand its intent.

If we as a people decide that we want to overturn the Civil Rights Act to allow differing treatment based on race in order to achieve social justice -- then the right way to do that is by having a debate in congress and passing new laws.


> Recruiters at my company aren't explicitly told to hit certain quotas, but they are given larger bonuses for diverse hires and they do have targets for certain percentages of diverse candidate.

I'm definitely not a lawyer and I live nowhere near the Bay Area, but by my reading of most of these laws, this is illegal. I realize we often interpret these issues differently depending on who they effect, but this sounds like an open-and-shut case of discrimination to me.


It most definitely is not illegal. Many colleges have race and gender based quota systems. Governments have race and gender quota systems. Many federal, state and local governments set aside X percentage of their contracts solely for minority or female owned businesses.

Whether this is right or wrong is another debate. But race, gender or "diversity" hiring or recruiting certainly isn't illegal. It happens all the time.


> It most definitely is not illegal.

Yes it is.

> Many colleges have race and gender based quota systems.

Quota systems have been repeatedly struck down in college admissions as illegal.

> Governments have race and gender quota systems.

Quota systems for public education (including higher education) and employment have also repeatedly been ruled illegal.


The distinction between quotas and "outcome based goals" is kind of hazy. To be clear, recruiters aren't required to hit certain targets. Leadership does tell recruiters that they're aiming for a a certain targets but as far as I know recruiters don't receive any penalty if they fall below that target.


Even telling recruiters to hire a certain demographic is discrimination. The parent post said that recruiters had large bonuses for certain demographics.


I am the root commenter. Bonuses are given regardless of the candidates' divery status, it's just that diverse candidate get a slightly higher bonus. The difference between the bonus of a non-diverse and diverse candidate is about 20%. That difference is not constant because bonuses vary based on other things like the role being hired and the amount of experience. Experienced hires have a bigger bonus than new grads - this is to counteract a past tendency to hire younger employees which led to a skewed age and experience distribution. We also have bigger bonuses to hire managers because we have a chronic shortage of them.


I'd hate to work somewhere knowing I was hired because the color of my skin and not my abilities. maybe less of an issue in non-brainy jobs, but in Tech I would feel more insecure not knowing if I got the job to fill a quota. This sounds rather disgusting to me.


At first I felt the same way because I may be a beneficiary of these types of policies. Who likes being a charity case? But then I realized that this is just work, and I don't really care. If it gets me closer to a comfortable retirement more quickly, so be it. Ends, means, etc.

Edit: I'm speaking about opportunities in general. The selection policy described by GP would put me at a disadvantage because I have a completely Anglo name.


I'm Hispanic and have resigned myself to this as well. While I may benefit from getting a job, I'm still subjected to what I would consider racism which I have to publicly turn a blind eye to. I'll give an example:

"Latinx" is not a thing. Yet, I need to listen to a lot of white and other non-hispanic people say it all of the time. It feels like someone just reached into our culture, ripped out its core identity and rebranded it (supposedly in our favor?). I dare not say anything about it though, part of accepting the job with the diversity bonus is that the same people that granted you that power can take it away at the drop of a hat.


I grew up in a majority hispanic community, but I'm not hispanic. I find it very hard to say "latinx" because that's not the label used when I was growing up. However, "hispanic" is apparently exclusive and should be avoided. I've asked my hispanic friends what they think about "latinx". They all hate it and never use it themselves. One said of the recent PC wave: "This is all perpetrated by clueless people, almost all white, who tell us what problems we suffer from and how we should solve them." I fall into the LGBT bucket and that's a different minefield, but I can sympathize.

I got off topic. Nonetheless I agree that if I were to constructively criticize these often misimplemented diversity initiatives, it wouldn't be well received. Meanwhile I'll let the compound interest do its thing.


It's always awkward when the Anglo-sphere tries to see parts of the world with their racial lens. To be frank it's pretty ridiculous that we consider everyone from Asia to be the same race (literally 60% of the world population that encompasses people like this [1], this [2], and this [3] under one label, all three groups would probably see themselves as distinct races).

My understanding is that "Latinx" refers to people that are ethnically Mexico, Central America, and South American (and some parts of the Caribbean like Dominican Republic). Whereas "Hispanic" broadly refers to people who are from Spain's former colonies in the New World. So "Latinx" refers to race, but "Hispanic" refers to culture and encompasses people of a variety of races.

The US government is at least making progress. The US census disconnected "Hispanic" from the race category starting in 2010 [4]. So now people like me can appropriately say that I am racially white but also Hispanic.

1. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=chinese+people&t=canonical&iar=ima...

2. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tajik+people&t=canonical&iax=image...

3. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=dravidian+people&t=canonical&iar=i...

4. https://www.census.gov/topics/population/hispanic-origin/abo...


My issue is with the made up term "Latinx" vs the correct Latino.


I find "Latinx" cringeworthy as well. Spanish defaults to the masculine adjective when referring to an unspecified group. If gendered adjectives bother someone, just use the English word: "Latin".


if you think hiring is a fair meritocracy you are naive.

Good looking people tend get hired more often. Get higher salaries.

And getting hired is often about good your network is. And the richer you are or your parents are, the likelier you are to get an internship or a coveted job because you are around the "right" people.

And there is also Cronyism, which I have realized is more prevalent that I thought as my career has advanced.


And now we can add yet another mechanism that destroys meritocracy by being openly prejudiced against people based on their skin color and gender. Only the old forms of advantage still exist. The rich white men are still getting jobs based on their networks, but now poor and middle class white men are rejected purely based on who they are, not what they've done.


Well, on the brighter side, when a poor/middle-class white guy gets hired, they no longer have to suffer the soul-crushing agony of "Did I get hired because of my skin color? What will my coworkers think of me?"

What is good for the goose...


how do you suggest we even out the playing field after 100s of years of institutionalized racism?

institutionalized racism affects generation after generation. but somehow you want to tell those affected, "everything is fair now, move along"


As one of those affected (see my other comments on this thread), I want to be judged on the output of my work and not on my skin color.


that is OK for you. but may not be OK for everyone affected.


There are multiple people here saying the same thing. Paternalistic silencing of minority people’s actual opinions is definitely a form of racism. You should probably take that into consideration before speaking for others.


As a woman with a physical disability, idgaf, I just want a job. I'm quite confident in my own abilities and require no external validation.


As a more feminine woman with a greater disability, I feel the opposite way.


In the case that parent commenter described, you would be invited to the interview based on your qualifications and your color, but would be hired based on your demonstrated abilities during the interviews.


I respect both sides to of this debate. If a candidate had a 2nd attempt at passing the phone interview (which we provide at higher rates to diverse candidates) then it is somewhat fair to say the candidate would not have been hired if they weren't diverse.

But phone screens are very low signal. It filters out people that are not competent coders, but beyond that it's basically a count toss.

We also provide 2nd phone interviews to people that have referrals. So you could basically frame this as saying we treat diverse candidates as though someone referred them to the company.

Again, I can empathize with why people think this is unfair and maybe paternalistic. I also respect those who see it as a prudent measure to be inclusive.

I'm Cuban myself, but I come from a very wealthy family and attended a premiere computer science university. I'm also pretty much visibly White (btw many Cubans do consider themselves White) I do sometimes feel awkward checking the "Hispanic or Latino". If a company gave me additional opportunity on the basis of my heritage the I don't think it's leveling any playing field. If anything, it's giving someone who's already coming from a position of advantage with an even bigger advantage.


Because of the way subconscious prejudice works, unless you put a finger on the scale in the other direction then all the white guys are hired (in part) because of their appearance.


Well, Asians are getting hired at ~3x the rate of Whites in Bay area tech firms. So it can't just be benefitting Whites. In fact, at many Bay area companies Whites are a minority. Not that I'm trying to grind an axe here, but it is pretty much counterfactual to say that explicitly meritocratic hiring benefits Whites above all others.

For what it's worth I think this question about hiring practices is welded to the the question of whether equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome. It's really the question of "is it okay to create unequal opportunities to engineer more equal outcomes?"

Questions like these have no static answer. Rather, society develops and continuously evolves a consensus about what the right answer is.


Every Asian I know in IT works ridiculous hours compared to their white counterparts. Ditto Indians. Americans in general (IT can be different) want to work their 8 and bail. I also fall into this category. I have a union mentality towards work. It's also why I demand an hourly rate over a salary. If I have to work, you are paying me. Texas employers seem happy to accommodate me. My wife, who is medical, also demanded and got an hourly rate, and she's expensive.


This sort of reasoning by a hiring manager would be a great example of bias against white people.


What I’m gathering from this strategy is the only way to fight racism is to practice it? If you don’t mind sharing, what are the quotas your company has in place for guaranteeing outcome?


Subconscious bias means your concern is applicable regardless of your skin color or gender. If you’re a white male, you could easily have been hired simply because of your skin color and gender and not your abilities. Effectively, your point is moot. Maybe worry less about the thoughts and feelings of who hired you and focus on doing your best work.


>If you’re a white male, you could easily have been hired simply because of your skin color and gender and not your abilities.

This may have been the case decade(s) ago, but I think the climate is very different now. With the prevalence of social "justice" hiring policies, I'd be much more confident I was hired because of ability, rather than to fill a quota, as a white male than any other race/sex combination.

Sadly, affirmative action creates "mismatch" that often worsens the problem it is trying to solve. Minorities are highly recruited to fill quotas, even if less capable. This (1) puts them in over their head setting them up to fail and (2) creates a perception that the minorities are inherently less qualified (rather than the truth, that they are being over-selected for).

One of many articles on this topic: https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-sad-...


> This may have been the case decade(s) ago, but I think the climate is very different now.

I don't. I've met many incompetent white males in over their heads.


There are tons of people over their heads, everywhere, of all races and sexes.

But as the other person who replied to you noted, people now are openly stating that they want to avoid hiring white males.

>Sadly I've had to bring up my genetic background recently as a pure survival mechanism because people keep telling me to my face that they don't want to hire white men so I need to let them know I'm not white so I don't get instantly filtered out.

In recent times, I have not heard that more frequently about any other race/sex combination. To me it's undeniable that the hiring climate has changed drastically.


You were stating that "things have changed" in response to my statement that white males are often hired because of subconscious bias. That there are recent diversity hiring programs does not mean that white males are no longer hired because of subconscious bias.

Clearly, diversity hiring programs are new things that did not exist decades ago.


Ah, to be clear: Subconscious biases still exist to some degree. In recent years, in government and large corporations, diversity hiring goals have completely dominated the hiring process compared to subconscious biases.

I don't think you agree with that statement; if you did, would you think that it is a good result? I don't. I don't think the solution to past unfairness is to tilt the see-saw in the other direction, creating more unfairness.

You replied to another poster:

>Good. Then we're in agreement that hiring for diversity is of no detriment. Incompetent white people are hired because of subconscious bias and incompetent people of color are hired because of diversity goals. We've achieved equality.

I disagree strongly, and I somewhat agree with that poster's response to you. To me, equality means equality of process. To reclaim a phrase: equal opportunity -- not equal results. All bias is bad and should be fought against. Anti-bias training, examining disproportionate results to see if bias was an underlying cause, and race/sex-blind hiring, all are possible steps in the right direction.

To correct for subconscious bias for white males with conscious bias against them hardly seems the path towards equality.


> Ah, to be clear: Subconscious biases still exist to some degree.

Subconscious bias still exists to a huge degree. Studies have been done, and it is fairly obvious, that show increased diversity has a positive effect towards decreasing subconscious bias. I would propose that we give these hiring diversity goals, say, 100 years. Then we can circle back to see about making some adjustments towards a determination as to whether subconscious bias has effectively been eliminated.

> In recent years, in government and large corporations, diversity hiring goals have completely dominated the hiring process compared to subconscious biases. I don't think you agree with that statement; if you did, would you think that it is a good result?

I do agree that in recent years diversity hiring goals have increased significantly. And I do think it is a good course of action.

> I don't think the solution to past unfairness is to tilt the see-saw in the other direction, creating more unfairness.

When your vehicles steering is misaligned, do you counter steer in the other direction or do you drive around in circles all day?

> To me, equality means equality of process.

That's a lovely ideal. It doesn't exist. You've already stated that you admit subconscious bias exists "to some degree". So the process is already unequal.

With diversity hiring, more people of color will be hired, both competent and incompetent. Without diversity hiring, more white people will be hired, both competent and incompetent. There is no evidence that shows conscious bias favoring people of color results in more incompetent hires vs. subconscious bias favoring white people. That is the process: incompetent people get hired, race has nothing to do with it. In order to hire more competent people of color, diversity hiring is required (diversity is also required to, over time, progressively decrease the prevalence of subconscious bias). More people of color hired (competent or incompetent) naturally means fewer white people hired (competent and incompetent). I fail to see why that is an issue, unless you are consciously or subconsciously biased to favor white people and/or oblivious of how change is a result of action.

> To correct for subconscious bias for white males with conscious bias against them hardly seems the path towards equality.

It may hardly seem like a path towards equality, but in fact it is (see steering analogy). That it may feel "unfair", well, in regards to that all I can say is "Sorry. But think of it this way, now you know how it feels for people of color. Lack of privilege kinda sucks." If there were another method of addressing pernicious subconscious bias favoring white people I'd be all for it. Doing nothing is obviously not a solution.


That's the Peter Principle, and it applies to everyone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle


I’ve met many incompetent people who don’t belong at their job. Race and gender isn’t related.


[flagged]


> We've achieved equality

Many would debate this. At my company our new grads hired last year were 39% women while ~20% of graduates in computing related fields were women. The percentage of applicants were even lower than that.

Some disagree that continuing to apply affirmative action in spite of a proportional overrepresentation of nearly 2x is equality. Granted others view things in terms of relationship with the total population, so it's not like there's one right answer here.


Many might debate it in those terms, but generally I won't because using statistics such as you've provided cannot produce a definitive argument for either side. If 20% of graduates are women, is that because of subconscious bias favoring men in admissions or grading? Or because of subconscious bias favoring boys in elementary school towards STEM? Or because of subconscious bias in society saying boys work and girls take care of the home? Etc. Unless the answer is "No" to all of these, then 39% women in a workplace cannot be considered evidence of either equality or inequality. However, until we have some means of determining that women are genetically predisposed to disfavor STEM (and these genetics are clearly not confused with the impact of societal child rearing), we do have a statistic we can use: roughly 50% of humans are women.

Get back to me after 100 more years of progress towards equalizing race and gender through actions designed to fight subconscious bias, and then we can look at what your hiring percentages are vs. graduate percentages, and whether those actions are still necessary or sufficient.


> If 20% of graduates are women, is that because of subconscious bias favoring men in admissions or grading?

I'm not sure I follow. At most American universities students don't declare their major until after they are admitted. Usually not until their second year. Women already outnumber men in university by a substantial margin. Women make up 60% of students in American universities.

There are some Universities focused explicitly on engineering, but many of those actually favor women substantially. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and CalTech for instance admit women at over twice the rate of men: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/03/1...

I really don't see the much support for the argument that universities are discriminating against women. In fact, there's substantial evidence of the opposite.


You missed my point, which is that none of those statistics are meaningful one way or the other.


> You missed my point, which is that none of those statistics are meaningful one way or the other

I'm not sure I follow. You alleged that there may be discrimination against women in university education. I pointed out that women are already over represented in university, and that engineering universities display clear disparities in their admissions rates that favor women by large margin. How are these statistics not relevant to your claim that women are disadvantaged in admissions?


Those are not the things I said. I specifically said that this statistic approach is an impossible debate because fundamentally it assumes everything down the chain (elementary school, parenting, society) is not prone to similar gender bias. In reality, all of those things are prone to gender bias. There is no debate here. If there is a genetic difference between genders that demonstrates aptitude/proclivity towards STEM, then statistics can be leveraged as pointers towards the result of actions taken to equalize gender opportunity. If or until such a time as that genetic evidence is discovered, I see no reason to believe that women, by nature, are inherently less capable or interested in STEM - therefore, the only useful statistic in a debate on hiring results (i.e. 38% are women) is that 50% of humans are women.

Please re-read what I have posted.


You're saying that there is discrimination of some kind down the line, but the person you're responding to is pointing out that, even if that discrimination does in fact exist, women are still over-represented in university education, including at engineering focused schools. How is that not strong evidence against your position?


> You're saying that there is discrimination of some kind down the line, but the person you're responding to is pointing out that, even if that discrimination does in fact exist, women are still over-represented in university education, including at engineering focused schools. How is that not strong evidence against your position?

https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/releases/...

So that's a few years old - there's a bunch of statistics there. Do those statistics mean that women get hired more than men? No. They mean the rate of women hires in STEM is increasing over time. They also mean that specific to computer science they have more recently decreased. So should we assume that affirmative action policies and general pressure on society over the last 40 years has had zero contribution towards the increase in women hires? Or should we assume that there is no possibility that the more recent decrease in women in computer science could partially be a result of workplace culture or limited advancement due to bias? Considering there is no evidence that women are less capable or interested in STEM or computer science, I can't think of any rational reason we should jump towards the conclusion that "women just don't do it well or like it". Bias existed before, it exists now, it is likely decreasing (though all we can say for certain is that over time the effect of bias has decreased - it may continue to exist at it's earlier levels while the effect is being mitigated by actions such as diversity hiring).


> Those are not the things I said.

The second sentence of your 3rd to last comment:

> If 20% of graduates are women, is that because of subconscious bias favoring men in admissions or grading?

This is definitely proposing that the disparity in computing graduates could be due to bias in admissions. This is very explicit.

> I specifically said that this statistic approach is an impossible debate because fundamentally it assumes everything down the chain (elementary school, parenting, society) is not prone to similar gender bias. In reality, all of those things are prone to gender bias.

The onus is on you to prove that bias exists. Otherwise, this entire chain of reasoning boils down to the a priori assumption that any disparity is the result of bias. We conclude that disparity exists because of bias. We also conclude that bias exists because of disparity. This is circular logic.

> If or until such a time as that genetic evidence is discovered, I see no reason to believe that women, by nature, are inherently less capable or interested in STEM - therefore, the only useful statistic in a debate on hiring results (i.e. 38% are women) is that 50% of humans are women.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is the case:

* Contrary to your earlier suggestion that women are less prevalent in stem due to being steered towards housework, the countries where women and men have the closest participation in housework actually have some of the lowest percentages of women in stem [1].

* Women form the minority in STEM in almost every country.[2] All across Europe, North America, Asia, South America, and Africa women make up the minority of STEM graduates. In every country in the study outside of Africa and the Middle East (which, to reiterate, are counter intuitively some of the most misogynistic countries in the world) women made up less than 1/3rd of STEM graduates. When the same pattern is consistent across widely varying societies and cultures then it's extremely difficult to attribute the disparity in STEM to culture.

* There is ample evidence to suggest that girls are inherently more social than boys. Newborn girls direct more attention towards human faces than boys, and newborn boys direct more attention towards mechanical objects than newborn girls [3].

Here's some additional reading from psychology publications:

https://www.pnas.org/content/108/8/3157.full

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/095679761245893...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rabble-rouser/201707...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rabble-rouser/201707...

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-equality_paradox

2. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more...

3. https://www.math.kth.se/matstat/gru/5b1501/F/sex.pdf


> This absolutely is suggesting that the disparity in computing graduates could be due to bias in admissions. This is explicit, I'm not sure how any reasonable person can attempt to deny this.

Suggesting a thing as a possible factor and explicitly stating a thing is a factor are two different actions. I also suggested 3 or 4 other things that may be factors. And I left out 1,000 things that may be factors. It seems like a reasonable person would understand this concept - that statistics at one level are not evidence of an argument, in either direction. The questions I posed were rhetorical representations of the endless path you initial argument goes down: 38% of hires were women but only 20% of graduates were women. That doesn't mean anything on it's face.

> The onus is on you to prove that bias exists.

Numerous studies have shown that bias exists. This is not generally argued by anyone but the most ardently privileged. I mean, you do agree that bias did exist, right? Like, slavery, women disenfranchised. Those things happened and bias was the cause, right? So if it did exist, when exactly did it cease to exist? And the onus is on you to provide the widely accepted evidence that bias has ceased to exist.

> There is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is the case:

No, there is literally zero evidence. Your interpretation of various cultures and evidence that men are not genetically identical to women is not evidence that men have a genetic aptitude/predilection towards STEM.


> No, there is literally zero evidence. Your interpretation of various cultures and evidence that men are not genetically identical to women is not evidence that men have a genetic aptitude/predilection towards STEM.

It's pretty rich to claim that the other person's argument has "literally zero evidence" supporting it when they provided 7 high quality citations to back up their claims.

But it's even more rich to then go on to refer to "numerous studies" without actually linking to anything:

> Numerous studies have shown that bias exists. This is not generally argued by anyone but the most ardently privileged.


Continuing to argue that humans do not have bias. Impressive.


> Suggesting a thing as a possible factor and explicitly stating a thing is a factor are two different actions.

I wrote that you "alleged that there may be discrimination against women in university education". Saying instead that you "suggested [discrimination against women in admissions] as a possible factor" is just rephrasing the same thing. I posted evidence that refutes your suggestion, which absolutely is relevant to this conversation.

> It seems like a reasonable person would understand this concept - that statistics at one level are not evidence of an argument, in either direction

So you're saying you also have no evidence that bias works against women, because "statistics at one level are not evidence of an argument, in either direction"? If we have no evidence of bias against women, then why is it justified to explicitly discriminate in favor of women? Almost every justification for affirmative action in hiring women I've heard has been that discrimination is necessary to counteract bias against women.

How is someone going to prove that women face bias when statistical arguments are invalid? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that if we continue down this line of reasoning (or lack thereof) it's going to boil down to statistics magically becoming relevant again when they indicate bias against women.

> Numerous studies have shown that bias exists. This is not generally argued by anyone but the most ardently privileged.

These studies better not rely on statistics... :)

> I mean, you do agree that bias did exist, right? Like, slavery, women disenfranchised. Those things happened and bias was the cause, right? So if it did exist, when exactly did it cease to exist?

Slavery did exist, but that is overwhelmingly on the basis of race. This comment chain has so far been about women. This smells like whataboutsim.

Women's disenfranchisement ended a century ago. By now women make up the majority of university graduates. Premiere technology universities like MIT, Harvey Mudd, Cal Tech, and Carnegie Mellon admit women at significantly higher rates than men - often more than 2x. At my company, we hire female tech graduates at over twice the rate of men. We're setting a quota (despite this being probably illegal) to make our company's tech workforce 33% women even though women make up 20% of Does this sound like bias against women?

> No, there is literally zero evidence.

I'm sorry but if you really did read through all the sources I posted, then at this point I really do feel that you're being willfully ignorant in writing this. I can respect people who don't find the evidence convincing, but to say that "there is literally zero evidence" immediately after being presented several pieces of evidence is a very strong indicator that you're not participating in this discussion with good faith. But to give you the benefit of the doubt I'll assume you are and will address your last point:

> Your interpretation of various cultures and evidence that men are not genetically identical to women is not evidence that men have a genetic aptitude/predilection towards STEM.

You're right, showing that all cultures and societies have disproportionately larger male graduates in STEM does not, in and of itself, prove that men have any sort of genetic predisposition. But it does prove that society and culture is not a strong factor regarding the low representation of women in STEM. Every society has a lower percentage of women in STEM. From the North America, to Europe, to Asia, to Africa, to South America. Rich countries and poor countries. Secular countries and religious countries. So culture and society does not have a strong effect of women in STEM. There is some correlation between gender equality and women's participation in STEM - but it's the opposite of the prevailing narrative; the data suggest that more women go into STEM when countries are misogynistic. So, I guess we could roll back women's rights to boost female participation in STEM but that's probably not a good idea.

Now, we've ruled out culture as a determining factor in why women have low participation rates in STEM so what else could it be? There's really only a couple ways to explain population-wide differences, the proverbial "nature vs. nurture" question. And we've ruled out nurture, so that leaves nature as a feasible cause. And again, I posted several other pieces of evidence including evidence that shows that men and women have different predilection towards people vs. things immediately after birth.


> Slavery did exist, but that is overwhelmingly on the basis of race. This comment chain has so far been about women. This smells like whataboutsim.

Nonsense. This comment chain is about diversity hiring practices, which involves gender and race.

> Women's disenfranchisement ended a century ago.

So was it the day after that women made up an equal share of university graduates? Or was it a progression over time, picking up more recently in the last few decades? And is that coincidental with the increase in affirmative action policies. Interesting. I suppose you could argue that women's genes have evolved towards an interest in STEM in the past few decades. I bet you could even find a link or two to share as "evidence".


> Nonsense. This comment chain is about diversity hiring practices, which involves gender and race.

My original response to your comment, and every single comment in the subsequent chain, referenced diversity in terms of gender. Every discussion in terms of the share of women in STEM in different countries has been on the basis of gender. All the sources you asked for (and I provided) were in relation to gender.

> So was it the day after that women made up an equal share of university graduates? Or was it a progression over time, picking up more recently in the last few decades?

Women's disenfranchisement ended on August 18, 1920. The date when the 19th amendment was passed. That's where the reference of a century ago comes from, though if you want to be pedantic it is 99 years and 6 months ago. That's what I thought you were referring to with disenfranchisement. You have consistently rejected statistics as evidence of bias, so it seemed to me you were basing this claim of bias on de-jure discrimination against women in the past.

If you're referring to women's disadvantaged position in society, then there's really no answer to that question as it's a subjective judgement. Women long faced restrictions in education and employment. Men long faced (and continue to face) disparities in incarceration, violent death, suicide, workplace injuries and illnesses. How many instances of harassment of equate to one murder of a man? How much of a pay gap are men entitled to if they make up >90% of workplace injuries and deaths? There's no right answer to these questions as these are subjective value judgments.

As far as when women broadly became more or less equal to men, the consensus is that this occurred a few decades after the civil rights movement. At this point women born after the civil rights movement were reaching adulthood. Around the 1990s and 2000s is when women became a majority in university, and reached parity (and eventually became a majority) in workplace participation.

> And is that coincidental with the increase in affirmative action policies. Interesting.

Most of the affirmative actions policies in tech are more recent than that. My company enacted it's aggressive affirmative hiring policies in the early to mid 2010s. By comparison the percentage of women in tech was higher before they experienced large advancements towards equality in the 90s. Women's share of computer science degrees peaked in the early 1980s [1]. So the answer to your question is no. There was no increase in women in computer science that coincided with the affirmative hiring policies.

This is not surprising. When companies discriminate to hire more women, it doesn't change the percentage of women in computer science. The impact of these policies it that companies which discriminate hire a larger portion of the women that choose to go into computer science. The number of women in compute science remains relatively flat, but companies expect to increase their percentages of female tech workers. Every company is competing for the same limited pool of women in tech, so many employ discrimination to try and get an edge over the others.

> I suppose you could argue that women's genes have evolved towards an interest in STEM in the past few decades. I bet you could even find a link or two to share as "evidence".

I have no idea why you think I would claim that women "genes have evolved towards an interest in stem". This is ridiculous. Evolution takes place over millennia, at least. Usually over tens of millennia or millions of years for substantial evolutionary changes.

Not to mention, the idea that women's interest in computing has increased over time is counterfactual. At least I think this is your line of reasoning - you're being awfully ambiguous as to why you'd think that I would claim that "women's genes have evolved towards an interest in STEM over the past few decades. In truth, women's interest in computing has seen some spikes (and these spikes also coincided with spikes in men's participation) but has otherwise been pretty flat over time: https://i0.wp.com/d24fkeqntp1r7r.cloudfront.net/wp-content/u... The source is the National Center for Education Statistics.

These closing statements strike me as argumentum ad hominem.

1. https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when...


The person you’re responding to is clearly motivated by ideology rather than truth. They just happen to be good at generating paragraphs of text which, if you don’t look too closely, resemble a logical argument.


I think anyone who hires purely for race or appearance or physical diversity is absolutely incompetent. Having a fully conscious bias that intentionally hiring people physically different from you just because they’re physically different is pure, undiluted incompetence at the highest level and absolutely against equality since it gives preference to specific groups.

In that sense, yes, we’re in full agreement and you intentionally warping my obvious meaning to guilt me into your line of thought won’t work.


> In that sense, yes, we’re in full agreement and you intentionally warping my obvious meaning to guilt me into your line of thought won’t work.

The problem with your conclusion here is that I absolutely agree that people can be incompetent regardless of race or gender. Indeed: that was the entire point of my comment you were responding to. As that was the entirety of your statement, to which I pointed out our agreement, I fail to see how I intentionally warped it. That you ALSO meant: it is therefore not necessary to take any action to counter racism, is not "obvious" in your original statement. Clearly I was unable to read your mind when I replied to you.


> absolutely against equality since it gives preference to specific groups

Clearly we disagree significantly. But I mean, really: When reality is not equal, preference must be given to achieve equality. This is just obvious.


So my company's diversity policies are bad? Women account for 20% of computing graduates, but 39% of our new grad hires in computing roles

The resukts of our hiring process are very unequal, women are hired at twice the rate. And not only are we not giving preferences equate this imbalance, we are actually deliberately employing discrimination to exacerbate it.


As an under represented minority in tech, I couldn't agree more with the parent post. I never want to bring up my race because I want to be judged on the output of my skills and not be propped up because someone thinks I add diversity points to the team.

Sadly I've had to bring up my genetic background recently as a pure survival mechanism because people keep telling me to my face that they don't want to hire white men so I need to let them know I'm not white so I don't get instantly filtered out.

The whole situation is ridiculous as I never had any problems with my race before "diversity" became talking point #1 (as a developer, raising money is another story).


I could be misunderstanding what you are stating, but it sounds like you are saying that when you were mistaken for white, and diversity practices did not exist, everything was good. But now that diversity practices exist, you need to preemptively point out that you are not white. Now that the conscious or subconscious race pre-determinant is shifting from "this person is white, ergo good" to "this is a person of color, ergo good", you are finding you benefit from clarifying that you fit the latter category, even if it appears as though you fit the former. This may be a "best of both worlds" situation for you.

In any case, diversity hiring may mean that you will be excluded because you are mistaken for white - but that doesn't mean whomever you were excluded for wasn't more qualified than you.


I don't like it because I find the judging people based on their skin color extremely racist, yet I'm forced to support it due to the need to put food on the table.

> diversity hiring may mean that you will be excluded because you are mistaken for white

I consider this racism and it pains me to to have to play the game of the people committing it.


Subconscious bias may or may not take place in a specific case. Interviewer's bias can be with regards to race, sex, hair color, nationality, accent, physical fitness and so on. We may keep arguing about which if them plays higher role in me being hired.

HR policies, on the other hand, is an objective reality with a measurable outcome.


In a specific case, certainly. In the general case, subconscious bias plays a role.

It doesn’t seem like a real argument that, generally speaking it is unknown whether race or gender bias is more of a determinant in hiring decisions than hair color bias. Is that an argument you consider rational?

HR policies do have measurable outcomes. It's a question of what you think those measurements describe. A diversity hiring HR policy is a counter-action to the existing subconscious bias favoring white men, and a long term effort to squelch subconscious bias favoring white men by increasing exposure to diverse races/genders. Let's collect some long term data and analyze the result measurements, instead of pretending subconscious bias favoring white men doesn't exist.


Again, I really hope it's clear that we don't deliberately hire unqualified candidate because they're considered diverse. It only affects resume reviews and phone interviews which are basically coin tosses.


If those stages are "basically coin tosses", why do you bother with them? It'd be quicker and cheaper to toss a coin.


To be more specific they do work to filter out candidates that unambiguously lack the required skills. But for candidates that do have the required skills it's more of a coim toss.

Working through a coding question online filters out candidates that can't code or are not competent at coding. But for candidates who can code sufficiently well, it's kind of a coin toss. Maybe they just don't think of the solution in time and what not.


For any competitive position, you will have candidates with little to nothing separating them. Interviews are not standardized tests where there are easily measurable quantitative differences.

Would you "hate to work" at a place if you found out you were hired because they thought "you were a good culture fit", rather than your actual abilities?


"For what it's worth I don't think our diversity hiring practices result in any lowered caliber of hires. Most of the affirmative hiring policies only affect resume review and technical phone interviews." As the post being responded to.


I'd have to agree. I mean, lets imagine how this sounds by just swapping some words and tell me if it's still okay:

>I suspect many companies wouldn't use this as it would make affirmative hiring policies more difficult. For example, recruiters at my company curate lists of names that are majority male, white, or Western (pulled from the census bureau) in order to try and determine which candidates are... can't think of a good word for here.


Although the population swapping test does enforce the Golden rule ("treat others as you'd like to be treated") it does fail to capture the fact that there are population-level disparities in education and other opportunities.

I respect that many disagree with affirmative hiring policies, but just saying that it's be unacceptable to do the same thing to different races is a rather naive approach.


> For example, recruiters at my company curate lists of names that are majority female, black, or Hispanic (pulled from the census bureau) in order to try and determine which candidates are diverse.

(Implied: in order to favour them at some point in the process.)

Is that even legal?

So as an individual with a traditional Western European male name, I would be at a relative disadvantage if I applied to your company. Hmm.


Yup. Pro tip, give your kid a name like "Rafael".

I trust our company's lawyers as to whether or not this is legal. Race does not directly affect hiring decisions. It only affects resume review and phone screen. So it does affect the population that get to the on-site. But functionally this doesn't seem much different than say, recruiting at an HBCU.


Deciding where to locate a recruiting event is different than deciding which applicants to move to the next stage.


One could say that deciding where to hold recruiting events dictates which people go from the "zeroth stage" of not being in the application pool at all to th first stage of resume review.


I don't think holding recruiting events in a place where you ONLY expect to find one kind of person is a good idea for a lot of reasons.

But I think there's a different moral and legal obligation as an employer to people who have applied to a job versus those who haven't.

Big difference between having a table at a HBCU recruiting event versus sorting resumes based on what race you think the applicant is.


It's also possible that companies which try to optimize hiring of knowledge workers with varying degrees of talent based on the ethnicity of their name will perform poorly over the long run, so being disadvantaged in the hiring process is actually an advantage for your career as a whole.


That does not necessarily follow.

E.g., if a company has a racist recruiting policy for hiring good candidates, the company still has a racist recruiting policy for hiring good candidates.

I.e., it's morally wrong, because it's racist, but will still provide candidates that are good enough to keep the company afloat, or even prospering.


This comment reminds me somewhat of the Oxford and Cambridge interviewing processes.

They have names and educational backgrounds to hand, and it's well known that all things being equal, tutors would always rather go for a kid from a state echool / underprivileged / non traditional background over one that went to a top public school.

It's not just a matter of hitting targets - the alternative is that everyone who gets in is from a wealthy family or went to a top fee paying school.

If everything is blind, you get less of an opportunity to engage in this kind of affirmative action.


It's a double edged sword. In tech, it's been found that blind hiring processes where candidates' name, education, and past employers are obscured (a third party broadly describes the education and work experience but doesn't give any explicit names) does result in more hires from less prestigious universities and companies. But it does make the hired population more male and more white & Asian. I think triplebyte did a study.


How is that in any way double edged? Or am I wrong in thinking that hiring policies should strive to be as meritocratic as possible, even if that means more white/Asian men?


Well, in the Bay Area yes. Many do think meritocratic systems are bad because they often produce results that don't reflect the broader population. Some go so far as to say that advocating a meritocratic system is an act of racism and sexism.

To me at least, I don't think it's fair to make the blanket statement that meritocracy is bad. It's all a question of values, namely whether someone values equality of the process itself or equaity of the process's outcome. Different people have different values so they'll inevitably have different opinions on meritocratic systems.


I think you should point out what "public school" means in Britain, otherwise there is a 100% chance that any Americans who aren't aware of that definition will misunderstand your comment.

(In the US, the term "public school" means what you mean by "state school", afaict).


> It's not just a matter of hitting targets - the alternative is that everyone who gets in is from a wealthy family or went to a top fee paying school.

This doesn't follow. The alternative is getting whatever the ratio of <people from wealthy families>/<people from underprivileged/nontraditional backgrounds> is. So following your argument, the people from underprivileged backgrounds that meet the "all things being equal" test must be an insignificant amount.


It's kind of unfair to compare raw stats of kids who went to elite prep schools vs poor public schools.

Like I was thinking about the amount of activities, tutors, private school my SO and I could pay for if we had a kid. And it was kind of insane to compare that versus what we grew up with, and how different our own HS resumes would have been with the same level of resources.


> I suspect many companies wouldn't use this as it would make affirmative hiring policies more difficult. For example, recruiters at my company curate lists of names that are majority female, black, or Hispanic (pulled from the census bureau) in order to try and determine which candidates are diverse.

" I have a dream that ... one day [we will] live in a nation where [people are] not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."


I really and truly want to hire more members of underrepresented groups, but I would never take an applicant's race into account in whether or not to hire them.

It sounds legally very questionable and, in any event, is unfair to applicants. We owe it to them to judge them on their merits as an employee as best we can. If we're not getting as many minority applicants as we'd like, it's on us to examine our our culture, recruiting, marketing, inclusivity, benefits, retention, etc.


This reminds me of this article: https://web.stanford.edu/~learnest/les/mongrel.htm


> which candidates are diverse

Apart from the legality aspects: a single person cannot be "diverse". You can have a diverse group, but not a diverse person. Unless they're schizophrenic, maybe.


> Recruiters at my company aren't explicitly told to hit certain quotas, but they are given larger bonuses for diverse hires and they do have targets for certain percentages of diverse candidate.

If 'diversity' means age, sex, race, or religion, this is straight up illegal discrimination.


The obsession with biases is a form of bias, you not only have to check what fake name you are submitting, you must make sure the people reading it are the same, that the mood of the people reading its the same and that their way of thinking hasn't changed much; such psychological uncertainties are the same reason psychology experiments are hard to replicate. Not to mention the randomness of things like if your resume was the first one thew saw or the last one, and many other things you have no knowledge or control over.


I completely agree that the questions that we choose to ask determine the knowledge that we get. This experiment is clearly situated within the positivist view of research.

However I don't think that invalidates the result, the whole point of randomization of people into the conditions (here the names) is to control for these latent variables like you've talked about (way of reading, mood, etc).

Are you critiquing randomization in general or this specific experiment?


Randomization solves for the problem, that's true, but that isn't what people are arguing when they criticize social science research like this.

Theoretically, if you have X number of factors you can't control for, then there should be some threshold Y where the sample size benefits from random selection and accounts for those factors. Right now, social scientists have formulas they use to establish what is and is not an acceptable population when doing experiments like this.

The problem that is being identified (and can't be stated often enough, honestly) is that human emotional preferences and variability of experience means that X is far more variable than anyone can conceive. A human being is an extremely complex biological system and that complexity compounds when you begin comparing people to one another and in groups. So unless you are actively controlling for every possible factor in that system, the assumption that you can use any formula to establish a reasonable population size Y is absurd.

Anyone with half a brain can see this, but social science has to deliver on a product and justify its existence with research funding, so it developed standards - like the aforementioned formulas - that allow it to ignore the problem of identifying X and instead just assuming their synthetic Y will do.

This is the real reason why psychologists have a replication crisis and why they always will. Many of them don't even use the standards they have because honestly, they all realize it's nonsense to begin with.


Thanks for this comment, it's well thought out and elucidates what the original poster is probably critiquing.

I want to make sure I'm understanding, are you saying that there is no sample size with which you would be comfortable making a conclusion about this? That's what I'm taking away from this comment "the assumption that you can use any formula to establish a reasonable population size Y is absurd."


What I mean is that social science research will only ever be able to speak to the samples they are studying. That's usually okay, though, because typically in an experiment with difficult variability, you can gain certainty through replication. With social science, the variability in human beings is so significant that I don't think replication works the same way. I think you would need to replicate studies about a dozen times across different cultures, timeframes, languages, regions, religions, etc just to even begin approaching something like reliable results.

And given the fact that social science has a replication problem (an understatement if I'm right), the entire area of study is suspect.


Alternatively, if you are non-white and you have a name like Jamal, don't overthink it, call yourself Michael instead.


Or, if you're white and think everybody is overthinking this, just call yourself Jamal.


I'm certainly stereotyping and assuming (and we know what they say about assuming)

But I'd be willing to put money down you're in the demographic who tends not to fall victim to negative biases. I'll put $50 on that.


Unfortunately there is no clear answer to that, I'm latino but living and working in a south american country so its irrelevant; but I have searched for jobs overseas (remote) and a few times I have landed the job.


This reminds me of an interesting Harvard study I read a few years ago titled 'Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal'.

It can be found here: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/sendhil/files/are_emily_an...


There's another famous study where tenure committees members ranked CVs with traditionally male names on them better than ones with traditionally female names. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A101883920369...


IIRC this was one of the studies whose name list was criticised for having a lot of class differences as well as claimed race differences: when the authors sat down to invent white- and black-sounding names, they picked high-class and low-class names, thus injecting their own stereotypes into their data.


I saw another study where they found phone numbers for mental health professionals, and they called and left a message, asking someone to call them back to set up a first appointment.

The had other people rate the voices as "sounds black" / "sounds white," and "sounds white-collar" / "sounds blue-collar."

That way, they measured the correlation between "sounds black" and "doesn't get call backs."

As you can imagine, "white" sounding people got more call backs. And "white-collar" sounding people got more call backs. I don't know if they reported which was more beneficial, sounding white, or white-collar.

My point being, if you have a large enough collection of names, and you measure how the candidate appears to them, you can then correlate the appearance with the outcome, showing the bias against that appearance.

You don't need to have the researchers generate their own candidates.


Heh. I have a very Hispanic name but I am white/European. This is fairly common where I am originally from and even more in other places. I've definitely gotten weird looks when I go from phone screen -> in person interview. Unfortunately Americans, even progressive ones, have a very narrow view of what "Hispanic" means.


Same boat here. I am Cuban, but basically completely white. A lot of people don't realize that Hispanic is a cultural designation that encompasses multiple races. Many are of native or mixed Central and South American descent. Many are black, descendants of Africans. Many are white. Peru has a large Japanese diaspora, so I guess it's possible to have Asian Hispanics as well (though I've never met anyone that identifies as such).


Yep. One of our presidents was Japanese-Peruvian, and I went to school in Peru with a few people with Japanese first and last names.


Interesting! Out of curiosity, how integrated were the Japanese students into Peruvian society? Did they fluently speak Spanish? Did they consider themselves Hispanic (though I think "Hispanic" is more of a term North Americans apply to South and Central Americas, so apologies if this last question is hard to answer)?


> Interesting! Out of curiosity, how integrated were the Japanese students into Peruvian society?

100% integrated, considered themselves Peruvian, couldn't tell the difference without looking at them. The immigration was decades if not a century before I grew up.


interesting choice of HN screen name :-)


Given names is one of the most effective way to encode culture. We already know that individuals harbor some biases based on culture, so it's no surprise that there is some bias when people exchange names.

My mother explicitly gave me a "white sounding" name when I was born and in my experience changing your name is one of the most common ways that those from other cultures try to integrate in America and minimize bias.

There are many people in my corporation that are South East Asian but go anglicized names like: John, Kevin and Mary. They usually keep the family name though.


> in my experience changing your name is one of the most common ways that those from other cultures try to integrate in America and minimize bias.

My grandfather changed our family name (which to be fair was spelled very badly when character sets were converted). It’s funny because nobody knows what ethnicity “Comjean” is. People get confused and they are thinking about it. Adding to the confusion my parents gave me a first name from the old country.

People in moments of candor ( or from New York) have told me 1. I don’t look like my name . And 2 misguessed my country of origin often putting me into their own.


I think there are lots of factors involved with names, but yeah.

Even the spelling of names makes a difference. Interesting example: Dale Carnegie deliberately changed his last name from "Carnagey" to "Carnegie" so people, on some subliminal way, may associate him with the classy steel-building Andrew Carnegie family.


Charlie Sheen's birth name is Ramon Estevez. Despite it's "liberal bias", Hollywood is notorious for its preference for "Real American (TM)" names.


And his dad, Martin Sheen's birth name was Ramón Gerard Antonio Estévez


That's probably why his brother, Emilio Estevez was never able to make it as an actor, having a meager 47 acting credits over the course of 45 years https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000389/?ref_=nv_sr_1


I guess I don't see the point of these names? Why not just Candidate A,B,C or 1,2,3, etc.


Yup, this is called "blind hiring" and it's a thing.

https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0418/pages/ca...


I always considered something similar with my name. For example if my legal name is Ronnie should I put Ron/Ronald on professional resumes/LinkedIn? Even though that's not my real name. Or Donnie vs. Don/Donald. Tommy vs. Tom/Thomas. It just seems anything ending in "ie,y" appears less professional.


I probably would. I think the problem is that so many people associate ie/y with nicknames for kids that it biases them. I'd probably use Ron initially and then when you get to the face-to-face interview stage you can let people know that you generally go by Ronnie if they ask. HR isn't going to care what you go by online or your resume as long as the 'official' paperwork you submit is correct.


"infinite avalanche" is a commonplace, boring phrase? Wonder where he's from.


Sounds like he's super white.


Some words are prettier than others. All of the words in the first list are quite long and fantastical, whereas the latter are fairly common assonant word pairs. It's natural that the first then are more evocative and have nicer associations.


As a hiring manager, if you give me a fake name, it is to your advantage if it's the same fake name you use on LinkedIn, github, stackoverflow, and other sites that are going to come up when I google you...

I don't care about your social media accounts, your country of origin, your gender, or anything else that's irrelevant to your performance, but I do care about your technical history and abilities (and of course, your eligibility to work).


TFA is about the company assigning randomized pseudonyms to candidates.


I understand. Whether the candidate, a researcher, or my in-house recruiter mangles the name, the end effect is the same.


Why? I can get being pissed if someone's misrepresenting their identity (or annoyed if they're representing it inconsistently) as a job seeker.

But AFAICT this is about letting the candidate's performance be mentally/emotionally isolated from all the baggage that comes along with their history. It doesn't even preclude screening people out based on history before this anonymized interview.

You can then put it back together with the other information you have about them once you've formed an opinion of their technical abilities without preconceptions about them.


I guess my perspective is shaped by the fact that I'm likely hiring very senior folks, where I'm going to look through my network to see if I know anyone who knows them. For that purpose, doing the evaluation "semi-blind" and then later putting the real name/profile back on to do network and reference checks is even OK. (Even in that case, the real hiring decision is subject to skew by knowing the full details of the candidate, and often the resume/work history alone is uniquely identifying.)

I agree that it's 100% fair that we should be evaluating software engineers on software engineering abilities not names (and not even colleges to be honest).


Most names (first name plus surname) are not unique.


Yes, but name and resume work history generally is unique enough, especially at the senior levels. There are five pages of results on LinkedIn for John Carmack. I suspect that you and I have the exact same John Carmack in mind, though.


I think I've seen many people on reddit assume I'm an urban high school kid because of my username.


stcredzero? "Urban high school kid" isn't jumping out at me.

...Actually, nothing jumps out at me at all. I'm not sure what to make of it. Why do they read high school kid out of that?


"Millennial" here.

stcredzero.

Street credit. Usually referred to as social status in the neighborhood and local friend groups. Usually used by rappers and African American neighborhoods. However, people living in these neighborhoods don't actually say this today. Typically middle and high school students hear this on TV/radio and use it in their own (usually upper/middle class) circles to increase their social status.

Zero refers to zero street cred. Username plays a pun, the the user actually has zero cred. Again, only used by people outside the "street" aka in middle and high school. Also 98% chance OP is male. I'd say 50-60% white, sice we're on HN. With the other 40-50% being Asian or Indian.

In summary, yes, usernames tell you a lot.


Also 98% chance OP is male. I'd say 50-60% white, since we're on HN. With the other 40-50% being Asian or Indian.

In summary, yes, usernames tell you a lot.

But site demographics tell you a lot more!


I'd guess that the race/gender percentages you have or more so from where you're interacting with stcredzero than there name.


Fascinating. I'm a millenial and grew up in NYC, and I didn't get any of that. But everything you've said makes sense.


Are you an over the top 35/36 year old?


I'm guessing it stands for "street cred zero" as in having zero street credibility.

Wiktionary defines "street cred" as:

> Credibility among young, hip urban dwellers; particularly important in the hip-hop and rap scenes.

Google defines it somewhat more tersely as:

> acceptability among young black urban residents

Given that the user name says the user has no street cred, it's ironic that people would assume the user is "urban".


> Given that the user name says the user has no street cred, it's ironic that people would assume the user is "urban".

I don't think so. If they weren't “urban” it wouldn't be relevant at all—no streets.


I have to confess I dug into the comments before I realized this wasn't St. Credzero and having made a mental note go to look him up.


SaintCredZero puts me in the mind of an ex-high-end burglar who gets recruited by the authorities to solve crimes.


They could use a different username on HN than Reddit.


I'm not sure why you got downvoted, but your name sounds like you want to be a tough high school kid to me.


Oh. I assumed you were Catholic. :)


[flagged]


The one with the most relevant experience on their resume?


It's always surprising when people openly admit to behaviour that puts their company in legal risk.


Apart from the fact that that's not how I would choose -- I'm not even sure which one you're implying you would choose. Every name there would be filtered out by at least one -ism.


If you really only have time for one interview wouldn't you want to pick the candidate you're most likely to hire? So wouldn't you take a closer look at the resumes and not the names?


There are 9 people in the world called 'han solo'. https://ew.com/article/2015/12/17/star-wars-names/


I'm guessing you'd pass on Ta-Nehisi Coates too then?


You're getting down voted (at the time of my comment), but industry hiring practices tend to agree with you.


>but industry hiring practices tend to agree with you.

Yes. Industry hiring practices enforce systemic racial and class prejudice, as illustrated and defended by the GP.

"But one name looks like a hillbilly and one is really black." That's the problem.


Why shouldn't the practices be changed when you have control though? If the comment said "today's practices" then I wouldn't have downvoted, it's accurate. I downvoted this because of the use of the word "you", which implies the poster would choose it themselves.




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