Name-Blind Résumé: What happens if ever we meet face to face

This April, the Liberal Government announced a new recruiting pilot project that aims to ‘reduce unconscious bias’ and increase  minority job seekers’ chance to land a job. As a starter, 6 federal departments will take part in the ‘name-blind’ hiring process to test the effectiveness of such process. However, this initiative raises several disturbing questions!

You have been looking for a job in your field, one that will fulfill your desires and matches your skills. It’s been 5 five years now since your engineering master degree is on your wall. You stop dusting it because it reminds you of all the endless and unsuccessful efforts you’ve put in to find a job where you can finally apply your genius skills in designing software.

As studies show however the chance for a female black candidate like yourself to find such job in Canada is very thin because your name does not sound Anglo enough. You then decide to take a leap of faith and try the new name-blind recruitment policy that the federal government just put in place. You sent a résumé without your name on it. You were also careful enough to change any information that may lead the recruiter to think you are not from the White Anglo majority group.

Oh! Miracle! You just got your first phone call and you’re invited to an interview. Oh! Think God your accent didn’t betray you, you thought. These university years going out with friends have finally paid off. Now you just need to get ready for that interview.

Nevertheless, you can hardly control your nervousness because you cannot help feel like somehow you tricked the recruiter. And you just used the new recruiting policy.

Would they have called you if you haven’t used this recruiting approach?

Will the interview be awkward because they were expecting someone with a different physical appearance?

It’s a good thing you took out your LinkedIn profile photo. Should you do the same for your other social media profiles?

Will they cancel the interview if they find something on the Internet that show them what you really look like?

In all this anxiety, you don’t have the strength nor the time to prepare for your interview tomorrow. Oups!

Welcome to the new proposed color-blind resume policy!

This scenario is purposely far-fetched to portray minority job seekers job hunting experience. It also reflects what U of T Sociology Professor Jeffrey Reitz recommends for the success of such initiative.

“To conduct name-blind screening, he said, recruiters must remove any information on a resumé that would show the ethnicity of the person, such as name, birth place and membership in an association before coding the candidates in the talent pool”, recommends Reitz (the star.com)

The fact is, we live today in the digital age. Even if recruiters, exempt of bias, remove personal information from a résumé, candidates would still have a big job to do in clearing the Internet from any obvious information that can betray their origin.

A very trendy topic

The Canadian Government is now joining the bandwagon to test the success of name-blind recruitment for minority candidates. The advocate of this trendy technique, liberal MP Ahmed Hussen, said in Parliament last year that  “It is crucial that Canadians who have got the grades, skills, and the determination succeed.” (from CBC)

As a matter of fact, ‘resume whitening‘ seems very popular and may have even doubled the chances of  ethnic candidates to receive callbacks as reported by the Guardian. It has been tested in European countries such as France and United Kingdom.

In France, the idea is “to strip résumés of anything that could tip off recruiters to a person’s racial, ethnic and national background or other information that could be used to discriminate — name, age, sex, even residential postal code.” (Washington Post)

Name-blind hiring processes are also in place in the private sector in the US and in the Canadian musical sector.

The Canadian governmental chapter of the name-blind recruitment is in direct answer to a joint study conducted by the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, which proves that Asian candidates have a very less likely chance to receive callbacks after sending out resumes. And it’s all in the name as recruiters will likely throw away resumes with non-anglophone names.

In fact, “applicants with English-sounding names were 35 per cent more likely to get callbacks than those with Indian or Chinese names with similar results in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver”, said Philip Oreopoulos, a U of T economist who co-authored the study. (Ottawa Citizen)

Six departments will be part of the pilot project: National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Despite the good intention of this recruiting initiative, it raises uncomfortable questions.

What happens during the phone call if you have a foreign accent?

According to previous tests, your name and other information that may lead to discrimination will be concealed. How exactly this will be done is not sure.

If federal recruiters will be responsible for clearing applications from information that could lead to discrimination, how will the government make sure that recruiters don’t have bias themselves?

Despite this clearing process, how well will this scenario play for you if  you don’t speak like the majority?

How will the so-awaited phone call go?

What happens to candidates with extensive foreign education, work experience, and skills?

Another disturbing concern is on the recognition of newcomers’ foreign credentials and work experience.

What if you are a highly qualified candidate with foreign education and work experience? What if all that can make you suitable for a job is international competences, education, work experiences?

Will the color-blind recruitment process prevent newcomers from finding jobs because adding these important professional skills might reveal their non-Anglo affiliation character?

What will happen to existing measure for minority candidates?

“We hope as the government moves proactively to ensure diversity in hiring it will review the existing program and strengthen it to ensure the intentional inclusion of racialized and indigenous job seekers,” said Debbie Douglas of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. (thestar.com)

If the government is applying a color-blind hiring policy, how will it affect the policy to facilitate women, people with disability, Natives and people from visible minority group? Will this measure no longer be in force?

How will name-blind recruitment affect cultural diversity?

celebrating ethnic differences and cultural diversity can only be beneficial for a country. Unfortunately, while the proposed bill is acknowledging an unacceptable level of racism in the Canadian society, it is in the same time denying the beauty and benefits of diversity.

Why not promoting foreign skills, the richness of various cultures, the beauty of different accents?

Why not fostering a cultural work environment in which the country can benefit from different ways of doing things?

In this new technological time, diversity is key.

Why not instead coaching recruiting managers to better understand different cultures, ethnicities, to learn more about others and put their fears of anything different at rest?

We hope the questions raised here can help in bettering the recruiting process.


A Life’s Secret: How Human Connections Lead to Real Success

Very often we are asking ourselves how different our life could have been if we had followed a different path. Every day we are questionning our decisions. What if, what if….

An author had had this call 16 years ago where he was at a path of his life when out of nothing a simple, normal gesture, an everyday decision had changed his life forever: opening the TV.

We never know where our path can lead us.

Life is a series of decision that we make every second of our lives. Even when we are not always aware of it, every decision we make affects our life and others’. Even simple gesture like drinking a glass of water. This is how Author Mitch Albom had had his life-changing experience.

“All the values that you aspire to in life. All the things you want to accomplish in your life, the lessons you want to teach other people in your life, the legacy you want to leave behind after you leave this Earth can all be done within the family that you create and continue to spread out to the rest of the world long after you’re gone.” – Mitch Albom (Source: Forbes)

In an interview with Forbes, The Moment That Changed Mitch Albom’s Life, Albom shared this wisdom that he had learnt from his late teacher, mentor, and friend, Morrie.

This is an interview full of insights into life itself, a refreshing note on human connection leading to real success.

Albom has raised questions that we ask ourselves everyday. He mentioned that he had seen his teacher on TV, talking about his own upcoming death and that’s how he got reconnected to this friend and mentor after 16 years. That is also how he got to honour a promise that he had not been keeping for 16 years.

If he hadn’t turned on the TV to this specific channel at this exact moment, what would have happened? However, he did and this simple gesture, this everyday choice had turned into a wonderful story, a famous book: Tuesdays With Morrie!

We often question ourselves about decisions we make or don’t make. If I had taken this road, what would have happened to me? If I hadn’t met this person, where would I be today? If I studied something different, if I went to college, if I went on that trip, if I chose a different career path…. So many ifs and we cannot help wonder if a decision or another would have neared us to nirvana.

The interview also offers an open window on life and death. For instance, our reluctance to talk about or to even consider that we are going to die one day. We prefer thinking that we are immortal and act like it, giving us good reasons to ignore others’ pain, others’ feelings.

We act as if we don’t care while inside of us we are so aware of this fact that we are always in a marathon, trying to win as much as we can before the fatal day.

Unfortunately, we are not aware of how much important opportunities we are missing on to be better human beings, to make time for our loved-ones, to make our passage on this Earth worthwhile. We are actually missing on opportunities that could have made us on a successful path, probably on the life path we secretly desire and deserve. We are often oblivious to the fact that helping others result in successful communities.

It is important that we truly ask ourselves how we would like to be remembered and act like it.

The greatest part of the interview is to find out that Morrie had been a teacher and a mentor to Albom even when he had been ignoring him. Morrie had passed on to Albom the greatest teaching of all: the wisdom of life, which is living through the next generation.

We are not immortal, we are here on this Earth right now for a reason. It’s a time to learn, then to teach what we have learnt, to pass on the wisdom to the next generation. It’s important to pay attention to our surrounding, to people next to us. It’s important to value each other. Most of all to confide our knowledge to the future generation. And Mitch believes that your own children is where to start. A family is where to start building the society of tomorrow.

This is not an easy job to learn to pay attention to and to value others as Mitch Albom had learnt himself. It is easier when you have someone, a mentor to teach you the way of life. Needless to say it is a difficult job when you don’t have someone around you can learn from. However, it is not impossible. Read the Forbes interview here for more insights.



How I would teach my son to honour and value women

Today is a special day, a day to recognize mothers, wives, sisters, cousins, friends, BFF, colleagues, a day to celebrate women. It’s a day to celebrate life as women bear life and give life.

It is very important to teach the other half of the world how important the role of a woman is for humanity. It is as important as the role of men.

We as women have a duty to ourselves in teaching our sons, our little brothers, our nephews, our little male cousins, our students, our male campers to understand, to respect, and to value women’s role. This teaching is as important for boys as it is for girls.

Women play an important role in the education of boys. A role as important as men’s. It is essential that we as women ensure our kids, our boys are drivers of change. If we want changes tomorrow, we have to start today by infusing the next generation with respect for their mothers, sisters, female cousins, classmates, campers, friends.

As Michelle Obama brilliantly said:

No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

What I would try to instill in my son

  • I would tell my son that women bear life and give birth. They are mothers like me who learnt to love their children more than themselves. I would show my sons how many moms sacrifice themselves everyday to shelter, to feed, to protect, to push their children in life, and to be there for them even when they are miles away from her. I would make him understand that a mom’s love is something irreplaceable. A mom is the foundation of society.
  • I would explain to my son that moms are teachers. They teach life at home, they transfer knowledge at school, they instill fun and life skills at the community centre, they show how to be respectful and humble at church, they create fun and adventures at camp.
  • I would make my son understand that women are equal professionals. They are doctors and nurses who heal body at the hospital and soul at home. They are firefighters who extinguish fires at fire site and soothe flaming tensions and pains at home. They are engineers who design spaceships, conceive earthquake-resistant buildings and infrastructures to withstand quakes and save lives. They are managers, lawyers, politicians, accountants who take daily political, economic, cultural, and social decisions to secure our social institutions, generate economic growth, foster cultural diversity, and protect their nation and the ones they love.
  • I would go on by detailing to my son that women are in every sphere of work and just like men are doing a phenomenal job in contributing to their community’s growth and well-being. Whether they are chefs, cooks, bus drivers, singers, actresses, nannies, pharmacists, secretaries, receptionists, police officers, models, writers, journalists, movie directors, game designers, fashion designers, computer programmers and analysts, architects, archeologists, TV broadcasters, entrepreneurs and so on, their contribution is vital for our society.
  • I would teach my son how to do chores, so he would never think that household chores are women’s work. My son would learn to clean his bedroom, wash and fold his clothes, do the dishes, help clean the house, do groceries and prepare dishes, clean the garden and the backyard.
  • My son would be entitled to the same curfew, bedtime, money allowance that I would give my daughter. He would have to work as much at school and put similar efforts in accomplishing his homework and extra-curricular activities. I would interest my son to both sports and arts as I would do for my daughter. All to teach my son that he is equal to all girls, leading him to realize later on that he is equal to all women. After all, it is in the little detail that we can realize the greatest achievement.
  • Finally, I would make sure to always include respect in the way I am communicating with my son to teach him respect for himself, so he can in return respect others. I would try very hard to transfer to my son respect for all livings, for nature. I would teach my son to love, to love himself and others. Therefore, I would make sure that my son can respect and love his sister or sisters, female classmates, peers, colleagues, wives, and friends. I would ensure that my son is able to honour women everyday.

What I am teaching my daughter

However, I don’t have a son. I have a daughter, so I am trying to teach her everything I would teach my son. I am also trying to teach her to love and be proud of herself, that being a girl and later a woman is awesome. I am trying to instill into my daughter that she can be anything she wants to be as long as she puts the necessary effort to work hard and succeed. I am trying to teach my daughter that everything has a price, that life works like gravity: whatever you throw comes back to you, so she will be able to make careful decisions.

I am treating my daughter like a friend, I am trying to always be there for her when she needs me because I believe that solidarity between women should start at home. Mother-daughter, sisters, cousins, friends.

Yes, I don’t have a son! So, I am calling on all mothers of son to teach their son to respect, love, and value women as they do for themselves.

I am calling on every woman to teach their little cousins, nephews, students, campers to respect women, to celebrate the gift of having a mother, a sister, a cousin or a female teacher who are here for them when needed.


Mars: “Where no one has gone before”. What’s in it for mankind?

Did you know that humans visiting other planets is almost a reality? Did you know that the sky isn’t the limit anymore? Check out this video released by the company Space X yesterday to convince yourself.

However, I am wondering what visiting other planets or meeting other intelligent life forms could bring to the advancement of the human race.

“SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System”


Changing of the Guard: Your calling in Ottawa this summer

Changing of the Guard – Parliament Hill

Tomorrow is the last day of the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Parliament Hill. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s your appointment for tomorrow morning.

Watch the guards dancing and marching