Employers need to acknowledge that the employment process for people of ethnicity begins with the name of the candidate on the CV application.
Despite Diversity and Equality initiatives, prejudice during the paper sift cannot be monitored. If a name cannot be pronounced or seems ethnic, the CV will often end up in the shredder. This is a simple fact. For this reason, HR officials and recruiters on the frontline need an overhaul of their ingrained mind-sets. They are paid to use their expertise to read between the lines to discover talent rather than skin colour.
The ethnic job application process has further disadvantages. For example while such a candidate may be 100% capable, they often do not have the financial resources to invest in professional qualifications like an MBA at places like the renowned Cranfield University School of Management (£35K). The “Professional Qualification” section on a form may often have to be left blank, resulting in the perception that the candidate does not meet the stringent criteria.
I readily admit that I also put myself at a disadvantage. I do not think I am alone in being paranoid about completing online ethnic diversity “monitoring” forms. This may seem like an irrational concern but it is real and I have personally abandoned applications with uncharacteristic defeatism when my application cannot progress if I choose not to state my age, ethnicity etc. Employers need to understand that from an “ethnic” perspective this requirement seemingly provides further ammunition for an application to be rejected.
Ironically, because we “ethnics” struggle so much harder than most in the pursuit of employment, we are invariably potentially going to be the most hardworking and loyal employees.
It should also be noted that the constant automated job rejection emails e.g. “…there were other candidates with better skills than yours…” (or words to that effect) can destroy your soul and confidence. It is for this reason, I believe, that the “ethnic” candidate who makes it to the interview process, should be valued for their tenacity and resilience. More than likely they have had much more endless disappointment than their white counterparts. I don’t think it is surprising if an “ethnic” candidate seems defensive or guarded at an interview. This can be misconstrued but if you keep getting hurt you do need some armour. The rare occasion that you have the opportunity to walk into the interview room, when you take a peek into the offices you rarely see anyone who looks like you especially in big city firms. It is easy to assume, especially when your confidence is already battered, that you will NEVER get the job.
Finally, software systems powered by Oracle like TaleoAplitrak need some serious investigation. Rumours abound that they keep data until eternity. Apparently, if you have applied for too many jobs, been rejected, not used the right key words, alluded to not being under 25 etc your scanned application is sent into cyber space forever and you are blacklisted. It is for this reason I no longer apply for jobs via LinkedIn or on any sites that use this software.
In summary, applying for a job as a person of ethnicity means overcoming several hurdles ranging from discrimination before the start gun has been fired right up to very reasonable, but in many cases due to lack of money, unattainable Professional Qualification requirements. I don’t want allowances to be made on my behalf. I am confident of my skills. Consequently I have stopped crying into my coffee and acquired the skin of a Rhinoceros. “Fall down 7 times get up 8 times” is my mantra.