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Opinion: ASU shouldn't let race play a part in the hiring process

A post-racial America doesn't exist and the workforce is one example of that

Is race a factor in an interview.jpg

"Is race a factor for a job application?" Illustration published on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2019.


Right before Thanksgiving break, I received an email through ASU’s resident job-search portal, Handshake. A well-known company had reached out and asked me to apply to their summer internship. I had no real interest in the job or the company, as it didn’t relate to my career goals.

The email did include a highlight reel of the previous summer, and out of sheer curiosity I peeked at the video. At about a minute in, I realized something; an overwhelming amount of the students featured in the video were minorities.

As a minority, I felt as though they were only sending me the video beccause of my race. 

Race shouldn't play a part in the hiring process, from the application to the interview. The University must adjust their career preparation process to recognize the differences between minority students and their white counterparts.

Race is used to divide more than it is used to include, especially in the hiring process. Even in 2019, the process is far from equal.

As of right now, ASU has a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to resume building and networking. The only specifics have to do with majors and not other factors such as race and zip code, which can also influence hiring decisions. 

Minority students are more likely to face hiring bias, a type of unconscious bias or "social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness," according to the University of San Francisco website.

Hiring bias is a serious problem in the workforce. According to a 2017 study conducted by Northwestern University, Harvard University, and the Institute for Social Research in Norway, hiring bias has declined slightly for Latinos since 1989, but the level of discrimination against African-American has remained the same. 

That’s only slight progress over the span of 30 years.

Kayla Phillips, a senior studying business corporate accounting and the president of the Black Business Students Association, said she has experienced hiring bias. The BBSA focuses on networking opportunities and resume building for black business majors at ASU. 

"Once (the hiring manger) had met with me and saw the demographic of the office, I just felt like the vibe was wrong, she had less interest in me," Phillips said. "She had nothing to say that was wrong, she just ended up telling me I'm 'not a fit.'"

She understands there are other factors that go into hiring, but is aware that race could have easily played a part in the decision. Phillips said that ASU "doesn't understand the minority group" and that some employers that have come to ASU are afraid to talk about diversity in their workplaces. 

"At the end of the day, employers are going to do what they want to do," Phillips said. "They're looking for candidates of their own type."

ASU needs to recognize the obstacles that minority students face and work to encourage students to embrace their accomplishments and present them to employers. 


Reach the reporter at Barbara.Smith.3@asu.edu or follow @barbarasmiith on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the authors’ and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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