Anonymous CVs?

That’s what campaigners in the UK are calling for, based on studies like the following:

Researchers commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions sent nearly 3,000 applications for 987 vacancies under false identities, using the names Nazia Mahmood, Mariam Namagembe and Alison Taylor. Each had similar experience and qualifications, and had British education and work histories.

But the results, published earlier this year, showed that applicants who appeared to be white had to send nine applications before receiving an invitation to interview or an encouraging telephone call while candidates with the “foreign” sounding names had to send 16 applications before receiving a similar response.

Apparently France is already conducting a government-led test of anonymous recruitment, and British Petroleum has started using it.

It’s a bit hard to see how this would work in academia, given the importance of publications. But what do you think?

2 thoughts on “Anonymous CVs?

  1. With very junior positions, I wonder if one needs to know more about publications than year, topic-field, number of pages (perhaps rounded up or down) and journal. One should have a sample paper also, after all.

    I think it would be very interesting to do a study of anonymous selecting. One thing I’d look for is whether in a larger cv there are gender indicators that are picked up. One might ask those participating to write an evaluation and then analyze that to see if the “deciders” are tracking some trait that is not supposed to be relevant.

  2. This effect of names and response rates is as far as I know found in all of the settings it has been tested in. Philosophy should probably use anonymous cvs as in all likelihood philosophy is not an exception.

    People could always electronically send their publications after they are anonymized by the applicant.

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