Various reports have been released on the influence of a foreign name on a job application or even on the grades children get in schools in Germany. A sad reality but a true one all the same.
This has led to various experiments where people apply for jobs or look for apartments anonymously without showing their “foreign” names or faces before they get the confirmation. One such person is Natalie.
Natalie Mankuleyio is a 31 year old Kenyan-German got a job a year ago via an anonymous application. Natalie born to a German mother and a Kenyan father, studied business administration. Natalie used this method to find a job at a startup in Munich, Firma mydays GmbH, where she currently works as the Human Resource Manager.
As a recruiter, Natalie has taken it upon herself to use the same method to recruit new employees for her company. She agrees that it is inevitable to be bias but it has to be a conscious decision from a recruiter to focus on the qualifications and less on the appearance or name of the applicant.
“The first thing most recruiters look at is the picture, but whoever doesn’t see a picture at first is more neutral in how they make their judgement”, Fabrice Schmidt, Natalie’s boss added.
Although the anonymous application may sound like a solution to all the discrimination in the work place, it can’t be used for all job applications:
“It’s hard to present yourself and your experiences while at the same time hiding details on your background. The application therefore suffers. As a recruiter, I have to consider the application method I use for different job offers. If we’re looking for fresh graduates, then we look for a “normal” application with a photo and resume.”, Natalie offered.
“If you’re looking for a CEO, then it is best to use a Headhunter. If you’re looking for a top scientist, then you definitely need a list of publications. For these kind of jobs you can’t use an anonymous application. But then again, I only see discrimination in simple jobs”, Klaus F. Zimmermann, Director of the Instituts zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA) and Professor of Economic Policy Studies (wirtschaftliche Staatswissenschaften) at the University of Bonn concurred with Natalie.
Natalie’s experience and that of many other applicants who used the anonymous application to get a job, are documented in Rocco Thiede’s new book “Chancen für Alle – Anonyme Bewerbung”, get it here.