New Report: Pinning Down the Jellyfish: The Workplace Experiences of Women of Color in Tech
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Hiring and Recruiting

Incremental steps that improve diversity in your organization can yield large gains. Diverse work groups perform better and are more committed, innovative, and loyal.

It’s time to go beyond just talking about the problem of workplace bias. Bias Interrupters is an evidence-based model that provides solutions. By taking small steps, Bias Interrupters can yield big changes.

We’ve distilled the huge literature on bias into simple steps that help you and your company perform better.


Matched-resume studies, in which researchers send identical resumes except for one factor (such as the applicant’s name or membership in an organization that signals something about their identity) provide objective evidence that bias drives decision making. Despite identical qualifications:

Race/ethnicity:  “Jamal” needed eight additional years of experience to be considered as qualified as “Greg.”1

Gender: “Jennifer” was offered $4,000 less in starting salary than “John.”2

Sexual orientation: Holding a leadership position in an LGBTQIA+ organization made a queer woman receive 30% fewer callbacks3 and a gay man receive 40% fewer callbacks than their heterosexual peers.4

Parenthood status: Membership in the Parent-Teacher Association made a mother 79% less likely to be hired than a non-mother and offered $11,000 less in starting salary.5

Social class: A candidate that listed elite hobbies: “polo, sailing, and classical music” was 12 times more likely to get a callback than a candidate that listed “pickup soccer, country music, and mentoring other first-gen students.”6

You can’t tap the full talent pool unless you control for bias in hiring. To truly see results, you will need to correct bias at every stage from the initial job posting to the final offer letter.


1. Use Metrics
Organizations should keep metrics by: 1) individual supervisor; 2) department; 3) location if relevant; and 4) the organization as a whole and:

· Anonymously track the demography of the candidate pool through the entire hiring process: from the initial pool of candidates considered, to who survives resume review, who gets invited to interview, who survives the interview process, who gets job offers, who accepts those offers, and who doesn’t. Break down the demography by under-represented groups: women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, etc. and pinpoint which stage(s) of the hiring process are disproportionately weeding out candidates from those groups.

· Track interviewers’ reviews and/or recommendations to ensure they are not consistently rating majority candidates higher than others.

Watch Bias Interrupters Founder Joan C. Williams explain how to interrupt bias in hiring.

Equality Action Center. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


  1. Bertrand, M. & Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination. American Economic Review, 94(4), 991-1013. doi: 10.1257/0002828042002561
  2. Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(41), 16474-16479. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1211286109
  3. Mishel, E. (2016). Discrimination against queer women in the US workforce: A résumé audit study. Socius2, 2378023115621316.
  4. Pride and prejudice: Employment discrimination against openly gay men in the United States. American Journal of Sociology117(2), 586-626.
  5. Correll, S. J., Benard, S., & Paik, I. (2007). Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty? American Journal of Sociology, 112(5), 1297-1338. doi: 10.1086/511799
  6. Rivera, L. A., & Tilcsik, A. (2016). Class advantage, commitment penalty: The gendered effect of social class signals in an elite labor market. American Sociological Review, 81(6), 1097-1131.
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