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Discrimination in recruiting and selective processes

Have you ever felt that you had everything a job or internship required, but still were not selected? And you don’t know why?

After all, what happens behind the curtains of these recruiting and selective processes? Well, there are many reasons for not being accepted.

In general, most human resources professionals sustain that you were not t for the job, or that there was a better applicant or even that the company decided to go in another direction and you were not fit for it.

Then, you go through a self-re ection process as you wonder what you could have done better, how you could have presented yourself better or how you can be better next time to be selected. However, if things don’t go as planned, you may end up not being picked again, and you might wonder if there’s something wrong with you, because there must be a reason you’re not selected.

To make matters worse, most companies don’t give any useful feedback to help applicants know what to improve. It is hard to gure out what happened.

In fact, one of the reasons many people are actually rejected is discrimination.

So, I’ll share some experiences that I had when working in an outsourcing company in charge of recruiting and selective processes for internship positions for many organizations.

My colleagues and I were constantly pressured to carry out the processes faster, not only to meet the deadlines, but to assure that our service was the best when compared to our competitors. Thus, many of them would apply letters to applicants’ resumes on the website’s database to ensure that they would and the most talented people faster and more efficiently.

That wouldn’t be a problem if this were a matter of lettering contents of applicants’ resumes, such as their education background, skills, proficiency level of specific software or foreign language and so forth.

The problem was that they would apply lters to exclude people from the process based on their race, gender, age and social class.

For example, a widely known organization requested that no female students be admitted. When I asked the reason for that, the manager only said, “women procreate,” indicating that he was not willing to “take the risk” of having a pregnant woman in his company.

A company rejected a brilliant student because he would turn 25-year-olds by the end of the year because students over 24 were considered “too old to start their careers.”

Besides, if the applicant were called for an interview, other lters would be employed to narrow down their sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Once, a civil engineering student was rejected by a major construction company because the manager said, “he is not man enough to be an engineer” — this student was gay.

Even appearance was considered more important than their skills, and I’m not talking about showing up for the interview with an adequate posture and attire.

There was a company that used to ask us to check the applicant’s pro le, meaning if he or she was pretty.

Human resources professionals may come across situations like this daily, but many of them don’t like to talk about it for many reasons.

Pressured to meet deadlines, they may undertake discriminatory actions to make their jobs more ef cient unwillingly or unaware that they are doing so.

In fact, most courses, programs and even textbooks on HR management often limit themselves to teaching students tools to carry out the processes that go on in the HR department.

They don’t bring issues that professionals usually face, like discrimination, nor do they problematize what goes on inside the HR department.

Many professionals feel that they have to comply with such demands: no women, no gays, no people of color and so forth; otherwise, they would be red.

Others fully assimilate this behavior and embody these requirements as if they were normal and fair.

What HR professionals forget is that they can and should be the voice to represent applicants’ and employees’ rights, and that they should guide managers from other departments or other companies in explaining that what HR is all about.

Human resources — as the name suggests — should be aligned with human beings instead of trying to satisfy the needs and demands of the market.

Ultimately, HR professionals should keep in mind that they may also become applicants once again.

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