Stephanie Lampkin: Battling Unconscious Bias in Hiring

January 30 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: How to Write a Resume That Stands Out

Most advice for trying to land a good job is overwhelming. Long gone are the days when your resume needed only a simple template that consisted of 12-point Times New Roman font, bullet points and one or two pages, maximum. These days, Buzzfeed highlights a wildly unconventional resume that landed some lucky lady a six-figure job on the spot or a list of 12 reasons why you must create a video resume.

When recruiters and hiring managers spend a reported six seconds on your resume, how can you possibly stand out? According to the experts, the key is to keep your resume straightforward yet professional, avoid linking to online profiles, which are often distracting and unnecessary, and focus on highlighting your skills, education and experience. In short, keep it simple!

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Nearly 80 Percent

When it comes to diversity in investments and startups, things look pretty bleak. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, nearly 80 percent of venture capitalist and startup founders admit they aren’t supporting initiatives to increase diversity among employees. That means if your resume says “John Smith,” you’re more likely to be hired on or invested in. Bummer.

That’s why we are excited about women who are saying damn the man and creating their own venture-capital companies. After all, investing in diverse teams and diverse portfolios is simply good business.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Stephanie Lampkin, Founder and CEO of Blendoor

When recruiters spend only six seconds scanning each resume, something tells me they’re not getting much. But even a name or headshot is enough to evoke certain biases. In fact, studies show that identical resumes baring only different names often result in a very different response rate from employers.

Luckily for job hunters, Stephanie Lampkin recognizes this as a key impediment to building diverse workforces and she’s doing something about it. Stephanie created a much-needed blind-recruiting application called Blendoor, which facilitates job matching based on merit, not outdated molds. Blendoor hides job-seeking candidates’ names, photos and age, so hirers’ unconscious bias is naturally removed.

Stephanie came up with the idea after eyeballing a Silicon Valley employee-diversity report, in which many high-level execs stated there are just not enough qualified women and women of color applying for tech jobs. Stephanie knew this was bogus. After all, women earn about 61 percent of U.S. academic degrees, but female representation in U.S. tech companies only amounts to about 23 percent.

Stephanie has a resume many of us would covet, boasting a science-and-engineering degree from Stanford and a master’s degree from MIT. She even learned how to code at 13 and was fluent in computer-programming languages by 15. Despite her remarkable qualifications, Stephanie, an African-American woman, went through eight rounds of interviews at a well-to-do tech firm in Silicon Valley before she was told she didn’t have a “technical enough” background for a role in software engineering. But instead of dwelling on that early rejection, Stephanie used her experience and brainpower to create a company that tears down such inherent biases in hiring.

The hope is that Blendoor makes hirers accountable. As Stephanie notes, “When you know you’re being watched, it makes you a little bit more conscious about what you’re doing.”

QUITE THE QUOTE

It’s easy to give up when you’re beaten down, when you’re told you’re not good enough or when you’re discriminated against because of your gender or skin tone. But don’t give up. As the first African-American woman elected to U.S. Congress, Shirley Chisholm, said:

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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