Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hiring based on merit "not really helpful to diversity”, sez prof

A long time ago in a Ford Galaxy far away, one of Walt's agents went to school with a chap named (((Alan Lenczner))). "Black Al", as he was known to his classmates, was an early champion of equal rights for homosexuals, same-sex marriage and diversity in all its other forms. [A loaded phrase, that. Ed.] He is also a first-class litigator, and founder of the Toronto law firm Lenczner Slaght.

The SJWs at Lenczner Slaght have decided, a bit belatedly, to jump on the "blind hiring" bandwagon, and recently sent out a self-congratulatory press release celebrating their enlightenment.

The ultra-PC goal of blind hiring is to judge potential hires exclusively on their abilities. No personal information about the candidate is to be considered, so anything that might identify candidates by gender, race, ethnicity, nationality or virtually anything is carefully scrubbed from their résumés.

Lenczner Slaght plans to remove every name from every résumé submitted as part of its 2019 summer student hiring process. Partner Shara Roy says that should prevent unconscious bias from seeping into hiring decisions and knocking white women and men and women of colour out of the running on the basis of non-white and non-male sounding names. "It’s not a magic bullet," she says, but is the firm's way of "trying to translate diversity within law schools into diversity on Bay Street." And it's a good bit of virtue signalling, as well.

But does it work?Does name-blind hiring make it easier or harder to diversify industries dominated by white people? Professor Eddy Ng, of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, says the answer isn't that simple. "Name-blind hiring only works if you have implicit bias." In other words, if you're pure and righteous, colour-blind and gender-blind, it doesn't make any difference.

And there's an unintended consequence. If you're into affirmative action, not knowing the name, gender, race etc of applicants can defeat your efforts to put straight white males at the bottom of the totem pole. In 2017 the Liberal government of Canuckistan tried concealing personal information — name, citizenship, phone number, address, languages spoken, religious references, and educational institution — on job applications, and found fewer people of colour actually made it through the first screening round than when that information was front and centre.

That's where you have to really know why you're using it, says the good professor: Do you want to diversify or do you want to counter implicit bias? There's a risk of people using it to legitimize their hiring process without actually diversifying, he adds. "They can say, 'Hey look, we keep hiring certain groups of people but it's not our fault because we went through this process where we treated everybody fairly. It's sort of like hiring in the dark. You're hiring essentially based on merit and that's not really helpful to diversity."

I, Walt, added the emphasis to that last sentence. When it comes to treating people fairly in today's politically correct world, that's all ye know and all ye need to know.

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