Selection based on first- or last name
Various Dutch news organisations published articles about discrimination today. Some employers select candidates for jobs based on the first- or last name. I have an opinion about this selection as a father and as a former job applicant.
In the article on the website of NOS, you could read more about this type of discrimination. It all comes down to this: if some apply for a job, the chances to get this job are less when you have a non-Dutch name. Employers seem to get away with this type of discrimination. The article tells us how you can use tracking software to see if the e-mail has been opened or not. But then what? What if the e-mail isn’t opened? What if there is no reaction to your job application. Companies and organisations are permitted not to respond. There is no law to make sure of this. Still, this is something that is not right. Do you want to work for such a company? Or do you want to “be” this type of company?
I myself was 39 years-old when I applied for various vacancies. In some cases, I didn’t receive any feedback. I invested a lot of time writing personalised application letters. Not just the standard ones, I sent to different companies. When I deed receive feedback this varied from “We are in search of someone who is at the beginning of his or her career” (meaning: you are too old) to “We have no match based on your resume (even when the resume was very much corresponding with the job opening). When it concerns those who have a “different name”, the (Dutch) companies are not allowed to select on this, but they still do.
In the article, the “Arthur” was invited for a job interview and the “Azzedine” wasn’t. It didn’t matter if the resume of Azzedine was just as good. This brings me back to those days when I was a recruiter. Yes, I also did that! I had the perfect candidate and let’s call this one “John.” John was of Dutch origin and had a resume that would be perfect for the job opening. Once he got invited for the interview, he turned the option down. I decided that the unemployment benefits were more his kind of thing. This didn’t make me turn down other people with that same name. The other day another man walked in, also with the name John and he turned out to be the perfect candidate.
My children (ages seven and nine) can even see that selection based on first- or the last name isn’t only discrimination. It’s also an injustice. The excuses the companies and organisations come up with are diverse. My children know that they should give everyone a fair chance. That’s how we educated them. Most parents tell their children to do this. Somehow along the way, we tend to forget this. It leads to these situations where people are discriminated based only on their names.
There is a good question related to all of this: What is a typical Dutch name? Some names date back to the foreign origin. Others don’t. Are these people better? I doubt it. Still, it doesn’t seem to be that relevant.
If my children start talking about this subject – there is a chance that my son will do this – I will tell them that some grownups are not as sweet and kind. Especially when money is involved. Luckily I can point them to those who give people a fair chance, such as my good friend Ilias. He operates several market stalls and is a “hit” on social media. He posted a screenshot of the Dutch website of NOS and I can only agree. Everyone is welcome to apply for a job at this wonderful company! If only more companies and organisations would do this!